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Photograph: Titanic Spa

14 of the best spas in the UK

Relax and unwind at these gorgeous spas, chosen to suit all tastes and budgets

Chiara Wilkinson
Edited by
Chiara Wilkinson
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What’s better than a stay-cation? A stay-cation involving a spa, of course. If you’re looking for a bit of well-earned R&R to get away from it all, the UK is brimming with top quality spas and wellness centres to help you wind down. Hot tubs to soothe aching muscles? Check. A facial to cleanse tired skin? Yup. A deep-tissue massage to sort out all of that tension from being bent over a computer all day? Sounds good to us. 

From glorious country houses to trailblazing eco-spas, lake view hot tubs and city centre hideaways, this country has it all. Don’t know where to start? Our editors have been out and about, trying and testing spas to sort the good from the fantastic. Now, all you need to do is lay out your comfy clothes and hit the road. And… breathe. 

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Best spas in the UK

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  • Spas

Best for: top-notch nosh

It’s fair to expect any spa hotel in Leamington Spa, a Warwickshire town with a long history of harbouring bath houses built around its natural saline springs, to be worth its salt. Mallory Court, a palatial yet cosy country manor house, is surrounded by endless countryside. There’s a heated outdoor vitality pool, Finnish-style sauna and an indoor pool with attached jacuzzi which feels like silk to swim in. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to treatment options, complete with a heated massage bed – just one example of how Mallory Court goes the extra mile. To top it all off, the AA 3-Rosette restaurant is a destination in itself, and could easily lay claim to being the best place to eat in town.

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Grace Beard
Travel Editor
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Best for: no-nonsense bliss

Every morning, horses and riders from Newmarket’s 50 or so stables charge up and down a stretch of hillside known as ‘the Gallops’ just outside the town. Part of the charm of Bedford Lodge Hotel and its none-more-zen spa is that proximity to horse racing royalty, but even if horse racing isn’t your thing, this former 19th century hunting lodge and its health club, a cocoon of chill shielded from the outside world by a row of hedges, are well worth travelling for. After a treatment (the 90-minute personalised massage feels like nirvana), the steam room, sauna and hot tub are there to banish any remaining saddle sores of city life. 

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Best for: restorative countryside

Perched at the top of Cumbria, it’s a long, winding adventure through remote country lanes to reach Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in the northern Lake District. The 15th-century manor house is a little pearl of glamour among the craggy surroundings with oak-panelled dining rooms that look straight out of a BBC period drama. The spa is in an extension off the main house with a hydrotherapy pool, thermal suite with a sauna, steam room, aroma room and various fancy showers – but a real highlight is the outdoor hot tub which looks out onto the wooded grounds where you can watch rabbits hopping across the grass. There are plenty of bracing trails to explore from the hotel grounds. But the best thing? It’s probably one of the friendliest spas you’ll ever soak in. 

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Alex Sims
Contributing Writer and Editor
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  • Spas

Best for: eco-conscious relaxation

Situated in the imposing Titanic Mills – a textile factory built the same year as the doomed ship – Titanic Spa proudly calls itself the UK’s first eco-spa. Its eco-credentials come in the shape of a redeveloped, carbon-neutral building plastered in solar panels, with energy-efficient lighting as well as its own private borehole. This spring water isn’t just available for guest hydration, but supplies the spa’s plunge pool and salt-regulated swimming pool, as well as the showers. Think of it as bathing in Yorkshire’s own Evian. Facials, body wraps and a private mud chamber are also on offer, as is an outdoor hot tub, reflexology, reiki, and hopi ear candle treatments.

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow
Photograph: Kimpton

5. Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow

Best for: exploring the city

For those who just can’t stay away from the city, plan a visit to this proper posh hotel housed in a terrace of Georgian townhouses which used to be home to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club (photographs nodding to the building’s motorist past dot the hallways). It also happens to be home to a recently refurbished basement spa which is inspired by the Scottish Hebrides. Inside you’ll find a snow shower, a Himalayan salt room, seaweed bathing, thermal rooms, ice fountain and sound treatments, as well as all your typical treatments. Talk about bliss.

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Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK
Coworth Park, Berkshire
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Best for: royal decadence 

Situated in the grounds of the sprawling Coworth Park – famous for being the hotel where Prince Harry spent the night before his wedding, while Megan bedded down at Cliveden House –  this spa is almost as glowing as you ought to be when you leave. Tucked into a grassy hillock with lime hemp walls and herbs growing on its ‘living’ roof, inside you’ll find a peaceful, blue-lit swimming pool and steam room as well as eight treatment rooms where friendly professionals will pamper the hell out of you. Make that city grub a goner with a HydraFacial treatment, a strangely relaxing non-invasive skin resurfacing and rejuvenating treatment which sucks all the dirt out of your face and makes your skin sparkle. Double down on the self-care by doing dinner at Woven by Adam Smith, the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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Best for: a quick trip

A few miles and several dozen decibels from Stansted Airport, this well-appointed country hotel is a whisper-quiet retreat perched in a hundred-odd acres of Essex woodland. It’s more hotel with a spa than a spa hotel, with its small wet spa and treatment rooms a treat for a couple of hours’ soaking weary bones in the hydrotherapy pool, sweating away stress in the sauna and taking in a massage or two, but less handy for the kind of spa all-dayer that’d see you emerge with Buddha-like levels of zen and probably skint. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Head back to the hotel next door and settle into the kind of grand tearoom ‘Downton Abbey’’s Crawley family would happily call home.

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Phil de Semlyen
Global film editor
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Lake District
Photograph: Gilpin lake house

8. Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Lake District

Best for: chilling with a view

For a relaxing retreat in near-untouched surroundings, travel to the Lakes and choose one of the very special spa experiences on offer at the Gilpin. Opt to stay at the hotel, where 22 rooms have their own hot tubs, or book one of their five luxurious cedar-built spa lodges, complete with their own steam room, rain maker shower, free standing oval stone bath, outdoor sauna and hydrotherapy hot tub. Down the road, there’s the Lake House, with its very own lake and spa treatment room, hot tubs, saunas and swimming pool private to lake house guests. All of that is very nice, of course, but best part about it here has to be the countryside: look out onto the magnificent moors and just breathe. 

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Stobo Castle, Scottish Borders
Photograph: Stobo Castle

9. Stobo Castle, Scottish Borders

Best for: proper pampering 

Close to the cute market town of Peebles near enough to Edinburgh, Stobo Castle is something of Scotland’s best-kept secret. The grade-A listed building looks like something out of the Shrek franchise, with its 18th century castle features standing out against the rolling countryside. Despite being well situated for walks, as well as offering bikes and tennis courts, the spa is its star offering, decked out with a sauna, hydro-pool, hot tubs, steam room and a quality swimming pool, as well as offering hot stone massages, mud and aromatherapy treatments. There’s a genuine homely feel about the place – with guests chatting to one another in the pool and roaming around in their robes holding a glass of fizz, it’s the perfect place to unwind.

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Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK
Hartwell House Spa, Buckinghamshire
Photograph: Hartwell House

10. Hartwell House Spa, Buckinghamshire

Best for: stately home luxury

Once home to French king Louis XVIII, the fairy-tale like Hartwell House is part-Jacobean mansion and part-Georgian house – and is one of only three National Trust-owned historic house hotels going. The spa is housed in what was once the orangery, with a stunning pool, a jacuzzi, a steam room and separate saunas for men and women in the changing rooms, as well as aromatherapy sessions. And while it’s not the most comprehensive spa out there, how often do you get to unwind in surroundings as lovely as this? Bring a book, maybe daydream that you’re in Bridgerton for a bit – or just chill TF out.

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The Langley, Buckinghamshire
Photograph: The Langley

11. The Langley, Buckinghamshire

Best for: restorative decadence

Want to impress? Or simply want to be impressed? The Langley in Buckinghamshire is a restored 18th-century mansion house decked out with original mosaics, Venetian doors and an impressive fountain to welcome you in the front drive. Rest your head in one of the 20 bedrooms in the house, or opt for a more cosy feel in the former stables. The spa itself is a mighty 1,600 square metres with an epic indoor heated swimming pool, sauna and amethyst crystal steam room – as well as hammams, a private VIP suite with a vitality pool, ladies’ only thermal spa, gym and relaxion rooms. There’s also a heated outdoor pool for you to soak up all of that fresh countryside air.

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Best for: laid-back relaxation

There’s something refreshing about a spa that doesn’t take the more dogmatic aspects of ‘wellness’ too seriously. At Moddershall Oaks Spa in Staffordshire, you can certainly count on being pampered, preened, and pruned without ever feeling like you’re denying yourself life’s finer pleasures. The outdoor heated vitality pool is more ‘glass of prosecco please’ rather than detox juice and a vitamin D tablet.

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Ella Jinadu
SEO Manager
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13. Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath

Best for: real thermal indulgence

Bath is well known for its abundance of wellness offerings, but Gainsborough Bath Spa might just be the jewel in its crown. Based in the town centre, this hotel is screams luxury, and is home to three natural thermal pools, saunas, a steamroom and an ice alcove. There’s also a gym to sweat out all of your sins and treatment rooms where you can enjoy the likes of a bamboo massage, a classic deep-tissue, Hungarian mud detox or a personalised mineral revitalising facial. Sounds good to us.

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  • Spas

Best for: not blowing the bank

Bristol is a lovely city: charming, artsy and buzzing with activity. Sometimes, though, you just need a little R&R. Aztec Hotel & Spa is the kind of place that’s fit for both locals and tourists thanks to its convenient location close to the city. Found about ten minutes from Bristol Parkway in a pretty bog-standard hotel, the spa itself is anything but ordinary. With fluffy comfortable seating, a self-service bar and rows of private lounge chairs for mani-pedis, the newly opened Relax Lounge looks like it could be Kim Kardashian’s house – and the fitness facilities are of just as high a standard. 

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Georgia Evans
Commercial Editor, Time Out
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