Perhaps you’re coming up to a significant birthday or a much-loved aunt has left you a surprise in her will. Maybe you’ve scrimped and saved because this has been on your list of things to do since you started writing. However, you’ve done it, congratulations - you’ve given yourself permission to go away and write. Just you, your creativity and the most precious of gifts, time. But where? And what do you want from it? Home or away, blissful solitude or spirited conversation, a couple of days or even a couple of weeks, there really is a retreat to suit every want and need.

I’m Jo, I work for Mslexia, and I’ve had the delightful task of sifting through beautiful places I’d love to write in just so you can go ahead and do it. You’re welcome. 


Literary Tours in Egypt

If crime is your passion, Literary Tours has nailed the perfect place for a writing retreat: Egypt – the land that inspired the queen of crime writing, Agatha Christie. Whether you’re writing a novel or short story, your journey will begin in Cairo. From there, you’ll fly to Aswan and board a traditional Egyptian sailing boat where you will spend five fully catered nights cruising along the Nile. As well as drinking in the iconic sites, you get to hone your crime writing craft under the expert guidance of best-selling crime writer Jonathan Whitelaw (author of The Bingo Hall Detectives). I predict there won’t be a Death on the Nile but perhaps the birth, or two, of a novel...

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Circle of Misse

Nestled on the verdant banks of the Thouet River in the most southern part of the Loire, it is easy to see why Circle of Misse was named in The Observer as one of the ten best creative breaks in 2019 and why it has a return rate over 85%. But it’s not just the setting, it’s the ethos that makes Circle of Misse special – ‘we find out what people want and need, meet them where they stand, then embark on a journey together, guiding writers towards their destination.’ If you’re not tempted already, you will be when I tell you that Circle of Misse also has a cookery school, so delicious food is guaranteed. Oh-là-là.

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Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre

Tucked away in the trees of rural north Wales, Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre is in a location like no other. Sitting in between the mountains of Eryri and the breathtakingly beautiful coastline, you can be at the beach in 20 minutes or down by the river in five. With all meals taken care of and the option to have a tutored or untutored retreat, you can really tailor your stay to suit your writerly needs. So, whether you want to hide away in your quirky bedroom or spark a conversation with a like-minded soul in the historic library, Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre offers the perfect combination of provisions to allow you to find your creative muse.

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Ego Break Writers Retreat

If you crave more than the mechanics of writing, then look no further than Ego Break Retreats. With a unique mission to show rather than tell the writer how to thrive, Ego Break Retreats offer transpersonal methods, such as meditation, sound baths, reiki and dream work, alongside workshops to enhance creativity, master character development and rejuvenate not just your writing, but your life. Regardless of where you are on your writing journey, join Ego Break Retreats for a mountain or beachside retreat in North Carolina, USA where all your needs will be catered for in this all-inclusive retreat.

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Escrever Escrever

Is there anywhere more beautiful than the Portuguese town of Sintra to explore ‘a sense of place’ in your writing? A UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by fairy-tale like palaces and breath-taking natural landscapes, this tutored, all-inclusive retreat promises to look inward and outward, delving deep into themes of displacement, belonging, otherness and saudade in a most inspiring setting. The retreat also includes a guided visit to the National Palace of Pena and its gardens and a trip to the stunning Praia da Adraga so if you don’t want to experience saudade (a Portuguese word I’m going to use more often) then book now!

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Moniack Mhor

Time, space and tailored support for writers of all levels is what’s on offer at Moniack Mhor. Located in the magnificent Scottish Highlands, Moniack Mhor provides tutored and untutored retreats in an inspirational setting. But it’s not just the panoramic views taking in Glen Strathfarrar, Glen Convinth, Ben Wyvis and beyond, or the homely feel of the centre that make this retreat special, it’s the experienced staff’s dedication to nurturing and supporting writers at every stage, as well as their passion for promoting equality and accessibility – Moniack Mhor offers a bursary scheme for individuals to whom fees may present a barrier. They also run several awards and fellowships to support both emerging and professional writers.

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Karbohemia is not somewhere you will find on a map – it is an experience and a state of mind. But now you know about it, the only item on your To Do List is to get yourself to Collioure in the south of France and surrender to a week devoted to getting back in touch with yourself, your body, the natural world, and your writing. An all-inclusive Come To Your Senses Retreat with Karbohemia promises the sun, the sea, and all the inspiration you’ll need for your story, whatever stage you are at. And with guest authors providing in-depth craft workshops and afternoon sensory adventures, I think all your senses will have been truly reawakened by the time you leave.

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Abri Creative Writing 

Set in the lush Cévennes mountains of the Languedoc region, Abri offers writers a place of natural beauty where you can truly get away from the distractions of modern life and focus on your craft. Whether you want to tune into your writing muse with the help of experienced tutors, and in the company of like-minded writers, or you’re seeking the luxury of a solitary retreat, Abri can accommodate. Speaking of accommodation, the courses take place in a picturesque hamlet which is secluded yet within easy access to pretty villages. Meals are delicious, mostly organic, home-made and vegetarian, and include local wine.

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Fiction Tutors 

Fancy a weekend away in the beautiful county of Warwickshire with award-winning authors, Alison May and Janet Gover? Not only are they both working novelists, but they are also experienced tutors who will support your novel development with a mixture of one-to-one tutorials and group workshops in what they promise is the ‘most fun, friendliest writing weekend out there!’ With all meals provided and ensuite accommodation included at a welcoming village hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon, ‘to book or not to book?’ is hardly a difficult question.

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Pyrenean Writing Retreat

Located in the lush foothills of the Pyrenees of Navarra, deep in Spain’s Basque Country is where you’ll find the Pyrenean Writing Retreat. A retreat designed to cater for all your needs, writerly and otherwise. With wildly inspirational mountain views, access to nature walks from the front door, delicious Basque food and wine included, a supportive community of writers, individual attention for your work, and a warm, welcoming environment to all writers, it really is a place where you can be your best artistic self. I’d suggest packing your SPF and something to write with as the Pyrenean Writing Retreat seems to have everything else covered.

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Starcroft Farm Cabins

If it’s good enough for the Bloomsbury set… Known to be a source of inspiration for writing royalty such as Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, the timeless landscape of the High Weald AONB is the perfect setting for Starcroft Farm’s beautifully crafted eco cabins. Each fully equipped star-gazing cabin is a unique creative space, adorned with specially commissioned art, a curated shelf of books and vintage curios that act as writing prompts – the attention to detail is exemplary. If you can tear yourself away, you’re not far from the arty towns of Hastings, Rye and Lewes, or the beaches of Bexhill and Camber Sands. With a special introductory offer of 20% off all stays of two nights or more in 2023, it’s worth checking out their website.

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Casa Ana

It’s not hard to see why a recent Guardian article was singing Casa Ana’s praises as a writing retreat to get ‘the creative juices flowing.’ Based in pretty, whitewashed Ferreirola, Spain, with mountain views that could ‘stun a newcomer to silence,’ Casa Ana offers you the luxury of a week or two focusing uninterruptedly on your writing. With input from a resident mentor who will give professional guidance on your project, whether it be a novel, short story, poetry, flash fiction, screenwriting, memoir or a play, and a chef serving up sumptuous meals as part of the package, Casa Ana has simply thought of everything.

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Jo x

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Joanne Ruffell

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