Booking & Cancellation

Please read this information carefully before booking your retreat:
All bookings are provisional until confirmed by Gaia House.

Making a booking

To book a retreat you must be aged 18 years or over. The only exception is our annual Young Person’s Retreat, which is open to those aged 16-25 years.

For all bookings we need to know your full name, address and telephone number, your email address, your age and gender (so that we can allocate rooms appropriately) and any medical condition that may affect your stay.

Retreat Rates: There are 3 rates available when you book online:

  • Standard rate: This covers the basic cost of your stay – please pay this rate if possible.
  • Supported rate: Available to anyone for whom the Standard rate is too high.
  • Sponsor rate: A benefactor rate which helps others to come here on the Supported rate.
    • Please note that the Sponsor rate includes a non-refundable donation.

If you need more financial help to come on retreat, please book by phone.

Extra Nights:

  • Arriving Early – You can opt to arrive a day early only if you have previously stayed on a retreat of 5 nights or more at Gaia House, or other similar silent retreat.
  • Staying On – You can opt to stay one Extra Night after your Retreat when you book.
  • To stay for 2 or more consecutive Extra Retreat Nights, please apply as a Personal Retreatant.
  • Extra Retreat Nights are subject to the availability of accommodation.
  • When staying Extra Retreat Nights, please observe the silence and retreat conditions.

Booking for more than one person or more than one retreat:

  • Please make entirely separate booking for each person and each retreat. Please complete each form in full as we cannot cross-refer booking information.

Booking the Young Person’s Rate:

  • Available for young people aged 18-25 years without the financial means to meet the costs of coming on retreat. To book your place, please call our Reception team.

Booking Summer Camping:

During the summer months we offer a small number of camping places at a reduced rate for those attending our group retreats only.

  • Please contact our Reception team to check availability and costs. (Not available to book online.)
  • Please note that camping is at your own risk, whatever the weather – sorry, but we cannot accommodate you in the house.
  • You need to bring all your own camping equipment.
  • Small one/two-person tents only.
  • Each retreatant must have their own separate tent.

How to book by phone: 

  • Please phone us on 01626 333613 and have your credit/debit card details available.
  • We accept full payment and deposits for all Retreats from Solo/Maestro/Visa Debit cards.
    • MasterCard/Visa Credit Cards: We can accept full payment for all Retreats and deposits for Personal Retreats (but not deposits for Group Retreats).
  • Please pay by debit card where possible – as Gaia House incurs substantial bank charges when payments are made by credit card.
  • Telephone: 9.30am-12.30pm Monday-Saturday. If we don’t answer, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible (within 24 hours).

How to book from overseas:

  • If you are booking from abroad, please use a credit card with the amount in British Pounds Sterling (£/GBP).
  • If you live outside the UK and do not have a credit card, a Direct Bank Transfer may be possible, however, banking fees can be extremely high, even more than your original payment. Before you book, please contact our Finance Team on
  • Unfortunately we cannot accept foreign bank notes.
  • We are unable to take fax bookings.

Applying for a personal or work retreat
  • Your RAF will be submitted to a Gaia House Teacher for approval. Once approved, you will be asked to pay either a deposit or in full depending on how far in advance you are booking. For work retreats you will always be asked to pay in full. Your booking is only confirmed when we have received payment from you.
  • Personal and work retreats are only available to people with previous experience of at least two weeks silent retreat and an established meditation practice.
  • Please let us know immediately of any changes to the information submitted on your Application Form. In some circumstances you may be asked to re-submit your application.
  • On arrival you will be asked to confirm that the information on your approved RAF is a true reflection of your current situation.
  • Personal and work retreats are undertaken and continued subject to approval by a Gaia House teacher.
  • We cannot accept applications for retreats more than a year in advance.

Deposits and payments
All bookings are provisional until you have received confirmation from Gaia House.

  • All retreats must be paid for in full at least one month prior to the start of the retreat.
  • Retreats of three nights or less must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • Retreats of four nights or more require a £100 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit to secure your place. The balance must be paid at least one month before the retreat start date.
  • Personal retreats: Please pay only after receiving confirmation of your place and dates. Please see Personal Retreats.
  • Work retreats must be paid for in full once you have confirmation of your place and dates. Please see Work Retreats.
  • Please pay by debit card if possible – Gaia House incurs substantial bank charges when payments are made by credit card.
  • If you cannot afford our rates we invite you to apply for support from our Financial Assistance and Bursaries Fund. Please contact us about this before booking your retreat. It is not possible to apply for financial support on the opening day of a retreat.
  • Booking conditions may be subject to alteration.
  • Travel arrangements: All bookings are provisional until confirmed by Gaia House. Please do not make any travel arrangements until after you receive confirmation of your booking. Gaia House cannot be held liable for travel costs.

Please pay in full at least one month before the retreat begins, or your place may be cancelled and offered to someone on the waiting list. Thank you.

Waiting lists
  • Most of our group retreats fill up quickly and we offer waiting lists for places that may become available.
  • We take time and care to manage our waiting lists so that as many people as possible can attend our retreats.
  • Joining the waiting list is free. Please go through the checkout process to enter your details into our system, helping us to administer waiting lists efficiently and fairly.
  • You will be able to fill in information relevant to the retreat you wish to attend and you will receive important information about our single room and food policies, as well as the terms and conditions of any retreat place offered. Please read our Privacy statement.
  • Confirmation of being added to the waiting list will be emailed to you and then we will contact you if a place becomes available.
  • If you join a waiting list, we kindly ask you to keep the relevant dates free, as the chances of being offered a place are fairly good. If your plans change, please contact us so that we can remove you from the waiting list. This helps us to keep the list up to date with names of people who can take up places if they become available.

Changes to your booking
  • Once your booking has been confirmed, please make changes only if absolutely necessary.
  • All changes will be subject to a £20 administration fee.
  • Changing your retreat: Transferring bookings, payments or deposits from one retreat to another is not possible due to administrative complications. If you wish to change your booking to a different retreat you need to cancel your old booking and book the new retreat. Normal cancellation fees apply.

Cancellation fees and refunds

Gaia House trustee and teacher, Stephen Batchelor, explains the background to our cancellation policy.

Cancellation fees and refunds:

  • If you cancel one month (or more) before the retreat start date, the cancellation fee will be £100.
    • Standard cancellation fees apply to places booked at the Young persons’ rate.
    • For low-cost retreats such as the Dana Retreat, work retreats or the Young Persons’ Retreat, the cancellation fee will be £10.
  • If you cancel less than 1 month but more than 2 weeks before the start date, the cancellation fee will be £100 or half the cost of your retreat, whichever is greater.
  • If you cancel less than 2 weeks before the start date, the cancellation fee will be the full amount paid.
  • Extra retreat nights cancelled more than 1 month before your arrival date will be refunded, less a £20 admin fee.
    • Extra retreat nights cancelled less than 1 month in advance will be charged in full.
  • For Meditation Days, the cancellation fee is £10 if you cancel 4 weeks or more before the day.
    • If you cancel less than 4 weeks prior to the day the cancellation fee will be the full amount.
  •  £20 from cancellation fees goes towards administration costs, and the balance is transferred to the Financial Assistance and Bursaries Fund (with the exception of cancellations made within two days of the retreat starting).
  • Cancellations can be made by telephone or email. Please note that cancellations can only be accepted from the named retreatant and not from third parties. Any refunds can take up to five working days to be processed.
  • Gaia House reserves the right to cancel any bookings that are deemed unsuitable or inappropriate.

Exceptional circumstances:  At their discretion, the Directors may waive cancellation fees in exceptional circumstances. Requests for this should to be made in the form of a letter addressed to the Directors, c/o The Admin Manager, setting out your reasons for cancelling your booking.

  • If you wish to change to a completely different retreat, it is necessary for you to cancel your old booking and book the new retreat. Normal cancellation fees apply. Please ensure that you are clear about your dates and retreat costs before you book.
  • Travel arrangements: When booking any type of retreat, group, personal or work, please do not make any travel arrangements until after you receive confirmation of your booking.
    All bookings are provisional until confirmed by Gaia House. Gaia House cannot be held liable for travel costs.
  • Weather conditions: If you have to cancel your retreat due to adverse weather conditions our standard Cancellation Policy (above) still applies. Any particular cases may be submitted to the Admin Manager for consideration and each case will be looked at individually.

Access for people with disabilities
We welcome people with disabilities. We have a rambling old house, however the ground floor is accessible for people in wheelchairs and those with restricted mobility. If you have specific needs relating to a disability, long-term illness or health condition please phone our Reception team who will be happy to provide you with information about the house and discuss your needs whilst on retreat. In some cases a carer may stay free of charge to support a retreatant who needs personal care. Please contact us if you would like to discuss this.

We have a hearing loop facility in the meditation hall which is compatible with hearing aids.

We offer very simple but comfortable same-sex accommodation. On group retreats rooms are shared between two or three people, usually of a similar age. Younger retreatants may be in a dormitory of up to six people.

We only have eight single rooms available for group retreats, which are allocated according to medical needs, followed by considerations of age. If you feel that you need a single room, please request this when booking. However, we regret that we are unable to guarantee single rooms. Please also be aware that we are unable to meet requests for single rooms made on the opening day of retreats.

Food Policy

Gaia House offers a healthy, balanced vegetarian diet that may include eggs and dairy produce.

  • Vegan, dairy-free and wheat/gluten-free options can be requested when you register on arrival.
  • We also offer a ‘Simple Diet’ consisting of a gluten-free wholegrain, steamed vegetables and plain pulses, egg or tofu. This diet is intended to meet nutritional needs whilst being as plain as possible. You can request the simple diet when you register on arrival.

It is a part of the Buddhist tradition to receive what is offered; but if the above options would not support you to come on retreat at Gaia House, for example if you have a medical need for a different diet, please contact our Retreat Manager, Susanne O’Brien, on before booking your retreat.

Food allergy/sensitivity:

  • We always label dishes containing any allergens you have told us about.
  • Whilst on retreat, please speak to a member of the Gaia House team for more information on allergens in our dishes.

Work sessions
  • We ask that you help support Gaia House during your stay by offering one hour’s work per day, to assist with the running of the house.
  • All retreatants are also asked to clean their own rooms on the day of departure.
  • If you are unable to do a work session, or can offer only light work, please let our Reception team know when booking and mention it when you register on arrival.