The North West of England has a little bit of everything: you’ll find culture, art, food, shopping and history in Manchester and Liverpool; bright lights and fun nights in Newcastle and Blackpool; and mysterious, poetic landscapes in the Lake District. There’s also stunning countryside, quaint little villages and friendly locals. This region is also home to some top-flight football clubs, so weary footballers, WAGS and match-day widows need somewhere luxurious to relax.
Luckily, the North West delivers on spas – and then some. You can float around in atmospheric outdoor pools under the stars, dine in front of lakes or combine a luxury spa break with a weekend of shopping.
Here’s our guide to some of the best spas in the North West, according to county.
This chic club and spa offers good facilities and excellent spa treatments. You’ll find a thermal suite with hemlock wood sauna, salt cave, zen steam room, and fire and ice room in the day spa. Lower yourself into the main indoor pool, then drift outside to the outdoor wellness pool overlooking the green lawns and Cheshire countryside.
This elegant late Georgian country-house hotel is home to a friendly and stylish spa and the UK’s first Alfresco Thermal Space. The Scandinavian-Style spa garden is home to a mineral stonebath and a Brechelbath (a quirky take on the traditional thermal experiences), perfect for basking in the summer sun or for a spot of star gazing.
This elegant hotel set in picturesque Cheshire parkland is home to a well-equipped spa with a glass-roofed heated pool, a range of heat facilities, a rasul and two dedicated relaxation rooms to unwind in. With lots to do, plenty of spaces to relax and high-quality treatments, Rookery Hall makes a great spa escape.
Close to the English and Welsh border, this large countryside estate has a little bit of everything. It’s a paradise for both golfers and adrenaline junkies (off road driving or mountain biking anyone?), as well as spa lovers. The spa offers a 20-metre swimming pool, a sauna, steam room and a warm hydrotherapy pool with swan fountain.
Located just outside Chester, this hushed, calm spa is home to a delightful and fragrant Asian Sensory Garden; you’ll find a 15-metre pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room inside. There’s no shortage of relaxation spaces here either, choose between the tranquillity zone, snooze room and the waterfall lounge for some post treatment bliss.
This sympathetically designed modern spa sits on the edge of the stunning Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District. Head outside to the hydro-pool to make the most of the views; you can even press a buzzer and order some fizz to sip while drinking it all in. Inside there’s another pool, two steam rooms and a sauna to enjoy - plus ten beautifully appointed treatment rooms including a spectacular double treatment room, dedicated manicure and make-up area and the ‘Hush’ and ‘Tranquillity’ relaxation areas.
Natural materials blend with modern design at the Brimstone spa, which is designed to make the most of its idyllic Lake District setting. The Lakeland location, modern décor and dramatic thermal facilities make it a great place to relax and unwind. The spa takes you on a true journey, with a variety of heat experiences ensuring there’s something for everyone.
This Aqua Sana Spa is set on one level within Lake District woodland. There’s an impressive range of wet and thermal facilities; our favourites include the large outdoor pool - which is atmospheric and peaceful to swim in at night - and the Indian Blossom steam room with scents of black amber and citrus.
Perfectly situated in 15 acres of woodland and landscaped gardens, and blessed with breathtaking views across Morecambe Bay, the Netherwood Hotel and Spa offers an intimate, good-value experience. Soak up the ever-changing views of the bay while enjoying lunch or afternoon tea. Dinner is worth staying longer for.
Escape the bustle of city life in this elegant spa inside this iconic red-brick, art deco Hotel. The star of the show is the sumptuous relaxation room with four hanging pods, soft cocooning chairs, armchairs and three beds with duvets and pillows. Spa facilities include a 9-metre relaxation pool, hot tub, Alderwood sauna and steam room to experience, too.
Located deep in the heart of Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, The Spa at Stanley House offers peaceful views of the area’s undulating hills from every angle. The spa is beautifully designed; the treatments well thought-out, and the customer service exemplary. You’re sure to find your own slice of peace and quiet, too.
This rather peaceful adults-only spa makes the most of the Lancashire Countryside through floor-to-ceiling windows. The thermal space is stunning: a vast glass structure overlooking the decked spa garden with its outdoor hot tub and sauna. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the treatments are excellent…it’s a slice of affordable luxury.
Set in 100-acres of Lancashire countryside, this large spa has a range of facilities that are perfect for sharing. Spa Spy favourites include the tranquil serenity pool, the al-fresco infinity pool and the rose-scented steam room. The treatment menu offers personalised, good value-for-money treatments, while the rooms and restaurant offer a fantastic getaway from the norm.
A small day spa in the Lancashire town of Nelson, Inside Spa is a hidden gem. The thermal facilities are varied and enjoyable, the staff helpful, and the afternoon tea a delight. Inside Spa is a great addition to the spa landscape, bringing an accessible and affordable spa experience to all.
This elegant Victorian hotel, sitting on the banks of The Mere, is a golfer’s paradise. The spa is extremely well designed and offers a good range of facilities, an imaginative spa treatment menu, extremely friendly staff, tasty food, and beautiful views. Active spa-goers will adore the tennis courts and the gym.
Serenity and luxury go hand-in-hand at this spacious spa named after its design concept – suites instead of rooms. Work your way around the rather colourful heat and ice journey, before cosying up in the grand relaxation suite. It’s a great spa to head to for long over-due catch ups or celebrations.
Editors note - this article was originally published in November 2014, it was updated and re-written for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2018