People at Retreat House Chester

Retreat House Chester is a not-for-profit community venture inspired and driven by local people and working to offer retreat as an essential part of living for everyone.

Come as you are

Our retreats are varied, and we hope that you’ll find what you need. In our range of retreats you’ll find different activities for different needs:

  • anyone who needs a reflective breathing space, plain and simple - perhaps by finding a quiet time, or in a creative workshop, or on one of our walks, or on a taster retreat

  • anyone who wonders about reflective Christian spirituality and would like to draw lightly from it or experience it in a gentle setting

  • anyone who would like to go deeper in their experience and exploration of reflective Christian spirituality

You can

  • find us at one of our pop-ups or drop-ins

  • book into one of our programme activities

  • arrange a group retreat time with us

  • arrange one-to-one

  • invite us along

Please see our PROGRAMME page for more on all these.

Our mosaic was made by a number of people attending a number of Retreat House events. With our ‘logo’ in the centre, its variety of small tiles represents the diversity making up the whole, and its concentric circles shows the ripple effect of retreat throughout our living.

Our team

Peter Howell-Jones, Ged Johnson, Terry Green, Paul Towner, Carol Bayliss, Consilia Black

Co-ordinator: Clare Black

Read the Trustees’ Annual Report for 2018-19 (on the Charity Commission website) by clicking here.

We are a registered charity, a member organisation of The Retreat Association, and a member of Chester Voluntary Action.

We are thankful for the support of a great team of volunteers. 

We welcome many local and national retreat leaders and others to work with us in our activities. 


What people say

… an oasis of calm and depth right at the heart of an ancient city, but deeply in tune with the pressures and needs of contemporary urban and suburban life… a space where strangers in the city can become companions on the journey. They will not go away empty hearted.

Margaret Silf, author and retreat-giver

 There has been a retreat presence in Abbey Square for decades and the possibility of working in partnership with this new retreat house is an exciting development for Chester Cathedral to be part of.  Within the city and region there is broad recognition that the cathedral is sacred space for all.  Working alongside this new venture in its non-denominational approach enables an authentic partnership to develop born out of a shared belief and common purpose.

Canon Peter Howell-Jones, former Vice Dean, Chester Cathedral  

 The city needs this resource…  the quiet sanctuary that we so often need in our busy lives. We wish the Retreat House every success, and look forward to the dream becoming a reality.

Peter Speirs, Chairman, Churches Together in Chester City Centre

 I am very happy to lend my support to this venture. There is a real need for a centre for people to access spiritual and emotional support. Chester, with its tangible felt-sense of 'soul' and centuries of prayer, as well as its beauty, accessibility and history, is a perfect place for such a venture.

Revd Professor Peter M Gubi, PhD, ThDProfessor of Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment, University of Chester

St Beuno's is the British Jesuits' major retreat centre near St Asaph in North Wales, only 30 minutes from Chester.  We are aware that there is a great need for more accessible spirituality and spiritual direction for those who cannot come to retreat houses and I am very happy to lend my support to this project.  We look forward to working with Retreat House Chester as they offer a city-based non-residential programme of retreat, spiritual direction, courses and training.

Roger Dawson SJ, Director, St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre

 I was drawn to Retreat House Chester by an advert offering “breathing spaces” in the city. The idea of making the benefits of a place of spiritual retreat accessible to all in a central location and non-residential setting is very attractive, since it is precisely here, at the heart of daily life, where it seems that these are most needed.

local retreat leader

From local residents

a real oasis for people searching for something meaningful.  Wirral

a much-needed haven, providing moments and spaces of retreat…  an oasis of calm in the midst of life in the heart of the city.   North Wales

sounds like just what I have been looking for...  Chester

And from people who have come along

A really helpful opportunity 'to retreat' for a short while.  Wonderfully led.  Thank you.

Beautifully led - just enough direction and input while also creating space.  Wonderful resources provided too.

Well led and inclusive - thank you.

Lovely setting.  Met some lovely people.  Thanks!

Another excellent and helpful event.

Loved it!  Thanks!

Our supporters

Established as a charity in 2015, Retreat House Chester is a self-supporting organisation, reliant on fundraising and programme income. To support our start-up and development, we received generous ‘Founding Benefactor’ donations from the following, for which we will be always thankful:

  • The Society of Retreat Conductors

  • two religious organisations preferring anonymity

  • three private donations preferring anonymity

  • Teresa Briggs Trust

For more on our supporters, please see SUPPORT.