Writing Week Accommodation, Food and Access FAQ - Arvon Houses - Arvon

Accommodation, Food & Accessibility

Where can I find accessibility information?

Please refer to our access information page. It is always wise to call the house hosting your course prior to booking to discuss any specific access needs, or email access@arvon.org.

Do I have my own room?

Accomodation varies across our writing houses. All houses have single rooms only. At The Hurst all rooms have ensuite bathrooms. At Lumb Bank and Totleigh Barton there are mainly shared bathrooms, with a bedroom and ensuite bathroom available for those with specific access needs.

How many people share my bathroom?

Again, this varies by room and by house. Most bathrooms are shared, but never by more than five people. There are plenty of other washing/ toilet facilities available and people rarely have too long to wait for a morning shower. At The Hurst all rooms have ensuite bathrooms.

Is there mobile signal and WiFi?

Due to the rural location of our houses, mobile phone signal can be poor  at Totleigh Barton and The Hurst. Lumb Bank has a good mobile phone signal.

Totleigh Barton does not have WiFi due to a weak signal. At The The Hurst and Lumb Bank our usual policy is not to offer WiFi to course participants, as we encourage you to get away from it all during the course. If you need access, please request it when you are at the house.

Are the houses cold?

The houses are all adequately heated but they are large and very old, and you might find it different from what you are used to. In winter (and sometimes summer)  we can always find you another blanket or an extra heater for your room.

Are towels and toiletries provided?

Towels are provided, but will not be replaced during the week unless requested. Toiletries are not provided, please bring your own shower products, toothpaste, etc. We provide hand soap in the bathrooms. Also note shaving outlets are not provided in the bathrooms, so please bring an adapter.

Is there a house cat or dog?

There are no house cats, but some of the Arvon staff have dogs which come to work with them (all very friendly). We do not provide facilities for you to bring your own pet. However, guide dogs are welcome. Please let us know in advance if you are allergic to/have a problem with dogs.

Is it possible to be allocated a room that suits my needs (eg ground floor room)?

We will allocate suitable available rooms according to the information you supply, so it’s advisable to discuss your needs with Arvon staff prior to booking. Once we are certain we can meet your needs, accommodation will be reserved in your name. If you have specific access needs, please read our access information page.

I am not used to cooking for others and just want to come because of the writing – do I really have to cook as well?

Cooking and eating together is an essential part of an Arvon week. You will cook one evening meal and you’ll also be responsible for some washing up. These duties are confined to a few hours in total, so the rest of the week is left free for writing. Please don’t be nervous about cooking for the group. You will cook in a team and receive lots of support from Arvon staff.

What food/meals will be provided? Do I need to bring recipes or ingredients?

All your meals will be provided during the course. You will also have fruit, cake and biscuits to fuel your imagination throughout the week!

  • Breakfast is self-service at a time that suits you. There will be a selection of cereals, bread, jams, and often eggs and bacon.
  • Lunch is prepared for you by Arvon staff. Each house likes to showcase local produce and suppliers, so there is no set menu. There will be a mix of hot and cold food, depending on the season. You might have a cold buffet of bread, cheese, meats and salads, or soup or another hot dish.
  • Dinner is prepared by participants using recipes and ingredients provided by Arvon staff. You will cook once and work in a team, using tried and tested recipes. You’ll be supported by staff who start you off and help you organise the tasks. There’s plenty of time to prepare dinner and get to know your fellow cooks – it’s a great opportunity to form new friendships and reflect on the day’s insights.

What if I have specific dietary requirements?

As our houses are in rural locations, it is important to know your requirements in advance so provisions can be bought in. When you book your course, please let us know your dietary requirements. Staff will then design menus to take these into account, eg allergies, dairy- or gluten- free, vegan or vegetarian. If you have specific medical or religious requirements, please inform the staff.

Can we buy and drink alcohol at the house?

Yes, you can bring alcohol and drink it at the house. We ask those who wish to drink to bring their own supply, as Arvon is not licenced to sell or provide alcohol. At some houses it will be possible to complete an alcohol order with a local merchant. Please note, while we can provide you with contact details, we are unable to facilitate these purchases, so either you or someone from your group acting on your behalf will need to deal directly with the merchant. We recommend you bring cash to pay for your alcohol as there may not be a cash machine nearby, and if you are buying alcohol collectively it is easier to pay by cash than with multiple cards.

What things should I pack for an Arvon course?

We recommend you pack the following:

A pair of walking boots/boots/outdoor shoes
Waterproof jacket or coat
Warm clothing – in spite of central heating and open fires, a large country house can be cold
Basic toiletries
Paper and pens
Laptop (if you prefer to write on a computer)
A USB memory stick (if you would like to print your work)

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“I use a scooter most of the time and definitely The Hurst is beautifully accessible. I would find it hard to suggest any improvements at all. I think The Hurst is designed with the writer in mind and as such, all our needs are catered for.”

— Kathrine Dale