England’s best wellness retreats

Words by Chanelle Ho

25 September 2023


Rest and relax just outside of London with our pick of the six best nearby escapes.

If you require some R&R, plenty of options are not far from London. Here’s our pick of the best places to unwind, with our recommendation of which therapies to indulge in during your visit.

Best for unwinding in nature: The Fish Hotel

A haven nestled within the woodlands and greenery of the 500-acre Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is the perfect luxury, cosy retreat for those who want to reset in nature. Accommodation ranges from rooms and suites with stunning Cotswolds views to tucked-away huts and woodland-wrapped treetop hideaways (we recommend the treehouses that come with heated outdoor baths, fitted with an intercom for bar-to-bath room service). 

Not just a place to relax and escape, Farncombe Estate is the ultimate wellbeing centre that offers holistic experiences and treatments to help you zone out, nourish your soul, and nurture your mind. Think guided meditation walks beneath the tree canopies in the Woodland Wellbeing space, yoga workshops, sound baths, wellness talks, and more. 

The Fish Hotel

You can even pop over to sister hotel Dormy House (just a six-minute drive through the estate) to visit its award-winning spa, which has an extensive menu of top-to-toe treatments, or drift away in its isotopic floatation tank – a tub filled with 500kg Epsom salts and 1,000 litres of water, where you’ll find a zen state by floating in complete darkness and silence.

Best for spa fanatics: The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Bath is one of the greatest spa towns in England, known for its historical Roman baths and healing waters. One luxury hotel taking advantage of the natural thermal springs is The Gainsborough Bath Spa – the most opulent hotel in the area, with an unrivalled spa that offers incredible treatments. It is the only hotel in the country with direct access to the town’s ancient underground springs – the most delightful way to enjoy the healing waters in an exclusive setting away from the rush of tourists. 

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The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Romanesque Bath House is the core feature of the hotel: set beneath a glass atrium, you can experience a spa circuit that includes taking a dip in two natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, traditional and infrared saunas, a steam room and an ice alcove. Its signature body massage is incredible, but we recommend trying one of the new treatments in partnership with like-minded Hungarian spa brand Omorovicza. Its products are centred around a patented Healing Concentrate, which uses the natural thermal baths of Budapest – truly the perfect match.

Best for groups: THE LAKES by YOO

THE LAKES by YOO is an escape to the ‘Hamptons of the Cotswolds’, an impressive 850-acre sustainable estate of millionaire waterside homes among multiple meadows, woodlands and ten lakes. Interiors have been designed by various partners, including Kate Moss, Phillippe Starck, Kelly Hoppen and Elle Macpherson, so you can expect a stunning stay – whether you choose a cabin, luxury apartment or home, or a grand six-bedroom manor.

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There are also plenty of activities and wellness to enjoy, such as forest bathing, zip-lining, meeting farm animals, nature trails, bike-riding, and tennis, but best of all is their five-star spa. Expect treatments from Dr Barbara Sturm with high-tech facials, MOSS of the ISLES and Wildsmith Skin for melt-away massages, and – for something truly unique – a COSMOSS ritual. Founded by supermodel Kate Moss, the Dusk or Dawn rituals are balancing, full face and body treatments to help you start or end your day just right.

Best for explorers: Lucknam Park

Within 500 acres of glorious parkland lies the five-star country house hotel Lucknam Park, a luxurious Palladian mansion in Wiltshire that feels like your home away from home. It’s an idyllic spot for experiencing quintessentially British countryside, with elegant and plush interiors, an equestrian centre where guests can explore the Cotswolds landscape via horseback, and Michelin-starred British dining. 

Lucknam Park

Hidden between walled gardens and meticulously manicured lawns is the grand spa with a 20-metre pool, indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool, thermal cabins and a skincare mixology bar for the most bespoke facials to suit every skin type and concern. It also has an extensive treatment menu, ranging from a Coconut Lomi Lomi massage, executed Hawaiian-style with warm coconut oil and movement inspired by ocean waves, to science-led facials in partnership with 111Skin. The Celestial Black Diamond Non-Surgical Lift Facial is a firm favourite; using ten steps of treatment to target fine lines, wrinkles and skin laxity, your complexion is left smoother, lifted and contoured.

Best for families: The Grove

For those travelling with families, The Grove is the ultimate luxury spa break with something for every member of the family to enjoy. It’s home to an award-winning championship golf course, a kids club, four restaurants, and the renowned Sequoia Spa that’s recently been renovated, coinciding with the reopening of the hotel’s mansion rooms and suites by Martin Hulbert Design. 

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The Grove

The spa has recently partnered with esteemed British wellness brand Bamford, creating a treatment menu with holistic rituals, massages and facials bespoke to Sequoia. We love The B Vibrant Ritual, a revitalising experience that energises the body and awakens the senses. Beginning with a refreshing foot bathing ritual and sound therapy to rebalance your energy, it’s followed by a full body exfoliation. Finally, melt into a full body and Indian head massage using cooling Citrine crystals to focus the mind. An experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed all day.

Best for a romantic getaway: Gilpin Hotel & Lakehouse

This is the ultimate romantic and secluded sanctuary in the Lake District, where you’ll find private hot tubs and saunas, Michelin-starred dining, and exquisite accommodation in either the grand Edwardian hotel or adjacent modern lake house. The suites themselves are enough for a wellbeing escape; we love the impressive Spa Suite, which is essentially a floating bedroom over the pond with mountain views, a vast circular stone bath, double shower, spa room with sauna, steam room, infrared lounge bed, state-of-the-art massage chair, and a hot tub on the deck. 

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Gilpin Hotel & Lakehouse

The spa, of course, is a haven of tranquillity. Designed by Sarah Jane Nielson of Nielson House, it’s a warm and inviting space filled with natural light, textures and scents for a 360° sensory journey. Book in for the Gilpin-exclusive ESPA Signature Treatment to unravel tension, boost your complexion and restore inner calm with this head-to-toe treatment that includes a back exfoliation, full body massage, and illuminating facial and scalp massage – pure bliss.

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Our global network of dedicated travel specialists plans one-of-a-kind, tailor-made travel experiences to make every trip your best yet. Find out more about Quintessentially Travel here.

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