Recently, we wrote about ten gorgeous retreats perfect for a quiet reading weekend. This week, we’re rounding up ten equally beautiful retreats for writers. In idyllic environments – far away from the demands and routines of everyday life – each offers the opportunity to relax and hone your craft. So why not pack your manuscript and your pajamas and treat yourself to a few blissful days of writing in one of these inspirational settings?
1. Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, USA – Pine beams, cast-iron fireplaces and six million acres of mountainous parkland, the rustic and incredibly cozy Whiteface Lodge in New York State is the perfect place to pitch your laptop for a week or two. Each suite boasts a full kitchen, a writing desk and a seriously stunning view or, if you prefer a little people watching while you write, you can work in the downstairs lounge by the fireplace. Once you’ve logged your daily word count, there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, skating, bobsledding, fishing and canoeing, and the 5,800-square-foot spa offers “a heaven-sent four-handed massage”. We’ll take two of those, please.
2. Farncombe Estate, Cotswolds, UK – Set within 400 acres of private grounds, Farncombe Estate, located in the Cotswolds countryside, offers a wealth of one-day and residential writing courses led by experienced tutors. Options include Finding Your Voice and Novel Outline in a Weekend.
3. Watermill, Posara, Italy – Sun-drenched Italian courtyards, plenty of hearty Tuscan fare and tutorage from bestselling authors are all key ingredients of the writing retreats at The Watermill in Italy. Visit in May and enjoy a week-long romance writing course with Sharon Kendrick, who has written more than 90 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon and is a USA TODAY bestseller. Or, if you fancy yourself as more of an Agatha Christie type, stay in October for lessons with award-winning thriller author, Meg Gardiner. All meals at the restored 17th century mill are provided, so all you have to do is write. Absolute bliss.
4. Auberge Nordique, French Alps, France – If scenic walks and plenty of fresh air inspire you to put words to the page, the Auberge Nordique retreat in the French alpine village of Le Grand-Bornand is definitely for you. Itineraries are a blend of writing sessions and mountainous ‘literary’ hikes, which are sure to get your blood pumping.
5. Wales National Writing Centre, Gwynedd, Wales – Tŷ Newydd, a beautiful house set in the stunning landscape of the Llŷn Peninsula and overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales, meanwhile, will play host to a packed schedule of writing courses this year. Scriptwriting, storytelling, short fiction, literary novels and crime writing are just some of the study options offered by Literature Wales with funding and bursaries available to lower income writers.
6. The Writer’s Lab, Skyros, Greece – Meals of fresh fruit, yogurt and whole grains, accommodation in charmingly traditional Greek townhouses and lessons from Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners, The Writer’s Lab on the ancient island of Skyros has it all. Start your day with breakfast and some gentle yoga on the sunny terrace before morning courses begin. The afternoons are left free for sun-worship, sightseeing or more writing if you’re so inclined.
7. The Grange by the Sea, Isle of Wight, UK – For a creative island experience a little closer to home, the gorgeous Grange country hotel on the Isle of Wight offers year-round writing courses, which are led by experienced tutors. You can choose from The Art of Writing Fiction, Writing for the Screen of Your Voice among others.
8. Creative Adventures, Morocco – Mint tea, mules and Moroccan markets, this five-day itinerary places lots of emphasis on fueling your imagination with lots of excursions into the vibrant, buzzing city of Marrakech. Don’t be fooled, though; there’s plenty of work to be done, too. You’ll cover everything from story plotting and structure to tightening your prose and pitching to agents.
9. Literary Adventures, Las Alpujarras, Spain – The 400 year old Spanish house Casa Ana plays host to this inspiring autumnal week long writing retreat. Led by award-winning author, journalist and creative writing tutor Rebecca Abrams in October, writing exercises and sessions are sandwiched between guest speakers, one-on-one tutorage and excursions to neighbouring towns for meals and shopping.
10. Arvon, Various, UK – Creative writing foundation Arvon has been giving people the time and space to write since 1968. The foundation’s four rural retreats, including Lumb Bank in Yorkshire – former home of Ted Hughes, offer a beautiful setting for expert tuition from knowledgeable authors. Thanks to the support of Arts Council England and generous donors, Arvon offers grants to cover some or all of attendees’ course fees, too.
Have you ever been on a writing retreat? Did it help your writing? Which of these would you choose?