Penninghame Process, Scotland

Profound transformation retreat for inner awareness on a serene Scottish Estate




Best for:
Those who feel stuck and worn out with relating to the world

Not for:
People dealing with severe mental health issues

In a nutshell:

If you’ve ever questioned who you really are and what you’re doing in life, the Penninghame Process could provide answers (or stir up even more interesting questions). This is a full-on, deep, immersive week of intense inner enquiry (with similarities to the Hoffman Process and The Bridge). It’s probably one of the most intensive retreats you’ll ever attend, but it’s also great fun and wildly liberating. The Process takes you on a deep journey into your unconscious using a unique and powerful blend of techniques and processes. From daily dynamic meditation and mindfulness practices, to deep self-enquiry, ritual drama, and transformative bodywork and breathwork, you come out feeling as if your entire psyche has been scrubbed clean and the shutters of your heart flung wide open. It’s a life shifter, and for those who want to go deeper into the work, there is also a Step 2 and a Step 3 to book onto after.

Penninghame process therapy retreat UK
Penninghame process therapy retreat UK
Penninghame process therapy retreat UK

What’s Queenly?

The way the course has been put together with exquisite attention to detail – you feel like you’re following the thread through the labyrinth. The calibre and care of the team is truly exceptional.

What’s Lowly?

At the standard price the rooms and bathrooms are shared, but there are options to book a solo or even luxury ‘stately’ room to meet your requirements. Book early and request a single room if this is important to you.

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Jane Alexander reviews this immersive week of psychotherapy in the Scottish lowlands and feels safe and held enough to face her issues head-on

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Retreat Activities

The Process, the Process and just the Process. You really don’t have the time or emotional energy for anything else.

The Process is made up of a variety of powerful tools and techniques to take people beyond their intellect and into their hearts and emotional selves, aiming to reduce internal stress and empower you to understand the meaning and purpose of your life, so you can make nourishing choices that will bring about joy. There’s a suite of different exercises which include values-based practice, body movement, assertiveness, dynamic and sitting meditation, life-journeying and individual sessions designed to help you get in touch with the body and old, wounded parts of the self.

The vast majority of people who go to Penninghame have reached a point in their lives where they feel stuck and worn out with relating to the world that does not appear to serve them.  All emotions are welcome, and expert practitioners value all of the messages and awareness they bring. Expect to dig deep, throw off your burdens, and pick off the scabs of years of restraint and unexpressed emotions.

• Wake up early to greet the day and emerge into the cocooning natural beauty of your surroundings.
• 7.30-morning session begins with our ritual daily practices of mindfulness and awareness, learning to check in and connect with yourself, followed by the rich and powerful Osho dynamic meditation to shake up your psyche and set you up for the day.
• A well earnt leisurely breakfast and refresh
• Morning and afternoon sessions that move you through the journey of your unconscious, right down to the very core. You’ll get to understand more deeply who you are how the conditioning and experiences you have had through your life have shaped your life today. You’ll get to unpick what works for you now, and leave behind what doesn’t. At times you will probably get stuck, meet your resistance, feel like it’s never ending and you’re never going to get there. But the breakthroughs and insights keep coming, maybe through your individual sessions in the group, or as you create more space to listen to yourself through the many opportunities you will get to clear out old baggage, or maybe they will come through one of the simple mindfulness and meditation practices you will be guided through, at every turn the Process delivers the next part you need to guide you back home to yourself.
• You’ll have breaks throughout the day to do your own reflection, and enjoy the beautifully prepared balanced and highly nutritional plant-based food, which is specifically designed to support you energetically and emotionally through your process.
• Evening sessions are often lighter work or in smaller groups, to either help you to assimilate the day’s work or invite you to go even deeper.

Personal spaces

Sleeping quarters at the standard price aren’t in the main house – but a little way off in either the tailor-made accommodation block, or one of the lodges dotted around the estate. Bedrooms (some shared, some singles) are super-clean, warm and comfortable with bleached wood floors, cream and grey-painted furniture and crisp white linen. Velux windows mean no view (possibly intentional?) and the overall feel is one of chic monasticism.

Personal spaces

At the standard price there are no en-suite facilities (unless you get lucky!), you share large, airy bathrooms with a power shower and also light and airy kitchens for making herbal tea. Rooms are shared, but there are single and luxury options available for more privacy and personal space.  If you do select the standard package, there are a number of spots around the estate to be alone, where you can find peace, tranquillity and connect to nature.

Insider Tips

If you can’t go make-up free, waterproof mascara is a must! Take easy to slip on and off outdoor shoes and cosy indoor slippers. Bring your favourite cosy hoodie or a snuggle jumper. A pocket first aid kit is useful with throat lozenges, ear-plugs, pain killers and anti-histamines. Don’t bring any books or magazines with you – you won’t be needing them, and they will distract you from the personal work you’re doing.

When to Go

Come in February/March to give your psyche a spring clean before the summer, or cosy up in the winter months and really turn inside. You’ll find that the weather won’t feature on your radar much, as you’ll be so immersed in the process.

Shared places

Penninghame House is a stonking great ‘pile’ of a house. It was built in 1869 (although some parts date back to 1700 or so) and sits next to a mood-shifting river surrounded by 100 acres of woodland, farmland and gardens, including an overgrown walled garden. It’s solid, imposing and stuffed to the gills with antiques, collections and walls of heavy duty, somewhat stolid, art. Sessions are held in Cree Hall (just a five minute walk down the driveway) which overlooks the River Cree. There’s a large airy meeting room, a smaller group room and a relaxing sitting room for breaks with tables chairs, sofas and tea making facilities.


Food is macrobiotic and vegan comfort food cooked by Angela or Ken, who is a naturopath and macrobiotic chef with 39 years’ experience. It’s tasty and plentiful but also rib-sticking; sometimes light and delicious, sometimes a little stodgy and heavy on the beans (wind was a problem for a fair few of us!). It’s all served buffet-style in a corridor next to the serene Gustavian-style dining room.

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Breakfast is a choice of miso, brown rice porridge (with seeds, nuts, compotes) or home-made granola, plus various breads, oatcakes and crackers with home-made bean dip, peanut butter, tahini spread. Lunch is two or three courses. Often a soup and usually a pudding (tofu cheesecake, apple crumble, coffee jelly) plus a pick ‘n’ mix choice of mains and sides – pan-fried polenta, burritos, veggie sushi, tempura vegetables, spinach lasagne, tofu stacks, salads, roasted vegetables. Supper is lighter (one or two courses as for lunch but no pudding).

Fruit is available mid-morning and you can help yourself freely to herbal teas and water throughout the day. There are always gluten-free options and Penninghame can cater for allergies and other intolerances as long as you tell them about these before the start of the course.

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The food is macrobiotic, sourced as locally, organically and seasonally as possible. Penninghame employs local people in the office and housekeeping. Penninghame gets its energy from ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), which use pipes which are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water.


Newton Stewart

Airport: Glasgow

Dumfries (from the South)

Airport transfer time: 2 hours Station transfer time : 1 hour, 45 mins  + 10 mins taxi ride

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