Retreating to Kent


My little piece of paradise

What better place to begin than with a photo of the plush armchair in which I spent my writing retreat, and my laptop. You’ll notice that I’m not one for a spartan attic. My radio is visible (for The Archers, of course) and just out of sight, I have coffee, tea, large quantities of cheese, wine and so on.

Seekers is a non-denominational, non-sectarian centre, which offers prayer and healing, but it also offers quiet, comfortable guest accommodation (see the above photo), where people can stay for whatever reason they wish. Each visitor has one of the terraced cottages that surround a green.

Arriving at my accommodation










I was not alone on the retreat- I went to Seekers with friends Rosie Dean and Cara Cooper, both of whom have been before. For me, it was my first visit. In the second photo, you’ll see Rosie’s room on the left, and mine on the right. Cara’s cottage was next to ours.

Half the fun of a writing retreat is to talk with friends over dinner in the evening about what we’ve been doing in the day, and to attempt to sort out each other’s plot problems. It’s amazing how easily someone other than you will see something that you can’t see for yourself. And there’s no nicer place for this discussion than in a restaurant.

Our first evening With Rosie and Cara, on our first evening. This pub/restaurant is in comfortable walking distance from the cottages.

A healthy mind and a healthy body are desirable attributes, and the area around the Seekers is perfect for walking, especially when the woods abound with snowdrops. When one of us was in the mood for a short break, she’d ask if the others were so inclined.










In the photo on the left, you’ll see the woods. To the right is the view looking towards the golf  course. Alas, my photos don’t do justice to how attractive the area around the Seekers is.

It was also possible to have a slightly less healthy sort of break during the day. Seekers has a little café which sells coffee, tea and homemade cake on certain days of the week. There are worse things to do while waiting for inspiration!



At the end of our time there, we all felt we’d achieved a great deal: we’d had some great conversation; eaten one of the best chilli spaghetti and prawns ever in a lovely restaurant in the very attractive nearby West Malling; Cara had bought a fabulous pair of boots, and we’d all achieved an impressive daily word count.  It was a win/win situation and I would happily go there again.



All good things have to come to an end, and Cara’s came to an end the evening before Rosie and I left. So from the remaining two of us,   CHEERS!







  • It looks as if you had a pleasant and productive week with enjoyable company and attractive surroundings. Good luck with your current WIP.


    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Heather. It was, indeed, a highly productive week. Not only was that the result of the excellent company and surroundings, but also it was a result of not having TV or the internet (apart from on my iphone). Not to mention not having to cook a dinner in the evenings.

  • Looks wonderful and I’m sure you came back refreshed!

    • Liz:

      I did, Angela. I came back inspired and ready to get down to even more writing. The perfect outcome of a lovely week.

  • It looks like the perfect retreat, but you all still had to put in the hard work so jolly well done! I’ve returned to my trusted method of using a timer on my computer working for 25 mins on then 5 mins off which really helps me to focus (about time something did!) Cx

    • Liz:

      You’re right, Chris, about putting in the hard work – I came home shattered, which was a great surprise, given how much time I’d spent in the plush armchair. I know several people who use timers. I think the most important thing is to find out what suits one best, and do that. Happy writing! xx

  • Jill Barry:

    Thanks for sharing this experience, Liz. This kind of retreat sounds an excellent idea – an escape from everyday routines with a productive output. Oh, and wine! Jill xx

  • Linora Lawrence:

    Those cottages look sweet, a bit like arms houses. I can see the attraction, no distractions and no cooking or other household jobs to do. It sounds like you made the most of it and got a lot done. Well done! xx

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for your comment, Linora. It certainly is the ideal way in which to work. I’m delighted that I was introduced to the Seekers by Rosie Dean, who’d been there before. For Cara, too, it was a return visit. That speaks volumes in itself.

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