The best spa breaks near London

Relax and unwind with a pampering getaway at the best spa breaks near London
Pennyhill Park Spa
By Time Out London editors |
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Need to get away from it all? We feel you. Sure, there are some awesome day spas right here in London, but sometimes you just need to get out of town. If you want to feel truly zen, unwind at the best beauty breaks and spa resorts located only around an hour or less from the capital. 

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The Vineyard

Located a few miles from the M4 outside Newbury, like a zen-exuding pit stop for stressed-out motorway drivers, The Vineyard is a slick operation staffed by a friendly, welcoming team. It’s owned by businessman Sir Peter Michael, a passionate wine lover and art collector, and while there’s no actual vineyard here, there's no shortage of booze, as his own California winery is well-represented in a quirky, adventurous wine cellar. If you fancy unwinding with a wine flight and an immaculate five-course tasting menu – or you just love the idea of chowing down in the shadow of Impressionist landscapes – the formal dining room will tick all the boxes. In the spa, Bliss (yes, really) and her fellow therapists work minor miracles with sore joints and knotty shoulders. The bedrooms are comfy and spacious, and the gargantuan breakfast is worth any amount of motorway congestion on its own. If there’s another massage to ease indigestion, you may need it. Phil de Semlyen

Newbury, Berkshire | 50 minutes from Paddington

Cliveden House

Not many spas feature a swimming pool that helped bring down a government – but then again there aren't many places like Cliveden. Founded in the seventeenth century and rebuilt in the nineteenth by the same guy that designed the Houses of Parliament and the real-life Downton Abbey, it's now a stunning country house hotel with National Trust-run grounds – the kind of place you'd normally visit with an audio guide. Inside the spa (refurbished in 2017) there's a high-tech UV sauna, a warren of treatment rooms for luxurious rubs and scrubs (with scents named after the mistresses of the house) and alfresco hot tubs with a view of the Victorian clock tower. And, of course, there's the open-air pool where John Profumo met Christine Keeler in 1961, kickstarting one of the twentieth century's juiciest political scandals. As Profumo could have told you, a weekend at Cliveden doesn't come cheap. But I've never been anywhere quite like it. James Manning

Taplow, Berkshire | 40 minutes from Paddington

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Hotels, Spa hotels

Eden Spa at Down Hall Country Hotel

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A massive stone manor house set in 110 acres of Essex countryside, you’ll feel like royalty when you roll up to Down Hall Hotel. Eden Spa, a dinky building tacked on to the left, is slightly less imposing – but inside there’s a luxurious blue-tiled hydrotherapy pool, plus sauna, steam room and ‘relaxation area’ (think: loungers and many, many magazines). Get the 55-minute hot stone massage – the sensation will give you that tingly feeling of stepping into a bath at the perfect temperature. The hotel is cosy with a chintzy country house vibe. Head to The Grill Room for a comforting steak then retire to your room to lounge about in a fluffy white robe. The suites have balconies, and waking up to views of the vast grounds is pretty special. Kitty Drake

Hatfield Heath, Essex | 45 minutes from Liverpool Street

Health and beauty, Spas

Ockenden Manor

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Located a short taxi ride from Haywards Heath station, which itself is just a 50 minute journey from London, is the rather lovely Ockenden Manor. It's a quiet cluster of buildings, including a 16th century manor and a modern spa building which offers eight treatment rooms, a gym and fitness studio, walk-through rainforest shower, Isopod flotation tanks and more. The spa is spread out over many zones and at the centre is an indoor pool, from which braver swimmers can venture into the smaller outdoor pool. If you need to warm up, there are sauna and steam rooms, outdoor hot tubs and indoor spa baths. For anyone staying overnight, the accompanying 28 room hotel is a joy. Rooms are spacious, full of mod cons and all leading on to a shared balcony. The restaurant and bar are located in the manor (naturally), where there's a wealth of cosy, old-fashioned charm. Pheasant, duck and venison (from the nearby Balcombe Estate) were on the menu when we visited, and were served by friendly and helpful staff. Oliver Keens

Cuckfield, West Sussex | 55 minutes from Victoria

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Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa

Luxurious without being pretentious and just 45 minutes from London, Pennyhill is the perfect place to escape the city. The vast Surrey spa is decked out with a sauna, herbal steam rooms and eight pools including one with calming underwater music if you want to feel really zen. With so many facilities to explore, the spa can happily cater for everyone – from couples to big groups – and there are even separate facilities for men and women. Unwind with a luxe treatment in one of 21 rooms, where they offer the works – massages, manicures, wraps, facials, scrubs, reflexology. All that relaxing is hungry work – keep it casual and dine in your robe in the spa café, treat yourself to a more upmarket meal at The Brasserie or push the boat out at the Michelin star restaurant The Latymer. Oh, and the hotel is also the official training base for the England rugby team, so you might even spot a sporting star in the changing rooms. Isabelle Aron

Bagshot, Surrey | 1 hour and 20 minutes from Waterloo

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Champneys Forest Mere

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Champneys Forest Mere has just had a major refurbishment and the effects are noticeable. At this Hampshire hotel you can enjoy an enormous indoor pool, multiple saunas, jacuzzis, steam rooms, an ice room and two glorious lounge areas with heated waterbeds for that inevitable moment when you’re so relaxed you have no choice but to nap. There are two fitness studios with an array of classes on offer seven days a week, as well as gentle walking routes around the pretty lake if the great outdoors is more your thing. After more of a pamper session? You're in the right place as the spa boasts a whopping 43 treatment rooms. Signature treatments include the gold collagen facial and the aromatherapy body wrap. It’s the perfect spot for a trip with the girls, your Mum or even a solo TLC sesh. Rosie Akenhead

Liphook, Hampshire | 1 hour 20 minutes from Waterloo

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Alexander Hotel and Utopia Spa

A break at the Alexander Hotel is a glam retreat from London life. In fact, staying here feels a bit like you're spending the weekend hanging out in a Hollywood mansion. That's thanks to bold decor (see: zebra print armchairs) and a champagne bar, alongside the gym and the hotel's two restaurants. (I'd actually recommend walking 15 minutes up the road the Red Lion for some comforting pub grub at dinner time.) Most importantly though, the spa itself is super swanky. The Grecian-inspired pool house features single-sex steam rooms and saunas as well as jacuzzi baths, hot tubs and a pool. The treatments are luxurious: the Kundlani back treatment promised to soothe anxiety and it genuinely did the trick. The highlight, though? The outdoor hot tubs. They're the ideal spots to relax while sipping a glass of champagne (or a green juice). Kate Lloyd

East Grinstead, West Sussex | 55 minutes from Victoria

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