A nation of romantic cities and bustling cultural hubs, Britain also has a more tranquil side and visitors will find relaxing retreats, yoga workshops and mindfulness studios dotted from country to coast and beyond. So if you’re planning an autumn trip to Britain, why wait? Wave goodbye to summer and spend some time falling into wellness this autumn at our pick of relaxing retreats and activities.
For a taste of the Scandinavian spa lifestyle head to Beach Box in Brighton. Located right on the beach, the spa features two wood-fired saunas with the sea as a natural post-sauna plunge pool. The two saunas started life as a horse trailer and simple packing crates, but now offer you the chance to unwind in glorious heat, sweat out toxins and, with the addition of fresh water bucket showers, to leave feeling utterly revitalised. You can also upgrade your experience and try Beach Box’s homemade salt scrubs and leaf whisking, or combine music and aromatherapy at the weekly AUFGUSS event.
You’ll find silent mindfulness and meditation retreats across Britain, tucked away in tranquil countryside or in the calm stillness of some of our most beautiful manor houses. These group retreats vary in focus, but a great place to start is Gaia House in South Devon’s vast countryside. Ranging from 22-nights to one or two-night courses, ‘Wisdom born of stillness’, ‘Liberation through kindness’ and ‘Insight meditation and yoga’ are a few of the retreats on offer at Gaia House helping you explore and practice mindfulness in as much or as little depth as you want.
Home to expansive National Parks, official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and breath-taking coastal walks, Britain is made for nature lovers. If you fancy switching off but don’t want to join a formal digital detox, these rolling valleys and dales provide the perfect backdrop against which to get immersed in nature without the distractions of technology.
A great place to start is the Peak District. Jump on the train to Edale, the heart of the UK’s first National Park. Here, you’ll find the Old Nags Head, a 16th-century pub that’s recognised as being the start of the Pennine Way, one of Britain’s most historical and famous walking trails. With rooms and self-catering cottages to rent that vary in price, the pub is the perfect base from which to explore the Peak District National Park. Hire a bike, walk the peaks and discover one of our finest landscapes far away from the buzz and bustle of modern life.
Flotation tanks are one of the most popular trends to spread across London. These water-filled pods have half a tonne of Epson salt added to them, with participants floating in the dark for up to an hour. Together, these elements create a weightless floating experience combined with gentle ‘sensory deprivation’ that gives your mind a chance to clear, allowing sense of deep-relaxation to take over. You can enjoy this ‘easy mindfulness’ activity at locations across London including Floatworks in Vauxhall and Angel.
Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your mindfulness and overall mental well-being, and there are plenty of variations available to experience when in Britain. For a unique meditation experience, you can absorb the calming presence of a horse as you focus your mind and let go of everyday stresses through meditation. Said to give an extra sense of contentment, you’re encouraged to sit in a paddock amongst the gentle giants and see if the energy of a yoga circle encourages the horses to join you. Whasdyke Farm, near Windermere in the Lake District, offers this as a day activity as part of their retreats. Although the main focus is on creativity, offering photography, pottery, painting and floristry retreats, Full Circle Retreats all include daily horse meditation sessions.