Christmas retreat at Sharpham House: a gift to yourself
Rest and be supported by the beautiful setting of Sharpham House at Christmas-time.
Escape the frantic festive season for a Christmas that gives you the present: space and time for yourself.
This retreat offers meditation, optional yoga sessions and plenty of free time to rest and connect with nature – at a time that’s usually associated with consumerism, stress and busy-ness.
The leaders of this retreat – drawn from our wide pool of experienced leaders – will help you to develop and extend your mindful experience.
Read on for more details on this retreat and click the Leaders, Schedules and Venue & Directions tabs above for further information.
A Christmas with peace and silence
This retreat is for you if you:
- want a Christmas that is peace-filled, tranquil and contemplative
- are prepared to experience a Christmas Day in nourishing silence
- are aged 18 and above
We regret that this retreat is not suitable for couples.
The Christmas retreat programme includes 3 daily meditation sessions and optional yoga with periods of silence to help strengthen the practice.
Christmas Day will be spent in silence.
During this retreat, there will be question-and-answer sessions and guidance in bringing mindfulness, compassion, joy and equanimity into daily life.
There will be a maximum of 32 participants on this retreat – with the opportunity to share rooms or choose single occupancy rooms. Click here to view Costs and Rooms
There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.
Because Sharpham House is a Grade 1-listed mansion (with limits to the changes we are allowed to make to the building), few bedrooms come with an en-suite bathroom and toilet. There are shared bathrooms on every floor.
What you’ll experience on this retreat:
During this retreat you'll:
- practice guided and non-guided meditations, exploring and developing mindfulness in the supportive company of others with time for discussion and personal practice
- be living in safe community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the washing-up
- be able to explore our tranquil Capability Brown-designed parkland and our Grade 2*-listed gardens designed by Percy Cane
- have a chance to select either single-occupancy rooms for your own space, or share rooms at a smaller cost. Click here to explore our rooms
- enjoy delicious, healthy, home-cooked vegetarian food that regularly receives rave reviews and have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in our Toasting Room
- have relaxation sessions and free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the usual busy-ness of the Christmas period.
- be cared for full-board in a Grade 1-listed Georgian House surrounded by history and art, with staff looking after you, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart
- experience periods of silence and quiet contemplation, including a whole day of silence on Christmas Day
Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham
When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:
- become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
- pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
- explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
- Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things
Click here to read our ethos and principles
What might you bring?
If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:
- Comfy clothes for meditation, movement and relaxation
- Slippers (we supply some, but you might prefer your own)
- A journal or notepad if you want to write or draw during your time here
- Walking boots – we have wonderful footpaths and routes to explore
- Running gear if you’re a jogger. Some participants love to run on the lanes and footpaths near Sharpham
Find out more about staying in Sharpham House on our Frequently Asked Questions page
Our food & your dietary needs
The retreat is full-board with delicious home-cooked vegetarian food.
In line with sustainable practices across the Estate, our cooks produce seasonal, vegetarian food for our guests. We source food whenever possible from our kitchen garden and support local food suppliers. The Estate's farm tenants produce award-winning wine and cheese as well as organic eggs, meat and vegetables.
We are used to accommodating a wide range of dietary needs including wheat-free, diary-free, vegan etc. Please indicated on your booking form if you have such a need. The booking form is sent as a link once you've booked and paid for a retreat.
Your physical and mental health
This retreat is suitable for you if you are new to mindfulness, or seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.
Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process
We have an accessible en-suite bedroom The Clare Milne Room – click here for details on how to book this room
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator Louisa Potter on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.
A beautiful, restful place - perfect at any time of the year, but Christmas felt very special
If you're coming to stay with us on retreat, it is important to make a commitment to arrive in time for the first group meeting and to attend all the days.
This ensures you experience the retreat programme from start to finish and helps your group of participants to gel.
This retreat includes a complete day of silence on Christmas Day (Day 3).
|4.00pm - 5.00pm - Arrival||
6.15pm - Supper and washing up
|5.15pm - Welcome meeting, House tour, settling in||8.15pm - Guided meditation|
|9.00pm - House moves into silence until 9.50am, supporting individual mindfulness and reflection|
|7.00am - Wake up||12.30pm - Meditation|
|7.30am - Yoga (optional)||1.00pm - Lunch and tasks|
|8.00am - Meditation||
2.00pm - Personal time
|8.30am - Breakfast and tasks||4.00pm - Yoga (optional)|
|9.50am - Daily group meeting||5.30pm - Meditation|
|10.30am - Walk of the grounds/personal time/teaching/Q&A||6.00pm - Supper and tasks|
|7.45pm - Personal time/Mindfulness in daily life Q&A|
|8.00pm - Deep relaxation/Yoga Nidra|
|9.00pm - House moves into silence until 9.50am, supporting individual mindfulness and reflection|
The final day is as above with a closing meeting at 10.30am, and your departure by 11:45am.
Christmas Day in silence - wonderful
The silent day and the silent meditations/periods of time were very soothing and relaxing. Sharpham House and its surroundings are a magical place to escape Christmas...I’d recommend this experience to anyone.
Can’t imagine a better retreat for the hectic end-of-year period. A perfectly balanced blend of activities both stimulating and relaxing, with plenty of personal downtime in a truly stunning setting - and all accompanied by an abundance of delicious and creative cuisine.
I couldn’t have given myself a better Christmas present
This retreat takes place in the beautiful and historic Grade 1-listed Sharpham House set in a Capability Brown-designed landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart.
Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.
Click here to view, print or download directions and a map to Sharpham House
Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to Sharpham House
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.
Just to let you know, we have poor mobile phone coverage – which we see as a virtue. While there is wi-fi in Sharpham House, we encourage you to disconnect from ‘the network’ so you can fully retreat when you’re here.
We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement
We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
We take sustainability seriously.
All of the hot water and heating in the House is produced by a state-of-the-art biomass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic solar panel arrays on barn rooftops.
Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.
Ramiro has practised mindfulness for over 15 years, and Insight Meditation since 2005.
He teaches mindfulness retreats at Sharpham House and The Barn Retreat Centre, as well as 8-week courses for the public.
Ramiro trained to teach mindfulness with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University.
Maite trained in 1991 in Sivananda Yoga in India, in Shakti Yoga Dance in 2009 and in Kundalini Yoga in 2011 in the UK. Her major influences have been yoga, Buddhist meditation and chanting. She has been attending retreats (especially Zen and Insight Meditation) in spiritual centres in the UK, Europe, India, Thailand and California, since 1990. Read more on her website here.
She loves creating, nurturing, healing and forming life-giving spaces in her work as a Shakti yoga dance teacher, and in her massage work in the Totnes area.
Maite's Shakti yoga
- incorporates slow, flowing stretches coordinated with the breath, softening and opening up the body and letting the energy flow through freely.
- Focuses the mind in the subtle changes happening in body-mind moment by moment, opening and expanding into deeper states of awareness beyond the physical.
- Helps rediscover and embody the joy of movement, breath and awareness.
Jenny Wilks has practised insight meditation in various Buddhist traditions since 1988 and has an MA in Indian religions. She has taught regularly at the Barn since 2004 and at Gaia House since 2008. Jenny is a clinical psychologist and has trained in mindfulness-based approaches. She currently teaches Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy at Exeter University. She is also a trained teacher with the Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion in the US and will draw on some of their practices during this retreat.
How to book easily and securely:
- online on this page
- by phoning 01803 732542
- or by emailing us on [email protected]
Ring us or email if you've got any questions.
Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy.