Living in London is the best, but let’s be honest: the daily grind is less than idyllic and, sometimes, nothing feels good value. But that’s no reason to skimp on self-care. Thanks to all these reasonably-priced spas around London, you can be soothed, stroked, preened and pampered for less money than it would cost you to escape the city for a rejuvenating weekend away.
Relax: these facialists, manicurists and masseurs have your back. These are are our pick of affordable London spas that’ll have you drifting off in no time, without splurging next month’s rent.
RECOMMENDED: our full guide to the best spas in London
London’s best affordable spas
For an immensely relaxing session of flotation therapy that’s a lot cheaper than a visit to the Dead Sea and just as calming, book a one-hour slot at Floatworks in Vauxhall. Not technically a spa, instead you’ll be lying face-up in saturated Epsom-salt solution in one of nine floatation tanks. You pay by the hour, but there are offers if you book multiple sessions or become a member, and there’s complimentary herbal tea.
These traditional Russian treatments don’t come cheap. Venik – a good ten-minutes’ worth of thwacking from birch, oak or eucalyptus twigs – will set you back £30. Your best bet is booking one of the three-hour packages. The cheapest is £95; for that, you can enjoy a honey and salt or coffee scrub, a Parenie – a rejuvenating thermal massage – a mud mask and a pot of herbal tea to rehydrate.
Venue says The first authentic Russian Spa club concept in the UK.
If you’re ditching the chemicals in search of natural treatments, the Aveda Institute on High Holborn is hard to beat. One of the original purveyors of plant-based hair and skin products, the brand continues to deliver quality treatments at this spacious hair and beauty spa. Time Out has long been a fan of the salon, not only for its fabulous botanical hair treatments and stylish glossy cuts, but also the intimate manicure and pedicure booths, tucked away at the back.
Cowshed’s Soho outpost delivers the same quality treatments, customer service and divine-smelling products in more buzzy surroundings than its other London day spa at Clarendon Cross. The ground floor is where you can recline for a pedicure and a chat, while downstairs you’ll find the peaceful treatment rooms. Our tester experienced the Cowgroom, during which two therapists worked their magic for an hour (facial, eyebrow tidy and manicure or pedicure). The results? Glowing skin, neat nails and soothed limbs. Perfect.
The Thai and Polynesian-style décor will make you feel like you’re in a Malaysian spa resort not a Mayfair townhouse. This stylish little spa has been a secret weapon for local ladies who lunch since 1989 so your achy limbs are in safe hands. If you’re short on time, book in for a 30-minute session at the Speed Spa, or luxuriate with a 60-minute deep-tissue massage. The shop is chock-a-block with lovely Elemis products, so you can continue the pampering at home.
You don’t have to check-in to this trendy west London hotel to take advantage of the facilities. Non-guests can sweat out the stresses of the day at the Scandinavian sauna and steam room before cooling off in London’s first snow room. There’s also a jacuzzi and a ‘Sun Meadow’ relaxation zone to ward off those winter blues.
With its original 1920s décor and range of treatments inspired by Turkish and Moroccan bathing houses, The Porchester Spa offers an authentic experience. Take a dip in the large swimming pool or cool off in the plunge pool after a stint in one of the three Turkish hot rooms. Treatments include body wraps, facials and massages.
There are Spa Experience branches in Kensington, Old Street, Swiss Cottage, Waltham Forest and Wimbledon. But for a complete spa day package you’re best off sticking to the East End original in Bethnal Green. Some of the facilities at one of London’s oldest Turkish baths include steam rooms, a hammam and plunge pools. Treat yourself to a Head in the Clouds massage and hair treatment, or go all out with the Total Spa Experience.
If your aching muscles are desperate for some TLC but your bank account is dry, head to the New Docklands Steam Club, located in an unassuming industrial brick building next to the River Lea. Entry costs £10-£16 and you can stay in the steam room or sauna for as long as you can handle the heat. Plus, there’s a Russian Room so you can enjoy a good pummeling with those leafy birch twigs.