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Kindred Spirit Travel

can really save the day, allowing you to smooth your feathers and take some time and space for yourself. I am perpetually in a state of motion, flinging myself from task to task with no time for careful, considered thought: a bit of an irony for the editor of a magazine like Kindred Spirit. So the offer to unwind at Oxon Hoath was a rare treat.

Oxon Hoath is in Kent, the county considered

the ‘garden of England’, and the estate itself has stunning gardens to explore. At the time in the evening that I arrived though, they were cloaked in the night. My first stop, after registering with the extremely friendly and upbeat Marcy, was the bar. The staff here are wonderful and Marcy’s obvious enthusiasm is complemented by the calm and collected Mac, who doubles up his manager duties with being bar-keep in the evenings. There’s nothing like a retreat with a bar – decadent and joyful. Oxon Hoath’s bar offers affordable organic wines and you can buy a bottle to have with your meals as well. I meet other retreaters, some of whom have

been here before and have the knowing look of regulars while others, like me, have no idea what to expect. Having been on rather militant retreats before where you follow restrictive diets or have restrictions on your interaction with others, it is a relief to hear Marcy speak of how we’re pretty much free to make what we want of the retreat weekend – to do as much or as little as we want. There are, of course, treatments that you book at the time of registering (I have

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A retreat at Oxon Hoath in Kent is more than just holistic treatments and great food, as Tania Ahsan finds out…

ife sometimes has a way of weighing heavily upon you: from family commitments to workplace stress, you can sometimes find the daily grind… well, a bit of a grind. That’s where a retreat


chosen an aromatherapy massage and a Shiatsu session) and workshops are available (I have picked The Art of Relationships with Josh Patel and his partner Lianne Campbell) but beyond that you are free to do your own thing. I love this – the weekend stretches out luxuriantly ahead of me and there are no emails, mobile phones or any other such intruding time bandit. There are yoga classes in the morning but I

decide to have a lie-in. Having awoken in time for breakfast, I am greeted with a wonderful array of fruit, yoghurts, gorgeous breads and eggs and all good things. The food is exceptionally good here, showing how much variety you can enjoy in a vegetarian diet. The puddings are heavenly and this is definitely no ‘granola grind’. On Sunday there is even a vegetarian Sunday roast. After breakfast, with a couple of hours before

my first treatment, I decide to take a walk. The gardens at Oxon Hoath are beautiful. The estate was originally built more than 600 years ago but fell into disrepair. The manor was then restored by the Tindle family, whose efforts continue to maintain the glorious manor house and gardens today. From formal gardens,

including some wonderfully secretive hedging, ideal for Regency style assignations (darn my lack of an assignee), to a delightfully charming little meditation garden, complete with an ornate and rusty iron gate. The gardens can be walked in with pleasure for hours at a time but I was feeling expansive so I decided to explore further afield.

Orchards and conkers Furnished with a walking guide from Oxon

Hoath, I made my way across from the main entrance to the estate and in the space of five minutes found myself on a country path with the smell of rich mulch beneath my feet and the sound of birds in the air. The scent of the countryside, especially after a long time in the urban sprawl, is a tonic to all the senses. I came across orchards and collected conkers for a championship that my colleagues at work had planned. The solitude was something I had been craving and hadn’t even known that I had. I felt revived and renewed, and very grateful to Oxon Hoath for not making their retreats so full of activities that you don’t have time for this sort

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