Get away from it all with our guide to the best beauty breaks and spa resorts located only around an hour or less from the capital.
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The best spas just outside of London
BEST FOR: Indulgent aromatheraphy treatments
An hour and 20 minutes south east of the capital, Champneys Forest Mere is located in Liphook, a leafy Hampshire village in the South Downs. Open in 1995, Forest Mere isn't ultra modern or a showcase of cutting edge design, but it's grand and attractive, and houses a fully equipped gym, two fitness studios (which offer a varied range of daily classes), a selection of pools, steam rooms and saunas, relaxation rooms and a stately staircase leading up to 43 treatment rooms. Galvanize the girls or whisk Mum away for a day or two here and you'll feel a million dollars by the time you leave.
Liphook, Hampshire | 1 hour 20 minutes from Waterloo
BEST FOR: A royal blow-out
Coworth Park in Royal Berkshire is a top spot for an upper-class pampering break: the 70-room hotel is set in a vast 240-acre estate and has a first-rate spa, excellent restaurants and an equestrian centre. The spa itself has been designed to be both sustainable and to have minimal environmental impact and, as well as being partly sunken into the ground, its been constructed from wood with lime hemp walls and even has herbs growing on its ‘living’ roof. As much care has been taken over the selection of interior activities and luxe treatments too, which include pregnancy packages, treatments for men and Thai massage.
Ascot, Berkshire | 55 minutes from Waterloo
BEST FOR: The full works
The Four Seasons Hampshire is a stunning Georgian manor house set in 500 metres of rolling countryside. Once you've cruised up the sweeping driveway and taken in the lakeside views, you'll find the spa located in the manor's old stable blocks. Rustic on the outside, inside, the spa's cream walls, exposed brick and clean lines make for a modern but warm retreat. Along with luxurious pools, saunas and steam rooms, there are 15 treatment rooms which offer the works. Anti-ageing Swiss Perfection Therapy, ESPA aromatherapy and Sodashi holistic therapies are all available, while signature treatments involve the use of fresh lavender, rosemary, mint and cloves amongst other herbs, which are all hand-picked from the hotel's garden.
Dogmersfield, Hampshire | 1 hour from Waterloo
BEST FOR: Outdoor relaxation
The Grove is known for its luxurious spa facilities which help attract people to this huge, elegant country pile just ten minutes off the M1 in Hertfordshire. There's the Vitality Pool with hydrotherapy jets, the huge indoor pool and extensive spa menu. But during the summer months a lot of the action (or should we say, blissful inaction) takes place outside with the fantastic pool and beach in the hotels walled garden. That's not all – this summer the hotel has installed more than 80 pieces of sculpture around the place, created variously by Royal Academicians, international artists and up-and-coming names.
Watford, Hertfordshire | 30 minutes from Euston
BEST FOR: Swimming and dining
Dragging your other half away to a spa weekend can be a hard sell if all that awaits you after your health and fitness treatments is a bowl of rabbit food and some kale juice. But no-one in their right mind would turn down a trip to Ockenden Manor, where the life-giving properties of a few lengths in a steaming outdoor pool and a Ren facial can be offset by a tasting menu and eye-boggling cheese trolley in an adjoining Michelin starred restaurant.
Cuckfield, West Sussex | 55 minutes from Victoria
BEST FOR: Stunning country surroundings
The Spa at Hanbury Manor is the perfect getaway whether you're looking to workout or unwind, or both. This beautiful stately country home houses a fully equipped gym with a range of free weights, cardiovascular and resistance machines and an indoor pool, plus two tennis courts and even jogging trail for those feeling suitably energetic. Alternatively, a brisk walk around the manor's lusciously green grounds will leave you feeling a million miles away from London. For those feeling suitably lazy, hit up the jacuzzi, sauna and steamroom, and try one of the rejuvenating treatments on offer, from facials to body scrubs to wraps.
Ware, Hertfordshire | 55 minutes from Liverpool Street