Gayles Retreat is one of my favourite retreat venues. It's set in ten acres of land adjacent to the Seven Sisters Country Park (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), The National Trust Crowlink Estate and Friston Forest. The surrounding countryside is extraordinarily beautiful, and there are excellent walking opportunities all around.
With its open fire, high ceiling and refreshing artworks, The Stables is a beautifully converted 1930s stable which provides a warm and practical area for eating, chatting and relaxing. The ground level has an open-plan kitchen and dining room with under-floor heating. Immediately outside there is a large, decked, seated eating area which is wonderful for informal meals and gatherings on warm sunny days.
All indoor accommodation is in comfortable dormitories. The accommodation, studio and eating areas are situated close together around thoughtfully maintained gardens. The gentle meadows offer stunning panoramic views and allow space between activities to wander and reflect. There are two dormitories, ‘The Studio’ and ‘The Playroom’, which offer comfortable and spacious accommodation for up to seventeen people.
All indoor accommodation is equipped with toilets, showers and washing areas, as well as hot drink making facilities. There are good quality, sturdy single and bunk beds with individual storage drawers. Duvets, pillows, linen and towels are provided.
We are free to wander through the sensitively managed estate, and encouraged to make use of the private hard surface tennis court and even the open air swimming pool during summertime!
The environment and ambience at Gayles encourages an open, relaxed and intimate atmosphere that promotes learning and self-development. The venue owners believe that retreats should be fulfilling and inspiring and they do all we can to support you in making the most of your time here so that everybody leaves feeling stimulated, nourished and refreshed.
Good quality, locally sourced, tasty and nourishing food is served in the relaxed atmosphere of the beautifully converted dining room. If the weather is sunny there is the option of eating out in the open on the terrace. Food is vegetarian and organic and much of it is grown in the centre's own vegetable garden. It's a highlight of our stay at Gayles.
Dietary Restrictions and Allergies
It is essential that you inform Catherine of any dietary restrictions when you book so that she can liaise with the retreat venue and make the necessary arrangements.
If, for medical reasons, you follow a highly-restricted diet, we advise you to bring with you any essentials you might need for your well-being. We have our own dedicated kitchen, with a small fridge which you are welcome to use.
If you are prone to a severe reaction to an allergen, for example, a very small amount on a kitchen knife or board, it is essential that we be informed. Please note that we are unable to offer absolute guarantees for such allergic conditions.
Gayles retreat centre is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the South Downs, surrounded by stunning countryside and beautiful coastline.
The Seven Sisters Country Park is on Gayles doorstep. It’s made up of 280 hectares of chalk cliffs, meandering river valley and open chalk grassland.
Friston Forest offers a number of waymarked routes for visitors to explore the beech woods. Its undulating terrain makes it popular with walkers who enjoy being outdoors. Quiet valleys within the forest offer sheltered habitats for many species of wildlife. Glimpses of rare butterflies, such as fritillaries, and elusive deer can reward patient observers.
Gayles is situated off the A259, 5 miles from Eastbourne and 15 miles from Brighton and about one mile from the picturesque village of East Dean. It is easy to find and access is excellent.
Travelling east on A27 from Worthing/Brighton, follow signs to Newhaven/Lewes. At the roundabout after the rail crossing you have a choice between Lewes and Newhaven; take A26 to Newhaven / Seaford. Alternatively follow the coast road A259 from Brighton to Newhaven. In Newhaven, follow sign to the left for Seaford A259.
Carry on the A259 until you reach Seaford and a mini roundabout with the train station on your right hand side. Stay on the A259 going out of town and continue in the direction of Eastbourne. You will come upon a small bridge spanning a water course. Continue over the single lane bridge and you will then come upon a farm house and the Seven Sisters Cycle hire shop on your left where the road begins to start to climb up a small hill. Approx 2 miles beyond these buildings, towards the crest of the hill there is a bus stop on the right hand side of the road where you will find the entrance to the private road leading to Gayles.
You may find that the postcode does not pinpoint the location exactly. These are the GPS coordinates:
Latitude: 50.76144 or N 50 45.686 or N 50 45 41.2
Longitude: 0.18097 or E 0 10.858 or E 0 10 51.5
There is a direct train line from London, Gatwick, Brighton and Ashford International etc. to Eastbourne Station. From there we are a 15 minute bus ride away – there is a request stop at the entrance.
The telephone number for National Rail Enquiries is: 08457 484 950.
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