Fancy winding down away from the world of work and chilling out in the countryside? Jill Theobald stayed at an Air B&B with a difference – a converted 17th century church in the heart of Yorkshire
There are rooms with a view.
And then there’s Eagles Retreat at All Hallows – which contains a bedroom with an approximately 10ft stained-glass window.
‘Wow’ is the common reaction when guests step into the converted 17th century church on a hill in the heart of Yorkshire and glimpse the focal point.
Billed on its Air B&B listing as an ‘idyllic one-of-a-kind rural retreat’, my partner and I arrived at Eagles Retreat looking to swap the city for the countryside for 24 hours.
And we got just that – ‘the perfect sanctuary’ Air B&B ‘superhosts’ Christina and Jasper Hodges had promised at their deconsecrated chapel in High Hoyland, near Barnsley.
We stayed in the back apartment (you can also hire the tower at the other end of the building as well) with the chapel’s vaulted, beamed ceiling high above, kipping on what was presumably the altar originally.
Aside from the amazing stained-glass window above the bed, we had a small living area with easy chairs and a TV (with Netflix) and a kitchen area with cooker, washing machine, fridge and plenty of snacks as well as supplies for breakfast.
Continental breakfast is included but pay a little extra to get the cooked breakfast – it was well worth it! Sausages and bacon were from Cannon Hall Farm – the tourist attraction not far from All Hallows – and the meat was delicious. Best bacon butty I’ve had in a long while. (The milk was also from Nether End Farm in nearby Denby Dale, and the locally sourced supplies were a really nice touch).
Behind the church’s wooden panel walls was the bathroom – which brought you back into the modern age after catching sight of the jacuzzi bath. Bubble-tastic and very relaxing.
The views outside the room were pretty amazing, too. The best views are from the top of the tower, but a short stroll through the churchyard takes you out to a lovely bench overlooking gorgeous green fields and trees – and, very far off in the distance, bustling Barnsley.
Eagles Retreat is also close to country footpaths, quaint shops and pubs and fascinating places to visit including Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the aforementioned Cannon Hall Farm.
But we decided we wanted 24 hours away from everything, packed the car with grub and grog and ventured no further than the courtyard area in the afternoon – where I got through an entire library book in the sunshine – rustling up a quick evening meal in the cosy little kitchen and eating al fresco before decamping to the bench for some sunset and evening drinks.
And peace and quiet! I turned my mobile off and really felt like we were getting back to nature and simplicity just for a few hours.
Of course, the minute we were back in Sheffield I was posting on Instagram – well, I had to share the highlights of our heavenly visit!
Burning out? Turn to Tina
Tina is not just an Air B&B superhost – she’s also the founder of Transformation Is For All, a not-for-profit social enterprise where she is a coach, speaker, mentor and offers coaching and training as well as spiritual direction so people can be their ‘best self, whether at work, in life or relationships’.
Tina and her team specialise in bespoke ‘flexible and intuitive’ coaching and training and visitors to All Hallows can also book on to these sessions.
A lot of people who have been through personal trauma – loss of a relative, redundancy, relationship breakdown, illness or health issues – use Tina’s coaching.
The Couples/Marriage Retreats are also very popular both with couples ‘wanting to make a good marriage great’, as well as couples who find life challenging.
But her coaching skills are also being increasingly called upon by businesspeople facing burn-out.
“We have definitely seen an increase in people from different areas like sales and PR to social workers and people from a military background,” said Tina.
“We have people who use the retreat because of that inability to switch off and say they wish they could stay longer but the reality is two or three days are the maximum they feel they can take off from work. And even then, we have to ensure we have good Wi-Fi because some still want to check in with the office.
“With the economy the way it is at the moment, people on zero hours contracts or worried about not responding to that email that was sent out of work hours – there have been a lot of changes in society and expectations are high, it’s no wonder people are facing burn-out and are falling ill more often.
“No matter what the reasons for visiting, our goal is for people to use the space to find peace, and support and to feel restored and refreshed.”