*** DEBUG END ***

Family friendly

24 January 2014

Alison MacTier highlights a selection of retreats and retreat holidays for families and children

All-age fun: above: a family week at Scargill House

All-age fun: above: a family week at Scargill House

THERE are a variety of Christian communities around the country that offer holidays and retreats for families during 2014.

The Othona Community has two centres. One is situated in west Dorset, within walking distance of the beach and coastal walks (othona-bb.org.uk). It has a creative half-term break in February, and a mini-festival of dance at Easter, with family-friendly rooms, and tents available for camping in the summer.

The centre at Bradwell-on-Sea (othona-bradwell.org.uk) has a variety of family weeks, including a bargain break in May, and a week focusing on "All the fun of the fair" in August, with craft activities for all ages.

The Quaker Community at Bamford, Derbyshire (quaker-community.org.uk) offers a spring gathering at Eastertide, in April.

The Scargill Community (scargillmovement.org) is set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, with extensive grounds and a games room, offering family fun weeks throughout the year during school holiday times.

In 2014, these include an Easter house-party, with a youth and children's programme. In August, "Summerfest" has a programme that includes a broad mix of activities for all ages. As well as the variety of rooms available at Scargill, camping is also welcomed during the festival.

Some retreat centres, including the Chemin Neuf Community, in Somerset (chemin-neuf.org.uk), offer a summer school for teenagers,

The Chemin Neuf Community also offers a weekend for married couples in July, when children can take part in their own programme of activities, adapted to their age and particular needs.

Worth Abbey, in West Sussex (worthabbey.net), offers a summer activity week for teenagers, as well as weekends during the year offering young people the opportunity to explore faith and build friendships.

St Cassian's Centre, in Berkshire (www.kintbury.org), offers families weekends away four times a year. As well as parents and children, grandparents, uncles and aunts, friends, teachers, and others involved with young people are welcome to participate in a weekend where many find new inspiration through the shared experience.

Teachers or school chaplainsmay also be interested in taking a school group to St Cassian's Centre, which each year offers four-day term-time retreats to more than 2000 young people aged 15 to 18. The Othona Community in Bradwell-on-Sea offers facilities for visiting school, church, and youth groups.

Cost is often a huge consideration for families and schools, and most retreat centres offer a lower rate for children, and children under school age may go free. Many retreat centres also offer bursaries. For further information, check with the centre direct.


Alison McTier is the executive director of the Retreat Association.

More information about retreat centres, and retreats for all ages, can be found on the Retreat Association website: www.retreats.org.uk; or phone 01494 569056.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)