A cosy fireside, a snug rug and a hot sauna the key elements for a great winter spa break. These are three sure-fire ways to warm the cockles of your heart (and your cold fingers and toes) this autumn and winter. Heading off to a countryside spa will give you the chance to get away from it all, plus the opportunity to take a bracing walk through the countryside or along the coast. No winter spa break is complete without kicking a few leaves around (if there’s any left) or meandering across frosty fields, ensuring you are back in time to indulge in a big Sunday lunch. Then to complete the experience (it is a winter spa break after all) make some time to chill out in the spa during the afternoon.
The Spa Man has rounded-up his 10 of the best winter spa breaks.
1. Dormy House – Cotswolds
Book here (if you can). The hotel and spa keep winning awards – a testament to the quality of the hotel, spa and service. The Scandi-chic House Spa is large and is a central focus of the hotel. The hotel is a converted farm house, it’s not stuffy or too stiff. The service is friendly, personal and professional. Yes, there are wood fires so you will feel cosy at almost every turn. There is a gym for workouts, a thermal suite, including a Cotswold lavender sauna, salt therapy room, rhassoul mud room and outdoor hot tub. Temple Spa is the main brand, massages by Beata Aleksandrowicz and there’s a champagne nail parlour and an infinity pool.
2. Park House Hotel – West Sussex
In the heart of rural West Sussex, the Park House Hotel & Spa is a bit of an unsung hero. The family owned property is a small country house hotel with a warm heart. Just a stones’ throw from the South Downs, it’s an idyllic setting for a weekend spa escape. Great spa, decent sized indoor pool and fabulous food. Cosy up in one of the well appointed rooms looking across the countryside. Heaven.
READ HERE for the full review
3. Calcot Manor – Cotswolds
Great for families and friends, Calcot Manor is a relaxing countryside retreat, with comfy sofas and roaring fires – it’s the epitome of countryside cosiness. Just outside the village of Tetbury in the hotel is situated in 220 acres of beautiful Cotswolds meadowland. The spa is renowned and has a great outdoor pool area with hot tub and open fire. You can’t beat it.
4. Gilpin Hotel & Lake House – Lake District
Around six minutes from Bowness, Gilpin Hotel and Lake House is a world away from the bustling Lake District touristy scene. The main hotel is Georgian and a great place to book a few nights to get away. There’s outdoor adventure on offer: walking, mountain biking, fishing, shooting. The Spa is in a wood cabin by the lake – amazing! The top tip is to book one of the new private spa suites with great views of the fells. Logs fires, state of the art music systems and sitting rooms that double as treatment rooms. They also have a steam room, sauna and hot tub. Seriously good spa-ing.
5. Aqua Sana Spa at Center Parcs Woburn Forest – Bedfordshire
Set deep in the forest and just 50 minutes from London St Pancras by train, Aqua Sana at Center Parcs, Woburn Forest is as large, as it is impressive. You can just imagine the beautiful autumnal colours whilst swimming in the outdoor infinity pool. At 7,200sq metres the spa manages to impress on arrival and makes full use of the splendid views. Its light and airy design blends with soft furnishings, a contemporary colour palette and leafy prints to ensure that the forest theme is evident in a stylish modern way.
READ HERE for the full spa review
6. Seaham Hall – County Durham
A winter spa break by the sea you say? Dating back to 1791, Seaham Hall is one of the most stunning five-star Durham spa hotels. Situated amidst 37 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens in a striking cliff top location with evocative views out over Durham’s heritage coast line. The Georgian property has plenty of cosy fires to keep you warm after a bracing seaside walk and boasts the award winning Serenity Spa which includes a swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs.
7. Chewton Glen – Hampshire
There’s a classic elegance to the award-winning spa at Chewton Glen in Hampshire. Said to include Europe’s largest hydrotherapy pool you will also find an ozone-treated indoor pool lined with blue mosaic tiles which is surrounded by Grecian columns. For outdoor action there is an outdoor hot tub and swimming pool. The changing rooms feature aromatherapy saunas and crystal steam rooms. Stay in the traditional country house hotel or upgrade your stay to one of the tree house suites to make the most of the autumnal hues.
8. Ockenden Manor – Sussex
Ockenden Manor Spa is located in the heart of rural Sussex and is part of the Historic Sussex Hotels group. The spa has been purpose built in an old walled garden to the rear of the hotel and is a complete contrast to the Elizabethan era Ockenden Manor. It shares nine acres of parklands and gardens which make it an idea place to rest and relax. The views from the spa are delightful. Especially with a light dusting of snow. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub too.
READ HERE for the full spa review
9. The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Bath
Totally immerse yourself in the healing waters of Bath Spa for a small city option for a winter spa break. The Gainsborough Spa is the UK’s only spa that uses the famous waters of Bath in its exclusive aquatic beauty treatments. There’s a whole spa journey designed around taking the waters. the hotel is elegant and refined making it a great stay. and Bath has one of the best Christmas markets in the country. What are you waiting for?
10. Galgorm Resort and Spa – Northern Ireland
The thermal village is the main attraction here which offers traditional thermal experiences outside by the flowing river. Expertly designed, its a brilliant spa experience and a wonderful way to spend a spa day. The panoramic sauna is something to behold. My top tip is to book the Celtic Sauna Ritual for something special. Pray for snow (or at least an overnight frost) the steam rising off the thermal village in the early morning is spectacular.
Read the full spa review of Galgorm Resort and Spa HERE