// Preparing a Retreat

IMPORTANT NOTE: With effect from May Half Term 2024, all young people visiting Castlerigg will need to bring either a sleeping bag or a duvet cover with them. Bedding is still provided for teachers accompanying retreat groups.

This page is designed to tell you everything you need to know about coming to Castlerigg on a retreat, but if there is anything else you need to know, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you!

STEP ONE // Book a Retreat

Talk to Gillian in the office about dates and costs. Once you agree on a date you will be sent a contract to sign and an invoice for a £250 deposit. We will also ask you for your projected numbers, but don’t worry – you won’t be bound by this estimate. Unless you fall below the minimum number, you pay for the amount of people you bring.

N.B // The minimum number for a retreat (including staff) is 40 for a secondary school and 30 for a primary school or parish youth group (In Winter, this is lowered to 30 and 25 respectively). If you’re just getting a trip established in the school though, or having a particularly bad year, we can lower this minimum by arrangement.

The absolute maximum is 65, but we don’t recommend getting this high! Clergy stay for free and we offer one free staff place for 40 young people, two free places for 50, and three free places for 60.

STEP TWO // Work Out the Finer Details

Don’t forget to sort out transport before giving the students a price for the trip. You may also need to add in staff costs, and there may be other costs too. Your EVC (Educational Visits Co-ordinator) or Bursar will be able to guide you.

As you may know, residentials have to be approved by the Local Education Authority (LEA) and they will have a system in place for doing this. They may well ask you for documents such as insurance certificates and risk assessments. Let us know if you need anything from us and we will send it over. Again, your school’s EVC will be able to guide you.

N.B // If you are in the Northwest, your LEA will probably be aware of Castlerigg and already have our details on file.

Finally, check out the important information in red on this page.

STEP THREE // Advertise the Trip!

Market the retreat in school and find some staff. Keep talking to the students who sign up and get them excited!

N.B // It’s your responsibility to fill the retreat, but we can help you if you want? We have a marketing video for use in schools and from late 2023 we will also start sending our marketing packs. Finally, (talk to us…) we might even be able to pop down to school to do an assembly for you!



//  Marketing Video

// Kit List

// Main Documents

(Small Group Leaders’ guide, as well as the documents you will need to send back two weeks before your retreat: room list, small group list, requirements sheet. See Step Five)

// Some Policies can be downloaded at the foot of this page

// Please ask us if you need our Risk Assessment of Public Liability Insurance details


ARRIVALS // Retreats usually start at 4pm. You are welcome to request an earlier start, but please note that we are unable to start a retreat before 2pm at the very earliest.

FOOD ON ARRIVAL // We no longer offer lunch to arriving groups so please make arrangements for the group to eat before they come.

DEPARTURES // 4-night retreats generally depart at 11.30am with no lunch being provided, so please make arrangements for the group to eat lunch on the journey home. 2-night retreats depart at 2pm after lunch, which is provided.

STEP FOUR // Pay Your Interim Payment

You will receive an invoice when this is due.

STEP FIVE // Send Us Your Group Information

(at least two weeks before the start of your retreat!)

We need to know how much food to order, how many staff to rota for making beds and cleaning rooms, and we need to plan a programme for you, so it’s important that we have your room list, small group list, meal choices, and requirements sheet, a few weeks in advance.

These documents can be downloaded from this page (see DOWNLOADS AND LINKS) and each one explains what’s required, so have a read.

Please Email the documents over to us

N.B // Don’t worry if you need to make a change last minute. Sometimes a student pulls out or decides the week before that he’s now a vegan! We can deal with small late changes, just as long as we know the bulk of it 🙂

STEP SIX // Talk to Your Retreat Leader

The team member assigned to lead your retreat will get in touch a month beforehand with a timetable and maybe a few questions. Be sure to respond so that we can plan your retreat as well as possible!

STEP SEVEN // Come to Castlerigg!!

Hopefully this is the simplest step of all. When you get here we will let you know exactly what’s coming up and exactly what’s required from you, so don’t worry. We really hope you will have an amazing retreat!

Check out the sample timetables above to get a flavour of what you’ll be doing.

STEP EIGHT // Pay Your Final Bill

At the end of the retreat we will invoice you for the final balance. Please pay as soon as you can.