Our spa trekker blogger Caroline Sylger Jones picks the best UK retreats to take your mum this Mother’s Day.
You might resist the commercialism of mother’s day or use it as an excuse for a spa break with your mum. Here are my suggestions for 5 decent – and very different – short wellbeing escapes in the UK with enough on offer to suit both of you.
THE B&B: Farnham Farmhouse, Dorset
Calm and comfortable with flag stone floors and gorgeous views over Thomas Hardy country, this family-run four-roomed B&B has the added benefit of Sarpenela, a natural therapy centre set in cutely converted barns next door and run by the daughter of the house, holistic therapist Sarah Lownds, a reiki master, holistic therapist and workshop leader. Therapies on offer from Sarah and other local therapists include thai-style, hot stone, therapeutic, Indian head and aromatherapy massages, chakra balancing, reiki and shamanic healing, and organic fresh fruit facials and body treatments. There’s a spacious garden with outdoor heated swimming pool and benches – be sure to treat your mum to a meal at nearby The Museum Inn, which does gourmet pub dishes using locally-sourced food in a relaxing atmosphere. From £80 per room per night based on 2 sharing, treatments from £30.
THE ECO-FRIENDLY FARM: Botelet Farm, Cornwall
Hire a self catering cottage, book a spacious hippy-chic yurt, camp in the grounds or do B&B – whatever you choose, this farm in South East Cornwall is in a relaxing rural setting with great views and no light pollution and a very easy place to be. You can book relaxing hot stones treatments, therapeutic massage and reflexology with capable local therapist Rachel Fisher. Go for long walks, or hang out in the grounds, which have wild gardens and meadows full of flowers. Inside the cottages décor is simple and stylish, with wooden floors, colourful Moroccan rugs, original art and oak and iron beds. Delicious veggie breakfasts include home-made bread, home-grown fruit such as blueberries and apples and proper coffee; if you’re self-catering, you can order an organic veggie box. From £40pp per person, per night bed & breakfast.
THE HOTEL: Ockenden Manor, Sussex
This spa hotel is a great place if your mum is a foodie and also loves shopping. A country hotel that dates back to the 15th century, it has a Michelin starred restaurant and is a step away from the small village of Cuckfield, which has some intriguing boutique shops. Stay in the main house if she’s into tradition, or book a contemporary suite at the stunning modern spa, which is reached by an easy 200m walk alongside the old walled garden. Here’s you’ll find a decent sized, heated indoor pool, with a small swim-through portal to the outdoor pool, a sauna, spacious steam room, Jacuzzi inside and a hot tub outside, and a walk-through warm spring water shower. If you’re feeling active, there’s a seriously well-equipped gym and a fitness studio for yoga and Pilates. Be sure to book some treatments – there’s a suite of 8 calm treatment rooms, with an extensive menu of transforming treatments. From £325 per night for two for dinner, bed and breakfast, including full use of the spa.
THE HOLISTIC RETREAT: Split Farthing Hall, Yorkshire
Split Farthing Hall runs a range of holistic programmes especially for women that combine yoga, meditation, exercise and life coaching with fabulously tasty raw food meals – you could also organise a bespoke break here just for you and your mum. Your base is a cosy, renovated farmhouse a short drive from the picturesque village of Thirsk. The retreats are run by Claire Maguire, an intuitive coach and yoga and meditation teacher who is also a whizz in the kitchen, devising and preparing the meals and snacks. You’ll find a mixture of approaches and activities covering mind, body and spirit, ideal for women of any age who want to explore their inner selves, resolve some unanswered questions, deal with stress – or, hey, just feel pampered. They’ve recently added a hot tub, sauna and dedicated fitness room too – so you can be sure there’s something for both of you. Private retreats can be arranged throughout the year, and cost from £295 per person for a 2-night retreat sharing a room.
THE HEALTH SPA: Grayshott Spa, Surrey
I remain very fond of Grayshott Spa, which has been tending to people’s heath since the 1960s – regulars have included British actors such as Judi Dench, Roger Moore and Joan Plowright. A privately-owned and civilized place an hour’s drive from London with an unpretentious approach to health, it’s set in 47 pretty acres and adjoins 700 acres of National Trust land. Your base is a gorgeous manor house which the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson rented in the 1860s, and a less attractive 1970s extension which ivy makes a little less obtrusive. Rooms feel plush and easy to be in, and people hang out in white robes (you’ll get used to it after an hour or so). There’s a decent sized indoor and outdoor pool, simple sauna and steam facilities, group classes and a whole host of treatments. You can drink and eat well in the evenings, or go for a health kick – whatever you both fancy. From £435 per person for an all-inclusive two night stay.
Queen of Retreats features honest, in-depth reviews written by journalists, fields booking enquiries for retreats it truly rates and offers The Retreat Concierge to help people find the right spa, retreat, yoga break or healthy holiday to suit their budget, taste and life situation.
Caroline Sylger Jones is an author and freelance journalist who travels the world checking out spas, yoga retreats and healthy holidays for international newspapers, glossy magazines and websites. She is the editor of healthy travel site Queen of Retreats, for honest reviews and expert advice on spas, retreats and healthy holidays and runs The Retreat Consultancy for people looking to set up or improve their own retreats. – See more!
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