The beautiful bookcase in the hallway
Vanessa Gebbie on writers retreat at TIlton House
Inspirational locations all around the estate
The Bathing Hut, the perfect retreat for real writing inspiration
The Morning Room at Pentillie
The relaxing morning room with doors on to the east terrace

It’s Never Too Late To Write – A Retreat for Women Writers

Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd February 2019

A weekend writing retreat for women writers with author Vanessa Gebbie.

Writing, including learning to write well and then finding opportunities to be published, is not restricted to those with youth on their side. Writing is for us all – but sometimes, you’d be forgiven for thinking it isn’t.

Maybe you’ve tried to write, and life has got in the way. You are not alone – many of us make a real effort to fit our creative endeavours around lives already busy with jobs, family, other responsibilities.

This is an invitation to give yourself a gift – the gift of time for yourself. Stay somewhere as beautiful as Pentillie Castle, as you remind yourself that you can do this, and give yourself an opportunity to kick start those wonderful ideas that keep popping up, supported by an experienced tutor who didn’t start writing herself until … well, you’ll find out! Now, with her tenth book on the chocks, Vanessa Gebbie will support you, sharing her experience and her love of writing – whether you want to focus on short fiction, novel-length fiction, poetry, memoir.

Who knows, this busy weekend, in the company of like-minded women, might be a life-changer.

To read Vanessa’s Biography, please click here.



Includes opportunities to walk the woodland gardens, admire the views, lounge in front of open log fires, eat delicious food, sip a glass or two of fine wine, and indulge your inner creativity while mingling with fellow writers.  

And from a writing perspective the weekend includes the following…

DAY 1 

On arrival meet your fellow writers with an informal ice-breaker and mini-workshop – bring your writing things!
After supper we will do a little more writing and a bedtime story, a poem or two…

DAY 2 

Workshop 1: “Where do your stories and poems come from?”
An intensive morning filled with as many inspirations for new work as we can pack in. We all respond to different stimuli – but it is so easy to get stuck, jaded, believing we can only find inspiration in one thing – and if that one thing eludes us, we just can’t… But I think we can. Surprise yourself! Bring an open mind and be prepared to try everything.

Workshop 2: “The things we have always wanted to write but never been brave enough.”
Building on the foundations laid this morning, let’s just forget what other people think, forget what other people tell us we ought to be doing as writers, forget the rules – what are they anyway?  and let’s experiment, have fun, make our own rules.

After supper we will do a little more writing and a bedtime story, a poem or two…

DAY 3 

Workshop 3a before coffee: “A journey begins with one small step…”
Bring the many different pieces you wrote yesterday, ’rubbish’ included (!) and this morning, we will be enriching and expanding, teasing out the threads, recognising the myriad different directions these first steps might take.

Workshop 3b after Coffee: “A little knowledge goes a long way…”
So we write, we work hard, we polish our words. Next, we will take a look at potential markets for our work and the best ways to build up or refresh a CV. We’ll consider the publishing world, and the world of the literary agent. We’ll look at the pros and cons of competitions and how to sort out the characteristics of those worth entering and the ones best avoided – plus a few tips on ways to maximise your chances of rising to the long and short lists.

You’ve just spent a busy, hugely creative weekend in good writing company. What now? Do you prefer working alone, or in a group? We’ll help to make sure your writing process works for you the best way it can.  We’ll look at social media and its uses and not, for writers. Lastly, we’ll our personal objectives, and our ongoing writing practice.


Prices for fully catered two-night stay:
£390 per person based on twinshare
£525 single occupancy

Price for non-residential includes workshops and lunch:
£199 non-residential

Payment: 50% deposit required on booking, remaining 50% to be paid on departure. Payment plan also available.

Price includes:

  • Luxury en-suite accommodation for two nights, in either sole occupancy double room or twin occupancy in double/twin room.
  • Delicious home-made food and all meals with a wine reception on the first evening
  • An endless supply of tea and coffee
  • Three full morning or afternoon writing workshops
  • One mini workshop
  • Two late evening story/poetry readings/discussion

Non-residential price:
£199 per person to include the daily activities – full payment required on booking please
… and why not stay for dinner (additional fees apply)

Optional extras can be arranged for an additional fee, please ask for prices on booking:

  • Massages
  • Pedicure and Manicures
  • Facials

For further information, or to book your room, please email or telephone +44 (0)1579 350044


Photo of author and writing tutor Vanessa Gebbie

Vanessa Gebbie

Writing on retreat with Vanessa Gebbie

See what others say:

“Vanessa had put together the perfect mix of fun and thought-provoking workshops, one-on-ones and individual writing time. During the two days we talked about where stories come from – the internal and external stimuli that prompt us to start writing as well as the things that can block us from writing and how to get around them.

The time out of time spent with such a diverse group of women with a shared interest provided creative and personal nourishment, and seeds of inspiration that have borne fruit ever since. But the most valuable thing I got from the workshop was the friendship and support of the like-minded women I met there, who I am still in touch with seven years later.”

Claire King, author of ‘The Night Rainbow’