Reading Retreat

Help us grow...

As with all growing ventures the biggest challenge is to get your business known to the widest audience. We would really like your help to spread the word. Please can you share our website, Facebook and twitter with friends, family and colleagues. 

We want to make it worth your while so....if someone books with us because of your recommendation we will send you your choice of either a £25 book token or £50 voucher toward one of our retreats. 

So get sharing!

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There's a name...

...for that pile of books beside the bed.  TSUNDOKU is the Japanese phrase for acquiring reading materials in one's home but letting them pile up without being read!

Yum Yum

Sunday 1st October 2017

Sara has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen. At the moment she is testing out teatime treats including, Salted Caramel Brownies; Walnut, Date and Honey Cake; Classic Lemon Drizzle and a very special Clementine Cake.

Slightly Foxed

Friday 16th November 2018

We’re very excited to be able to announce a new partnership with Slightly Foxed, the subscription book club that introduces readers to forgotten gems. Our Retreats will offer copies of their quarterly magazines and a little Foxed treat in the goody bags.  We’re offering members of Slightly Foxed a 10% discount on any of our Retreats. They have a fascinating newsletter and their subscriptions start at a very reasonable £40. More details can be found here


Supporting our Community

Monday 13th August 2018

We were very proud to be able to support our local community this week.  The National Citizen Service, run locally by Cambridge United Community Trust, offer young people (aged 15-17) the opportunity to work on social action projects in their local community.  One of our local groups committed to assisting Jimmy's Nightshelter, by raising funds to create Comfort Boxes to be given to the homeless people who arrive at Jimmy's, these included toiletries, socks, packaged food.  We donated a book for each box.  


Murder on Retreat...

Thursday 19th July 2018

Our new themed retreat featuring Agatha Christie with Sophie Hannah as our guest author, completely sold out in a matter of days.  We really looking forward to hearing from Sophie about writing Poirot novels.  As this has already proved so popular, we will definitely be looking to do more in the future. 

If you need a Christie fix in the meantime, why not check out this unique courtroom staging of  Witness for the Prosecution which is running at London's County Hall and booking until March 2019.

On the radio again

Wednesday 11th July

Cressi was representing us again on BBC Radio recently, this time to talk about a report that 1 in 11 children surveyed do not have a book of their own at home.  Given this, we promoted the important role that libraries can play in bringing books into children's lives.  She also talked about how to make reading more appealing to teenagers, mentioning that Donald Trump doesn't read books and the history of 'dangerous' banned books.

You can find more about the survey here:

Kitchen news

Tuesday 27th March 2018

Just to whet your appetite a little, here are some examples of the delicious meals Sara prepares for our very lucky readers, they also enjoy breakfast, lunch and some very tempting snack trays to fuel their reading!   Always using lovely fresh ingredients, she carefully designs each menu to ensure that the varied dietary preferences of our readers are met.  Come and join at a retreat soon so you can relax,eat and read.

Reading Retreat in the News.

Wednesday 14th March 2018

We were very pleased to welcome ITV news journalist Kevin Ashford to our Kent Retreat.   He has filmed a lovely piece for ITV regional news which is syndicated to news regions around the country. Just in case you miss it you can watch it here.

Just returned from Kent...

Monday 12th March 2018

Where we had such a glorious Retreat with lovely readers, you can read about it on our Recent Retreats page.  The house was surrounded by beautiful English countryside with fabulous sunrises each morning.  Much reading was done and great discussions around the dinner table.  Want to join us next time?  We have a few rooms left before our Summer break, check availability here.

George Mann to join us in June

Sunday 4th March 2018

We are thrilled to announce that we will be welcoming George Mann to our Lincolnshire Retreat.

George is a Sunday Times bestselling novelist and scriptwriter. He’s the author of the Newbury & Hobbes Victorian mystery series, as well as four novels about a 1920s vigilante known as The Ghost. He’s also written bestselling Doctor Who novels, new adventures for Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural crime series, Wychwood.

His comic writing includes extensive work on Doctor Who, Dark Souls (based on the massively popular video games), Warhammer 40,000 and a creator-owned series based on Newbury & Hobbes, as well Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for younger readers.

He’s written audio scripts for Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Sherlock Holmes, Warhammer 40,000 and more, and for a handful of high-profile iOS games.

As Editor he’s assembled four anthologies of original Sherlock Holmes fiction, as well as multiple volumes of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy.

His website is at    

Chris Ewan to join us in Somerset

Monday 26th February 2018
Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed author of many crime and thriller novels, including the major bestseller SAFE HOUS(shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award), DEAD LINE, DARK TIDES (an Observer "Thriller of the Month") and LONG TIME LOST.

He’s also the author of the popular GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO … series of mystery novels featuring globetrotting crime writer and burglar-for-hire Charlie Howard. In 2011, he was voted one of America's favourite British authors by a Huffington Post poll and in 2017 he was longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library. 

After many years living on the Isle of Man, Chris recently returned home to Somerset where he lives with his wife and two children

Chris is joining us for our weekend Retreat in Somerset in April 2018.

We only have 1 room left so if you would like to be there book now and join Chris for dinner to hear about the books that have influenced him.


Reading Retreat on the airwaves

 Wednesday 21st February 2018

Did you catch us on The World at One on Radio Four on Tuesday 13th February?  BBC journalist Emma Jane Kirby visited us on our Thorpeness retreat and quizzed the readers on their experience.  Click play here to hear what they thought!

For a longer written piece, see

We also had a chat with Malcolm Boyden at BBC Hereford and Worcestershire -  - 10 mins in this time.

We have had a lot of interest after the radio programmes, so don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list for a first look at our next dates and venues.  And don’t forget to keep an eye out for us, you never know where we’ll pop up next!

Lincolnshire almost sold out!


Images courtesy of Instinctive Photography

Thursday 1st February 2018

Well, what a busy week it has been! We announced our latest venue and date on Tuesday to the lovely people on our mailing list and by 10am on Wednesday three out of the four rooms were booked! If you would like to join us here are the details. We have 1 twin en-suite room left!

We have found this wonderfully restored farmhouse on the Doddington Hall Estate in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside. Set in the five acres of gardens of Doddington Hall this lovely house is perfect for our June Retreat. A beautiful location for the occasional walk, and a cosy house in which to settle down to some serious reading.

This will be our last retreat before the autumn. Watch this space for news of our guest Author who will be announced very soon.

More details here:

Make sure you are on our mailing list so you get first dibs on the retreats.

Tomorrow we are off to Thorpeness for our first Retreat of 2018 - can't wait!

Alice Jolly to join us in Somerset

Sunday 14th January 2018

We are thrilled that Alice will be joining us for dinner at our midweek retreat in April. Alice published a memoir in 2015 called ‘Dead Babies And Seaside Towns’ which won the Pen / Ackerley Award.  One of her short stories won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, awarded by The Royal Society of Literature.  She has also published two novels with Simon and Schuster and four of her plays have been produced by the professional company of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham.   She teaches creative writing on the Mst at Oxford University and will soon be publishing her fourth novel ‘Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile’ with Unbound in June 2018.    


April Retreat dates released

Thursday 11th January 2018

We are sure Mole and Ratty would be jealous of the latest addition to our calendar.  Perched right on the riverbank this beautiful house, has views across the Somerset Levels and lovely walks right from the front door.  Come along and join us in April, either for a weekend or midweek Retreat. Click here for further information.  Its getting booked up already so don't hang about.  If you want to be the first to know about our retreats then make sure you are on our mailing list 

Our Book of the Year 2017

Thursday 4th January 2018

We were delighted to be asked for our Book of the Year for 2017 by the Cambridge Independent Newspaper.  We don't believe in one-size-fits all book solutions, which is why we do personalised reading prescriptions for all our guests. However, one book has really stood out this year and we’ve found ourselves recommending it to a variety of different readers, who have all loved it.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig – just out in paperback – is a compelling blend of magic, a love story and a really good read. Tom is hiding in plain sight as a 40-something history teacher, but he has a rare condition which means he’s been alive for centuries. Being alive isn’t the same as living, however, and he’s struggling to find meaning and purpose. Often a book can get caught up with a ‘what if’ clever concept but it falls down on some other aspect. This is that rare novel that manages to combine an intelligent perspective with real warmth and feeling and as such appeals to a wide range of readers.  Definitely worth picking up if you have not yet done so.

The perfect venue...

Friday 15th December 2017

Well, we have had all the maps out and looked at hundreds of locations. We have chosen the following places for next year.  Worcestershire/Herefordshire, South Yorkshire/Derbyshire, Sussex and Dorset, with Suffolk and Kent already booked, these will complete our 2018 list.  We have seen some stunning houses but just want to make sure we have not missed a gem!  Are you familiar with one or all of these areas?  Do you know of a perfect house for us?  We look for a little bit of luxury, ideally six bedroom and six bathrooms, parking and less than 10 miles from a station.

 If you know of the perfect place that has slipped under our radar, please drop our 'Chief Scout' Sara an email.  We are offering a small reward for the finder if we book a recommended house. 

Over 1000 pages read...

Thursday 16th November

Annie, who joined us on our recent Suffolk Retreat kept a tally of how much she read whilst with us, an amazing 1050 pages across 15 hours of reading.  You can read about her weekend in her blog here:

Cambridge Independent

Monday 6th November 2017

Recently we were interviewed by our local newspaper, we appeared in print and now the article is now on line.  They also sent out a photographer which means you get to see Cressi and Sara on the website for the first time.  We have another photoshoot planned so you will soon be able to see images from our retreats and some of the lovely houses we use.  Join our mailing list to make sure you keep up to date with all our news.

Goody Bags Ready for our next guests

Thursday 2nd November 2017

We have had a busy, but fun, time getting our goody bags ready. There are some lovely surprises inside for our guests. If you want to find out what's in one, you'll just have to join us on a Retreat! We have had some really lovely local and national media coverage which means our rooms are filling up.  If you think you might want to join us then don't hang around, get booking now. 

Don't forget our gift vouchers too, a perfect present for the bookworm in your life.

Fabulous piece in The Daily Telegraph

Wednesday 25th October 2017

We were very pleased to be interviewed as part of this feature on the benefits of a Reading Retreat.  Chuffed to be in the company of Howard Jacobson and Alain de Botton!  We only have 3 rooms left in Thorpeness following all the interest in the article.  So, if you are thinking about joining us, don't leave it too long! 

Click here to see full Telegraph Article

Giselle Green joining us in Kent

Monday 23rd October 2017

Would you like to join us for dinner with Giselle Green?  


Giselle is a contemporary, women’s fiction author, who enjoys creating emotionally-gripping story-lines about family and relationships.

After her debut novel Pandora's Box won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Award in 2008, Giselle’s third novel, A Sister's Gift was a number one bestseller on Amazon's kindle chart in 2012. Her books have been translated into German, Italian,Turkish and Hungarian.

Her latest novel Dear Dad has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year award (2017). Set in Rochester, Dear Dad is a heart-warming love story that develops when a determined 9-year-old, desperate to find his father, starts sending letters to the wrong guy ...

Giselle lives in Kent with her husband and their large family and is currently working on her seventh novel.

We have limited space available at our midweek Kent retreat - book now to make sure you don't miss out.


 Thorpeness Author Announced

Tuesday 10th October 2017

Very happy to announce that we will be joined on this retreat by Penny Hancock
Penny is the author of the best-selling Tideline, a Richard and Judy 'Summer Read' in 2012. She has written two further novels, The Darkening Hour, (a Good Housekeeping thriller of the month) and A Trick of the Mind.   As well as writing, Penny teaches creative writing, and has worked as a Royal Literary Fellow, a primary school teacher and a teacher of English as a foreign language.  Penny is working on her fourth novel, due to be published by Mantle (an imprint of Pan Macmillan) in January 2019.
Don't miss this opportunity to join us for dinner with Penny to discuss her reading, books and work in progress.  This retreat is in a stunning beach front house in Thorpeness, Suffolk.  With breathtaking views from most rooms and a 30 metre walk to the sea, the setting is idyllic.  This house offers cosy rooms and wood-burning stoves, the perfect Winter Reading Retreat.  

Our Thorpeness Retreat runs from Friday 2nd to Monday 5th February 2018.  We currently only have 3 rooms remaining so make sure you book your place soon.

First 2018 Dates announced

Thursday 5th October 2017

We are very excited that our new dates for 2018 have just been launched - we have spent weeks, researching, checking and double checking properties to make sure that are just perfect for you.  We are really pleased that we found a house right on the beach in Suffolk for our first date in February.  We will need to remind our 'Retreaters' to bring their woollies for a bracing walk along the beach, however we know some will just want to stay by the fire! We have also been speaking with lots of Authors who are all excited to come and meet you, and over dinner, share their love of reading.

Gift Voucher

We may have just found your perfect  present! Our gift vouchers can be purchased in any value towards one of our Retreats.  Just give us a call and we can send to you or straight to the very lucky recipient.


Thursday 22nd November 2018


We are very proud of the food we offer on our Retreats, we work hard to ensure all dietary needs are met, here are just some of our sample menus.

Sample Dinner Menus

Beetroot, Apple & Goats Cheese Salad

with Balsamic Dressing

CHicken Breast with

Wild Mushroom Sauce

Roasted Kale

Tenderstem Broccoli

New Potatoes

Apple Tart Tatin


Clotted Cream


3 cheese selection with

biscuits and chutney

Coffee or SPeciality Tea





Cauliflower and Manchego Fritters


Romesco Relish

Steak and Parmesan Involtini

With Roasted Potatoes and



New York Vanilla Cheesecake

Cheese board


Crackers and chutney

Coffee or SPeciality Tea




Courgette Fritters

With Sweet Chili Dip

Maple Parsnip & Chestnut


With Peas and Carro ts

Coconut Panna Cotta

Cheese board


Crackers and chutney

Coffee or SPeciality Tea




Vegetable samosa

With ManGo Chutney

Thai Fish Curry

with Coriander Rice

and Roti

St Clements Granita

with Shortbread

Cheese board


Crackers and chutney

Coffee or SPeciality Tea








Goody Bags

Wednesday 27th September 2017

Those of you who know Cressi will know that she is a stationery addict, well these last few weeks she had been in her element putting together the most beautiful Goody Bags for our guests, I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what she has put together, but they are just one more thing that makes our Retreats just that little bit special.