8 short-stay retreats that will transform your life for the better

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Even as adults, that back-to-school feeling is incredibly powerful. So, if you’ve been looking to reinvigorate your life and inspire a new state of mind, there’s no better time to book an inspiring autumn retreat. 

Autumn is finally upon us, and though you’ve got holiday time to take before the year ends, you’re hell-bent on using it wisely. In short: a weekend back home or a short trip to Brighton just isn’t going to cut it.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered. From a restorative stay in a countryside yurt and fresh air break learning to ride Cornish waves, to a tranquil few days doing yoga next to the sea in Portugal, a couple of days away at a retreat is the ideal getaway in the run-up to Christmas. 

Or why not go one step further and go off on a writer’s retreat? You’ll thank yourself later for getting the book you’ve always dreamt of writing done and dusted once and for all.

Whatever you fancy doing this month, one thing’s for sure: a short-stay retreat is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and, well, a better person. And if you can’t commit to it before seeing the month through, be sure to book one in the coming weeks ahead - give yourself something different to look forward to before we enter the season of hibernation. 

Take a look below at our edit of the best retreats out there right now. 

1) Home Farm Glamping

Located in Elstree, Hertfordshire, Home Farm Glamping is the perfect way to experience the great outdoors, without sacrificing on style or comfort. Just a 20-minute train journey from central London, the luxury glamping site is home to nine furnished bell tents and three yurts, which are available from April through to October.

With BBQs and fire pits dotted throughout the beautiful grassy meadow, Home Farm is an ideal retreat for those who want to completely disconnect and experience the countryside on their own terms. But in-between roasting marshmallows and wandering the acres of rolling farmland and beautiful woods nearby (Winnie-the-Pooh’s 100 Aker Wood is just a stone’s throw away), there are plenty of opportunities to find like-minded company.

Test out the communal croquet lawn and ping-pong table, join the open air yoga sessions, or if you fancy a spot of fishing, why not try the on-site pontoon. When you’re suitably tired from your country pursuits, head to the on-site cafe to tuck into a freshly prepared afternoon tea or campfire supper. There’s also the chance to join Supper Under The Oak, where you can enjoy a delicious feast under a huge, lantern-lit oak tree, or under the farm’s Indian tent if the weather is temperamental. The campfire is lit at 9pm, so you’ll stay toasty warm long after the sun has gone down.

Prices for dinner and a night’s stay in a luxury two-person bell tent start from £90. You can book here

2) Shamballah Yoga Retreat

Owned by Portuguese couple Patricia and Zarqa, the tranquil retreat, located near Sintra national park, is actually the couple’s home, too. It’s a small space – with three guest bedrooms up for grabs – which only adds to the charm and calming atmosphere of the retreat.

If you’re not yet a dab-hand at yoga then fear not as the retreat welcomes all levels – whether you’re a beginner or expert. With two yoga classes a day, plus an hour of meditation after dinner, it makes for a stress-free week. 

Prices start from €600 (£538) – includes all meals. You can book here

3) Women and Water Retreat by Wild and Free Adventures 

This four-day retreat located in Yurt Village at The Park, Mawgan Porth is ideal for someone who wants a bit of adventure mixed in with some meditative activities, too. You’ll begin each day with a guided meditation session, followed by a Vinyasa flow yoga class and then a surf lesson from professional surfer, Alan Stokes. Don’t fret if you haven’t attempted surfing the Cornish waters before, the retreat caters to all levels of expertise – so just go for it!

And the added bonus? You’ll have a private chef on hand to make ALL your meals.

In your downtime you can always go for a relaxing walk along the coast or spend some time swimming in the heated outdoor pool.

Prices start from £595. It’s popular so don’t delay in booking

4) Fat Buddha Yoga Surf 

If you’re on the lookout for space and stillness then Fat Buddha Yoga Surf is for you. In September, the retreat will be located in Fuerteventura and involves yoga (including surf school), a volcano trek, surf theory lessons and snorkelling in the lagoons – all overlooking the sea.

Not only will there be a private chef serving up deliciously healthy meals for six days and six nights, but there will also be one night out in the nearest town.

Prices start from £1250 (flights not included). If you don’t want to miss out then you can book here

5) Surf Sistas 

Fancy some sea, sun, sand and surfing? Then join Surf Sistas on its next international retreat.

Aimed specifically at women, the next retreat will be hosted in France from 29 September to 6 October. Staying in a villa in south west France, the retreat accommodates people of all surfing ability levels and even hosts a yoga class every day, too.

Prices start from £660. You can book a place here

6) Skyros on The Isle of Wight

Apparently after staying for a few days at Skyros on The Isle of Wight, celebrity Jimmy Carr decided to leave his job and become a comedian. That’s how inspiring the holistic retreats are at The Grange, a Georgian B&B with a beautiful sea view.

And you can pick from an array of options, including: novel writing (you can finally finish your book), windsurfing, music and singing and so much more.

Prices start from £90 for 2 nights. You can check out what’s available here

7) Raw Horizons

Designed for women looking for a respite away from it all, the wellbeing retreats take place in a comfortable converted house in the Yorkshire countryside. Run by raw food chef and life coach Dr Claire Maguire, the short-stay combines life coaching, yoga and gourmet raw food to help you relax, work through stress or adopt a more positive attitude.

Along with a hot tub, sauna and country views, it’s the perfect excuse to simply get away from it all. 

Prices start from £165pp, you can book here

8) All the Good Things

If making decisions is really not your strongpoint then an ad-hoc retreat is right up your street. This young company designs retreats at the last-minute that focus on making people happy. And they keep things simple so it’s all about exercise, nature, creative classes, food and the opportunity to meet new people.

In collaboration with Surf Sistas, the retreats stay pretty close to home, so you could go off to Penbryn, West Wales and Mawgan Porth or Cornwall.

You can book a place here