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On this page you'll find information for the following events:

7th - 9th December, The Very Gentle Art of Self Compassion in the Peak District - availability

30th Dec - 2nd Jan, New Year on the North Wales Coast - availability

The Very Gentle Art of Self Compassion

Great Hucklow, Peak District

7th - 9th December 2018: £230 for shared twin with shared bathroom and £270 for solo ensuite room.

Arrivals from 4pm on the Friday. Dinner is at 7pm, retreat starts afterwards. Finish at around 2.30pm on Sunday.

If this is feeling like something you'd like to do you can use this booking form.


Self Compassion

'If it feels like a struggle, it's not self compassion' - these are the very wise words I heard during a Mindfulness Based Self Compassion Intensive Retreat that I went on with the leaders in this field, Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. We'll do our best during the weekend to recognise struggle and see if we can move towards something much softer and inherently kinder.

This weekend will keep Serenity Retreat's ethos of 'do as much or as little as you like' very close to its heart. We'll be encouraging you to spend the weekend really tuning in to what it is you need to do for yourself. Maybe that will be coming along to all the meditations and sessions, maybe that will be to do some of the sessions but also catch up on some sleep (and sleep and sleep) or maybe it will be to wander off into the countryside or to sit quietly somewhere.

There will be meditations focused on how to breathe kindness into ourselves, how to send compassion to others as well as ourselves and the opportunity to create our own wishes for wellness that can lay the ground for a personal Loving Kindness practice. We'll also do some guided visualisations around safety and friendship.

So many of us struggle with an Inner Critic (the judgemental voice that just goes on and on - and on), so we'll also take a look at meeting this voice, seeing if we can establish what its real message is and then taking steps towards turning that voice into an Encouraging Coach.

There will be some mindful movement and periods of rest (we're big fans of rest here at Serenity Retreat).

We’ll also take a look at how our patterns have been shaped by our past experiences. Once we have awareness about how those patterns and strategies formed we can change our relationship to them and meet them differently. We can also use this knowledge to form kinder, more helpful strategies.

The weekend will be a combination of guided meditations, visualisations, written exercises, learning, unlearning, and sharing our experiences (where appropriate) with another. It's very gentle and it's very deep.

The Venue and Rooms

The Nightingale Centre is situated in a very small quiet village set in the Derbyshire countryside with wide views from the centre across the surrounding fields. The outdoor space is quite extensive and when the weather is nice the gardens offer welcomed opportunities for relaxation. It’s very easy to wander from the Nightingale Centre into the nearby countryside or simply take the opportunity to truly rest and relax.

There are a number of different room configurations, but in order to keep things simple we are charging for either shared room with shared bathroom (£230) or solo room with ensuite (£270). Please note that if you have requested a room for solo occupancy you may be in a single, twin or double room. We will allocate rooms on a first come, first served basis.

What's Included

The price includes:

Getting There

By Car

Great Hucklow is situated just off the B6049, north of the A623 (Stockport to Chesterfield road), near Tideswell. From Chesterfield take the A619. From Manchester and Stockport take the A6. From Sheffield take the A625. For Sat Nav use SK17 8RH. There is ample free parking at the Centre. Note that the car park is at the rear of the centre and accessed via the entrance opposite the Old Chapel.

By Train

From Manchester and Stockport there is a regular service to Buxton. From the east the connection is via Chesterfield or Sheffield (15 miles) or Hope (4 miles) Connections can be made by bus (see below) or taxI (see below).

By Bus

There are regular bus services running through the village. Timetables vary according to the season. Please check availability via Traveline East Midlands 0871 200 2233 or the useful website

By Taxi

Taxis are usually available at Sheffield, Chesterfield and Buxton stations. From Hope station (4 miles from the Centre) taxis for both ways need to be booked in advance. 2Nice Taxis are able to transport able or disabled people. You can contact them via 01298 212352 or 07917 710771.

If this is feeling like something you'd like to do you can use this booking form. A deposit of £50 will save your place.

Hope to see you there!

New Year - Starting the Year in Silence

30th Dec '18 - 2nd Jan '19 (3 nights)

£250 all inclusive for solo rooms with shared bathrooms

This year our New Year Retreat will be held in North Wales again (a ten minute walk to the beach and twenty minutes back....!) and the cost is £250, donations welcomed. We have 22 places available and we are always sold out so do book early. A £50 deposit reserves your place and is refundable up until 30th November (minus a £20 admin charge).

The Venue

We used Noddfa, Penmaenmawr for the first time for the 2017 New Year and then again in 2018 and we had fabulous feedback, particularly about the nuns - they are so very hospitable, and the food - delicious, just like Grandma would make! Added to that, the house was warm and we had the place to ourselves, so plenty of room to move around. We loved it, so we're really happy to be going back there this year.

What to Expect

There will be a timetable that includes periods of sitting, mindful walking, mindfulness movement and periods of Doing Nothing. There will be a teaching each evening. If you want to bring a book, or some drawing, or some writing - please do. Our focus is on opening up to the silence. We'll stress that there is no obligation AT ALL to follow the timetable. Instead, we'll encourage you to tune in to what your body needs: feeling tired? Rest. Feeling hungry? Snack. Need to move? Go walking. Don't feel that you have to follow our timetable. It's there if you feel that you want to do it, but it's not compulsory by any means. The most important thing is that you commit to the silence on New Year's Day! Other than that, you are very welcome to do as you choose.

What's the Big Deal about Silence?

Someone asked me (Kim) this a few weeks ago. I answered as best I could at the time but thought that it was a great question. Why would we voluntarily become silent? What is the point? Many of us live alone and are silent a lot anyway, why would we choose to expose ourselves to more, when we could have the opportunity to be making new friends and socialising?

I’m pretty sure you all have your own reasons for turning up and entering the silence, so what I’m about to say speaks only for me. Maybe it’ll resonate, maybe not ;)

My friend, Janine, announced she was doing a silent retreat some years ago. I remember being horrified - you can’t speak?! Or read?! Or write?! But I was also at a point when I was questioning a lot of what my mind was telling me. So I turned it around - what was so terrible about not being able to speak or read or write? And it’s then I realised that I was terrified of what might turn up if I was left alone with my own head. I thought that Pandora’s box might be opened, a huge can of worms that I would be unable to put the lid back on. That wasn't my experience. In fact I realised that my fear of looking within was keeping me trapped in all sorts of subtle ways.

During our time together we WILL have the possibility of reading, writing, drawing etc. We welcome this simply because we don’t need to create extra stress for ourselves when we first meet silence. You’re welcome to read and write and draw - but we can be very interested in the moment BEFORE we pick up the book, the journal, the drawing etc. Why do we feel the need to distract ourselves? Is something going on that feels uncomfortable? Can we possibly sit with that feeling and turn our minds towards it? Even for 2 seconds? After we’ve turned towards the feeling that’s going on for us, we may find that we’re quite curious about what’s going on and want to investigate further. Or we may decide that we absolutely DO want to distract ourselves and that’s perfectly fine. The thing is to have some curiosity about the whole thing. We call this ‘friendly curiosity’.

If we decide to investigate the bodily experience, then our intention isn’t to work anything out or get to the bottom of anything or analyse it, although we may have some insights in that direction, our intention is simply to give our bodies the gift of our 100% complete attention in this moment of discomfort or whatever it is that we have going on for us. In the West we have become very used to moving away from discomfort as we’re told over and over again (by the media and society) that we shouldn’t have to experience any unpleasantness and that if we do (and this message can be quite subtle) then we are in some way ‘failing’. This is not true. We are simply living.

But I can tell you that until I’m blue in the face. The only way to see if this is true is to come and find out for yourself....

This is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of silence. Especially suitable for those who have never experienced a silent retreat before. It's not as intense as a full on Buddhist retreat but still retains the magic that silence can bring. It's such a great way to start the year!

What's Included

The price includes:

Please go to our Booking Page if you'd like to reserve your place.

Our average review score is 5 and we're proud!

We're very proud to be in Psychologies Magazine - July 2018. You can see the article here.

"Take a breath and refocus yourself on these wonderfully afordable beach-front meditation-based holidays for solo travellers on the laid-back island of Lefkada. Led by Zen Buddhist teacher Kim Bennett, they ofer meditation sessions with the option to join other wellbeing sessions and enjoy treatments and trips. Rejuvenate with sea and mountain views, just a 30-minute drive from the airport"

We had our first mention in the Sunday Telegraph Travel Section in April:

"For a beach holiday that is also a retreat, head for the island of Lefkada in Greece where Serenity Retreat offers just that: guided walks, qigong and meditation. It's geared towards solo travellers and you can do as little or as much as you want- and I'd say the place is tranquil rather than silent. Should you want to try complete silence, the company offer weekend silent retreats in Yorkshire as well".

Our latest review in the Daily Mail, January 2018
Confessions of a Retreat Junkie

We've been reviewed in the Guardian 10 Wellbeing Retreats

As well as The Times as a 'Top 50 Spa Holiday':

"It’s great for solo travellers interested in spirituality and personal growth or just pure relaxation, and tends to attract people who have started to question their lives and who want to live more meaningfully".

National Geographic Traveller. We're featured in the Top 5: Meditation retreats in Europe.

Queen of Retreats reviewed us too! Check out our page.

Metro had this to say:

Set up by Zen meditation teacher Kim Bennett, Serenity Retreats are aimed at solo travellers looking for self development. The week long retreat has an easy-breezy approach and while there are mindfulness walks, guided meditations and excursions on offer, nothing is compulsory. "Our emphasis is on giving our guests space", Bennett says. "Our accommodation is on the beach and we encourage guests do nothing other than watch the sea and the mountain for a restorative effect".

Serenity Retreat

Contact Us

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