As we get further into summer and the prospect of travelling a bit more comes into view, we’re absolutely desperate for the chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Given the experiences of recent months however, and the need to continue to be mindful about social distancing, many of us are wondering how we can enjoy getting outside whilst avoiding any crowds as packed beaches and parks are something we all seek to limit. Spa gardens might just be the tranquil answer you’re looking for, with limited numbers and the space to relax in peace. Here are a few favourites…
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, and when the spa reopens this beautiful mansion hotel offers you a terrific range of ESPA 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.
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.
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 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 in 2016 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.
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.
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.
A total retreat where you need to do nothing but relax and unwind, Barnsley House is the perfect romantic getaway for you and a special someone. Nestled in fairytale gardens, the spa is a series of unique experiences that make the most of the surrounding Cotswold gardens, including an outdoor bath that is as intimate as it is relaxing. Five beautifully designed treatment rooms are warm and tranquil and provide instant relaxation for your luxurious therapies and the spa lounge with its enchanting views of the countryside will imbue a feeling of instant calm.
A truly incredible destination spa experience awaits you at this property, where the breathtaking vistas are woven into every part of your journey. Inside the Spa are five treatment rooms, a four-person Rasul, champagne & deli Bar and a thermal suite comprising a laconium, aroma steam room, herbal sauna, salt steam room, ice fountain, drench showers and heated relaxation loungers. Outside, the pool looks out over the Catbells mountain range and the Finnish sauna is glass-fronted so you can drink in the outstanding beauty of the views. Treatments – divine ones – are the icing on the cake.
Rudding Park is a breathtakingly beautiful hotel with every luxury accounted for including a standalone spa, built with contemporary architecture and just as indulgent. A destination in its own right, you’ll need all day here to benefit from the extensive facilities and the impressive treatment menu. There are rooftop spa cabanas for groups and a rooftop spa garden, as well as a copper bath, outdoor hot tub and spa experiences that use natural spring water from the grounds. A truly holistic and decadent spa experience.
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.
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.
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