There is something truly magical about packing up the car and hitting the open road in search of some rural R&R. Even a brief escape from deadlines, work pressures and day-to-day life is all the more refreshing when you are surrounded by calming, bucolic scenery.
Whether you choose a spa hotel in a serene forest, stunning parkland or perched on a lake, your shoulders will drop from the moment you take a breath of fresh air and, glass of something refreshing in hand, take a moment or two to peruse the spa menu. Your only challenge is deciding which rural retreat will make the perfect escape for you. To help you make your choice, here are seven of our favourite countryside spas.
Be at one with nature when you swim out into the glorious gardens at The Aquarias Spa and bubble away gazing at the trees and lawns. The beautifully restored Grade II listed manor house is the perfect countryside retreat with its 26 gardens, Michelin starred dining and comfortable rooms. The spa is bright and serene, with a huge indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool, heated stone recliners, salt scrub showers and separate thermal zone. Enjoy holistic therapies using natural products from Gaia or more results-driven Natura Bissé treatments. Try the Botanical Scrub inspired by Whatley Manor's gardens.
Occupying three levels, Herb House Spa is infused with a vibe of natural wellbeing thanks to its picture-perfect New Forest location. Start your invigorating journey admiring the gorgeous woodland views from the indoor hydrotherapy pool, before sampling the Mud House, oversized sauna, steamy outdoor pool and ozone-treated 16m lap pool. You can enjoy yoga and panoramic vistas from the rooftop living herb garden before lunch at the Raw & Cured superfood café. Choose from holistic therapies with Bamford, Sarah Chapman and VOYA beauty brands before a pamper in the Hands and Feet Room.
You could be forgiven for thinking you have stepped back in time at this Roman-inspired Kentish spa, with its impressive mural-decorated and stone pillared bath house as the centrepiece. Two spa pools, a jacuzzi, modern hair and nail spa, and a cocooning relaxation room combine to create a calm environment. Rowhill Grange hotel is a modernised English country manor house with a delightful restaurant and charming peaceful grounds.
Set in the grounds of a 1000-year old estate, Stoke Park became Britain’s very first country club in 1908. A century on, it’s whitewashed Palladian mansion still inspires awe. The Pavilion, overlooking the golf course, houses a huge gym, sports club (tennis is the thing here) and a quirky spa. You can see the indoor pool with its huge arched windows through the tropical aquarium fitted into the wall of the 60s style relaxation room. The pretty spa garden with its rural views is a highlight, with an outdoor sauna cabin and bubbly hot tub where you can gaze across the countryside. For a completely inclusive experience, you can also choose to stay in one of the 28 luxury Pavilion bedrooms.
If it’s laid-back luxury you’re after, this elegant honey-hued mansion has plenty of elegant sofas, roaring fires and 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens to explore on foot, bike or horseback. The ESPA spa occupies a picture-perfect position within beautiful historic walled gardens. The 20-metre indoor pool is an instant wow with its vast swim-through glass wall at one end and ribbon of flickering fire along another. There are two hydrotherapy pools, thermal rooms, an outdoor saltwater plunge pool and a nail salon. For some rural R&R book a yoga or Pilates class in the outdoor studio.
This modern oasis of tranquillity is just over an hour from London, on the Essex coast, set in award-winning gardens with lakes and rare plants. You can book one of many spa escapes and journeys including wellness, detox and menopause retreats, or simply enjoy the pools, thermal facilities, café and gardens on a spa day. Try the calming Mindful Moments massage or Clarins Beauty Sleep treatment to relieve insomnia or stress. Lifehouse also offers tailored options for those who have experienced cancer, bereavement or stress.
There are few hotels in the country that can lay claim to a position as spectacular as Low Wood Bay. On the shores of Lake Windermere, Low Wood effortlessly fuses contemporary chic with classic charm, using natural materials to bring the outside it. It also makes the most of its waterside setting, with an outdoor infinity pool that practically dangles over the vast and glittering lake, as well as a panoramic Fellside sauna and dry salt room. The spa champions Berry and Birch products which are 100% natural.