An unspoilt sanctuary off the Isle of Arran, Holy Island offers a relaxing and healing retreat from everyday life. Some people come here just to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet and fabulous scenery. Others are looking for healing, learning and meaning in life. Rooted in the Christian tradition, it’s open to everyone of all faiths or none, and runs a wide range of courses from tai chi and meditation to cooking and gardening. This is a great place to learn to meditate, and there are lots of courses to choose from, as well as yoga, Tibetan Buddhism and vegetarian cooking led by Rob, the chef, whose food is admired and enjoyed by all who visit. Tai Chi retreats include those run by Relaxing the Mind (www.relaxingthemind.com) and Revitalise Tai Chi (www.re-vitalise.co.uk).
The island is a great place to explore – there are rare plants and birds, an ancient healing spring, the hermit-cave of a 6th-century monk, and evidence of a 13th-century Christian Monastery. If you want a longer retreat, consider staying as a volunteer. Delicious vegetarian home-cooked food uses Holy Island grown organic produce wherever possible. The nearest airports are Glasgow or Prestwick airports, from where you can get a train to Ardrossan Harbour, the CalMac Ferry to Brodick on Arran, a bus to Lamlash then the little ferry to Holy Island.