Invest in yourself this year by heading off to one of the best fitness spa breaks or retreats in the UK, designed to take care of both your body and mind…
So you think spas are just about relaxation and treatments? Think again! The best fitness spa breaks and retreats can help you kickstart a new exercise or wellness regime so you can emerge feeling energised, refreshed and fighting fit for the year ahead. Sauna, steam room, hot tub visits (and Prosecco) are entirely optional…
Looking to get back to nature? Check out the best outdoor fitness & adventure retreats in the UK
Best for wild swimmers: The Spa at South Lodge, Horsham, West Sussex
Offering some of the best fitness and wellness breaks in the UK, this luxury spa has a fully equipped gym featuring 21 fitness machines, a specialist weights area, TRX rig, and Spin and holistic studios offering a wide range of classes, including Barre, Pilates and BoxFit. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 22m indoor swimming pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, and an 18m outdoor swim pond for those looking to indulge in a spot of wild swimming.
Get kitted out with our pick of the best long sleeve swimsuits for wild swimming
With 93 acres of gardens, lakes, woods and parkland to explore providing views over the South Downs, you can also enjoy cycling, croquet, tennis and walking trails, as well as nature immersion retreats hosted by Swedish yoga instructor and forest bathing devotee Helena Skoog.
An overnight stay starts from £395 for two people; exclusive.co.uk/south-lodge
Best for body transformation: The Glass House Retreat, Upminster, Essex
Located in the Essex countryside, The Glass House Retreat is the place to go for a complete mind and body overhaul. One of the UK’s leading spa retreats offering transformative fitness breaks and programmes, there’s no caffeine or alcohol served on site and the menu is entirely (and deliciously!) vegan. Choose from three menus, depending on your goal – the Juicing Detox Plan, Weight-Loss Detox Plan or Equilibrium Detox Plan.
Whether you need to relax, re-energise or revamp your lifestyle, there’s everything you need to do it – a restorative spa for treatments, including cryotherapy; a Himalayan salt sauna next to an indoor heated pool; a natural outdoor swimming pond, alongside another sauna, for wild swimming; vegan cooking demonstrations; a gym and full timetable of fitness classes, from morning walks to HIIT to yoga or sound baths; plus, motivational or goal-setting talks. There’s even a mobile phone safe, should you want to do a digital detox. It’s the ultimate break for a physical and mental-health makeover.
A two-night stay starts from £259 per person, based on two people sharing a room; glasshouseretreat.co.uk
Best for holistic chicks: The Spa at Breedon Priory, Derbyshire
Proud to be 2022’s newest luxury spa opening, The Spa at Breedon Priory has been created with health and wellbeing at its core. And from January 2023, you can take advantage of its new Living Well Spa Day packages, designed to improve longevity, movement, injury prevention, recovery and performance through a mix of unhurried relaxation, gentle movement and delicious nourishment.
So much more than a regular spa day, wellbeing practitioners will guide guests through a day of reflection and learning, starting with a 75-minute grounding sunrise holistic practice (choose from yoga, tai chi or qi gong). Next, you’ll spend time in the Spa Relaxation room to stretch, meditate and breath into the moment while taking in panoramic views of the gardens and countryside, before enjoying a refreshing smoothie, time in the Wellbeing Suite and Thermal Pods, and a healthy two-course lunch in The Terrace Restaurant.
Day Spa packages start from £85pp, while a Living Well Spa Day costs £165pp; breedonprioryspa.co.uk
Best for water babies: The Spa at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey
Set in 120 acres of parkland, this multi-award-winning spa features 45,000 sq. ft. of award-winning facilities, including an impressive fitness suite kitted out with the latest Technogym equipment and exercise studio where you can try over 50 classes such as Pilates, Zumba, Spinning and yoga (a 24-hour PT service is also available).
If you like the water, you’ll love the eight indoor and outdoor ozone-treated pools, including a 25m indoor Ballroom Pool with underwater music and the 18m open-air pool available for use all year round if you want to channel your inner Wim Hof. Outside, make use of the jogging trail and tennis court.
Overnight stays for two start from £445 per night; exclusive.co.uk/pennyhill-park
Best for busy mums: Aztec Hotel & Spa, Bristol
Hailed as the Best Boutique Spa in the UK at the Good Spa awards 2022, this family-friendly spa is perfect for frazzled parents looking for some ‘me time’. Complete with a sauna, hot tub, steam room, swimming pool and very impressive gym, we loved the newly refurbished Relax Lounge: a serene oasis of calm complete with luxurious lounge beds, mani/pedi stations and refreshments, so you can sit back and enjoy the benefits of the oils used during your treatment (we recommend the Templespa Signature Soul Soother massage experience, £58 for 40 minutes, which provides instant relief for tired, overworked muscles).
A special mention should also go the onsite restaurant, Curious Kitchen, which created incredible food that catered to our gluten-free dietary requirements – we’re not surprised to hear it recently won the best Luxury Hotel Restaurant in the prestigious 2022 World Luxury Restaurant Awards.
An overnight stay starts from £85 per person; aztechotelbristol.co.uk
Best for fitness aficionados: Three Graces Spa at Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire
Nestled in the Yorkshire Dales, Grantley Hall is home to 47 exquisite rooms, five incredible restaurants, three swanky bars, the highly tranquil Three Graces Spa and the ELITE Luxury Gym set over two floors.
Offering some of the best fitness spa breaks in the UK, enjoy one-on-one PT sessions using state-of-the-art equipment, take a yoga class in the studio or head to the Health and Performance Centre where you’ll find a cryotherapy chamber, altitude training facilities, an underwater treadmill, 3D body scanners and a choice of three Elite Wellness Day Packages to suit your current health and fitness goals, including Assess & Progress, Optimal Performance, and Repair & Reload, (£275 each).
Guests can also swim in the 18m indoor swimming pool, take a dip in the indoor-to-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, and enjoy thermal experiences in the sauna, steam room and snow room.
Rooms start from £450 per night for two people; grantleyhall.co.uk
Best for nature lovers: Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa, Keswick, Cumbria
Set in 400 acres of woodland and bordering Bassenthwaite Lake with Skiddaw Mountain in the background, this hotel and spa packs plenty of punch when it comes to adventure. The hotel’s award-winning spa features a 16m pool, hot tub, exercise studio and gym, and guests can book daily Pilates, yoga and aqua-aerobics classes.
For those looking to venture outside, there’s tennis, archery and clay pigeon shooting within the hotel’s expansive grounds. Further afield, take your pick from canoeing, kayaking, wild swimming or fell walking, undoubtedly one of this region’s biggest attractions. Book a mountain leader for the day who will safely guide you up some of the most enjoyable fells, or sample one of the 2-5k walking routes within the hotel’s grounds.
Short breaks start from £335 per room per night based on two sharing on a minimum two-night stay, including dinner in the Lake View Restaurant and full Cumbrian breakfast; armathwaite-hall.com
Feel like venturing further afield? Check our our review of Hillside Beach Club Turkey
Words: Joanna Ebsworth