'Why Ragdale Hall Spa is my ultimate UK wellness destination'

a person smiling in a room with a window and plants
'Ragdale Hall is my ultimate UK wellness break'Ragdale Hall Spa / Emma Gritt

The worst thing about a trip to Ragdale Hall Spa is that as soon as you’ve checked out, you’re plotting how you can return.

Take it from me. Since my first visit in 2018, not a week has passed where I haven’t thought about the sprawling manor house turned health retreat, which in parts dates back to the eighteenth century, and how it overlooks the rolling Leicestershire countryside. Top tip: The best view of the fields and woodland is from the infinity pool on the spa complex’s roof.

Why do I love Ragdale so much? Well, it has an incredible thermal spa journey (my favourite), a huge pool, fitness studios, classes, a gym, walking routes, and a massive array of treatments on offer. You’d need at least two weeks there to even sample half of them. Thankfully, for those who work full-time and don’t have a lottery winner’s budget, you can find plenty of joy and relaxation in just two days.

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For my most recent trip, I brought my best friend along with me - I love her so much, so why wouldn’t I want to infect her with Ragdale Hall fever, too? Seeing her eyes widen as she explored the resort for the first time reminded me of my first trip there. It really is unlike any other spa (that I know of) in the UK. I'd even go as far to say that it has one of the best thermal spa journeys in the country.

You get really looked after at Ragdale Hall Spa

The excitement for your trip to Ragdale begins days before you even make it to the estate's winding driveway. Guests receive a welcome pack posted to their home address with everything they need to know ahead of their stay, the week's classes timetable, and any special offers and add-ons.

Upon arrival, you are greeted by their team of friendly and warm staff. Your bags are taken off to your room (I advise packing your swim/gym kit a handbag incase there's a delay in your luggage getting to you, peak times are busy), and they'll even park your car for you. Driving an EV? They'll charge it up.

With your responsibilities removed until you check-out, your respite from reality begins with an invitation to sit in the Garden Room and enjoy a glass of Prosecco. Then, a quick tour of the facilities and you're free to lose yourself in fitness classes, hot and cold spa experiences and treatments all the way until dinner.

Ragdale Spa doesn't permit locals to use the facilities or book in for treatments. It means that from the moment you cross the threshold until you go home, every other member of the dressing gown gang is 100% committed and focused on their personal wellness, just like you. It's the sort of cult you don't need to be brainwashed to want to join!

The thermal spa journey is unbelievable

There are twelve separate heat and water experiences as part of the thermal spa journey. Located in a huge glass atrium with towering tropical plants and stream running through a rockery, you can believe you've just stepped in to paradise.

All of the elements are so different. In the Candle Pool you find yourself in a secret cavern filled with warm water with flickering lights. Outside, accessed by a lagoon, you find the Waterfall Pool, which features hidden alcoves to sit and chat, or just close your eyes and drift away as you're pummelled by a hard jet of water.

The heat experiences can both soothe and invigorate all your senses. The Thought Zone features serene visuals and sounds; the Scented Room uses fresh aromatics and images of nature to take your mind to a place of zen; the Volcanic Salt Bath "encourages your lungs to stretch and revive" with natural basalt and slate, and a hearty spritz of eucalyptus; the focus of the Colourflow Cave steam room is a crystal mountain; and the Rose Sauna is a Scandinavian style sauna which helps release tension from your muscles and calm the mind.

And that's not all. There's a 'starlit' Cave Shower and Experience Showers which let you choose between a warm tropical shower (it's lovely) or a cool mist (great for refreshing the senses between heat experiences!).

There's plenty of opportunities to work out

Lying around not your idea of fun? You'll be kept busy with Ragdale Hall Spa's fitness programming. There are two studios, Heart and Soul, with each one offering a packed schedule of classes covering four main activity pillars, mindful, cardio, strength and dance, between 7:45am and 8pm.

They release the timetable a week in advance (a copy comes in your welcome pack), and you can find a bit of everything on offer, from HIIT to yoga, Pilates to spin, and their own classes, 'Ballet Fit' and 'Drums Alive'.

a tree in a pond
The view from the infinity pool is unbeatable RAGDALE HALL SPA

Ragdale is huge, and along with a huge 25 x 12 m swimming pool perfect for swimming lengths, there's a smaller exercise pool. Here you can join in group classes - HIIT, Aqua Circuit, Pilates and yoga H20 - from 9am - 4pm.

Across the week's timetable there's also a chance to exercise outside with a Wellness Walk or Bootcamp, borrow a mountain bike to explore the grounds, or you can simply stay inside and use the gym. It has plenty of cardio machines, free weights, and Pilates reformer.

Everything mentioned above is included in the price of your stay, but there's also some paid for "Holistic Activities" which allow you to try trending workouts. During our stay, these were sound bathing (£12 for 45 mins), foam rolling (£10 for 45 minutes), Tai Chi (£10 for 45 minutes) and Yoga for Sleep (£5 for 30 minutes).

They're in tune with the seasons

The team at Ragdale Hall Spa regard wellness as a holistic experience, and as part of this, they have special offers and one-off events tying in with a seasonal theme, dubbed Ragdale Through The Seasons. When we went to stay during March the theme was was Sleep, to tie in with National Sleep Day.

Sleeping comes second only to relaxing in my list of hobbies, so I leapt at the chance to attend one of the Yoga for Sleep classes, as I had never tried yoga Nidra before. Referred to in some circles as 'yogic sleep', you are taken on a guided meditation and breathing practise while lying in savasana (corpse pose), and despite the comfy position, controlling my thoughts was harder than I expected. That night we were asleep by 9pm, we both are yoga Nidra converts, now.

Future Ragdale Through The Seasons themes:

  • April to June - Balance

  • July to September - Reconnect to Nature

  • October to December - Wellness Within

What's the spa like?

Almost all of Ragdale Hall's spa breaks and days include at least one treatment, and it's encouraged that you prebook any additional ones you fancy during your stay. It is possible to book on the day, and there's a blackboard with available treatments in the spa reception area.

More than 130 beauty professionals work at Ragdale, carrying out everything from express facials and mani-pedis to acupuncture, reflexology and Reiki.

During my stay I had a Clarins express facial - perfect for a post-winter boost - which was included as part of my package, and an Elemis Deep Tissue Back Massage (£98 for 60 minutes).

They also offer treatments which are "Exclusive to Ragdale", meaning you can't have them anywhere else. Next time I'd love to indulge with a Medik8 Platinum Face & Body Rejuvenuating Ritual (£169 for 105 minutes) or a Sea Magik Pro Tropical Coconut Floatation (£78 for 50 minutes).

The food is nutritious, healthy and delicious

Now ask any of my WH colleagues and they'll tell you that I am not a breakfast person, but I could be if I lived at Ragdale (in my dreams!). You choose what you'd like to eat and drink the night before, popping your menu in a box by reception, and the next morning it is brought to you to enjoy in bed. The idea is that you can mix and match from lots of small things, so I enjoyed a tofu and bean pot, their take on a cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert made with oats, honey, yoghurt and raspberries) and a green smoothie.

Served in the main restaurant, lunch is a buffet, with plenty of salads and cold cuts, and dinner is a la carte. The portions look small, but due to the top quality ingredients, leave you perfectly satisfied.

While most people are in dressing gowns until they go home, for people wanting a chance to glam up, the very chic Twilight Bar, which is open until late, serves gorgeous cocktails. Fancy a cocktail and keeping your dressing gown on? That's fine too!

Final thoughts

I've been so lucky to have visited some incredible spas across the UK, and while there are some seriously luxe contenders in Glasgow and Harrogate, my trip to Ragdale Hall confirmed that it still reigns supreme as my favourite wellness destination.

Go there!

Classic rooms start from £407 a night, including meals. Check the website for the latest deals and offers. BOOK NOW

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