Retreats in the UK / Europe

Continuing the discussion from Retreat Sites in UK/Ireland:

Has anyone got any recommendations in the UK or Europe, specifically for women?

If possible, where they do provide meals.

Thank you!

There’s a Brigettine convent in Assisi, about halfway up the mountain, between the two parts of the town. It’s an easy walk to the Basilicas of St Francis and St Clare. It’s run by sisters from India. They run a retreat house where anyone can stay. I’m not sure about directed retreats, but if you wanted to take a retreat on your own, it’s a good place to go.


Could you please elaborate a bit on the kind of retreat you would like to participate in? An organized group retreat? A personal retreat with or without guidance? Residential or non-residential?

What do you mean by “specifically for women”? Are you looking for a retreat site that welcomes only women, or perhaps one that welcomes both men and women but houses them in different buildings or at different times? Would it matter if the site is managed by men or a mix of men and women rather than exclusively by women?

I know of a number of retreat centers in the UK as well as a few in France, but in order to offer relevant suggestions it would be helpful to have more details. Thanks :slight_smile:

@edward_george1 Thank you for that recommendation! I will definitely look at that one further. :tulip:

@UpUpAndAway Looking for a personal retreat, with or without guidance—definitely residential. Preferably the retreat would be run by women for only women. Please let me know if you need any further information. :grinning:

Buckfast Abbey in Devon

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There’s a list of some places in the UK @LittleFlower .

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@Symphorian Really like the look and feel of Buckfast Abbey, thank you for sharing it. :tulip:

@Rob2 Thank you for those links, I have checked them out before but must have not felt a pull towards them. I will check them out again this evening. :tulip:

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Oh , yes ! :rofl:


Of the following places, I have only been to the last. None of them satisfy all your requirements, but perhaps you can find something beneficial at one or more of them.

You might want to look at St. Cecilia’s on the Isle of Wight. It is an abbey of Benedictine nuns. Their guest accommodation is self-catering and it is unclear whether they welcome only women in their guesthouse, but everything else about them seems to tick all your boxes.

Note that Buckfast is community of monks. If you go there for a guided retreat, your guide will most probably be a man. The retreat center provides meals and accommodates both women and couples (men coming alone stay in the monastic guesthouse), so there will likely be male guests around if you go there.

Pluscarden Abbey (Benedictine monks) in Scotland has a guesthouse exclusively for women. Men stay in a separate building. Retreats there are individual and unguided, and meals are self-catering although “basic foodstuffs such as tea, coffee, muesli, porridge, margarine, bread, milk and eggs” are provided. The closest town where you can buy other items is six miles away from the abbey (Elgin).

Finally, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Wisques near Saint-Omer, France is a community of Benedictine nuns (Abbaye Saint-Paul, just around the corner, houses the monks). All retreatants, male and female, reside in a single guesthouse. Retreats are individual and unguided. Meals are provided: breakfast is taken in the guesthouse kitchen while lunch and dinner are served in the guest dining room in the main building. I don’t know for a fact if any of the nuns speak English :grimacing: but I would be surprised if there weren’t at least one with basic command of the language.

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@Rob2 I wish that is what I meant! :joy: Alcohol doesn’t agree with me at all anymore, I can’t even enjoy a sip. :tired_face:

@UpUpAndAway Thank you so much! This is very extensive. :tulip: I think St Cecilia’s and Buckfast are the two that sound like the best fit. I will now see how it lines up with our travel plans.

Thank you all again!


I am sure you have many but here are some in UK, showing their orders.


I have been to this one

and this one

and am going to this one in May.

We are a group of ladies though so I can’t say much about their own run retreats. But the venues I have been too are awesome, especially Ladywell, it’s soo peaceful and out in nature. It’s run by Franciscan nun’s and has just been done up. I am attending a day of Reflection there in May as it is near there and one of my favourite priests supports them with yearly talks to help raise income to keep them afloat. God bless him. The large chapel is an impressive work of architecture. It is surrounded in farmlands and serenity.

Due to ongoing renovation work, Ladywell is closed to residential use until late 2019.

Quiet days (essentially a single-day personal retreat with no overnight stay) remain possible during this time. I don’t know if and how their meal provision services have been affected by the closure of the guest accommodation.

From my organization’s “UK Office”:

"It depends on whether you would like meals to be provided or if you would prefer to be self-catering. However, here are some ideas:

The Visitation Order is a community of enclosed nuns who have a tradition of welcoming women into their cloister to live with them for a while (there will be no pressure to become a nun). Meals will be provided. They do not allow male guests.

Turvey Abbey (who are nuns, but monks join them for the liturgy) run actual Retreats for men and women, and they have a small guest house. They also welcome people who want to make a private retreat.

Stanbrook Abbey (nuns) have holiday lodges, if you would like a completely separate space.

If you want to stay in London, the nuns of Tyburn have a small guest wing. Meals are provided.

The Cistercian nuns also run retreats and welcome private guests (men and women) to their two convents:

I hope these are useful."

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican

The Community of Our Lady of Walsingham is a new community that has had consecrated women who have made their final vows for about 15 years. I believe there are about 5 or 6 members at present. They have have been given certain responsibilities for the ministry to pilgrim’s at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk UK which is almost 1,000 years old by the bishop. They are very joyful and devout. I believe you can probably arrange a private retreat directed by the sisters. I would contact them directly and find out more. They are a mixture of contemplative and active in their ministry of evangelism.

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