Retreats for You has a high ★★★★★ rating on Facebook.
This is what a few of our happy guests had to say…
The retreat along with the Ask an Agent Weekend was a magical event where I got direct feedback on my manuscript, cover letter and synopsis from two absolutely amazing agents from two of the best UK agencies. I was so honoured to have been asked to submit my full manuscript to the children’s fiction agent, my dream agent at my dream agency, who I’ve since signed with. Because of the opportunity afforded by this wonderful event, I got a chance to meet and connect with my dream agent and show my work directly – I never imagined it could happen this way for me, and am so glad I invested in this opportunity for my own writing career. I have such fond memories of that incredible weekend retreat – the lovely house, the wonderful host Debbie and the beautiful atmosphere. Good luck to everyone who wants to try a similar event in the future!
–Hannah Chen (Ask an Agent Weekend retreat)
Thank you for arranging the Meet the Agents weekend – a really good idea. Saturday was both intense and mind-blowing – it was a privilege to learn so much in such a relaxed environment. I’m now busily cracking on with my ms so I can send it to Hattie before she forgets me!
The food throughout our stay was excellent and well done for preparing and cooking solo over the weekend. My room was lovely, the bed extremely comfortable and the addition of the en-suite was excellent – well worth the extra. It was a good group of writers (mostly!) and I hope to keep in touch with Anna and Julie.
Good writing this week.
–Lizzie Owen Thomas
Just to say a massive thank you for making my stay a great one last week, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I think you know my favourite part was the ‘man makes fire’, every evening. But of course how can I not mention the fantastic meals from Wendy every lunchtime and dinner, and wine o’clock and hot water bottles and good chat! Brilliant! Vivienne and Jacqueline were great company too.
Thank you so much for such a lovely week! I had a really positive time…largely due to all your company, you lot really made it for me! I always looked forward to meal times/walks. Although I didn’t really do any writing (except perhaps a fledging poem about my mum being the only person in the world wrapping Christmas presents on 16th October ☺) making headway with that theory book has actually changed my outlook on poetry/writing in a way I think will bear fruit. Hope that the licence/license issue is getting resolved Christina and that you are able to find an hour to squirrel away for writing today Pauline. Would love to see the photos when you get a mo. I will have a think about re-booking and let you know. Please also do pass on my thanks to Wendy again.
Well, what a lovely week indeed! Thank you Barbara, Christina and Debbie, all of you for your company, laughs and chat. Debbie, you have created a special place there and deserve to go from strength to strength; and your two righthands, or maybe one left, one right? Wendy and Linda, what a team! Not forgetting the doggie stars, Daisy and Gracie. Gorgeous girls. My time there has kickstarted the writing process for me, so from now on I’ll be writing at some point every day, as I know I can do it.
I loved my time at the Retreat. It was a perfect combination of unlimited peace and quiet; gentle, stimulating company at mealtimes; walks; and delicious food. It’s hard to find the balance between being left alone and feeling cared for, but Debbie and the whole team at the Retreat manage it effortlessly.
—Frances Liardet, author of We Must Be Brave
(published February 2019 by 4th Estate U.K. and G.P. Putnam’s Sons U.S.)
“Want media training? … Try Retreats For You”
What a luxury to spend a week at Retreats for You with Debbie Flint. In the midst of both moving abroad and launching my first book, a week of tranquility in Sheepwash made all the difference to me as a writer. With the stunning north Devon countryside right outside the front door for long walks, and the luxurious freedom of not having to cook meals or clean the house, my mind relaxed and I could focus on laying the groundwork for my next writing project. I was motivated and eager to work from morning till night. The house is filled with thoughtful touches-beautifully soft towels and dressing gowns, cheerful snacks, hot drinks-that bring little joys throughout the day, and Debbie creates such a welcoming environment for writers. I was especially grateful for her generosity in sharing her media expertise. I had a fantastic time talking through with Debbie how to present myself, as an author, in front of an audience-our training session left me inspired, and with a host of practical suggestions for presenting my writing to audiences at my very best. I look forward to my next stay at Retreats for You-I won’t wait long to return.
—Kristy Leissle, author of Cocoa. Follow on Twitter @docofchoc
Feedback from a Tutor using Retreats For You for her Workshop
I’ve been running guided writers’ retreats at Retreats For You for several years now, because I think it’s a great, productive atmosphere for working with small groups of dedicated writers. From a tutor’s point of view, everything is taken care of for you, and you can concentrate on the business of giving workshops and coaching writers. One of my favourite parts of the day is when everyone gathers around the fire in the evening to share what they’ve accomplished. The house, and Debbie and her helpers, foster a spirit of trust and support. We’ve written thousands of words here over the years and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a lot of those books published and on the shelves at Retreats For You.
I’ve been on several writing retreat weeks over the years and I have to say Retreats For You is great. Definitely my favourite quirky house, my own bedroom, delicious meals – and thank you for noting my dietary requirements, much appreciated. Pleasant walks, good company and even friendly dogs. I felt relaxed and very much at home and perhaps best of all, I wrote my troublesome chapter and can now crack on finishing the book. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
–Lizze Owen Thomas
A thousand thanks for creating this magical space for writers. Writing is a new creative endeavour for me and it was wonderful to have the time and space to explore the possibilities. Your hospitality, your support, your warmth and the yummy food made it easy. There was no pressure to do anything or to be anybody other than who I am, with my own rhythm. I look forward to joining you again…soon!
I met Debbie Flint in 2011 when we both attended a retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre. (I returned there last year – you can read about my second visit here.) Debbie works as a presenter on QVC shopping channel, has a number of books published, and she’s recently taken over a writing retreat in Devon. It was great to touch base with Debbie again and draw upon her experience as a TV presenter to produce a couple of YouTube clips where I talk about my writing journey. Debbie’s help was invaluable in introducing me to interview techniques, accessing handy tips and supporting me through the process. I’d never done anything like this before so her coaching allowed me to feel confident throughout filming and I’m delighted with the results. You can watch the interviews here.
Debbie has made Retreats for You into a homely and relaxing place to write and reflect. My window overlooks the square with views onto the fields beyond. There’s no excuse for not getting on with your work as a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided. It’s also good to be in the company of other writers and tap into the positive energy this creates. A few days away makes all the difference to my word count, I find!
I spent from lunchtime on Monday until 2pm today at the amazing Retreats for You in Sheepwash, Devon. Not only did I get to meet a Haiku master, a true crime writer, an academic writing her thesis about FGM and an aspiring YA writer I also got to walk the resident dogs Gracie and Daisy with owner, author and QVC presenter Debbie Flint. AND I ate delicious home cooked food, drank wine every evening and wrote 13,000 words of my new psychological thriller! If you need a quiet place to escape from the world I hugely recommend a stay at Retreats for You.
—CL Taylor, Sunday Times Bestselling Author and Returning Guest
Better late than never.
The retreat was both a wholly relaxing and enabling space to write. As the biggest visitor (and only man) in the group I chose the smallest room and found plenty of space to write, ponder and eat incredible food. There are nooks and crannies in this amazing house demanding a body thinks and writes. Debbie was the perfect host, available to help but not imposing upon her guests. Wendy’s food was… Dear Lord, amazing. I could be as sociable as I wished or as focussed on work as I wanted. We talked late into the night and shared stories of our adventures in writing – from academic work to fiction, poetry to columns. Sarah Sarre from the Bluepencil Agency offered absolutely invaluable advice – supportive, clear and demanding – the perfect critical friend. I could not recommend Sara enough. I will return to the Retreat, and will be working with Sara in the future. But the experience hasn’t left me, and the knowledge acquired has shaped my writing. Wonderful people, phenomenal food, fantastic warm welcome: what are you waiting for? Book!
I’ve just got back from a long weekend at Retreats for You. I was a repeat customer in its previous incarnation so I have to admit I approached this weekend with a bit of trepidation. I’m happy to report that while Debbie has made changes the central ethos hasn’t changed one bit. I was pampered, fed and looked after. Importantly, wine o’clock is still a thing!
There were lots of writers there so mealtimes were full of lively conversation. In between there was the solitude that I needed.
Arriving Friday evening and leaving Monday lunchtime, I wrote around 6,000 words, did two sets of edits totalling eight chapters and spent some time restructuring my WiP. Which is the point of a retreat – the time and space to get your thoughts in order and words on the page!
Thank you Debbie for a fabulous weekend!
I’ve recently returned from my first visit to Retreats for you – a gift from my husband. It was a great choice! Debbie and Wendy ensure that you can escape from the every day chores and distractions that are ever-present at home. Everything is taken care of for you, so that you can focus on your writing (something I find very hard to do at home).
The food was nutritious and delicious; the cakes very tasty and plentiful (snacks available at all times of the day); and the bedrooms comfortable. I loved the extra touches too – the “wine o’clock”, the range of books we could borrow, the massage chair in the lounge(!), the hot water bottles delivered to our rooms….
It was great to meet other writers too and to chat over mealtimes, although it is a place where you can be as social or anti-social as you like, and where you can indulge in either company or solitude. Debbie was a great host and was always there if you needed her, but never got in the way.
I wish I could have stayed for longer, and would love to return.
As I sit on my comfy bed in my bright warm room on my last night, I feel it’s the perfect time to thank Debs and of course Wendy (everyone needs a Wendy…) for a wonderful few days at Retreats for you.
If you’ve read down along the pantheon of positive testimonials, it will be no great surprise that I agree wholeheartedly.
The chat, the wine, the walking of two beautiful chocolate labradors and of course the flapjacks are but a few of the highlights…
Thank you for looking after me, and thanks for the pointers on my first novel – I shall certainly be making a few edits – and apologies for spilling your mustard!
It really was a wonderful surprise and a pleasure to stay here!
I will return in the summer!
I’ve had a thoroughly relaxing and constructive stay, my first, at RFY, but it won’t be my last. Even the ‘drawbacks’ (lack of mobile phone connectivity) meant that I had time and space to breathe and cogitate and potter around with plots, maps and outlines after a 2-year hiatus from what will be the first of a sci-fantasy trilogy or maybe more. It’s been buzzing away for a few years now until ‘real life’ started to burn, but just 4 days of pleasant and amusing company, lots of great food and wine and a quiet place to read, re-evaluate and surf for inspiration has got me back in the mood and raring to get going again!
Thank you so much Debbie and Wendy – it’s been wonderful and I certainly will be repeating the experience more than once!
My first visit back since Debbie Flint took over and it was as great as it always has been. The changes have only made this an even more marvellous place. Debbie, Wendy, Daisy Dog and Gracie made me feel welcome and taken care of. Four days of thinking, writing, wonderful conversations, great food, and a sense of peace. Can’t wait to come back again!
Great break away from home to get some writing done. Plenty of food and such a joy not to have to think about cooking or clearing away for a bit. Really fun to play a bit of table tennis in the village hall too. I can’t really think how it could be improved as it hit the right balance and Debbie struck the right level of communication. She seemed to know when to chat and when to retire – which is quite hard to achieve, in my humble opinion.
Why Book The Barn Bedroom?
This is my second stay at Retreats for You, the first time I stayed in the main house and this time I am in the barn. I have to be honest and say I truly loved both. I think it depends on the experience you are looking for. My first visit, I was very nervous about meeting new people and I was at the beginning stages of my second book. Being in the house meant that I would wander downstairs to grab a cup of tea or slice of cake regularly, either to break up the thinking stages or to have small short conversations with the other writers on the retreat with me. It was great to just dip in and out.
This time, I am in the very end stages of polishing my novel, so my head space is different. Being out in the barn is so quiet and calm. I don’t have to see a single soul for hours and can have my music on fairly loud (I am a strange one who needs certain music to edit to) and not disturb anyone.
I have found being able to concentrate out in the barn so incredibly productive, but mainly due to the fact that I don’t have the excuse to break up my writing time with extra trips downstairs.
If you are looking for peace, quiet, beautiful views and a truly calm environment to just crack on and get the words written, the barn is a superb option. The bed is incredibly comfortable, its a cozy room and it is no hassle at all to pop over to the house to use the bathroom.
Personally, I think I have found a small slice of a spiritual home here, and would come back time and time again. I would choose to stay in the house if I was looking for more collaboration and guidance and I would absolutely choose the barn to lock myself away and finish the book. Of course this is my own personal experience. I am a mum of two young daughters so quiet and seclusion is rare, which is why this has helped.