Twelve adventurous staycations to make you happy, fit and healthy


A one-mile swim challenge before a moonlit float

Glide through the cool, open waters of Ullswater on a wild swim, just one of several bracing activities laid on at the Lake District’s Another Place hotel. 

You’ll be guided by endurance swimmer Colin Hill, who helps guests of all abilities through a range of aquatic activities. 

You can challenge yourself to a one-mile cross-lake expedition during the day, then enjoy a leisurely float under the Moon in the evening, before retiring to the on-site library. 

Accommodation comes courtesy of a Georgian townhouse-turned hotel, and food from one of two contemporary restaurants.

From £220 per night. Guided swimming sessions from £35. another.place/active

Glide through the cool, open waters of Ullswater on a wild swim, just one of several bracing activities laid on at the Lake District’s Another Place hotel

Glide through the cool, open waters of Ullswater on a wild swim, just one of several bracing activities laid on at the Lake District’s Another Place hotel

You’ll be guided by endurance swimmer Colin Hill, who helps guests of all abilities through a range of aquatic activities

You’ll be guided by endurance swimmer Colin Hill, who helps guests of all abilities through a range of aquatic activities

Bathe in the forest with a treehouse for a bed

Forest bathing, a Japanese relaxation practice known as shinrin-yoku – focusing on wildlife around you and breathing deeply to distract from ruminating thoughts – has been shown in studies to halt the production of stress hormones, reducing blood pressure and lowering the heart rate.

And what better way of trying it out than taking lodgings inside a treehouse, nestled within one of England’s largest forests?

Country estate The Tawny offers luxury treehouses looking out on to the forestry of the Staffordshire countryside, and which come with an outdoor spa bath. 

A short walk down one of the walking trails is a hidden thatched cottage, where guests can enjoy one of many spa treatments, including body wraps and mud masks.

Treehouses from £1,040 for a two-night stay. Sleeps four. thetawny.co.uk

Country estate The Tawny offers luxury treehouses looking out on to the forestry of the Staffordshire countryside, and which come with an outdoor spa bath

Country estate The Tawny offers luxury treehouses looking out on to the forestry of the Staffordshire countryside, and which come with an outdoor spa bath

Blitz the lockdown bulge in seven days

Desperate to lose the lockdown bulge but can’t stand the thought of another sweaty gym? 

Let an expert team of nutritionists, yoga teachers and former professional athletes take care of it on a seven-night stay at The Body Retreat in Dorset, run exclusively by women for women. 

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You’ll join a small group and be set at least five hours of intensive activities a day to help you shift the weight for good. 

There are personalised meal plans, nutrition education and follow-up sessions to help you maintain weight loss goals.

From £2,175, all-inclusive. thebodyretreat.co.uk

Britons could enjoy a seven-night stay at The Body Retreat in Dorset, run exclusively by women for women

Britons could enjoy a seven-night stay at The Body Retreat in Dorset, run exclusively by women for women

Zip-line through a Scottish forest

From mountain-biking to paddle-boarding and zip-lining, there are 60 activities on offer at the sprawling Perthshire resort, Crieff Hydro. 

Some are available very near to the hotel and self-catering cottages – in the heart of an enchanting forest – while others are a short drive away. 

The team will arrange everything for you, including a spot at the free childcare facilities on site.

From £442 for a self-catering two-night stay. Activities priced from roughly £30. crieffhydro.com

Join the hipsters, get into mindful pottery

Studies show that hands-on hobbies such as pottery-making, knitting and baking can distract from anxious thoughts and increase feelings of relaxation. 

Half an hour from London is the ultimate retreat for creatives: a short stay at Birch is jam-packed with activities, from candle-making to learning how to master trendy sourdough bread, all of which are said to elicit calming effects similar to mindfulness meditation. 

The generous-sized pool, swanky restaurants and on-site co-working spaces are just one of the many reasons Birch is popular with London’s 30-something hipster set.

From £450 for a two-night stay with breakfast. Some activities free. birchcommunity.com

From mountain-biking to paddle-boarding and zip-lining, there are 60 activities on offer at the sprawling Perthshire resort, Crieff Hydro

From mountain-biking to paddle-boarding and zip-lining, there are 60 activities on offer at the sprawling Perthshire resort, Crieff Hydro

Couples therapy for yoga bunnies 

For active couples looking to relight their fire after a year of being locked in together, Green Farm, in the Kent countryside, offers weekend yoga and Pilates retreats, which combine daily exercise classes with couples therapy, supported by a trained counsellor, as well as couples massages. 

The working farm also offers a host of other yoga and Pilates retreats for solo visitors.

From £1,350 for two. See greenfarmkent.co.uk or email team@greenfarmkent.co.uk to make a booking

Ramble in the Dales… with a physio on hand

Explore the boundless beauty of the Yorkshire Dales with physiotherapist and seasoned rambler Dave Jelley. 

He guides guests through a series of trails along the breathtaking countryside, suitable for walking or running. 

Self-catering accommodation is included – choose from cottages, garden rooms or a treehouse – and the team delivers a hearty breakfast of granola, fresh fruit and bread to your door every morning. Expert Jelley can deal with sore muscles.

From £100 for a two-night stay. jelleylegs.co.uk

Go climbing and caving in Cumbria 

Caving has become increasingly popular with British thrill-seekers in the past few years, with communities dedicated to the discovery of underground caves popping up all over the country.

Cumbrian resort Gamara arranges half-day trips to the mystical caves and waterfalls in nearby Ingleton, where guests are joined by professionals to point beginners in the right direction. Rock climbing and abseiling are also on offer. 

And the delightful hotel is set in the heart of the hiking hotspot Borrowdale Fells, making it an ideal base for all kinds of outdoor adventures.

From £268 for a two-night stay with breakfast. Activities priced on request. glaramara.co.uk

Pamper yourself with a spa bath… in bath

Who needs to fly to Europe to soak in natural, health-boosting thermal springs? Head to Britain’s only natural thermal spa in Bath. 

According to legend it was discovered by an ancient British prince who believed that the waters – containing 42 different minerals – cured him of the skin disease leprosy.

Some have suggested that the waters, which can reach a temperature of 33.5C, ease patches of eczema and acne, while others say it reduces joint pain associated with arthritis.

The scientific consensus on the physical benefits isn’t quite there yet but the full weekend experience, courtesy of the Royal Bath Hotel, is undoubtedly good for a weary mind.

From £224 for a two-night stay including breakfast and dinner, including visit to Bath’s Thermae Spa, and use of the spa facilities. royalhotelbath.co.uk

Wean yourself off tech with a digital detox

Data released last week by Ofcom showed that adults have spent more time online than ever before since last March – at least three hours daily, on average, which is more than citizens of Spain, Germany and France.

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Experts have drawn links between the surge in browsing time, particularly time spent on social media, and the spike in anxiety problems reported during the pandemic lockdown.

You can try pulling the plug at one of the UK’s most decadent hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, which offers a Digital Wellness Escape package, including a 90-minute massage.

This targets the tendons in the neck and shoulders that can be sprained when staring at devices. 

Alongside this, guests can enjoy the tranquil colour therapy room and book a one-to-one yoga class with a personal instructor.

From £520 per night. The Digital Wellness Escape massage costs £225 per person. mandarinoriental.com

The canal barge with an on-board spa

Water babies will love this luxury spa experience, with aromatherapy massages given on board a canal boat moored next to the Monkey Island Estate Hotel in Bray, on the River Thames.

The swanky barge boasts three indulgent treatment rooms for massages and facials, as well as a stylish bar offering a range of herbal teas that are made from locally grown produce.

Guests staying at the Grade I listed hotel – which is on its own beautifully landscaped private island – get exclusive access to the barge, and can enjoy other activities on the water, including stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing and cold-water swimming.

From £275 per night. Sixty- minute treatments on the floating spa start at £100. monkeyislandestate.co.uk

A two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from Penzance takes you to a natural paradise, featuring more than 20,000 exotic plants. Pictured: Tresco Island resort on the Isles of Scilly

A two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from Penzance takes you to a natural paradise, featuring more than 20,000 exotic plants. Pictured: Tresco Island resort on the Isles of Scilly

Stay in the UK’s biggest tropical garden

For those who have spent the past year stuck in the smog of the city, missing out on the wealth of health benefits associated with nature, the perfect antidote comes in the form of the UK’s most exuberant garden – at the Tresco Island resort on the Isles of Scilly.

A two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from Penzance takes you to a natural paradise, featuring more than 20,000 exotic plants. 

When guests aren’t marvelling at the colourful collection, they can take a bird-watching tour and admire the influx of puffins, guillemots, cormorants – and purple herons.

From £245 per night. tresco.co.uk



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