Creative Retreat, 29 November-1 December 2013, Baylins Farm Stables, Beaconsfield

The Course

Three days of creative immersion and inspiration, with group workshops, personal writing time, and individual tuition, all set in the beautiful Chiltern Hills.

Led by Verse Kraken editors Claire Trévien and Tori Truslow.

A three-day and three-night residential retreat at the historic Baylins Farm Stables set in four acres of private gardens and paddocks adjoining the rolling farmland of the Chiltern Hills, offering walks through the renowned Bucks beech woods.

The Verse Kraken retreat is designed to invigorate participants’ writing practice by providing a change of setting, a chance to work with new ideas and techniques, and the creative fission that comes from collaboration – as well as giving you time to work on your own projects in quiet, comfortable surroundings free of life’s little distractions.

With a maximum of six residential participants (some limited day places are available), a supportive environment in which to share work, and the option to receive one-on-one tuition, the Verse Kraken retreat is the perfect opportunity to develop your work and seek individual feedback.

The collaborative nature of our retreats mean we need to keep the group small to ensure that participants get the most out of it – the most out of working with each other as well as the maximum time possible to work with tutors. This means that for our second retreat, we want to give priority to those who did not get the chance to come to our first one. If you were at the first Verse Kraken retreat and would like to come again, we’ll be happy to put you on our waiting list, but can’t give any guarantees.

Please email us at editors@versekraken to register your interest, and we’ll get in touch with either a booking link or a confirmation that you’re on the waiting list.

The theme for this retreat is ‘Collages and Concealment’. We will explore how our fractured experiences can create new work, and play with the concept of masking and unmasking language. This retreat is especially suitable for writers who have not been practising for a while and would like to get kickstarted back into creativity, or for those currently experiencing writer’s block.

One of the shared twin rooms

The Location

A comfortable self-catered cottage, in the peaceful environs of the Grade II listed Baylins Farm. There are two large twin bedrooms and two single bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and an open-plan living area perfect for workshops and group writing sessions. We will also be making use of the award-winning Baylins Ballet Barn for workshops requiring more space.

Baylins Farm is located just over a mile from Beaconsfield and its railway station with a good service (30 minutes) to and from central London (Marylebone Station). For those arriving by train, taxis cost an average of £5 and there is a Waitrose just to the right of the station. Junction 2 of the M40 is 3 miles away.

Parking is private and away from the road next to the stable. Wifi access is available but the building is so well insulated that mobile phone reception inside is restricted. The ground floor accommodation is on the level and just up a couple of steps from the exterior however the gravel paths are not wheelchair friendly.

Eating and Drinking

The kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering, and participants are responsible for their own food. If travelling by taxi from the station, we recommend stocking up at Waitrose, which is next to the train station. There is a pub 5 minutes walk away from our accommodation called The Red Lion, a small family pub serving food. There will be one group outing the historic Royal Standard of England, a wood-beamed, brick-floored pub, which is a 15 minute walk away from our accommodation.

Dates and Times

The three days of the retreat are Friday the 29th, Saturday the 30th November, and Sunday the 1st of December 2013. Participants should aim to arrive by 1pm on the Friday, as workshops will start in the afternoon. Participants should then aim to leave either Sunday night or on Monday before 10am depending on their preferences/needs.

Price Scheme

Accommodation (single room) + course: £170
Accommodation (shared twin room) + course: £140
Accommodation (shared twin room) + course, student/OAP/etc discount: £110
Course only (no accommodation): £80

There is the possibility to extend your stay on either side of the course, please get in touch if this something you would be interested in.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel more than 5 weeks before the beginning of the retreat, you can do so with a full refund. You can cancel between 5 and 3 weeks before the retreat for a 50% refund. As three weeks notice would make it difficult to find a replacement, we will not offer refunds beyond this point.


You can see pictures from our first retreat here.

It was the first creative retreat I’d been on, and it was perfect. […] spending three days living in a quiet farmhouse with a small group of creative people was exactly what I needed. It was a perfect mixture of relaxing and hard-working […] The surroundings were utterly beautiful, the pool was surprisingly conducive to creativity (we all did a lot of thinking about mermaids…), and there was (in my opinion) exactly the right balance between structured workshop time and free time to relax or engage with our own projects. […] The workshops were very creative, encouraging us to engage with different senses, media, and sources – and there was also a weekend-long project that paired us randomly to work on collaborations. (I worked on a short and spooky screenplay with Jacqueline Wright, of the aforementioned lesbian Caliban project!) I’m unsure how much detail to go into about the workshops – I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who might go on a future one! – but basically, it felt like the equivalent of a full MOT for my writing-brain, with its focus on unlocking as many different ways of being creative as possible.Hel Gurney.

  • Social Media