After a stressful 12 months, finding some respite from every day life certainly seems like an attractive prospect. The good news is you needn't travel far to find it. From yoga weekends to meditation workshops, the UK is home to a number of health and wellness retreats designed to help you find your zen, and, with Global Wellness Day taking place on 12 June, there’s all the more reason to book. Whether you’re looking to improve your vinyasa flow, try your hand at water sports or discover meditation exercises centred on Buddhist teachings, read on for our guide to the best UK wellness retreats to book in 2021.
Combining her 13 years’ experience working as a mental health specialist and clinical support worker with her love of outdoor sports, Katy Griffen was inspired to found Thera-Sea after witnessing her dad’s struggle with alcoholism and addiction, and deciding she wanted to help others improve their wellbeing. Typically taking place over three days, Thera-Sea’s rewilding retreats are located in rural Cornwall, where guests partake in specialist stress management workshops while enjoying water sports such as wild swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. Topics covered include good sleep habits, exercise as medicine, and meditation.
From £395 per person for two nights, thera-sea.co.uk
Tresco Island, Isles of Scilly
The privately-owned Tresco Island is the second largest island in the Isles of Scilly, and although located just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, feels a world away from home. It would be hard not to feel relaxed while walking along the powder soft sand beaches, but there are also a number of specialist retreats on hand to help you refuel. This October, Tresco is hosting a Wellbeing & Yoga Retreat (20-25 October), led by island yogi Gem Hansen and guest tutor Will Harrigan, who will take you through meditation, yoga and breath work over the course of five days. Swimmers, meanwhile, can brave the ocean with the Tresco Swim Retreat (15-20 October or 20-25 October), which sees coach Keri-Anne Payne of Triscape steer a series of open-water swimming sessions.
From £995 for the Wellbeing & Yoga Retreat, based on two people sharing, tresco.co.uk
Sharpham Trust, Devon
The Sharpham Trust is an educational charity that encourages mindfulness and wellbeing through its programme of retreats, which are spread across three locations. At Sharpham House, an 18th-century estate overlooking the River Dart, retreats centre around mindfulness and walking, mindfulness for self-compassion and mindfulness for beginners, to name a few. At The Barn, which is located within the grounds of the Sharpham estate, the retreats focus on Buddhist principles, with activities including meditating and working on the land. The Nature Connection retreats, meanwhile, are held on a campsite located in the woodlands behind the main house, and include specialist meditation and canoeing workshops.
From £345 per night at Sharpham House, sharphamtrust.org
Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire
For a less regimented retreat, a luxury hotel with impressive wellbeing credentials is a great way to reboot and relax. At Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, there are a number of wellness and fitness initiatives available to guests. With Wimbledon set to return this summer, PBI Tennis Professional Nicola Reynolds is on-hand to show guests how to own the court. Practise your swing at individual or group lessons, perfect your form at daily tennis clinics or serve a smash hit at social and competitive tournaments. Fancy exercising your brain instead? Book a session with hypnotherapist Mark Williams, whose Deep Mind Massage therapy helps to improve mental wellbeing through a tailored treatment.
From £625 per night, fourseasons.com
Our Retreat, Somerset
Yogis looking to improve their vinyasa flow should book one of Our Retreat’s UK weekend breaks, which take place in a farmhouse in the Somerset countryside. Each retreat includes accommodation for two nights, daily morning yoga classes, pilates, meditation, restorative yin yang and sound healing sessions, as well as workshops, walks, meals and snacks. Fancy going further afield? The company also organises retreats abroad in Ibiza, Marrakech, Italy, Chamonix and Portugal.
From £550 for a room, based on two people sharing, ourretreat.co.uk
Balance Holidays, Yorkshire
Working with wellbeing experts, boutique hotels and properties committed to sustainability, Balance Holidays curates nature-inspired wellbeing retreats across the globe. This August, its UK retreat will be located on a privately-reserved country estate in Yorkshire. Across five days, guests will experience a rewilding programme steered by natural life-stylist Tony Riddle, with activities including woodland walks, wild swimming, moon bath rituals and tree climbing.
18-22 August, from £3,000 per person based on two people sharing, balanceholidays.com
Gaia House, Devon
One of Europe’s largest meditation centres, Gaia House welcomes around 1,500 people for group and private retreats each year. Focused on Buddhist teachings and the art of silent meditation, the retreats require guests to refrain from both verbal and written communication for the duration of their stay, with the majority of time spent meditating or walking in the grounds. Aside from personal and group meetings with teachers, retreats are held in complete silence. Each person is also asked to contribute one hour of work per day to help with the running of the house.
From £180 for a two night group retreat at standard rate, gaiahouse.co.uk