Top 10 Writing Retreats (2017 update)

Writing retreats offer you a chance to escape your stresses and strains and focus solely on your writing. If squeezing writing into your hectic routine has become a burden, then nothing can recharge you better than a week at a peaceful, quiet writing retreat in idyllic, natural surroundings. Just a short break from the crowds and traffic, kids, husbands or wives, annoying neighbours, deadlines or your own demons following you, is guaranteed to spark your creativity, and make your love of writing come rushing back. We’ve found some of the most tranquil writing retreats to reignite your inspiration. We have done a lot of research and spoken to lots of writers to finally come to our ultimate list of the best writing retreats to treat yourself to this year.

1. Moniack Mhor
Kiltarlity, Scotland

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Amidst some of the most beautiful natural terrain in Scotland, Moniack Mhor has been offering peaceful writing retreats since 1993, and has since become Scotland’s premier creative writing centre. Moniack Mhor offers accommodation in a main house and a cottage, and offers tutorials hosted within an eco-friendly Straw Bale Studio, which utilises solar and wind energy, and is entirely environmentally sustainable. In their simple but cosy guest houses, writers can not only receive tutorials from published authors, editors and agents, but revel in the idyllic landscape of the Scottish Highlands.

Prices

Prices start at £490 for a week long tutored retreat, and £200 for a short untutored retreat. See their website for more details.

2. La Muse Inn
Aude, South of France

BEST FOR: A LONG BREAK


La Muse artists’ and writers’ retreat in France offers you time and space to experience inspiration, transformation and well-being. The real selling points are the gorgeous location in the lush hillside of Carcassonne, and the breath-taking views that will inspire and relax you. If stunning views don’t really interest you, there is always the absolute certainty that you will meet an interesting bunch of writers and creatives. La Muse have been running retreats for 15 years now, and they haven’t thought about stopping!

Prices

Prices can vary from £275 (€325) to £1595 (€1895) depending on room, date and length of stay.

TOP TIPS: They offer reductions for off season bookings, and for extended stays. This even applies to July and August, if booked 6 months in advance.

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If you are lucky enough to have the time, it’s possible to stay for several months, either on

3. Literary Adventures with The Literary Consultancy
Andalucía, Spain

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If you need to escape a little further afield, try The Literary Consultancy’s annual Literary Adventures, taking place this year in the incomparable Alpujarras Mountains in Andalucía, Spain. If you can tear yourself away from the stunning views of the mountain ranges surrounding Casa Ana (the Literary Adventure’s beautiful guest house), you will find that the woods nearby offer a host of enchanting sights. A short walk takes you to a beautifully tranquil, natural water spring, close to a restored ancient threshing circle. The stunning landscape will certainly provide ample inspiration for writers, along with the gorgeous weather and experience of a Spanish holiday.

Prices

Prices start at £795. See their website for more details.

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4. The Creative Writer’s Workshop
Galway, Ireland

The Creative Writer's Workshop Writing Retreats

Founded in 1991 by Irene Graham, the Creative Writer’s Workshop offers writing retreats amongst some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery. For 2017, they are running retreats on both fiction and memoir writing. Although the Creative Writer’s Workshop draws on innovative left brain/right brain learning techniques to encourage creativity and imagination in their authors, we think the amazing views across the cliffs will be enough to inspire any writer to great things.

Prices

Prices start at €1295. See their website for more details.

5. Skyros
Atsitsa Bay, Greece

Skyros Bob Shelley painting

Painting by Bob Shelley

Skyros retreats have been described by The Sunday Times as “One of the World’s Best Holidays” and are particularly good for solo travellers as they have the motto, “Come on your own and leave with new friends”. They burst with possibilities on their 3 destinations (from which 2 are on the sun-drenched Greek island of Skyros and one on the Isle of Wight!). The island of Skyros is postcard-perfect with cute, white washed buildings and bright blue skies. Skyros alternative holidays are not just for writers, there are yoga courses, dance courses, singing courses, windsurfing courses, or you can just relax at the beach.

Atsitsa Bay

Atsitsa Bay, Greece

Prices

Prices start from £725

Their next writing courses on the Island of Spyros are:

  • Sat 15 – Sat 22 July 2017: Life, Dreams and Fiction with Steve Attridge  £725
  • Sat 22 July – Fri 4 August 2017: The stories of your life with Alison Habens £1,345
  • Sat 22 July – Fri 4 August 2017: Life into fiction (week 1) + Write your novel (week 2) with Mez Packer £1,345
  • Sat 5 – Fri 18 August: Finding your writer’s voice (week 1) + From experience to imagination (week 2) with Crysse Morrisson £1,385

6. The Grange by the Sea
The Isle of Wight, UK

BEST FOR: A QUICK WEEKEND GETAWAY

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If you’d rather find your peace a bit closer to home, we recommend The Grange by the Sea on the Isle of Wight. The Grange is a gorgeous Georgian country house with comfortable 4-star guest accommodation. It’s actually listed in the AA’s Best British B&B Guide. It’s part of Skyros Holidays (mentioned above), so they do things in the same way. You can go there just to relax, escape from daily life, or you can follow some of the courses they organise. The only difference is that they only offer weekend courses.

Prices

Their weekend writing courses are a modest £90. Their upcoming courses are:

  • Fri 5 – Sun 7 May 2017: The Stories of Your Life with Alison Habens
  • Fri 13 – Sun 15 October 2017: How to Build a Novel with DJ Connell
  • Fri 27 – Sun 29 October 2017: Adventures in Comedy Writing with Logan Murray

TOP TIPBook for a five night or longer stay at The Grange to enjoy a 10% discount per person.

 7. Retreats For You
Devon, UK

BEST FOR: NO DISTRACTIONS

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Retreats For You has been included due to the fantastic feedback we’ve had from writers that have been there. If you like the idea of curling up by a log fire in a beautiful thatched house, in the North Devon countryside, this one is for you. It’s run by Debbie, who is a writer herself, and is happy to offer you constructive criticism on how to improve your writing. Did we mention it’s only 50 yards from the village pub? They want to provide a space where you don’t have to worry about anything. And they really mean it. Everything is taken care of for you, leaving you totally free to concentrate on your writing. All food is provided, laundry is done for you, they even have a selection of cosy fleeces, onesies and slankets (= blankets with sleeves) for you to get truly comfortable. You will never want to leave.

Prices

They charge £80 per night, full board, (minimum 2 nights). £75 per night for stays of 8 nights or longer.

TOP TIP: They offer gift vouchers, so make sure to let your friends and family know you want one!

8. Swanwick Writers’ Summer School
Derbyshire, UK

Founded in 1948, Swanwick is believed to be one of the oldest residential writers’ schools in the world. For one week in August, they offer an annual writing retreat that includes a wide range of courses, workshops and panels led by journalists, literary agents and bestselling authors. Located in the quiet Derbyshire village of Swanwick, the historic 19th century Hayes Conference Centre is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, a lake, and 90 acres of parkland grounds, guaranteed to offer a peaceful and contemplative environment for even the most frazzled author.

Prices

Prices start at £465 for the whole week, or £90 for day visitors. See their website for more details.

9. Arvon
Yorkshire, Shropshire, and Devon
UK

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The Arvon Foundation has been offering peaceful sanctuary for writers since 1968. In its three beautiful country houses in Yorkshire, Shropshire and Devon, writers can spend their weeks’ stay learning from workshops and tutorials run by bestselling authors and editors. From the striking woodland surrounding Lumb Bank in Yorkshire, to the beautiful refuge of Totleigh Barton’s gardens and orchard in Devon. Arvon promises their attendees ‘special places where you can feel free to imagine, concentrate and write.’ With courses taught by writers such as Mark Haddon, Malorie Blackman and Simon Armitage, you won’t find better professional guidance on your writing.

Prices

Prices start at £550. See their website for more details.

10. Heron’s Reach, Dingle
Ireland

BEST FOR: WRITERS ON A BUDGET

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If you would rather not re-mortgage just to get away from everything, Heron’s Reach might be the perfect solution for you. The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the world. What the pictures can’t convey are the sounds of nature and constantly changing skyscape. Part of the Irish Galtacht, Dingle is rich in stories and magic. The retreat is only 5 minutes walk from the sea and Birnham Lagoon.

This place is one of the many writing retreats that http://www.writersretreat.com/ have in store for you.

Prices

They have 5 different studios, which start from 100-150 Euros a week.

We hope you’ve found some inspiration from these fabulous writing retreats, and maybe decided to take a retreat to focus on your own writing. Let us know in the comments below what your favourite writing retreats are, or if you’re planning a trip to one this year!

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Comments ( 6 )
  • Nikki sheehan says:

    Retreats For You in North Devon. Deb and Bob, who run it from their thatched cottage in a small village look after you so brilliantly that you can’t help
    But be super productive. Also, lovely chats and wine at the end of the day with other writers around a huge open fire. Oh, and there’s the great food and even sometimes a bit of bodyboarding at a nearby beach.

  • Liz Cable says:

    You should mention the amazing La Muse Retreat an hour’s flight from London in Carcassonne, southern France. A real retreat where you are left to work on your own projects, whilst being part of a community of writers and artists who come together as individuals or groups to share the space which includes a cosy living library and bright artists studios. http://www.lamuseinn.com.

  • TLC Literary Adventures Writing Retreat 2016 Now Booking - The Literary Consultancy says:

    […] annual TLC writing retreat holiday has been recommended in the Observer and is featured in this Top 5 Peaceful Writing Retreats by IAm and in this 10 Best Writing Retreats for 2016 by CompletelyNovel. Held at the beautiful Casa […]

  • writing ireland says:

    Thanks for write about Top 5 Peaceful Writing Retreats..i say that Retreats For You in North Devon. Deb and Bob, who run it from their thatched cottage in a small village look after you so brilliantly that you can’t help….

  • Liz Hurst says:

    Thank you on behalf of Swanwick Writers’ School for your lovely piece.
    This August we’ll be holding our 69th consecutive writing school in beautiful Derbyshire, and some of our delegates have been visiting for over 40 years. It’s lovely to see recognition for why so many people keep coming back year after year. Best wishes!

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