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Rebecca Wilson yoga retreats in the UK
Photograph: Rebecca Wilson

The best wellbeing breaks and yoga retreats in the UK

Put the daily grind aside for a few days and refresh yourself instead of Twitter with these wellness weekend breaks

Written by
Emma Vince
Lucy Lovell
Rosie Hewitson

After living through one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing years of our lives, focusing on wellbeing has never been more valuable, or more needed. But what exactly is ‘wellbeing’? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer: for some, it’s curbing technology use on a digital detox; for others, it could be perfecting your downward dog at a yoga class and spending some time meditating each day; or maybe for you, its about stepping into the great outdoors, spending time among the local wildlife and reconnecting with nature.

Whatever it means to you, going on a retreat is a great way to change perspective or kickstart a new habit. And with most retreats back open again following the most recent lockdown, there are plenty of wellness breaks to try out, from days away to week-long programmes. Here are seven of the best wellbeing retreats in the UK. Get ready to feel rejuvenated.  

RECOMMENDED: The best weekend breaks from London

The best wellbeing breaks in the UK

The Tree, North Yorkshire

Best for relaxation

Make the most of your weekend with a break at The Tree. Here, you’ll relax and reconnect all against the backdrop of the rugged North York Moors National Park. A weekend itinerary features tasty veggie meals (including Sunday lunch), afternoon tea, sauna and Jacuzzi time, your choice of spa therapy treatment, plus workshops on relaxation techniques such as qi gong. Choose the yoga weekend option for a similar itinerary but with more downward dog. You’ll leave blissfully refreshed.

Getting there By car: around five hours from London. By train: One hour 52 mins from King's Cross to York, then one hour 15 minutes to The Royal Oak, then 40 minutes by bus.  

Yoga weekend from £295 per person, relaxation weekend from £265 per person. 

Gaia House, Devon

Best for meditation

Sick of working from home, listening to the tinny beat of next door's soundsystem, and wishing for a world of complete silence? That’s where Gaia House can come in. Set in peaceful woodland, this silent retreat runs year-round group programmes of Insight Meditation and mindfulness teachings based on Buddhist traditions. You’ll spend soundless days meditating in the hall and grounds, eating vegetarian food and pitching in for an hour to help the house run smoothly. The silence is meant to create a sanctuary for contemplation and deep inner exploration. If you find that keeping schtum really suits you, Gaia House also runs personal retreats where you can stay mute for months at a time.

Getting there By car: three hours 45 minutes from London. By train: three hours from London Paddington or four hours from London Waterloo to Newton Abbot then short taxi ride or car share.

Prices vary according to retreat length. Reductions and bursaries are available. Seven night personal retreat from £427.

EcoYoga, Scottish Highlands

Best for eco warriors

Go off the grid, quite literally, at EcoYoga. Surrounded by hills, lochs and forests, this centre is the perfect retreat for nature and yoga lovers. If you’re now imagining back-to-basics camping in the wild, imagine again – this is a luxurious kind of eco-friendly experience. The glazed yoga studio (with underfloor heating, thank you very much) overlooks the gorge of the River Liever. Each veggie meal comes fresh from the organic garden. When you’re done brushing up on your tree pose, take advantage of the eclectic bathing areas – inspired by the Japanese tradition of sento (communal bath houses), there’s a hot tub under a glass geodesic dome and bathing spots dotted around the forest. You’ll want to namaste here for ever.

Getting there By train: four hours 30 minutes from London Euston to Glasgow. Then two hours 30 minutes by coach to Lochgilphead, where you can be picked up. EcoYoga sometimes runs minibus shuttles from Glasgow city centre; enquire when booking.

Prices vary according to retreat. Five night retreat from £595 fully catered. 

Yoga Hub retreat, East Sussex

Best for bespoke getaways

This cosy retreat is a home away from home where the yoga style and level can be tailored to your group. Yoga Hub also offers personal development coaching sessions, silent walks and cycle rides through the East Sussex countryside along with the opportunity to relax and curl up with a good book or a hearty, home-cooked feast. The best bit? You can share the retreat with up to four friends, plus your new BFFs Albie and Esmee, the resident cocker spaniels.

Getting there By car: one hour 30 minutes from London. By train: one hour from London Bridge to East Grinstead then 30 minutes by bus. 

Two-night, full-board stay £485. 

The Sharpham Trust, Devon

Best for getting back to nature

Fancy taking off into the woods for a while? Sharpham Trust offers ‘nature connection retreats’ where you get to live in the actual great outdoors. You don’t need to be a pro camper (the single bell tents are cosy and furnished) or even experienced in mindfulness, as you’ll learn all the techniques you need on the retreat. Staying in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll get stuck into guided meditation, nature-sensing activities and locally sourced or foraged plant-based food. If you’re particularly interested in all that plant power, Sharpham also runs a separate three-day foraging retreat.

Getting there By car: around four hours from London. By train: Two hours 43 minutes from Paddington to Totnes then taxi or 15 minutes by bus.

Three night Woodland Retreat £345 per person. 

Time to Log off, various locations

Best for a digital detox

Can’t remember the last day you had without looking at your phone? You (like everyone else) are probably in need of a digital detox. When you spend most of your day hunched over a screen or scrolling through Instagram, there are major benefits to be had from quite literally ‘switching off’. As its name suggests, Time to Log Off runs various retreats to swap mindless browsing for mindful connection. Each retreat includes a full programme of yoga, mindfulness practice and skills to help set technology boundaries when you and your device get back to ‘real life’.

Time to Log Off runs retreats at various locations throughout the year and retreats for 2021 are tbc. 

The Clover Mill, Worcestershire
Photograph: Clover Mill

7. The Clover Mill, Worcestershire

Best for a personalised retreat

Shunning more modern wellbeing movements, Clover Mill follows the ancient system of Ayurveda. The ancient Indian medicine dictates that all followers are made up of a unique balance of three different doshas. After an assessment to see which doshas need some TLC, visitors are assigned a personalised set of healthy veggie meals, essential oils, and massage treatments. But even if Ayurveda doesn't do it for you, the daily yoga practice, cute private eco-lodges, and luxurious massage treatments surely will. 

Getting there: By car: 3 hour drive from London. By train: two hours 30 minutes from London to Malvern Link, then a taxi. 

Prices start from £695 per person for an all inclusive 2-night retreat. 

Our Retreat, Somerset
Photograph: Our Retreat

8. Our Retreat, Somerset

Best for a luxe retreat 

Hosted in a luxury farmhouse surrounded by 42 acres of lush woodland, Our Retreat offers a pampering escape for rushed city folk. Their three-night yoga and meditation retreat includes protein shakes, wholesome meals and plenty of time to relax in front of the fire or sunbathe on the lawn. Oh and pilates and yoga a-plenty, if you can drag yourself away from the plush bedrooms. 

Getting there By car: two hours 40 minutes from London. 

Three night yoga, pilates and meditation retreat from around £695. 

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