Winter is the perfect time of year to treat yourself to a wellbeing break. As the nights draw in and the urge to nest becomes stronger, it’s easy to let the fitness routine slide and turn to a Danish box set and a glass or two of Malbec. But there other – healthier – ways to kick back this season. Read on for our list of weekend breaks that will leave you feeling revitalised, relaxed and ready for anything.
The boutique townhouse with a healthy supper club: No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham
This elegant Georgian townhouse located in the spa town of Cheltenham offers all the style of a hotel with the convenience of home. Its 13 rooms are chic and cosy with huge freestanding baths and ever bigger beds, all decorated thoughtfully by owner and interior designer Georgia Pearman.
It’s the attention to detail that really makes this place special: the emergency tampons discretely tucked in the bathroom, the charming honesty bar, the cookies and hot chocolate we found waiting for us at bedtime.
There’s a drawing room, dining room and courtyard garden to explore but we came for the supper club, an ongoing series which has featured people including the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters, The Epicurean and St John founder and chef Fergus Henderson.
On our visit, Natasha Corrett, founder of Honestly Healthy served up a plant-based menu bursting with flavour showing that healthy eating doesn’t have to leave you hungry (or bored). Sitting on large banquette tables in the hotel dining room, we gleefully tucked into ‘scotch eggs’ made with celeriac and velvet ketchup, butternut millet salad with apricot chorizo (apricots that really did taste meaty) as well as a comforting gluten-free peanut butter chocolate cake tower that defeated all but the most committed of us.
Stay at No 38. The Park from £120 per room per night. Look out for upcoming supper clubs on the website. theluckyonion.com/property/no-38-the-park/
The five-star city spa break: One Aldwych, London
For those times when only London will do, check into One Aldwych. Set in the heart of theatreland, this urban retreat offers 105 rooms and suites in an Edwardian building on the steps of Covent Garden.
After a day exploring, take a dip in the dark blue basement pool which is 18m long and chlorine-free – and plays underwater music, naturally. There’s a sauna and a eucalyptus steam room plus a range of excellent spa treatments by Spanish skincare specialist Natura Bisse and British skincare brand, OSKIA. We tried the OSKIA Glow On The Go facial (£75) which was 45 minutes of pure indulgence. Don’t want to skip a workout? There’s an extensive, top-of-the-range gym plus a team of personal trainers to whip you into shape.
Deluxe rooms in soothing shades of grey feature king size beds, walk in showers and separate bathtubs. You’ll spot at least one original artwork in your room – from the hotel’s collection of around 400 – as well as fresh fruit and flowers delivered daily.
The mezzanine level restaurant, Indigo, offers seasonal ingredients sourced that are entirely gluten and dairy-free (try the hand rolled potato gnocchi with butternut squash and chanterelle mushrooms) while three michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa is causing a stir in his eponymous new restaurant, which offers a relaxed interpretation of traditional Basque cuisine. After dinner, enjoy a cocktail in the Lobby Bar, named one of the top five in the world by the Sunday Telegraph.
Stay at One Aldwych from £305 per room per night including breakfast and access to the Health Club. onealdwych.com
The body blitz bootcamp: Trimmer You Bootcamp, Wales
Lost your #fitspo at the bottom of that pizza box? Find it at this luxury, award-winning bootcamp. Prepare to earn your body as a team of trainers push you to the max with a jam-packed schedule including HIIT, hiking, circuits, boxing and more.
You’ll be measured, weighed and provided with all the expert advice you need to get things back on track. And expect results: participants lose on average between 9-12 inches.
Located in the Welsh hills in Powys (there’s a sister site in Spain) you’ll stay in a refurbished farmhouse in an area of outstanding natural beauty. After up to 10 hours of exercise, you can sink into your four poster bed or chill in the jacuzzi, onsite spa or in front of the real log fire. Bliss.
Onsite chefs will prepare your three meals and three snacks each day to a menu designed to maximise your weight loss. Processed foods are out and the diet is wheat and dairy free. Tuck into porridge with fresh berries and seeds for breakfast, soup and salad for lunch and salmon with sweet potato for dinner.
A weekend stay (2pm Friday – 10am Monday) at the Trimmer You Bootcamp, costs from £349 including meals. http://www.trimmeryoubootcamp.co.uk/
The mindfulness retreat: Sharpham Trust, Devon
If you struggle to live in the moment and are constantly stressed or anxious then the Sharpham Trust’s mindfulness retreat can help. Set on a verdant 550 acre estate on the River Dart in South Devon, the trust has been teaching people to better connect with themselves and nature since 1982.
The 3-day Mindfulness for Beginners retreat uses guided sitting sessions, mindful walking, yoga, periods of silence and plenty of time for rest and reflection. By the end of your stay you should feel deeply rested and recharged, away from the chaos of everyday life.
You’ll stay in the Grade 1-listed Sharpham House, set in Capability Brown-designed landscape with views over the River Dart. The historic building has 17 bedrooms plus a number of communal rooms to relax in. Don’t miss a walk in the nearby woodland and walled gardens. The retreat is full-board with nutritious home-cooked vegetarian food sourced from the kitchen garden or local suppliers.
The 3-day Mindfulness for Beginners course costs from £315 for a standard room including meals. www.sharphamtrust.org/calendar/retreat/mindfulness-for-beginners
The wilderness weekend the family will love: Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk
If snoozing is your idea of losing then try an activity-filled weekend at the Wilderness Reserve. Set on a sprawling private country estate in Suffolk, guests can bed down in a chocolate box selection of quaint cottages, barns and farm houses scattered across the 5,000 acres, as well as Sibton Park, the Georgian townhouse which is at the heart of the estate.
There’s no time to get bored here; from clay pigeon shooting to parachuting, you can have a go at heaps of stuff. Keep kids amused with a bird and nature walk – there are over 100 species to spot – or a spot of archery. Hike through 150 square miles of wildlife-rich wetlands and shingle beaches that Suffolk offers or take a complimentary Pashley bike along one of the many suggested routes.
Adrenalin junkies will love the power boating trips on the river and out to sea in Southwold while the more laid back can enjoy spotting the many animals (look out for red deer and barn owls) that roam the land. At the end of the day, tuck into a dinner prepared by the estate’s team of chefs, who can cater for everything from an informal BBQ to a black tie banquet.
Stays start from £136 a night. Activities are extra. wildernessreserve.com
The deluxe detox: Hencote,
Forget what you know about detox: at Hencote, they do things differently. After a consultation, a team of experts in nutrition, yoga, mindfulness and fitness will work with massage therapists to create an individually tailored wellbeing programme that is 80% health, 20% indulgence. The menu focuses on healthy and cleansing home-made food and detox juices topped up with massages to help you relax, de-stress and remove toxins.
Set in 60 acres of rolling countryside near Shrewsbury, you’ll stay in The Grange, a former hay barn that’s been lovingly restored with a chic, neutral colour palette. There is accommodation for up to 12 guests in rooms with ensuite bathrooms and sweeping views across south Shropshire.
Let the Wellbeing Director take you through a personal plan of yoga, meditation, take a walk through the ancient wet woodland or indulge in one of your three complimentary massages that you’re entitled to as part of your wellbeing package. You’ll leave feeling lighter than ever.
Stay at Hencote from £279 per person per night. hencote.com/
The holistic hideaway: The Arrigo Programme, Somerset or London
Press the reset button on life in a powerful programme that was crowned England’s Best Wellness Retreat 2016 in the World Spa Awards.
If past experiences are weighing you down or preventing you from moving forward positively, the Arrigo Programme offers guidance and support to examine patterns of behaviour and how to overcome them.
Using gentle conversation and emotional intelligence, Fiona Arrigo, a psychotherapist and bio-dynamic psychologist with over 30 years’ experience, will help you to gain perspective on the life traumas that we dismiss every day as well as providing practice advice on how to move forward.
You can attend as part of a group, on your own or with a partner as part of a four-day residential package. But the Five Hour Mind Cleanse offers a more accessible start to the journey, over the course of a day.
The Five Hour Mind Cleanse, £750, in the Somerset or London Clinic with lunch and refreshments included. thearrigoprogramme.com