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Places of peace

If you're looking for somewhere to get away from it all, The Good Retreat Guide by Stafford Whiteaker (Rider, pound;12.99) is a good starting point.

Useful websites - gives details of various retreats at home and overseas (including Tuscany, above) offering ayurveda, yoga, cycling, walking and other activities;www.retreatsonline.comukengland (or scotland or wales) - an international site with a UK component; - for all things alternative. Metta is Sanksrit for "loving kindness". There's even a "jokes" section, which prompts calm, whimsical smiles rather than belly-laughs.

Venues The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF. Tel: 01235 847401; email: Buddhist Centre, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 8BZ. Tel: 01442 843239.The London Buddhist Centre, 51 Roman Road, London E2 0HU. Tel: 0845 458 4716; Wyld Court, Charmouth, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6DQ. Tel: 01297 560342; Buddhist Retreat Centre. Contact via the Croydon Buddhist Centre, 96 High Street, Croydon, CR0 1ND. Tel: 020 8688 8624; Convent, 8 Hyde Park Place, Bayswater Road, London W2 2LJ. Tel: 020 7723 7262.

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