Best spas for walks

To coincide with On Your Feet Britain Day on 28th April, Stylish Spy dons her wellies and hunts out the best UK spas for walking wannabees

Best for… beautiful beaches
Source Spa & Wellness, Saunton Sands

On your feet:
A stroll along the sand or a roll down Braunton Burrows dunes is a must for visitors to Source Spa & Wellness, set high on the cliffs in North Devon overlooking Saunton Sands Beach. Walking enthusiasts can explore more of the area – and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - on one of three circular trails: Crow Point (for birdwatching), Beacon (for lofty views) or Georgham (for a look back in time).

Spa time:
Inspired by its natural playground, Source Spa’s marine-inspired thermal suite includes a salt inhalation steam room, Finnish aroma sauna, ice fountain, contrast shower and vitality pool filled with mineral-rich Dead Sea salt water. Two large, heated pools await: one indoors and another outdoors looking over the beach.


Best for… city circlers
The Lanesborough Club and Spa

On your feet:
Not all bracing walks have to be in the countryside, with a stomp around London hearty enough to warrant a spa treatment. The Lanesborough’s golden postcode makes sightseeing a cinch, with Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and a trio of museums - The Natural History, The Science and The Victoria & Albert - close enough to do in a day.

Spa time:
The spa at The Lanesborough has the wow factor with its opulent art-deco design (think flickering fires, white marble floors and gilt-framed mirrors) and impeccable customer service. After a treatment exclusively designed by ila or the original ‘Queen of Beauty’ Tata Harper, summon a waiter with a button and enjoy a drink in the relaxation lounge. You won’t be bemoaning your aching feet for long, trust us.


Best for… forest frolicks
Swinton Country Club & Spa

On your feet:
Getting your step count up is easy on a 200-acre estate – this one with five lakes and its own deer park - but Swinton Country Club doesn’t stop there, with running trails just outside the spa and a year-round calendar of seasonal forest bathing. As well as themed walks to celebrate spring, summer, autumn and winter, guests can head on a Barefoot Walk, a Detox Walk, a Silent Walk or do yoga in the forest.

Spa time:
The spa at the Swinton Country Club effortlessly blends Yorkshire heritage with facilities to meet the needs of the modern-day spa-goer. There’s an 18-metre indoor pool with windows overlooking a spa garden, a hydrotherapy pool, an aroma steam room and a Finnish sauna. Outside you’ll find a 10-metre pool with eco-friendly bio-filter waters. For a treatment with a difference, try a sound bath.

Best for… gruelling gradiants 
Verbena Spa

On your feet:
The famous Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge (pictured above) has been known to topple even the most hearty of hikers with its 24-mile, three-peak ascent. Tackle it before a stay at The Feversham Arms and you will earn your spa stripes. Taking around 12 hours to complete, revellers climb Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough peaks (try pronouncing these after a local tipple) in Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Spa time:
The Feversham Arms is a former coaching inn-turned boutique hotel full of rustic charm. Its Verbena Spa runs along one side of the courtyard with an outdoor heated pool. The spa itself offers a wide range of Temple Spa treatments; has a stylish café; and a vast, homely lounge with plump sofas, cosy blankets and bookshelves. Both areas have doors leading out onto a secluded decked terrace with a raised hot tub.

Best for… glorious gardens
H Spa at Horwood House

On your feet:
Anyone remembering the UK’s first TV gardener Percy Thrower might be interested to know that he was born at Horwood House. Son of the then Head Gardener, its little surprise the grounds of this Buckinghamshire-based hotel boast knock-your-socks off gardens. Guests looking for more than a robed meander can head on one of two dedicated walking routes taking in the village of Little Horwood and Lowergrove Farm.

Spa time: 
The property’s H Spa has recently undergone a £6 million refurbishment with its 15-metre pool, modern gym, studio, thermal spaces, relaxation areas and treatment rooms all significantly spruced up. After a knot-busting De Vine massage or tailored Caudalie facial, enjoy a lip-smacking lunch (you did do all that walking). A new outdoor dining terrace is on the starting blocks to open - watch this space.

Best for… magical mindfulness
Sen Spa at Carey’s Manor

On your feet:
With its ancient forests and colourful heaths, it’s hard to beat the New Forest for a wander. Carey’s Manor’s Mindful Walking for a Calmer You route is designed to reunite guests with nature, with several spots to stop, sit and absorb the beauty. Turn off your phone, listen out for bird song, watch squirrels scamper, and observe ponies, Highland cattle and red deer roam.

Spa time:
Why fly off to Thailand when you can enjoy a Thai experience at a UK spa? Spend some time in the pretty Zen Gardens, get those knots worked out with an authentic Thai massage (wincing optional) and tuck into Pad Thai with a side of Singha Beer in the restaurant. The pools and thermal experiences are extensive.

Best for… pretty parkland
Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa

On your feet:
At Fawsley Hall, spa guests are encouraged to explore as much of the parkland and manicured lawns surrounding the estate as they can – no easy feat with over 2,000 acres to play with. Or ask the courteous reception staff for a map and embark on a local walking trail designed to suit your timeframe and level of fitness. The easiest is to the Church of St Mary (one mile); the hardest to Badby Woods (2.3 miles).

Spa time:
The spa - housed in a separate renovated coach house – offers post-walk respite via a 17-metre pool, steam room, sauna, outdoor hot tub with views and wide range of Elemis treatments. The relaxation room has lots of blankets to snuggle under if a cheeky pre-dinner nap is on the cards.

Best for… watery wallowers
Ragdale Hall Spa

On your feet:
Book a Weekend Escape package and join the fitness team on a daily walk in the surrounding countryside – even the spa’s Rooftop Infinity Pool looks like its spilling out onto the trees below. Guests not wishing to leave the property (and who can blame them) can hire a mountain bike and cycle around the resort, play tennis on one of two courts or join a class.

Spa time:
Ragdale hall Spa has quite the cult following; you’ll find good quality, well-priced treatments delivered by people who really know their stuff. The huge array of facilities on offer will have you spoilt for choice, with six pools (candle, whirlpool, rooftop Infinity, exercise, outdoor and indoor), 11 thermal facilities and more treatments than we can possibly list. Try the new twilight bar for a twinkly pre-dinner tipple.

Best for… wonderful wildlife
Y Spa at Wyboston Lakes

On your feet:
A nature reserve and several lakes awaits guests at Wyboston Lakes, with its scenic flora and fauna, beautiful birds, wandering wildlife and charming scenery. Nearby Paxton Pits Nature Reserve – with its lakes, river, meadows, scrubs and woodland – is where a variety of birds, including Nightingales and Sand Martins, call home; try the reservoir at Grafham Water for amphibians.

Spa time:
An outdoor hydrotherapy pool, wide range of Murad and Elemis spa treatments and several relaxation rooms will put the fuel back into flagging guests at Y Spa. Don’t miss the indoor/outdoor wet and thermal area with steam room and two saunas – the second a Kelo wood sauna made from 100-year-old logs. After a day in the spa, dine in the bistro with its windows looking out to fairy-lit trees.

  • Author

    Stylish Spy

  • Age 40-something
  • Skin type Sensitive

Spa Likes

"Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching."

Spa Dislikes

"Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones."