Quakerism can be a difficult religion to learn about. A lot of learning seems to happen by osmosis! If you’d like a weekend away to gain a deeper understanding about Quakerism, or to sign up for a course - anything from arts and crafts to Quaker spirituality - there’s a choice of venues. Most are in idyllic settings, and the food is usually sumptuous and delicious! Have a look at the short guide below. Closer to home, you can drop into Friends House opposite Euston Station on a Monday evening for a Quaker Quest session. Find out more.
Jordans Quaker Centre
Situated in the countryside outside Beaconsfield, Jordans Quaker Meeting House is one of the oldest meeting houses in the country, the burial place of some notable early Quakers, including William Penn and Isaac Pennington. Jordans Quaker Centre adjoins the Grade 1 listed meeting house. The programme of events (which are non-residential) includes bi-monthly quiet ‘retreat’ workshop days, which focus on an interesting variety of topics. Find out more about Jordans Quaker Centre.
Charney Manor is a really lovely old manor house 12 miles outside of Oxford, much of it dating from around 1260. The conference facilities are used by religious and other groups. Charney runs a programme of 2 or 3-day guided retreats, which reflects current and emerging concerns among Quakers in Britain. For anyone new to Quakers who’d like to find out more, the regular enquirers’ weekends provide a really good opportunity to deepen understanding of Quakerism in a beautiful setting. Find out more.
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Woodbrooke is Europe’s only Quaker Study Centre. It offers an extensive, broad-based programme of spiritual and religious education which is open to those of any faith from around the world. Choose from around 150 short courses embracing personal spiritual growth, theology, the creative arts, and training for Quaker roles. The former home of Quaker and local chocolate maker George Cadbury, Woodbrooke is set in 10 peaceful acres of gardens, lake and woodland, and is a short walk from Bournville and the chocolate factory. Bed and breakfast accommodation; conference facilities. Find out more.
Glenthorne Quaker Centre and Guest House
Glenthorne is a tranquil Victorian country house in the heart of the Lake District. It offers guest house accommodation and conference facilities to individuals, families and groups of all ages and beliefs. Walking groups regularly use Glenthorne as a base, while others take part in the organised programme of events, special interest holidays and courses, which cover everything from creative writing and yoga, to patchwork quilting and spirituality. Find out more.
Swarthmoor Hall was the home of Margaret Fell, who later became the wife of George Fox. Many visitors today come to experience the special and spiritual atmosphere of the birthplace of Quakerism, or to walk or cycle in the Lakeland countryside. Like Charney Manor in Oxfordshire, Swarthmoor Hall holds regular Enquirers’ weekends’ for those new to Quakerism. If you are wondering whether or not to formally become a member of the Society of Friends, there’s a course held regularly to help you explore this question. Swarthmoor Hall can accommodate up to 17 guests. Bed and breakfast; self-catered accommodation; conference facilities. Find out more.
Claridge House is a centre for healing, rest and renewal. The Victorian building is set in beautiful gardens in the Surrey countryside. It’s a place to visit for a restful break and to enjoy countryside walks; to attend a restful course associated with healing, such as music, painting, crafts, yoga, and circle dancing; or for an individual one-day retreat. Find out more.
Quaker Voluntary Action
Britain and Europe
Quaker Voluntary Action runs a programme of working retreats in Britain and Europe Volunteers work together on a practical task that might not otherwise be achievable; time is set aside for spiritual reflection too. Retreats can last from 2 to 10 days and involve from 6 to 16 participants – anyone between the ages of 18 and 80+. Practical projects undertaken include outdoor activities such as gardening, tree work, recycling systems, planting, paving and renovating, or indoor activities such as painting and decorating, maintenance, cleaning and light carpentry. Find out more.