Only eleven days into the new year and I’m knackered already! OK, I know it’s my own fault for setting tight deadlines, and deciding to redecorate my office at the same time, but I’m seriously thinking of booking a holiday soon. There is an article in this month’s Writing Magazine about writing holidays and day retreats, and I think they all sound excellent. And then, what should land in my inbox but an email from fellow author Anne Allen who is currently organising writers’ retreat breaks on the island of Herm in the Channel Islands! Serendipitous or what? Anne has stayed here herself and thinks it’s a perfect place for writers – and artists and photographers too. I read the stuff she sent me and instantly started day-dreaming about private beaches, beautiful scenery – an island without cars! Take a look at this and see what you think:

An Island Paradise for Writers

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a tiny island, away from the hustle and bustle of life, while you planned or finished your magnum opus, wrote your poems or short stories or just re-energised?  Unfortunately, private islands tend to be expensive but if you rent a cottage on Herm, the rest of this unique island comes free!

Western Coast Footpath, Herm Island
Western Coast Footpath, Herm Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Herm is tiny – one and a half miles long by one mile wide. The smallest of the main Channel Islands, it lies only three miles from the coast of Guernsey. The boat ride takes fifteen minutes. The island is semi-private with sixty residents. Renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, open common, cliffs and woods,  it offers visitors numerous walks and stunning views. The only transport allowed is that of tractors and quad bikes, solely for the use of the staff who run the island. Everyone else walks!

Herm has a fascinating history going back to Neolithic times and the various dwellers have left their mark. It’s probably also fair to say that Herm has left its mark on those who have lived there. One of the most notable being Sir Compton Mackenzie who bought the lease after the First World War. Herm proved an inspiration for his writing and his novel ‘Fairy Gold’ was based on the island. He also wrote fondly of it in his autobiography ‘My Life and Times’.

It can be pretty busy in the summer when discerning guests arrive to stay in the White House Hotel, the self-catering cottages or under canvas on the camp sites. The time for us writers is when those visitors have departed and the island residents are left in peace again.  A small number of pretty cottages are being made available for writers for our first retreat in March 2013. The week of 15th-22nd has been chosen to avoid Easter holidays and you can choose to stay the whole week or a minimum of 4 nights. If it was more convenient for you, then a day or two earlier or later would be fine. All the cottages are equipped for a minimum of 4 people with most having at least 2 bedrooms. However, if you’re coming to write then you will probably not want to bring anyone with you – but it’s your choice! The Retreats are being offered, in association with the Hospitality Director of Herm, at the special rate of £395 for a week per cottage or £320 for 4 nights.

The island worked its magic for me and I made great progress on my current novel. There’s no reason why it won’t work for you!  Most of the cottages are in Manor Village in the island centre and some have sea views. All have been refurbished recently and are centrally heated. There’s a pub, The Mermaid Tavern, near the harbour and shops, which will be open for meals and refreshments during your stay. Or you can be totally self-sufficient and stay as a recluse à la Greta Garbo. I will be at hand if you need anything, as will the island staff.

We plan to offer more dates for writers later in 2013, probably April/ May and Sept/Oct. If you can’t make March then please stay in touch for other dates.

Please contact me for further details/queries before booking.

Email: me@anneallen.co.uk

For further information on Herm and the cottages please go to www.herm.com 

Herm
Herm (Photo credit: paulafunnell)

Oh, I so want to go! Could I drag myself away from hubby and daughter for 4 nights? I’ve managed one night before, but that was a strain. Anyway, even if I don’t manage it this year, I definitely will in the future, and it would be really helpful to the lovely Anne Allen if we could share this brilliant offer with as many writers as we can. Thanks guys!

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