Whether you’re travelling to London for work or play, the opportunities for where to stay are endless. But have you ever considered staying at a retreat centre? If you’re looking for an alternative to lifeless hotels, a retreat centre could be the perfect solution. 

What is a retreat centre?

A retreat centre is a place where people can go to devote time to prayer, study, relaxation or reflection. Retreat centres typically offer overnight accommodation, meals, meeting rooms and chapel space. 

A retreat centre is different from a hotel, B&B or guest house. It is specifically designed to allow guests to step outside familiar patterns and the noise and pressures of their everyday lives. In Christian tradition, retreats are understood to be an important part of spiritual formation and healing. But retreats aren’t just for people of faith. Anyone can benefit from staying at a retreat centre.

What happens at a retreat centre?

When staying at a retreat centre, there is no obligation to join in with activities or prayer. Many people choose to stay at a retreat centre just for the peaceful atmosphere and the stillness of the environment.

For individuals who do want to join in with a retreat during their stay, many centres will offer a variety of options, from open reflective days to guided retreats.

Guided retreats are centred around a theme and led by a speaker or spiritual leader to guide you in prayer. The aim of a spiritual leader is to help you reflect on your life and experience and explore how you might become more open to new ways of being. You can expect dedicated time for quiet reflection, but there may also be opportunities to share within a group and many people come away feeling encouraged, consoled or inspired by the experiences of others. 

While a guided retreat may fit the needs of some people, others may prefer to book a room and create their own retreat or quiet time. Some retreat centres will also have dedicated open reflective days where people can come to enjoy the facilities and have some space and quiet in their lives.

How can you benefit from staying at a retreat centre?

Whether you join an organised retreat or not, a retreat centre is a wonderful place to stay when visiting London if you are looking for a chance to relax, reflect or be inspired. 

The layout, design and furnishings of a retreat centre are all carefully considered to cultivate an environment that helps you to step away from your daily life and check in with your mental health, find healing, or clarify what you really value.

A retreat centre can also be a great place for new relationships to form. Guests will often eat together and share living space, which provides opportunities for engaging in discussion and forming connections. Some retreat programmes offer the opposite experience of significant times and spaces for silence when you can be free from the need for polite conversation and allow a deep listening.

For those travelling solo, especially female travellers, there is a sense of comfort in staying in a retreat centre because they are renowned for their caring, personable approach to hospitality. 

Staying at a retreat centre in London can be a wonderful choice for guests who need a quiet space to work, or a home away from home when travelling for business. A retreat centre also provides a peaceful and inspiring place for those simply looking to get away, or those who want time to relax and contemplate during their trip to the capital.

About The Royal Foundation of St Katharine

The Royal Foundation of St Katharine is a retreat centre in London’s Limehouse area, providing an oasis of calm in the heart of the East End. We offer overnight accommodation for people joining us on retreats, as well as people visiting London for work or leisure. We strive to make guests from all walks of life, faith or no faith, to feel welcomed and included. There are many spaces for quiet contemplation or relaxation, from our modern comfortable bedrooms to our beautiful enclosed garden and our exquisite chapel. Book a stay or sign up to one of our retreats