10 of the UK’s Best (Post-Lockdown) Wellbeing Retreats

Recalibrate mind and body on the UK’s best wellbeing retreats. We’re taking a holistic approach to wellness, here. As well as yoga, meditation and mindfulness, expect creative workshops, fitness holidays and back-to-nature weekends.

The 2020s have so far put us through the proverbial wringer. Worn by lockdown lethargy and infinite doomscrolling, our minds and bodies could do with a little TLC. Before applying to yoga camp in India or planning a forest-bathing trip in Japan's Nagano prefecture, consider our round-up of the best wellness-centric retreats here in the UK.

It's not all spas and spiritual cleansing. Those more keen on getting out in nature than glugging green juice will find timetables packed with creative workshops, fitness holidays and surf therapy guaranteed to dampen the flames of burnout.

Yoga retreats, fitness holidays and back-to-nature weekends: the UK's 10 best wellness staycations

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Sharpham Trust

Devon

"Mindfulness in nature" has been the back-to-basics ethos of Sharpham Trust since it began rewilding city-weary souls on the banks of the River Dart in 1982. Choose between retreats based in the Grade I-listed Georgian manor house (spot work by Barbara Hepworth), the Barn Retreat centre and, our pick, bell tents nestled among woodland. Expect guided meditation, silent rambles and canoeing fuelled by plant-based menus. Pro tip: while you're in the area, imbibe the Devon terroir - quite literally - through a wine-and-cheese-tasting tour of the neighbouring Sharpham Wine vineyard. Wellness is all about balance, after all.

Address

Ashprington, Totnes, TQ9 7UT

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Our Retreat

Somerset

A 19th-century farmhouse cradled by 42 acres of Somerset countryside - not far from Frome - sets the scene for "inner transformation" at this bougie-meets-bucolic yoga retreat. A typical daily schedule includes morning meditation, restorative yin yoga or pilates, breath work, sound baths and guided walks in wild meadows, with time carved out for reading, massages or zoning out by the fire. The flexibility that makes Our Retreat your ideal retreat.

Address

Near Frome, Somerset

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The Mandrake

London

Proof that you needn't escape to the sticks for an antidote to city life. Yes, this West End hotel has a RIBA award-winning building - note the marble-clad Penthouse bathroom - and the oasis-like Jurema terrace, but what makes The Mandrake stand out is its "spiritual spa" - the kind that nourishes the soul in the way a traditional spa does the body. More than tea and turn down, the room-service offering includes a Spiritual Wellbeing Concierge while the events program features shamanic ceremonies, energy cleansing and sound healing in which frequencies from crystal bowls promise a "sonic massage" at a cellular level.

Address

20-21 Newman Street W1T 1PG

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The Arrigo Programme

Somerset

Fiona Arrigo is a name whispered - some may say worshipped - among the well-to-do wellness set. Deep in the West Country, the psychotherapist, intuitive healer and life teacher's back-to-nature retreat is the result of 40 years of fine-tuning, designed to set guests on the path to health, happiness and peace. Days bookended by nights in luxury yurts or private cottages are spent foraging, visiting sweat lodges, wild swimming, crafting and baring your soul around the campfire. Like this but can't take the time out? Try sister retreat A Place to Heal in Notting Hill, where courses in biodynamic medicine, crystal light therapy and such run between one and 28 days.

Address

Somerset, address given on booking

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Birch Community

Hertfordshire

It's been proven time and again that flexing your creative muscles can pep up your mental health. With that in mind, this reimagined country manor - set among 55 acres of unspoiled nature just 30 minutes north of London - is a failsafe for exhausted urbanites who don't want to sacrifice five-star amenities, a gym and the kind of homegrown food offerings overseen by chef Robin Gill. Workationers can clear their inbox in The Hub co-working space before exploring the interactive bakery, pottery studio and timetable of classes in mastering the art of spoon carving, boiling flask terrariums, et al. Stede Court in Kent is another retreat doable as a day trip from London. Work-life balance? We're on our way to figuring it out.

Address

Lieutenant Ellis Way EN7 5HW

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Arvon Creative Writing Retreats

West Yorkshire

Arvon's retreats are yoga for the writer's mind, thanks in part to workshops tutored by acclaimed writers in a library's worth of genres: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, YA, screenwriting, playwriting and more. That said, its rural venues alone (courses are also available online) are the kind of literary knockouts that will make writer's block crumble. Among the Shropshire Hills, The Hurst was the home of playwright John Osborne; Totleigh Barton, Devon, was listed in the Domesday Book; and Lumb Bank, once the home of Ted Hughes, is surrounded by Pennine valleys guaranteed to inspire your next novel.

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Wildfitness

Norfolk

Wildfitness has been running retreats since the early Noughties, when founder Tara Wood set up a “jungle gym” on the Kenyan coast. Since then, its holistic approach to wellness has drawn those in need of recalibration to Iceland, Menorca, Crete and Norfolk. The latter is dubbed a “glamping experience with a Wildfitness twist” – the twist being a handful of daily outdoor workouts fuelled by organic, locavore menus. Downtime is spent exploring the 750-acre site, wandering in woodland, spotting wildlife and wild swimming in the lake.

Address

Wild With Nature, Attleborough, Norfolk

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Fforest

Cardigan, Wales

Alone, Fforest's three good-life destinations in south-west Wales - a farm near the River Teifi, a camp near Penbryn Beach, granary lofts in Cardigan town - would be enough to push a few reset buttons. Its Fforest Discovery retreats? The gateway to mind-body euphoria. They include Gran Ffondo, four days of cycling interspersed with pub pitstops, saunas and films around firepits; women's retreat Fforest Glow; and Fforest Gather, a two-week, family-friendly celebration of simple pleasures. Expect good music, storytelling, tree climbing, printmaking, ceramics and cooking with fire.

Address

Cwm Plysgog SA43 2TB

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Reclaim Yourself

Scottish Highlands

There’s a global catalogue of retreats run by Reclaim Yourself, from Finnish Lapland to Ecuador via the Azores. Of the UK options, the Scotland Yoga & Wilderness Weekend will appeal to those keen to temporarily check out of 2021 and into the near-Arctic Cairngorms. Base camp is a handful of lodges in a secluded dell. From there, you’ll be freewheeling across the mountainscape, taking dips in Loch Garten and exploring the national park with a conservationist. R&R comes in the form of daily yoga practice, plant-centric meals by Bettina’s Kitchen and steamy soaks in the outdoor hot tub. Travel emissions of all guests are offset, so you can feel especially good about this one.

Address

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

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Resurface

North Devon

Few things dampen the flames of burnout like surf therapy – in particular, the science-backed type that Resurface uses to help clients “address their trauma” as well as “flourish and grow”. Building resilience, reconnection and adding a little flow to your life are the goals here – achieved through surf lessons, yoga, experiential group work, psycho-education and meditation. If this floats your board, check out Wild & Free too. Its Women & Water retreat on the northern coast of Cornwall sells out fast.

Address

North Devon, address given on booking

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