10 great spas in Britain

Take a stress-free holiday and relax with a good pampering session

10 great spas in Britain
By: Time Out editors

1. Barnsley House

This exclusive and beautifully appointed hotel has a spa to match, where traditional Cotswold stone is juxtaposed with sleek glass and stylish fixtures and fittings to stunning effect. Facilities include a hydrotherapy pool and six treatment rooms. A day spa package is available for £89, which includes a treatment and a two-course lunch, but you can also just pop in for a facial.

Barnsley House Barnsley, Gloucestershire GL7 5EE (01285 740000/www.barnsleyhouse.com).

2. Bliss Day Spa

Treatments at Bliss are consistently good: efficient, long-lasting and featuring its excellent own-brand products. While there are longer, more relaxing body treatments to be had, Bliss is best for double-quick pedicures and manicures. Sit in line in your lunch break, put on headphones and settle back to watch telly.

Bliss London 60 Sloane Avenue, London SW3 3DD (020 7590 6146/www.blisslondon.co.uk).

3. Cowley Manor

Cowley Manor is a delectable blend of modern innovation in a period setting. Its spa illustrates the contrast perfectly, with its indoor and outdoor pools, steam room and sauna, and aromatherapy-inspired treatments. The signature treatment is a swoon-inducing mixture of acupressure, aromatherapy and reflexology. Spa facilities are reserved for overnight guests over the (busy) weekend, but day-trippers are welcome in the week.

Cowley Manor Cowley, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 9NL (01242 870902/www.cowleymanor.com).

4. Cowshed

A private member's club and hotel, Babington naturally has its own spa (for overnight guests only). Housed in what was once the Georgian pile's cowshed, these days you'll find indoor and outdoor pools, steam, sauna and aroma rooms and nine lakeside treatment cabins, where lashings of the luscious in-house product range are administered.

Babington House Babington, near Frome, Somerset BA11 3RW (01373 812266/www.babingtonhouse.co.uk).

5. One Spa

You don't have to be a guest to visit One in Edinburgh's Sheraton Grand hotel. An ESPA spa (both in the products used, and the company that designed it), its marine algae and Oshadi clay body wraps are blissful; the pool complex and thermal suite are the real draws though. Cleopatra baths (minus the ass's milk), an infinity hydropool and 62-foot ozone swimming pool are complemented by the Celtic- and Roman-inspired laconium, tepidarium and aroma grotto.

One Spa 8 Conference Square, Edinburgh EH3 8AN (0131 221 7777/www.onespa.com).

6. Pennyhill Park

Size is everything at this swish hotel spa, which extends over 45,000 square feet. There are eight pools, the largest of which, the 'ballroom pool', even has piped music underwater. 'Thermal heaven' doesn't stint either; its 11 rooms include a tepidarium and an ice cave (to boost your circulation).

In the 21 treatment rooms, expect lengthy and blissful rituals to complete the cosseting. You can also sleep over if a day trip seems too energetic.

Spa at Pennyhill Park London Road, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5EU (01276 486100/www.thespa.uk.com).

7. Serenity Spa

Seaham Hall is just 20 minutes from the bustle of Newcastle, although you'd never know it at the hotel's adjoining spa. Open to non-guests, it's an oasis of oriental calm and quietude. In addition to the 45-strong treatment menu is a limestone hammam and Canadian redwood sauna and, to cool off, an ozone-cleansed pool that boasts secluded woodland views.

Serenity Spa Lord Byron's Walk, Seaham, County Durham SR7 7AG (0191 516 1400/www.seaham-hall.co.uk).

8. Sequoia

Another faultless ESPA spa within a hotel, many of the luxurious treatments here are inspired by the ancient Indian principles of Ayurveda. Day visitors must book treatments for a minimum of two hours; arrive early if you want to take advantage of the various heat and relaxation facilities, which include a large pool, a crystal steam room and a jacuzzi.

Sequoia The Grove, Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG (01923 807807/www.thegrove.co.uk).

9. Chewton Glen

The famously plush spa at Chewton Glen has no shortage of facilities, including an ozone pool, hydrotherapy pool and ten treatment rooms. High-tech Linda Meredith treatments using collagen and oxygen feature on the skincare menu, while the body is buffed and polished with Molton Brown products. A wide array of 'spa day' packages are available, including an evening of pampering for those forced to work a nine to five. If you've got more time, check in to the hotel for the night.

The Spa, Chewton Glen New Milton, Hampshire BH25 6QS (01425 275341/www.chewtonglen.com).

10. Mandarin Oriental

It's hardly a cheap option (rituals of 120mins start at £250), but the level of soothing luxury at the Mandarin Oriental's spa justifies the expense. Day guests must book ahead; staff recommend arriving 45 minutes before your treatment to make use of the heavenly heat and water features, including an amethyst crystal steam room and Zen colour therapy area.

The Spa, Mandarin Oriental 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA (020 7838 9888/www.mandarinoriental.com/london).

Time Out Britain guidebooks

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Discover more great things to do with Time Out's '1000 things to do in Britain' book, available from www.timeout.com/shop.

Explore 100 British coastal gems with Time Out's 'Seaside' book, available from www.timeout.com/shop.

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