The Best Spa Retreats in the UK

Stay at one of the most relaxing destinations in the UK, from luxury treehouses to country estates
Stay at one of the most relaxing destinations in the UK, from luxury treehouses to country estates | Courtesy of K West Hotel & Spa / Expedia
Photo of Callum Davies
17 December 2020

There’s nothing quite like arriving at a hotel, dropping your bags and heading straight to the spa. You might be shrugging off jet lag, tourist fatigue or just feel like being pampered, but in any case, it’s always a godsend. The United Kingdom has a globally recognised reputation for great hotels, and a huge number of them also have full spas. A quality hotel doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great spa, though, so here we’ve helped to narrow it down.

Corinthia Hotel - London

Spa Hotel
4.9/5 (801 Reviews)
Corinthia London
Courtesy of Corinthia London / Expedia
As befits a hotel named after an ancient Greek state, the Corinthia doesn’t skimp on the libations. The Charing Cross edition in their line was once the HQ of the British Ministry of Defence, before undergoing an extreme makeover to become one of the most desirable five-star hotels on the Thames. Once you get over all the clever touches (the grand piano is a bar!) and drop your bags off in one of the decadently furnished rooms, the next destination should always be the ESPA spa. Spread over four floors and coated head-to-toe in black marble, it offers hydrotherapy pools, a sauna, a steam room, all the ESPA treatments you could ever want and sleep pods. Even the changing rooms have fireplaces and fresh fruit. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re literally inside a renaissance painting of Olympus, this is the way you do it.
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Calcot & Spa - Cotswolds

Spa Hotel, Luxury
Calcot Hotel & Spa
Courtesy of Calcot Hotel and Spa /
Tucked in the midst of the village of Tetbury, Calcot is every bit the countryside retreat you imagined every time you watched a British romcom. It features a conservatory restaurant, inn-style pub and various outdoor facilities, to say nothing of all the walking routes that splay out around it like beckoning fingers. The spa, however, is a revelation: it offers both Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates treatments, ranging from deep tissue massage to acupuncture, as well as featuring two swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), a whirlpool, and a sauna. The spa has a sizable and dedicated staff who will ensure that you’re well-catered for, and this goes double for the personal trainers on-hand should you choose to visit the gym.
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The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa - Bath

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
Courtesy of The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa / Expedia
The Georgian Royal Crescent is one of the most architecturally striking spots in all of Bath, so why not stay there? The Royal Crescent Hotel offers not only the chance to stay in a piece of living history, but also provides an escape from the bustle of the city centre without straying too far from it. The hotel comprises two townhouses, with a hidden garden and lots of nods to the Georgian history of the buildings. The Spa & Bath House is vast, big enough to house a relaxation pool, a second vitality pool with jets, a steam room, a sauna and six treatment rooms with various herbological cleansing treatments which leave you feeling like a whole new person. It also provides a great advertisement for the Bath Skincare Company, whose products can also be bought directly from the spa.
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Dormy House - Cotswolds

Spa Hotel
4.8/5 (64 Reviews)
Dormy House
Courtesy of Dormy House
Dormy House is perched on the edge of the Cotswolds escarpment, and offers a dream stay for any outdoorsy traveller, with hiking routes, quad biking and golfing all available on the doorstep. The hotel’s real claim to fame, however, is its award-winning spa. The old farmhouse conceals a second auxiliary building which blends Cotswold stone with more modern elements, including huge glass walls which ensure that the spa always catches the sunlight. After being handed a eucalyptus scented towel, you can expect to be shown through to a 16m infinity pool, flanked by a lavender sauna and salt infusion steam room. As far as the treatments go, you can expect Pure Massage, mud treatments, body scrubs and more.
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Barnsley House - Cirencester

Spa Hotel, Luxury
Barnsley House Hotel
Courtesy of Barnsley House Hotel / Expedia
Of the many appealing things about this Cotswolds hotel, made famous by its Rosemary Verey-designed gardens, the spa ranks very high. From the moment you cast eyes on the hypnotic turquoise glow of the outdoor hydrotherapy pool, you know you’re in good hands. There’s an inviting fire-pit to sit by in your fluffy robe while you wait for one of the numerous types of massage on offer as well as other Elemis treatments, and the obligatory sauna and steam room both serve their purposes adequately. The jets of the pool will bludgeon your muscles into doughy bliss, but there’s room enough to float around and give yourself a break between sessions.
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Chewton Glen Hotel - New Forest

Spa Hotel
4.8/5 (40 Reviews)
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa
Courtesy of Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa / Expedia
It always feels good to be guided through a secondary, secluded entrance to reach somewhere, especially if that somewhere is a hotel spa. The Chewton Glen is a stunning hotel backing onto the New Forest whose claim to fame is its impressive treehouse suites, but there’s plenty more on offer besides waking up in the treetops. The spa is a huge palatial playground with a pool, a broad range of hydrotherapy facilities and treatments include Linda Meredith skincare and all-natural products and treatments from Ila.
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Lucknam Park - Wiltshire

Spa Hotel
4.7/5 (73 Reviews)
Lucknam Hotel and Spa
Courtesy of Lucknam Hotel and Spa /
Appealingly situated between Bath and the Cotswolds, Lucknam Park is the kind of stately home you fantasised about owning after an epic binge of Downton Abbey. The palisade of tall trees and huge ivy-covered walls all contribute to this ideal, but the spa is the hidden pocket of modernity amidst all this classic British grandness. Included are a Japanese salt room, amethyst steam room, sauna, tepidarium, relaxation room, lounge with its own mixology bar and nine treatment rooms offering massages with the ESPA product range. Oh and there’s an indoor and outdoor pool, along with a hot tub and saltwater plunge pool. The word ‘comprehensive’ doesn’t do it justice.
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Middlethorpe Hotel & Spa - York

Spa Hotel
Middlethorpe Hall And Spa
Courtesy of Middlethorpe Hall And Spa /
Middlethorpe embodies everything that’s attractive about York, from the ancient architecture to the much lauded warmth of the north of England. Its stance as a smaller player in the luxury hotel game only serves to add to the charm, and this most definitely extends to the spa. Confined to a cosy annex a short stroll from the main building, it packs all the palatial appeal of a larger spa into a smaller package, whilst still finding space for a heated pool, several massage and treatment rooms offering the full mani/pedi/facial range. In the neighbouring summer house there’s a gym so that you can balance the pampering out with some hard graft.
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  • The Sir Christopher Wren - Windsor

    Hotel, Spa Hotel, Independent Hotel, Resort
    Sir Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa
    Courtesy of Sir Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa /
    Windsor is one of the easier historic towns to reach from London, and has a reputation for feeling classy. The Sir Christopher Wren certainly embodies this, overlooking both the River Thames and Eton, and named for the man who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral. The hotel has a slightly Romanesque bearing to it, which is also true of the spa. While there’s no pool, the outdoor hot tub and sauna see to it that things get as relaxing as possible, as do the body wrap and Decléor massage treatments on offer. The gym is also the only hotel gym anywhere in Windsor, so it would be rude not to take advantage.
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    Rowton Hall - Chester

    Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel
    4.1/5 (111 Reviews)
    Rowton Hall Hotel and Spa
    Courtesy of Rowton Hall Hotel and Spa /
    Even the name Rowton Hall evokes visions of wood panelling and long gravelled driveways, and sure enough this Cheshire hotel takes its 18th-century pedigree seriously. The impeccable lawns, the tennis courts, the jasmine garden… it all paints a picture, probably with oils. The spa is no different: elect to do the backstroke in the pool and you’ll be greeted by a huge Tudor ceiling, and if you flip over you’ll see the hotel’s brand emblazoned on the pool floor. The relaxation room provides a circular basecamp around which the four treatment rooms are arranged, making use of sustainability-minded BABOR products. There’s also a sauna and whirlpool, and a decent-sized gym can be found next door.
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    Kimpton Blythswood Square - Glasgow

    Hotel, Spa Hotel, Independent Hotel
    4.6/5 (992 Reviews)
    Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel
    Courtesy of Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel /
    In a previous life Kimpton was home to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, and the amount of tweed on display does pay a certain homage to that era. Yet things have been brought up to date in other, more salient ways. The hotel enjoys a quiet, central location on the affluent Bath Lane, and certainly when walking down into the softly lit spa you feel like a VIP. Included in the package are a hydrotherapy pool with muscle-pummeling jets, a laconium, a tepidarium and a sauna, as well as massages, facials and other treatments all using products made by ishga, a local business specialising in seaweed-based recipes.
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    The Gainsborough Bath Spa - Bath

    Spa Hotel, Hotel
    The Gainsborough Bath Spa
    Courtesy of The Gainsborough Bath Spa /
    If you’re going to go anywhere in the UK for a spa treatment, Bath is where you should go, full stop. The city not only has its roots buried in Roman spa treatment, but it’s the only city in the UK which still has working thermal spas, and there’s only one which is owned and run by a hotel. The Gainsborough is that hotel, a handsome Georgian building with enviable views across the city and big spacious rooms. The three thermal pools themselves offer all the appeal of the open ones available elsewhere, but with none of the crowding. The larger spa area includes a glass atrium, sauna, steam room and 11 different treatment rooms offering various Asian massage therapies as well as mud baths, facials and nail treatment.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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