10 Best Outdoor Spas

Mar 30 2021

Scarlet Spy

4 min read

Woman in outdoor pool

As the weather gets warmer, we are already picturing ourselves basking in outdoor spa pools, gazing out over the countryside or rooftops. Outdoor spa-ing is not only very fashionable, it’s also a way to play it safe post-lockdown while still having a memorable spa day. Here are ten of our favourite outdoor spas to whet your appetite.

Rudding Park Spa, North Yorkshire 

Why go? Winner of the Good Spa Guide’s ‘Best Outdoor Facilities’ in 2020, Rudding Park is three floors of spa heaven - with glass walls to show off the beauty of the surrounding garden. Sink into the hydrotherapy infinity edge pool on the rooftop, and lounge on the sun deck or the cabana. Enjoy the hot stone, garden of England or deep tissue massage in the woodland glade Shepherd’s Hut.

We love… The Sunlight Therapy Room – great for topping up those vitamin D levels and giving you a mood boost.  

The Spa Garden at Carden, Cheshire 

Why go? The pièce de résistance of Carden’s £10 million spa is the epic spa garden. Stroll between the heated outdoor 11-metre pool, three large hot tubs and the Bollinger Garden Bar. Feeling chilly? Snuggle up by an outdoor firepits or retire to one of the oval glass heated wellness pods with comfy cushions and views over the Cheshire countryside. 

We love… The top-to-toe Signature Experience – which uses Elemental Herbology products with ingredients and therapeutic herbs picked fresh from the Spa Garden. 

Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall, County Durham

Why go? For fresh sea air and stunning Durham Coast scenery – guaranteed to blow away your Covid cobwebs. Beyond the 20-metre indoor pool, you’ll find two outdoor bubbly hot tubs. Head down a few steps in the Zen Garden to the infinity edged hydrotherapy pool. Recline on one of the loungers or cuddle up by the fire pits on cooler days.

We love… The Ishga in Good Hands treatment (60 minutes, £85), designed for those recovering from cancer but also good for anxiety, depression, stress and sleep problems. The treatment combines the natural, healing properties of seaweed with an advanced 'touch' technique - perfect for anyone feeling fragile. After your treatment settle down for a rest in the quiet Zen lounge which has an outdoor balcony to enjoy the fresh air and views over the beautiful grounds.

Source Spa and Wellness, Saunton Sands

Why go? True, the spa outdoor space is minimal – a terrace and rather glamorous outdoor hotel pool. But the views from the glass-walled spa are spectacular – it's right on the edge of the most stunning stretch of sand. Bubble away in the spa pool bathing in those glorious Atlantic views. 

We love… Post-treatment, chill on the rooftop sundeck with the sight of the ocean, golden sands and beyond.

The Spa at South Lodge, West Sussex 

Why go? South Lodge’s luxuriously modern spa garden was designed to take full advantage of the 93-acre gardens and South Downs views. The spa has its own 18-metre natural swimming pond, naturally filtered and mildly warmed. Warm up in the hot bubbly hydrotherapy pool with massage jets, sun yourself on a lounger or snuggle around the fire pit.  

We love… The theme of the spa is ‘bringing the outside in’ which it does with huge glass walls, outdoor terraces and the botany-themed spa. Wherever you look, the West Sussex countryside is your backdrop. 

Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire 

Why go? One for May 17, all being well, when thermal spaces re-open - you can’t possibly visit this spa without trying the Treetop Sauna, it’s most talked-about showpiece. Perched ten metres above ground with panoramic forest views, this is Forest Bathing with bells on. 

We love… The canopy view from the giant panoramic window. Post sauna, head to the Forest Terrace and curl up under a cosy blanket listening to birdsong. 

Pennyhill Park, Surrey 

Why go? Pennyhill really does deserve its place on the spa pedestal. You can easily imagine yourself at a Mediterranean resort when draped on a lounger around the 18-metre heated Riviera-style swimming pool. You can skip between several pools, indoor and out or simply summon your spa butler for a glass of something special to celebrate.    

We love… Floating in the very warm and bubbly swim-out hydrotherapy pool in the evening as the steam rises and fairy lights twinkle.

Low Wood Bay, Lake District 

Why go? With an elevated position looking across Lake Windermere and the mountains beyond, it’s easy to see why Low Wood Bay was a finalist in the Good Spa Award’s ‘Best Outdoor Facilities’ category. The views from all the outdoor facilities - pool, hot tub, firepit and sauna - are stunning. Low Wood Bay offers a contemporary, yet unpretentious, space for ultimate relaxation. Five thermal experiences include an indoor relaxation pool, bubble spa, relaxation lounge, dry salt, coconut steam and herbal lounge. 

We love… Taking the ultimate spa selfie in the Fellside Infinity Pool - which appears to flow into the lake beyond.   

Rockliffe Hall, County Durham 

Why go? This five-star, red-brick spa hotel has it all – including a modern Spa Garden with an indoor and outdoor space to relax. The infinity-edged hydro pool steals the show with knock-out views of the 365-acre estate, and plenty of loungers for sunbathing. Inside, the glass-fronted, wooden sauna and five tepidarium beds look through floor-to-ceiling windows which open out in the summer. 

We love… You can hire the Spa Garden exclusively and spend two hours catching up with friends in the peaceful surroundings.

Galgorm, Northern Ireland 

Why go? We’re still waiting for a firm date for Northern Ireland’s spas, but once the gates are lifted head to this Mecca of outdoor spa-ing. Set in 163 acres of Northern Irish parkland, The Spa at Galgorm uses the four basic elements of nature, earth, water and fire to bring harmony to your spa journey. The Thermal Village consists of an outdoor Beltane hot tub and open fire, riverside hot tubs and a Celtic sauna – all set in pretty landscaped gardens. 

We love… The private wood-fired hot tub on the banks of the ridiculously picturesque river Maine, which runs through the grounds. Sipping fizz, nibbling chocs in deep warm waters while watching wildlife is truly sublime. 


Scarlet Spy

30th March 2021

Spy Likes:

Nature-inspired spas, cold water plunges, sound baths, deep tissue massage, delicious food.

Spy Dislikes:

Thin walls in treatment rooms, lounger hoggers, soggy robes, bright lights.

Spas featured in this article

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