Leisure Breaks and Personal Retreats

Frequently Asked Questions

Residential Themed Retreats

Booking Terms and Conditions

Bookings are subject to the completion of a booking form (bookings can also be made verbally over the phone), receipt of a deposit/balance payment and acceptance of our booking terms and conditions.

Please see our terms and conditions page here: Nicholaston House - Terms and Conditions of Booking

Provisional Bookings

At the discretion of the bookings team, provisional bookings may be held for a very short period of time to allow individuals and groups time to make arrangements. To avoid disappointment, bookings should be confirmed at the earliest opportunity. Provisional bookings may be superseded by other individuals or groups who wish to book. Bookings are only accepted following receipt of booking form (or same details provided over the phone), deposit/balance payment and confirmation from our booking office. 

Check In

Unless otherwise stated, the check in time for 4-night retreats, commencing on Monday, is between 4-5 p.m.

Check Out

Unless otherwise stated, the check out time for 4-night retreats, concluding on Friday, is 10 a.m.

Meals and Dietary/Allergies

Themed retreats are full board - please see our catering page here for details of meal times and dietary/allergy information: Catering Facilities at Nicholaston House Christian Retreat and Conference Centre

Accommodation

Our accommodation comprises mainly twin, with some single, double and family bedrooms, all with en-suite provision, as well as tea- and coffee-making facilities. Linen and towels are provided. All rooms are subject to availability. We endeavour to meet requests for specific rooms, however we reserve the right to alter room allocations to best accommodate guests. Priority is given to guests requiring our adapted room and rooms with walk in showers.

Please see our accommodation page here: Accommodation at Nicholaston House

Single Occupancy Charge

Unless otherwise stated or included in the rate, guests requiring guaranteed single occupancy of a non-single room will incur a single occupancy surcharge at the relevant rate.

Shared Occupancy Discount for Individuals

Please let us know if you are booking as an individual and willing to share with another person of the same gender who is also willing to share - a shared occupancy discount is available at the relevant rate when sharing a room (excludes some retreats and courses which are single occupancy only).

Balance Payments

In line with our terms and conditions, full balance payments are due four weeks before arrival. Payment can be made by cheque or by telephoning our office to make a debit/credit card payment over the phone.

Directions and Public Transport

For directions to Nicholaston House, please see our directions page here: Contact Nicholaston House Christian Retreat and Conference Centre

The nearest bus stop is a short (5 minute) walk down a country road. For the most up to date bus and other public transport details, please visit Traveline Cymru: https://www.traveline.cymru or by calling: 0800 464 00 00

Facilities

Nicholaston House facilities include a conservatory overlooking the magnificent sweep of Oxwich Bay, conference room with audio-visual equipment, games including table tennis, art and craft studio, prayer room, bookstall and lounge with TV. Generally, facilities are available on a shared use basis with other guests.

Chapel

The Celtic Chapel endorses the vision of the House. Completed in March 2010, it is built in medieval style and central to the daily rhythm of prayer and worship. 

Guests are welcome to join with staff for short devotional times in the Chapel during the week. At other times, guests may request the Chapel key for personal devotional times.

Programme of Events

Where possible, we will provide an outline programme for the event in advance of the event. Programme timings may vary and are subject to change.

Half Board Breaks and Personal Retreats

Other Activities

Other events may take place during our half-board breaks and personal retreat weeks. On occasions such events may limit the use of some facilities; we will endeavour to advise guests at the time of booking or prior to arrival.

Day Conferences

Residential guests may be staying at the House during such events.

Residential Conferences

Subject to meeting minimum booking levels, residential conferences are normally on an exclusive use basis. However, the management reserve the right to fill any remaining bedrooms with other personal retreat guests.

The History of Nicholaston House Christian Retreat and Conference Centre

Nicholaston House was birthed in a dream/vision in the mid 1980s.  Derrick and Sue Hancock had been working for a long time with a person who had suffered severe abuse. It became apparent to them, and the psychiatrist now working with them, that any healing that was going to take place could be significantly hurried up if the therapy could be more than simply sessional. Established centres were approached, but, (a) there was always a lengthy waiting time, and (b) the centre wanted to use their own staff, thus going over much of what had already been covered. The vision of a safe house was thus born.

The problem with visions is that they seldom happen overnight; that is why many God-given visions don’t materialise - people give up too soon. The vision was carried to Swansea in a quite remarkable way. A fleece was put out on a train going into Waterloo Station on a cold Monday morning in January 1990. After many months of searching as to where this vision could be realised, Swansea appeared on the screen quite out of the blue. Derrick and Sue had been in Swansea on the Sunday visiting their daughter and God spoke to them at an evening church service. The Monday morning fleece prayer was a result, and it was simply ‘if you want them to move to Swansea, they will go, but you will need to find a buyer for their house without their putting it on the market’. That was 7.50 in the morning. At 7.30 in the evening, someone called to ask if they were selling their house. The caller’s wife had that day discovered she was pregnant and they now needed a 4-bedroomed house – so they bought it.  

Derrick and Sue became linked up with a charity in the city – Swansea City Mission – and soon became involved in running a residential unit for homeless men. Then three years later they were instrumental in commencing a counselling service. Many years on, this service is still operating. Well over 1,000 people have used the service, which remains donation-based. The vision, however, was for a residential place of safety and much prayer was made over many years. £75,000 had become available, and though helpful, this was by no means enough. Prayer continued and every session commenced with the reading of Habakkuk Ch. 2 v.2&3, part of which reads, ‘though the vision tarry, it will not be overdue a single day’.

In June 1998, a private hotel on the Gower peninsula came up for auction. It was withdrawn at the last minute and sealed bids were invited. The trustees decided to bid £295,000. Only one other bidder was present - the survey on the property had put many people off. The bid was opened and then the other, which was for £291,500. After the bidders had left, the estate agent said, ‘I can’t understand this – those people have an awful lot of money and really wanted it’. There was just 12 weeks between the bid and the purchase to raise £250,000. The trustees had decided in faith to purchase the property. £320,000 came in.

Three years after Nicholaston House was purchased, a lady made it known that she and her family camped at a nearby farm for a number of years in the late 1980s. They used to go to Nicholaston, which was then a hotel, for an evening drink. She said one day after her husband and children had returned to the campsite, as she sat looking out to sea, she heard God say, ‘this is My house’. Some eight years later, it was.

History

The original Nicholaston 'House' was built in the 1880s in a peaceful spot overlooking the sea. The building was extended in the 1960s and in 1998 Swansea City Mission purchased the House as a Christian Conference and Retreat Centre. 

Read: The History of Nicholaston House Christian Retreat and Conference Centre

Vision

The vision of Nicholaston House is to create an atmosphere of love and prayer where people can find acceptance, peace, hope and healing through a Christian residential house. 

Focus

The focus of Nicholaston House is to be a centre for healing and restoration channelled through various retreats and courses, and to facilitate Christian groups for conferences and away days.

Organisation

Nicholaston House is Swansea City Mission and Educational Trust’s main charitable operation, having purchased the House in 1998 thereby establishing a Christian Retreat and Conference Centre overlooking Oxwich Bay.

Employment and Volunteering

There are resident staff at Nicholaston House forming a small intentional Christian community. This number is supported by full-time, part-time and casual staff. The work is also supported by a host of volunteers who undertake a variety of tasks, from maintenance and gardening to counselling and prayer ministry.

Location

Nicholaston House, standing in its own grounds overlooking Oxwich bay, is set in Britain’s first designed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Step outside and wander onto open moorland with its purple heather and golden gorse, and view the Gower ponies grazing on the gently sloping hillside. A leisurely walk to the cliff-top takes you to a beautiful view of Three Cliffs Bay - come and see for yourself. 

Accommodation

Nicholaston House accommodation comprises twin, double and family bedrooms, all with en-suite provision, as well as tea- and coffee-making facilities. The bedrooms are situated on the first floor and accessed by stairs or lift. One room is adapted to meet some of the needs of people with disabilities. Linen, towels and complimentary soaps are provided in all bedrooms. In the event all single rooms are booked and guaranteed single occupancy is required, then twin/double rooms are available to book on a single occupancy basis, whereby a single supplement charge applies (excludes some courses and retreats).

Bryn Room (Self-Catering)

The Bryn Room is a self-catering studio apartment for one or two people, attached to Nicholaston House with patio doors opening onto the open moorland of Cefn Bryn. It is available to book for personal retreats and time out. 

Facilities

Nicholaston House facilities include a conservatory overlooking the magnificent sweep of Oxwich Bay, conference room with audio-visual equipment, games including table tennis, art and craft studio, prayer room, bookstall and lounge with TV.

Christian Conference Centre

Nicholaston House is an ideal place for church and Christian groups to spend time together. Book one or more of our rooms for a day, evening, weekend, week or even longer periods. The House is a popular venue for Alpha ‘Holy Spirit’ away days, due to its stunning location, relaxed environment, free car-parking and good food! 

Catering

Catering options are available to suit a range of requirements. All meals are home-made and are freshly prepared by a dedicated catering team. Vegetarian, vegan, as well as special dietary meals such as gluten- and dairy- free, are available to order upon request. All catered conference options include tea and coffee during the day. 

The Celtic Chapel

The Celtic Chapel endorses the vision of the House. Completed in March 2010, it is built in medieval style and central to the daily rhythm of prayer and worship.

Garden

The Garden is part of the Quiet Garden Movement and also one of a few places in Wales with a wild bird garden, having equipment for viewing from the conservatory. Water cascades down to the lily pond with the flowers adding colour and beauty. Seats are strategically placed to capture the view of the garden, countryside and coast. A small ‘Hermitage’ may be used for personal prayer and quiet times.

Quiet Garden Movement

Nicholaston House is a member of the Quiet Garden Movement. The garden includes a prayer walk and is open each day from April to October, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Please ring the House on 01792 371317 to advise of your intended visit.

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Celtic Cross (on the roof)

Pink Jersey granite from the La Saline Quarry, near Ronez Point, on the north coast of Jersey in the parish of St John.

The quarry looks out to Guernsey, Sark and Alderney. It is a symbol of the journey of the Welsh Celtic Saint Samson, who was associated with healing, and went on to become a notable Breton Saint and is buried in Dol, Brittany, France, where there is a shrine to him. The granite was brought back by sea to Weymouth, then to Gower.

Door

Made from reclaimed Pitch Pine timber. Original timber used in the early 19th Century dockyard building in Chatham Dockyard, Kent. Probably grown in the Baltic in the late 18th Century.

Interior East Niche

Furnished with Northumberland sandstone Celtic cross. Stone taken to Holy Island, Lindisfarne, and blessed on the high altar of St Mary's church Lindisfarne.

Floor Slabs

Metamorphic limestone from Jerusalem called Ramon Stone. Symbolic of the Holy Land itself. The name Ramon is also linked by coincidence to Brother Ramon, the late Franciscan monk, who has a dedicated Hermitage in the grounds of Nicholaston House near this chapel.

Centre Floor Slab

Of golden stone from a small quarry in Bethlehem run by a Palestinian. It symbolises the birth place of our Lord Jesus Christ. The underside of the centre stone slab is carved with the following inscription:

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 

Ceiling Centre Boss

A carved wooden pitch pine relief of the 'Star of Bethlehem'. Symbol of the 'star' over Bethlehem, which guided the Magi to the stable. The longer point of the star points to the north, towards the Aumbry cupboard on the wall.

The Aumbry

A small stone niche set into the North wall fitted with a lockable wooden pitch pine door with ironwork. This is the traditional place for such a cupboard where the Communion vessels and reserved sacrament are kept.

A small stone is set into the stone band beneath the Aumbry cupboard. The stone is carved into a rudimentary cross shape. It was picked up from under the waters of the Sea of Gallilee by David Dean and given to the chapel as a gift. It was there under the water when Christ walked on that water. It is here now.

My time with you was very special – the superb location, wonderful views from my room, the peace and quiet, as well as the lovely welcome and food.