Spending time in the great outdoors brings us closer to nature and has a wealth of health benefits, ranging from a boost to vitamin D to better concentration levels and reduced stress levels. Add in a spa environment and just imagine the feel-good-factor?
Movie magic: Luton Hoo Hotel and Spa, Bedfordshire
Remember Four Weddings and a Funeral? That second wedding scene? Or Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut? or Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again? Well you could take a spa break where these were shot if you go to Luton Hoo Hotel & Spa. Set in more than 1,000 acres of gardens, parkland, woodland and golf course, this beautiful mansion hotel offers you a terrific range of spa treatments to help you get ready for summer and if you fancy heading out into the great outdoors you can walk, or hire a bike and explore. On second thoughts, maybe watching the pheasants from your lounger by the indoor pool may suffice.
Gatsby glamour: Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire
This exquisite luxury hotel has every possible element to recommend it. However, the grand 17th century property is perfectly presented within exceptional formal grounds and gardens to wander in. The gardens have been used to enhance the hotel and spa experiences at every possible turn. For example, the spa combines indoor and outdoor spaces to unwind in, and Restaurant Eighty Eight is set against an outstanding backdrop of ornamental Japanese gardens. These Japanese gardens date to 1910 when they were created for Lord and Lady Furness. It includes two ponds linked by a stream set within a ravine, and is Grade II registered for its authentic design.
To the manor born: Hoar Cross Hall, Staffordshire
Recently named one of the best UK spa gardens, Hoar Cross Hall is set in 50 acres of grounds; an Elizabethan manor house with many original attributes. The trees, lawns and borders are immaculately kept and it’s a treat to sit or roam the grounds, hand in hand with a partner or pondering your own thoughts quietly. There’s also plenty to do outside, in addition to the celebrated spa. Naturally, the grounds can also be enjoyed from the different areas of the hotel, and one of our favourite ways is tucking into afternoon tea with a view of the lawns. It doesn’t even need good weather to be appreciated
A pampering playground: The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village, Lancashire
A whole village of spa and leisure experiences, Ribby Hall has a spectacular Zen Garden set peacefully at the back of the spa. It has had an outside hot tub and sauna since its opening, but added an outdoor bar and beautiful seating area and then a Himalayan salt sauna, an additional outdoor hot tub, and an outdoor experience shower with mood lighting and body jets. The outdoor experience shower is housed in a luxurious wooden structure, so even when it’s raining you can enjoy a warm shower outdoors. Meanwhile, the beautiful Himalayan salt sauna has Himalayan salt bricks in the walls which, as well as looking delightful, have several health benefits including the support of a healthy respiratory system and improved sleep.
Weekend retreat: The Grove, Hertfordshire
Fancy a spot of five star country luxury within easy reach of central London? Spoil yourselves at The Grove, billed as London’s country estate and voted one of the top 10 UK Spas by Conde Nast Traveller. Easily accessed from the M25, although you wouldn’t know it once you arrive, the hotel and spa is surrounded by 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. The hotel gardens are brimming with periodically changing art installations and sculptures, and it even has its own urban beach to rest your deckchair on if the sun comes out. Walk, run, swim, cycle, play golf and eat - it’s just the pick me up to set you up for summer.
Cotswold classic: Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Wiltshire
Whatley Manor is a grown up getaway in the heart of the Cotswolds, which offers leisure and relaxation at every turn. Michelin starred dining, a private cinema, live jazz and garden tours combine with a sumptuous spa which is a destination in itself. Here, you’ll spend your day relaxing in a robe and slippers, effortlessly floating between pools and relaxation areas and the treatment rooms, where you can choose from a selection of luxurious therapies, including those which are taken in a Natura Bissé Bubble. The thermal suite is not to be missed - beautiful water therapy aimed to rejuvenate you, ease tired muscles and lift the soul.
Contemporary classic: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, Hertfordshire
The perfect mix of grandeur and comfort, this country house hotel is the height of luxury with an emphasis on hospitality at its warmest. Housing the UK’s first private members’ spa, Cottonmill is a luxurious sanctuary with state-of-the-art facilities and truly decadent spa experiences delivered by world-class experts. Innovative spaces provide relaxation areas post treatment, in private gardens and poolside terraces along with cabanas, hot tubs and fire pits woven into a landscaped oasis.
Sustainable spa: South Lodge, Sussex
This exquisite hotel has so much to offer in the way of beauty, service and activities, however The Spa at South Lodge is a destination in its own right. Designed with sustainability in mind, the spa lets the outdoors in as much as possible, so you can expect spectacular South Downs views from many vantage points including the indoor pool and relaxation space. Outside, the luxury continues, with an infinity edge pool, natural wild pool and a hydrotherapy pool. Inside, the spa has a superb thermal suite and 14 nature-themed treatment rooms to enjoy massages, facials and body rituals.
Swim up bar: Manor House Hotel - Alsager, Cheshire
A four-star retreat with a purpose-built, modern spa, Manor House Hotel - Alsager has so many things to recommend it. One of the favourite features however is the 'secret' garden, complete with the all-season outdoor spa. This carefully curated space has a range of facilities that are a joy in their own right but are also perfect for preparing for a spa treatment. They include a pool house, vitality pool, hydrotherapy tub, pavilion, summer house, salt steam inhalation chamber, potting sauna shed, plunge bath and seating areas as well as a much lauded swim-up bar - the only one of its kind in the UK. Go from there to your White Chocolate and Orange Blossom Facial and you're in for a treat!
Country chic: Chewton Glen, New Forest
Chewton Glen is a famous five-star country retreat set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside. Everything here is done to perfection and the landscape definitely plays a starring role in the wellness factor. Whether you stay in one of their unique Treehouses suites and want to views of the secluded valley below, or spend days roaming the gardens and enjoying croquet on the lawn, it's the kind of country garden that story books are written about. The spa is also a destination in its own right, with a sophisticated pool hall and collection of gorgeous REN, Oskia and Natura Bisse treatments to choose from.