by Sherelle Jacobs from The Telegraph, August 11, 2017
An insider's guide to the best weekend spa breaks in England, including the top places for state-of-the-art treatments from mindful massages to reflexology, as well as swimming pools, hot tubs, hammams, saunas and couple's spa breaks, in locations including Ascot, Hampshire, Bath, Wiltshire, York, the Cotswolds, the Lake District and Durham.
Lime Wood, New Forest, Hampshire
A whimsical, sybaritic treat of a boutique, much adored by the boho set: you can learn to cook with celeb chefs in the kitchen and relocate your sanity amongst the wild-flower-clad spa grounds. It's a mere 20-minute taxi ride from Southhampton station.
Book a fitness class in the rooftop herb garden and reward yourself with a seaweed massage. Supper can then be taken in the working kitchen (think trout with pickled rhubarb and guinea fowl pasta). Overnight in a Forest Cabin with freestanding tub, log fire and meadow views.
After a health-conscious cookery workshop, head to the rooftop spa garden for a steaming hot pool and whirlpool overlooking the woods. Hankering after another treatment? It's the signature Bamford body scrub all the way.
Read the full review: Lime Wood, New Forest
Dormy House, Cotswolds
A 17th-century farm turned laidback luxury pad with cutting-edge pampering and smashing food at its heart. It’s handily located, a 12-minute taxi ride from Moreton-in-Marsh station (there’s a direct one-and-a-half-hour train to Paddington).
Book a session in the hot mineral mud room then unwind with a detox massage. Expect the likes of curried turbot with cauliflower in the Garden Room restaurant. The hot tub suites are the most sought-after for romantic getaways.
After a day lolling between the candle-lit infinity pool, the lavender-laced sauna and juniper-infused Finnish cabin, book in for one of the better-than-botox diamond facials. Glamour pusses may want to round off with a session in the nail parlour with a glass of champagne.
Read the full review: Dormy House, Cotswolds
Coworth Park, Ascot
Barnyard chic meets billionaire bling; unrivalled equestrian facilities and a world-class spa has made Coworth Park one of the most coveted hotel addresses in the country. It's an hour-and-a-half from London by car.
Take a dip in the indoor pool with underwater music before enjoying one of the whizzy collagen-boosting facials. The main attraction for dinner is the caviar-smeared tasting menu at Restaurant Coworth Park. If budget allows, bag one of the stable suites with four-poster bed and copper tub.
Book a beginner's polo session then console your limbs back in the spa, complete with sun terrace, aromatic steam room and experience shower. Speaking from experience, I'd recommend a lower-back massage afterwards!
Read the full review: Coworth Park, Ascot
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Somerset
This five-star heavyweight is the only hotel in Britain to have access to natural thermal waters. Top marks for the convenient location in the heart of Bath.
Arrive in good time to take in the impressive spa complex, with its Roman columns and three thermal pools. The Dan Moon restaurant does a six-course tasting menu with sensational desserts (think chocoloate domes and ginger gel). All bedrooms have Egyptian-cotton sheets and underfloor-heated bathrooms.
Guests are encouraged to partake in the 'Bath House Circuit', spending an hour soaking in the three pools of varying temperatures, rubbing the body with crushed lavender ice and having a sauna. Try your hand at acquatic yoga or opt for one of the mineral-packed body wraps.
Read the full review: The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Somerset
Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
Think country house splendour with all the trimmings, down to the Victorian gardens and sculpted yew trees. A spanking new ESPA wellness centre is the source of much excitement. It's a short drive from Chippenham (direct trains to London and Bristol)
Afficanados swear by the ESPA dry floatation treatments in 37C heated beds as a better stress-buster than therapy. The Hywel Jones restaurant is the place to dine (there's a cheese trolley!). Garden Rooms have splendid views.
There's an equestrian centre; follow up a hack through the forest with a mindfulness massage using breathing and visualisation techniques. That's after a dip in the salt-water plunge pool and time in the thermal cabins infused with amethyst and aromatic steam.
Read the full review: Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Lake District
A 100-acre Lake District bolthole complete with its own boat house, popular with loved-up couples; candle-lit private nooks aplenty and spectacular views. It's a 20-minute drive to Oxenholme station (direct trains to Manchester and London).
Hit the hot tub! There are both cedarwood and ancient-style Japanese ofuro baths dotted about; and private ones in several suites. Try and get a table at Michelin-starred Hrishi, if only for the chilli-glazed lobster with claw fritters.
The Jetty spa has a couple's treatment room in the tree canopy above the hotel's private lake. There's also a swimming pool, and salt snug where guests can enjoy a halotherapy treatment inspired by medieval monk practices, rounded off with an aroma salt scrub
Read the full review: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Lake District
Rudding Park Hotel & Spa, Follifoot, Yorkshire
One of the north's great country house hotels, complete with two golf courses, woodland walks and private cinema. It's highly accessible, 10 minutes' drive from Harrogate (direct trains to Leeds and London).
Blast away the cobwebs with one of the spa's bracingly bucolic treatments: juniper log sauna and bucket shower anyone? Guests can look forward to Whitby crab and wild boar tortellini in the 2 AA rosette restaurant. New spa bedrooms have their own saunas, steam rooms, and gold-tiled spa baths.
Spend the morning enjoying the rooftop garden with infinity pool, panoramic sauna, foot bubbles experience and herbal steam room. The rasul mud-room treatment for couples is popular; as are the mother-of-pearl body polishes.
Read the full review: Rudding Park Hotel & Spa, Follifoot, Yorkshire
The Grand Hotel & Spa, York
York's only five-star hotel and one of the finest city spas in the north of England. Think Golden Age glamour, all moulded stonework, marble fireplaces and thoroughly plush rooms.
Arrive early to make the most of the cracking facilities, which include an indoor jet pool, aromatic steam room, Nordic dry sauna and mosaic-tiled whirlpool tub. The afternoon teas with blueberry and orange scones are legendary. Suites have his-and-hers showers and roll-top baths.
Head back to the spa for another steam-sauna round, and perhaps even an ESPA treatment, such as the Advanced Enzyme Facial with rose quartz or algae-based Detox Wrap. Make sure a martini in The 1906 Bar is your one for the road before heading home.
Read the full review: The Grand Hotel & Spa, York
Seaham Hall, County Durham
A luxurious, cossetting Georgian mansion with mammouth Feng Shui-inspired spa. It's a 25-minute taxi ride from Newcastle Station.
There's an ozone-cleansed pool with massage jets, hammam, salt sauna and amethyst crystal steam room to get to grips with. Oh yeah, and the outdoor hot tubs, ice fountain, plunge pools and roof terrace. Even if you miss out on the room with twin slipper baths, you can look forward to freestanding tubs and coastal views.
If you don't come out of the Ultimate Serenity signature treatment feeling like a Duracell Bunny just out of the box, something has gone very wrong; it's a foot massage, body polish, body wrap, scalp massage and bamboo back massage rolled into one. Allow time for a cheeky G&T on the terrace before check out
Read the full review: Seaham Hall, County Durham
Brimstone at Langdale, Lake District
It's all about the flashy suites and curvaceous state-of-the-art-spa at this swish Lake District bolthole. It is in the middle of the Lake District National Park so you'll need a car. Two-and-a-half hours' drive from Leeds and Manchester.
Start with the signature Thermal Experience with Finnish cabin, ice fountain, Himalayan salt steam room and lava sauna. The Spa Suite, with spa bath, log-burning stove and his'n'hers shower, is the ideal room choice.
After following one of the hotel's recommended Lake District walks, head back to based for another round of spa: perhaps a superfood facial orchid body nourish wrap or frangipani-soaked hot-stone massage.
Read the full review: Brimstone at Langdale, Lake District
Rockcliffe Hall, County Durham
An erstwhile derelict Victorian mansion turned five-star golf resort and spa. It's convenient for those based in the north-east of England, located just outside of Darlington and half-an-hour's drive from Middlesborough.
If you're golfing, maybe try and get your round in early, so you can spend the rest of the stay easing those tired muscles in the spa garden's bubble-icious infinity-edge pool with massage jets. Expect much in the way of theatre at the 3 AA rosette Orangery (saffron cracker and oyster emulsion; duck and camomile).
A signature treatment will help combat that sinking feeling come check-out time. The wellness centre has teamed with Neom Organics (founded by a former Glamour magazine editor) to launch a range for the stressed and sleep-deprived, drawing on Thai massage, shiatsu and meditation.
Read the full review: Rockcliffe Hall, County Durham