Join us on one of our retreats. Here’s what people have to say…

Being a writer herself Jan knows exactly what’s needed on a Writers’ Retreat. I was warmly welcomed to the cottages with their spacious rooms and all my needs catered for, including quirks and writing foibles. The company was good, the food delicious, and the goody bag on my bed was a lovely surprise. If you’re thinking of going on the type of retreat where you have absolutely nothing else to worry about but writing, reading, relaxing this is for you.

Sue Bentley


I have just returned from the Writers’ Retreat in Rottington, Lake District. It was my very first writing retreat and I did not know whether it would work for me. It did! It was way beyond my expectations.

The venue was beautiful and cozy, set in remarkable nature that transported me into a 19th century novel. I pictured meeting Jane Eyre, Elisabeth Bennet or Heathcliff.

Jan and Ann spared no detail to make us feel comfortable. They pampered us as if we were part of the same family.

Before coming, I did not know what to think of meeting with other writers, maybe afraid of the fact that together time would reduce my writing window. How wrong I was! Meeting the other writers and exchanging with them was delightful and enriching. Every mealtime shared with them gave me a new resolve and more energy to go and write more. I felt well and safe in their company.

I am not in any writing group, but I believe we might become one, because everyone’s project is fascinating and every person has a different approach to writing and tackling the challenges it brings.

I have read their short stories in the Super Shorts short story anthology and it only gave me thirst for more.

Bringing people together like this, giving them the best conditions for writing, a place to exchange on writing and even arranging a truly inspirational Skype session with Steven Nesbit was a brilliant idea. Thank you Jan. I will be on a lookout for other such retreats.

Bohumila, Strasbourg, France

Very enjoyable retreat near the Cumbrian coast. Jan and Ann looked
after our every need, including collecting/ dropping off from Whitehaven
station, and even arranged an after-dinner transatlantic Skype session
with Steve Nesbit, screenwriter and director. The accommodation was
comfortable and warm, and most importantly, I got a lot of writing done.
Will definitely consider coming again.



Phil Gilvin

I liked it so much, I went back to the same place only five months later! This group was smaller than the retreat back in April but just as fun and the less time I spent watching movies in the evening meant I got more writing done.

It was great to see Jan and Ann again, who were as welcoming as ever. I forgot how much I liked scones at 4pm! Also, what’s not to like about a welcome goody-bag in your room containing stationary supplies, a notebook and fluffy socks? I met more great writers and took a friend from my local writers’ group. I’m sure her happy testimonial will join mine.

I did more writing (or rewriting) on this retreat so spent quite a lot of time in my room, sitting on my bed, which did get a little uncomfortable. There were other places to write throughout the cottages, such as the kitchen, living room or outside, if the weather was nice enough.

Writer’s Retreat UK are also setting up a website with online writing resources and a subscription is free for all those who attend one of their retreats. So, if you haven’t done it already, DO IT.

Nadine Little

My recent weekend with Writers’ Retreat UK offered a delightful step away from the pressures of daily life. It gave me the space to focus one hundred percent on writing. Jan and Ann were incredibly attentive and sensitive to writers needs, offering home baked treats on regular occasions without interrupting work flow, providing an incredibly useful goody bag on arrival, and being on hand to answer any question throughout the weekend.

The congenial environment of the Lake District provided the perfect break between writing sprints with plenty of quite country lanes to wander while generating new twists and turns for my plot. And when the mind was too tired to carry on writing, I loved having the opportunity to talk about books, pets, and all the minutiae of a writer’s life over coffee and evening meals with the other attendees.

I’ve enjoyed the weekend so much, I think I’ll have to indulge myself with a retreat more regularly.

Cheryl Baker

“If you’re wondering about whether to go on a writing retreat then all I can say is do it. You won’t be disappointed. The retreat organised by Jan Birley of Writer’s Retreat UK was the first one I’d ever been on and I had a brilliant time. I don’t imagine it will be my last.

The retreat was held in two attached cottages in the picturesque town of Gilcrux in the Lake District and ran Saturday to Monday. The arrival time was fairly open, with writers arriving late morning or early afternoon. I was greeted at the door by Jan, who it was lovely to meet in person since we follow each other on Twitter (@Nadine_Little_ and @JosieKingBooks if you’re interested). All meals were catered, with snacks available if the tasty, home-cooked food wasn’t enough for you (believe me, you won’t starve). Hot beverages were always on the go. Meals were a great time to chat to the nine other writers and get to know what people were working on. Dinner was the best as everyone was relaxed after a good day of writing. Or maybe it was the wine. The evenings were either open for more writing if you were in the zone but I chose to watch movies in the excellent home cinema room that came with theatre-style chairs and a huge projector screen.

As for the writing, there was plenty of quiet space in the cottages to choose from or you could write in your room (my preferred choice as I’m a bit of a hermit and get way too distracted by what other people are doing). Over the weekend, I wrote three chapters of a new book, about 5,000 words in total. It may not have been much more than I would write on a normal weekend at home but it still felt like an achievement.

So, do it. Go on that retreat. Write words and mingle with other writers. I highly recommend Jan and Writer’s Retreat UK. You will have a fantastic time.”
Nadine Little

“Just a note to thank you for such a lovely weekend. You looked after us beautifully and it was wonderful to meet so many interesting people.”
Judith Dixon

“So, I’m not a big traveller but this was just the chance to get away from all the distractions of work and family life, go away and write unhindered. So, I took a bus and three trains, and I wound up in Aspatria where I was picked up and brought to Hollybank Cottage in Gilcrux ready to spend a weekend writing.
The venue was just lovely. Probably about forty-five minutes from Carlisle, in a quiet little village, it consisted of three cottages sort of stuck together. They were very clean, very modern and very comfortable, quite easy to find your way around in them. My bedroom was comfortable, plenty of closet space and a nice view surrounding it. On the surrounding area, it was certainly very picturesque with plenty of places to go off for a morning or afternoon walk to help with inspiration.

There was always plenty of nibbles about for during the day, plenty of tea and coffee and soft drinks available at all times. As for meal times, the three main meals were all exceptional, the breakfast had a large amount of choice available, from cooked food to colder options, lunchtime was a buffet with a generous choice and the evening meals were excellent, as well as plenty of complimentary wine to wash it down with. As any writer will tell you, it’s not always fun and games, it’s a serious business and sometimes you need to relax. There were televisions in every room, a pool table in one of the cottages and an on-site cinema room with a large, if slightly eclectic, collection of DVDs.

Would I come back? Yes, absolutely. Without a doubt. Already looking forward to my next visit. Got a ton done, met some nice people and Jan, the lady organising it, is absolutely lovely, made it really enjoyable. Nice relaxing atmosphere conducive to working. Highly recommended in every sense of the word.”
OJ Lowe

“I wanted to thank you for the huge effort you put into making this weekend a happy memory for all the writers. From the special welcome goodie-bag and card on the pillow, to the delicious meals, we were all made to feel welcome and I’d go as far as to say cosseted. I can’t recall when anyone last asked me several times a day if I’d like anything to drink or eat between meals. Quite a novelty!”
Hilary Monk