St Giles House
Graceful Grade 1 listed house and estate ideal for nature, wellbeing, yoga, meditation, dance and art retreats
£21,942 for 5 days
IN A NUTSHELL
Set in 5,500 acres at Wimborne St Giles in Dorset, St Giles House is a stylish, off-grid venue that's ideal for large group retreats. With heritage dating back to the 13th century, and now home to the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, the estate offers a variety of accommodation, including the main house and cosy, restored getaways, like The Riding House. Enjoy nature at her finest with a sunken garden with flowers for every season, a rare fountain, a grotto and a 1,000-yard avenue of beech trees, and let a well-versed team help organise your retreats.
INDOOR RETREAT SPACES
In the main house, the five state rooms, which include the magnificent library, are ideal for writing, yoga, meditation and workshops. The shell grotto - a restored Victorian folly - is a sweet place for quiet moments. The spacious nightclub is ideal for dance retreats and can accommodate up to 40 dancers for a class, and up to 200 as a nightclub.
OUTDOOR RETREAT SPACES
The peace and silence are perfect for breathwork, yoga and meditation retreats, and the estate lends itself to forest bathing and walking meditation. You can walk for an hour among ancient oak trees, without seeing another person. A firepit outside The Riding House is ideal for opening and closing ceremonies. The fountain, which has a statue of Anteros, is one of only five replicas in the UK. Wimborne St Giles is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of the dark skies area, which makes it perfect for star gazing.
Within St Giles House, there are six bedrooms, many with original painted wallpaper, standalone copper shower cabinets and antiques aplenty. The less formal 17th century Riding House is more popular with retreats, and has eight bedrooms, all with an equestrian-themed decor. The grooms' cottages are two maisonettes - Scullery and Tack Room, which have four rooms in total. The characterful West Pepperpot Lodge and East Pepperpot Lodge, and a self-contained courtyard flat above the stables, have one bedroom each. Some 30 bell tents on the cricket pitch have a bed frame and mattress, along with lights, crisp linen and fluffy white towels.
St Giles Library has thousands of books from over the years. At The Riding House there's a sitting room, as well as a billiards room upstairs. The underground nightclub is perfect for socialising and letting off steam.
Massage and spa treatments with a local masseuse can be arranged if booked in advance. You can walk into nearby villages, like Wimborne St Giles, or sit and watch the stars by night.
In St Giles House you can eat buffet-style overlooking the avenue of trees, or go for the home-from-home feel of The Riding House, where you'll dine around an intimate, cosy table. Local chef Sarah Quincy from Nouriish will provide tailored menus for your retreat, or you can choose from a list of local caterers, all of whom offer menus for all tastes and dietary needs.
The estate has many protected habitats, all within the Cranborne Chase and Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are 865 different species of flora and fauna, and of these, 20 per cent are protected, rare or threatened, and are protected by wildlife legislation.
The wonderful nature, peace and quiet, the sense of history and the underground nightclub! The Earl was a New York DJ in his younger days so he has a tucked-away, state-of-the-art music venue.
The Less Than Ordinary
You're truly off-grid here - getting a mobile phone connection might be challenging and frustrating for those who have trouble switching off.
St Giles House
Wimborne St Giles