At Alton Castle, our primary aim is to foster a deeper connection between every young person and God, enabling them to encounter Christ in various meaningful ways. We recognize that one of the most profound ways to experience Jesus is through the celebration of mass, prayer, and the sacrament of the Eucharist. Therefore, all our residential retreats are thoughtfully designed to offer numerous opportunities for prayer and reflection.
Mass and Prayer:
Our retreats incorporate moments of mass and communal prayer, providing young people with a chance to come together in a spirit of unity. Small group night prayer sessions encourage participants to openly express their thoughts and connect with God. The celebration of mass on the second evening is a truly special occasion where they have a unique encounter with Christ.
Nestled atop the Churnet Valley, Alton Castle boasts a breathtaking natural setting. This picturesque environment allows the young people who visit us to experience the wonder of God's creation and the beauty of the world we all inhabit. Through outings into the countryside and other outdoor activities, they have the opportunity to encounter Christ through His magnificent creation.
Our residential retreats are distinctive in their approach. We weave the experience of creation and community prayer into challenging activities. These activities encourage retreatants to place trust in one another, work collaboratively, and overcome obstacles. In this process, they not only bond with their peers but also encounter Christ through each other and the activities they engage in.
Alton Castle provides a unique and enriching environment where young people can explore their faith, deepen their relationship with God, and develop strong connections with their peers. Through prayer, nature, and team-building experiences, we aim to create truly transformative and unforgettable retreats.
Our residential retreat programs at Alton Castle offer a unique blend of spiritual enrichment and adventurous outdoor activities. Here's what young people can expect during their two-night stay in our 19th-century castle:
- Prayer, Meditation, and Reflection: Retreatants will have dedicated moments for prayer, meditation, and self-reflection. These times allow them to connect with their inner selves and encounter Christ in a spiritual way.
- Challenging Outdoor Activities: Our retreats include a variety of challenging outdoor activities designed to promote teamwork, trust, and personal growth. These activities provide opportunities for young people to encounter Christ through shared experiences and conquering challenges.
- Accommodation in a Historic Castle: Participants have the privilege of staying in the picturesque 19th-century castle, a truly unique and memorable experience.
- Mass Celebrations: One of the highlights of the retreat is the celebration of mass. Young people come together in our beautiful church to partake in this sacred ceremony, fostering a deep and meaningful encounter with Christ.
Abseiling is one of the exciting activities offered during some Key Stage 3 (KS3) retreats and special events at Alton Castle. The castle towers themselves provide an ideal setting for this adventure, allowing young people to embrace their fearlessness while enjoying the stunning natural surroundings. It's an exhilarating experience that combines the thrill of adventure with the beauty of the castle's location, making it a memorable and transformative part of the retreat program.
Become a modern-day Robin Hood during your stay at Alton Castle! Our archery program offers the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of archery techniques and hone your skills to become a skilled archer. Whether you're a beginner or have some experience, our activities are designed to improve your aim and precision. Here's what you can expect from our archery experience: Archery Basics: Learn the essential techniques of archery, from proper posture to drawing the bow and releasing arrows accurately. Games and Challenges: Put your newfound archery skills to the test by participating in exciting games and challenges. These activities are not only fun but also support your team dynamics. Aim for Gold: Practice your aim and accuracy as you strive to hit the bullseye. Whether you're a novice or more experienced, there's always room for improvement.
Get ready to embark on a thrilling mountain biking adventure during your stay at Alton Castle! Our fleet of mountain bikes is ready and waiting for you to explore the breathtaking Churnet Valley. We take pride in being an approved British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership Centre, ensuring that your experience is safe, enjoyable, and full of learning opportunities. Here's what you can look forward to: Skills Assessment: Your adventure begins with a skills assessment in the castle moat. This assessment ensures that everyone is familiar with the basics of mountain biking and is prepared for the ride ahead. Venture into the Churnet Valley: Once your skills are assessed, it's time to set off into the scenic Churnet Valley. This area offers an excellent backdrop for an exhilarating mountain biking experience
Crate stacking at Alton Castle is not just about adventure; it's a valuable experience that encourages older children to develop advanced climbing skills, practice teamwork, and learn safety techniques in a supportive and fun environment. Here's what participants can anticipate during crate stacking: Team Collaboration: Crate stacking is a team-oriented activity where each participant plays a vital role. Working together as a team, children learn how to communicate effectively, support each other, and ensure everyone's safety and success. Safety Skills: Participants will not only learn to climb but also understand how to safely belay and back up their peers. This skill is essential for their own safety and the safety of others. Building Towers: Crate stacking involves building towers by stacking crates on top of each other. Children learn how to construct stable and secure structures, fostering problem-solving skills and cooperation. Equal Opportunity: The activity is designed to give every participant a chance to succeed. Children work together in groups to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to climb and reach new heights.
At Alton Castle, we offer a diverse range of team-building activities that challenge participants in various ways. These activities are carefully designed to assess and improve essential skills, with a strong emphasis on effective communication and collaboration. The goal of our team-building activities is to encourage teams to: Communicate Effectively: Participants will learn the importance of clear and efficient communication. They'll discover how to convey ideas, listen actively, and work as a team to achieve common goals. Utilize Each Other's Strengths: Our activities are structured to help teams recognize and utilize individual strengths within the group. This collaborative approach enhances problem-solving and fosters a sense of unity. Complete Challenging Tasks: Teams will face a variety of tasks and challenges that require creativity, critical thinking, and cooperation. These activities push participants to think outside the box and work together to succeed.
Our low ropes course is a valuable addition to our program, providing children with a chance to learn and grow while enjoying an exciting and challenging outdoor experience. Here's what you can expect from our low ropes course: Problem Solving: The low ropes course is designed to present participants with a series of challenges and obstacles that require problem-solving skills. Children will need to think critically and work together to find solutions. Teamwork: Teamwork is at the core of this activity. Children will need to support each other, communicate effectively, and rely on their peers to complete the course. It's an excellent opportunity for them to build trust and unity.
Our survival activity is a comprehensive and educational experience that offers children the opportunity to learn important bushcraft skills and gain a deeper understanding of global issues. Here's what the activity encompasses: Bushcraft Skills: Participants will learn essential bushcraft skills, including shelter building, the significance of access to clean water, and fire lighting. These skills are not only practical but also foster self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. Global Awareness: The activity focuses on the challenges faced by refugees and individuals in developing countries. It prompts children to consider the hardships others endure and encourages empathy and compassion. Charity Engagement: The discussion of the work of organizations like CAFOD and other charities introduces children to the concept of humanitarian aid and the role of these organizations in supporting vulnerable populations.
Our Key Stage 3 (KS3) and Key Stage 4 (KS4) team-building challenges at Alton Castle are specifically designed to foster teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support among older children. These challenges are engaging and empower participants to work together effectively in groups to overcome obstacles and achieve shared goals.
Our indoor climbing wall is an exciting feature at Alton Castle, offering Key Stage 2 (KS2) children a chance to conquer their fears and collaborate as a team to achieve new heights. Here's what the experience entails: Facing Fears: The indoor climbing wall provides a safe and controlled environment for children to challenge themselves. They can confront their fears and build self-confidence as they scale the wall. Teamwork: Our climbing wall activities encourage teamwork and support. Children work together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to climb and traverse the wall. Collaboration is key in achieving success. Belaying and Encouragement: In addition to climbing, participants also learn how to belay their friends. This skill involves securing the rope for safety during climbs. Children encourage and support their classmates, fostering a sense of trust and camaraderie.
Trekking at Alton Castle combines adventure, education, and a spiritual connection with the natural world. It's an experience that allows children to explore, learn, and develop a sense of stewardship for God's creation. Here's what participants can expect: Exploration of Nature: The trekking experience allows children to connect with nature, observe the natural world, and appreciate the wonders of God's creation. It's an opportunity to foster a sense of wonder and reverence for the environment. Map Reading Skills: Participants will learn essential map reading skills. This practical knowledge equips them with the ability to navigate and understand geographical features, enhancing their outdoor proficiency. Understanding Wildlife: During the trek, children have the chance to encounter local wildlife and gain a greater understanding of the diverse ecosystem that surrounds them. This knowledge helps foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world.