St Nicholas holds a parish weekend away, on alternate years, at Rydal Hall, Ambleside, the very beautiful retreat centre owned by the diocese of Carlisle. The weekend is planned to include worship, fellowship, lots of fun and laughter and some free time to enjoy the scenic surroundings.

We have been fortunate to have had inspirational leaders to guide us, in programs designed to enable faith enrichment and develop our vision for St Nicholas church and the wider community. Leaders in recent years have included Bishop Geoff Pearson & his wife Jean; Revd Canon Judy Hirst and Bishop Julian Henderson & his wife, Heather.

Approximately 40 adults and 10 children / young people attend. We encourage all ages to come and make special provision for the children, having been fortunate to have the help and expertise of Sue Witts and her husband, Herbie.

 The next Parish weekend is 12th - 14th September 2025.

Parish Weekend 2023

Forty two people enjoyed a very pleasant and stimulating weekend at Rydal Hall, the retreat centre for the diocese of Carlisle, located in an idyllic setting, tucked away in the glorious landscape beloved of Wordsworth, between Ambleside and Grasmere.

We were not only blessed by having Archdeacon Mark Ireland (Archdeacon of Blackburn) and his wife, Gill, to lead our weekend, but also by being able to enjoy our time together in unusually warm and dry weather, which only broke with a timely thunderstorm just before lunch on our final day.

The theme of the weekend was 'Journeying with Jonah', and Archdeacon Mark led us through an engaging and in-depth study of this very familiar story, which both challenged and surprised us, as we dug deeper into the text, and uncovered its hidden depths.

Whilst we are all familiar with the Sunday school image of Jonah and the whale, we discovered that there are far deeper aspects which are there waiting to be explored and great insights we can learn and apply about the immense love God has for us all, believer and unbeliever alike.

Rydal Hall itself is in amazing grounds and during our free time on Saturday, some of us were able to enjoy walking in the nearby countryside, with stunning views across Rydal Water, whilst others relaxed doing other things, like taking a very pleasant boat trip on nearby Windermere or simply enjoying the chance to chill out.

Being together on a weekend like this is always special, and it was great to be able to spend time catching up with old friends or making new ones.

On Saturday evening, we held a concert entitled 'Rydal's got talent' when various members in our group demonstrated their talent, with a wide range of acts, which was great fun and hugely entertaining.

Our programme concluded on the Sunday, with a meaningful act of worship, after which we enjoyed lunch and said our fond farewells.

We look forward to future opportunities to spend time away together.

Sincere thanks are due to all those who planned and arranged the weekend, we are most grateful.

Here's to the next one!

Rob Taylor 


Parish Weekend 2019

Rydal report from Pauline & Beverley

Parish Weekend at Rydal Hall - Reflections of the first-timers...

Wow! What a truly amazing weekend and to be able to spend it with so many friends was a real delight.

It was our first visit to Rydal Hall and it certainly lived up to the hype. The place itself is beautiful; the grounds totally relaxing, the food both endless and perfect and the staff were all great too. These are things that set the foundation for the weekend but from arriving to leaving, we talked and laughed, laughed some more (and sometimes cried). We were inspired by worship led by Sue Witts and talks by Rev Ann Wood, which prepared the way for being totally captivated by Bishop Jill - she sent us out of her service almost in a trance. To be invited to give communion to our friends and to receive it from our friends was also an honour we will never forget.

Equally unforgettable was the Saturday evening's ever popular, 'Rydal's Got Talent' show. As a compere Norman was great, sharing his jokes about all the people he said he kept meeting in the foyer; and hilarious was Rev Philip's true monologue about his becoming locked in his bedroom the night before (doesn't sound funny on paper but you just had to be there!) Then after other displays of talent we ended with a side-splitting panto - so terrible it was brilliant (think Monty Python!)

Although they didn't take part in our 'sessions,' it was good to have with us, husbands Neil, Norman, Charles and Andrew who instead, explored the beautiful area around Rydal. A lucky bonus for us during the 'Free-Time' of Saturday afternoon, was that the sun shone and so we, and some others joined them for a really lovely walk around Rydal and Grasmere.

Before Sunday lunch it was good to see the enthusiasm with which the younger people enjoyed showing us all the crafty items they'd made during the weekend. (Instead of attending our 'sessions,' they'd had fun with special activities, expertly led by Sue Witts and also later, husband, Herbie.)

The whole weekend was better than perfect for everyone. We arrived home inspired by everything that had happened and it just goes to show what great shape we are in as a true church family; fingers crossed we haven't scared off Rev Phil and his wife Janice before they even arrive to become our new incumbents!

A huge thank you to Cheryl, Sue and the others involved in arranging the weekend and for making it so special. As first-timers attending the Parish Weekend, we are already looking forward to next time because we wouldn't want to miss it for the world. If you've not yet been to one, maybe you too will want to sign up in in 2021 - remember it is suitable for all ages.

Pauline and Beverley

The next parish weekend is planned for 10-12 September 2021 at Rydal Hall

Parish Weekend 2017