16 of the best UK spa hotels for a dreamy weekend away

·12-min read
Photo credit: Beaverbrook Surrey Hills - Instagram
Photo credit: Beaverbrook Surrey Hills - Instagram

Planning a romantic weekend away doesn't always have to mean boarding a plane - particularly as some of the best spas in the world can be found right here in the UK.

While an overseas trip would be the dream, the coronavirus pandemic has proven that there's nothing quite like a British staycation. However, if you want something a little more fancy than camping and caravan parks, you only need to look to the tranquil, luxurious spa hotels across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide some necessary relaxation.

From Insta-worthy spa hotels to chic and understated staycations, these are the trips worth booking now:

The Varsity Hotel & Spa, Cambridge

Best for: City breaks

The Varsity is the perfect mix of cool city break and relaxing spa trip, set in the bustling, picturesque city of Cambridge. The hotel is slap-bang in the centre of town, so it's perfect if you want to walk everywhere. Plus, if you fancy doing it like the locals and cycling your way through the city the hotel offers complementary bicycle hire to residents.

If you're feeling adventurous, try your hand at a spot of punting (or hire a guide and turn your attention to the prosecco) and make sure you hit up the city's best culture spots, from The Fitzwilliam museum to Kettle's Yard Gallery.

This city is known for its beautiful cobbled side-streets and al fresco vibes, so grab a drink by the river or at The Varsity's rooftop bar (with all the views), before you enjoy a massage and a soak at the hotel's Elemis spa; The Glassworks. See? Perfect city spa break.

Price: From £179 per room, per night, including full continental breakfast and healthclub access.

Book now

Beaverbrook, Surrey

Best for: Luxury lovers

Reached via a sweeping driveway, past lakes and woodland, Beaverbrook’s a slice of Pride and Prejudice in the rolling Surrey hills. Hit the holistic, ultra-luxurious spa and spend a day swimming and switching between the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi and using up all of the Bamford products. There are plenty of treatments to try, like a deep tissue massage, or you could book a consultation with the hotel’s naturopath or even get realigned by the in-house Osteopath.

When you’re not hanging out in the spa, there are two restaurants and a romantically-lit bar (an Instagram fave) to enjoy - the best seat in the house is the enormous velvet sofa ideal for people-watching guests. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge, where you can lie back on the vast sofas and plan your next manoeuvre, we recommend staying there with trashy books and eating homemade banana and chocolate cake filled with fresh whipped cream. But that’s just us, you could take a walk in the pretty grounds.

Price: From a whopping £490 per room, per night (best to go halves)

Book now

Grantley Hall, Yorkshire

Best for: Spa technology

Tucked away in the glorious Yorkshire Dales, this Grade II listed mansion dates back to the 17th century but recently had an extensive renovation project, so you’re in for a Palladian-architecture-meets-cutting-edge-new-spa type of weekend. Bedrooms are some of the poshest we’ve ever seen and perfect for romance: white linen, huge squishy pillows, fresh flowers, a polished wood writing desk, white stand alone bath tub and a beige-gold colour scheme that looks straight out of the Hollywood Hills.

The Three Graces spa is also ah-mazing, boasting a steam room, sauna, snow room, outdoor hot tub, tropical rain shower (complete with sound effects) and even a cryotherapy chamber - basically a massive freezer which you spend up to three minutes in, said to be good for everything from depression to skin conditions. We also heart swimming between the indoor-to-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, which is uplifting even in winter weather, as you soak up the refreshing air on your face while your body stays deliciously warm in the water.

Price: From £450 per room, per night, including breakfast and spa access.

Book now

Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Best for: Holistic Heaven

Set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside in 438 acres, this handsome Georgian manor house hotel will blow your socks off.

Its Little Bothy spa is gorgeous, with a focus on all-natural, botanical-based treatments. Fresh produce is picked from the apothecary garden each day to create juices and infusions (don’t miss the ginger and turmeric shots). Ease into a 60-minute massage using the hotel’s signature Wildsmith products created exclusively for the estate using homegrown ingredients. But wellness here goes beyond your average treatment menu.

Heckfield has partnered with wellness supremo Bodyism to offer the very best in pilates and yoga, plus there’s regular meditation classes at the Keeper’s Cottage (which is as gorgeous as it sounds). Its two restaurants and the glasshouse (for afternoon tea) are supplied by the estate’s biodynamic farm, guaranteeing the best fresh seasonal ingredients possible.

Price: From £300 per room, per night.

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Ladore Falls Hotel & Spa, Lake District

Best for: Unique features

If we told you the 100m walk from the hotel to the spa includes a footbridge across a waterfall (OK, we’re not talking Niagara, but still) you won’t be surprised to know this place is a bit special. The superbly designed spa suites have state-of-the-art facilities and there’s a fantastic range of treatments including the Akwaterra Massage, which the Ladore brought to the UK. If that’s not enough USPs for you, there’s also a Champagne Bar and the country’s longest outdoor infinity pool.

When you’re not having treatments, it’s fun to head outside and soak up the beauty of the surrounding area at Catbells, a fairly short and easy hike up one of the fells overlooking Derwentwater - it came fourth in a survey of Britain’s Top 100 Walks and it’s got a great name, right?

Price: From £225per room, per night.

Book now

No.15 Great Pulteney, Bath

Best for: Instagram interiors

If you like your mini breaks to have a little style to them, this gorgeously quirky hotel should be top of your list. It goes without saying that Bath is the perfect destination for a spa break, and No.15 captures all the tradition of the area while adding its own modern twist.

The spa is located in the basement of the Georgian townhouse conversion, giving it perfect cosy vibes. With individually-designed treatment rooms and plenty of thoughtful little touches, it's a spa experience you're unlikely to replicate anywhere else. We'll race you to that hot tub...

Price: Rates start from £183 per night for a room, while spa treatments start at £95


Moddershall Oaks, Staffordshire

Best for: Privacy

The Midlands is home to this country spa hotel, which is remote enough to feel tranquil but, at 20-minutes away from Stoke-on-Trent train station, is accessible from most places around the UK.

A cosy lounge with an open fire is the perfect place for a little romance, while the outdoor hot tub is super relaxing at night. Just don't forget your dressing gown - it's chilly when you step out!

Price: Rates for a spa break with treatment, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast start from £295


St Brides Spa Hotel, Pembrokeshire

Best for: Stunning views

Snap a picture of this infinity pool overlooking the sea, and you could fool people into thinking you're in Mykonos, not Wales. The coastal hotel is consistently voted as one of the best in the country, and the spa is one of the main reasons.

While you relax with a view of the gorgeous coastline, book in for a massage, facial or even a coastal-themed lava shell treatment.

Price: Rates for an overnight stay start at £200 per room


The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth

Best for: Eco-friendly travel

Chances are, you've seen this little Cornish gem of a hotel on Instagram at some point. The eco-friendly resort is designed to "connect you to the outdoors", meaning there's a lot of outside space and floor-to-ceiling glass.

The simple design aesthetic is enough to inspire your next interior update, while the luxury tented treatment rooms are so relaxing they'll send you to sleep within seconds. Be sure to pay a visit to the relaxation room while you're there for the best nap you've had in ages.

Price: Rates start from £230 per night, and spa break offers are also available


Cliveden House, Berkshire

Best for: Traditional luxury

The stunning Cliveden House is probably best known as the hotel Meghan Markle stayed in the night before she married Prince Harry, but it's also home to an award-winning spa hidden in a secret garden setting.

The hotel has partnerships with Sarah Chapman and OSKIA, and as a result the facials are outstanding. Manicures and pedicures are a bit special, too - Cliveden has its own range of polishes for guests to choose from.

The hotel itself is owned by the National Trust and set 376 in acres of gardens and parkland, making it the perfect place to explore and enjoy a romantic stroll. If you can make it out of bed, of course.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £445


The Ned, London

Best for: Big spa break in the big city

Influencers have been raving about The Ned for some time now, mostly because the uber-cool hotel literally feels like the set of a movie - and where better place to get a couple's manicure than somewhere you're likely to spot a celeb?

The hotel's public spa, Cowshed, offers nail treatments, massages and facials using products from the British brand.

Ned's Club members and hotel guests can exclusively use the Ned's Club Spa, complete with a sauna, steam room and 20-metre indoor swimming pool surrounded by marble columns and mosaic tiles.

With a central London location and an amazing ten restaurants, you could easily spend more than a weekend here - but you might want to budget beforehand, since it's one of the more pricey options.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £250, while spa treatments start at £14


Lime Wood Hotel & Spa, New Forest

Best for: Nature

A break at Lime Wood is the perfect combo of luxury spa and nature retreat. Treatments are all natural, and have a focus on de-stressing and rejuvenating. From massages to body scrubs and facials, there's plenty to choose from.

If you can afford to splash out, the Lake Cabin is truly incredible - think a secluded hut and outdoor roll-top bath. At the cheaper end of the scale are the hotel's cosy Eaves, with views looking out onto the gardens.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £385, while spa treatments start at £60


The Gainsborough, Bath

Best for: Roman spa

This hotel really is something special. For starters, it's the only place in the UK to have access to natural thermal waters. The interiors are also ridiculously cool - they're designed to look like a Roman palace, so there's lots of marble and pillars.

The treatments are vast and impressive; there's everything from body therapies (detox and tone, anyone?) to a 'couples surrender' (which is more massage, less dominatrix than it sounds).

The hotel itself is gorgeous, and if you can bear to leave the comfort of the sauna, the restaurant is the perfect place for a candlelit dinner for two.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £224, while spa treatments start at £120


Isle of Eriska, Scotland

Best for: Total relaxation

If you want to stay on a legit private island without leaving the UK, we've found the most ideal place.

This mansion is located on a piece of land only accessible by a bridge in the West Highlands of Scotland, and if that doesn't sound romantic enough to make you book *immediately*, the rooms outside the main house - each with a private hot tub - looking out to sea definitely will.

If you can drag yourself away from the room, the spa offers a vast range of treatments, including some especially created for men, and even has an option to personalise treatments.

It's a hell of a journey for most, but so worth it.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £265.50, and spa treatments start from £10


Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Lake District

Photo credit: Gilpin Hotel
Photo credit: Gilpin Hotel

Best for: Romance

The Lake District is the perfect place for a romantic break, and The Gilpin has really nailed private couple time.

The hotel's five lodges all have their own personal spas complete with a hydrotherapy hot tub, outdoor saunas, a steam room and - of course - views of the stunning countryside.

If budget doesn't stretch to a private lodge, the remaining rooms are also stunning. Plus, the accommodation has its own Champagne bar, two restaurants, and even llamas and alpacas wandering through the grounds.

Price: Rates for a double room start at £235


Slieve Donard Hotel & Spa, Northern Ireland

Best for: Idyllic location

Yes, this hotel does look like a giant castle. If you fancy living like royalty for a while, you can't get better - it's located right on the coast, with views of the Mourne Mountains behind.

When you've finished admiring the exterior, you'll feel right at home in the spa, which has a cosy fire to set the mood. Treatments include traditional massages and facials, along with holistic treatments.

Price: Rates start from £179 for a room, while spa treatments start at £80.


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