16 of the UK’s Best Wellbeing Retreats

There’s no time like the present to commit (or recommit) to a wellbeing ritual. Better yet, why not turn that wish for wellness into a week away? We’ve rounded up wildly wonderful, tried-and-tested, UK-based retreats to recalibrate your mind, body and soul. Go on – be kind to yourself.

Thus far, the 2020s have been, in a word: tough. The relentless stress of an ever-evolving global pandemic, political upheaval, climate change, and, well, you name it, has had us all pulling our proverbial hair out. But the dawning of a new year presents an opportunity to reflect, recalibrate, restore our tired bodies and frazzled minds and, dare we say it, relax.

If you're in the market for an hour of intentional silence, a day of limb-lengthening ashtanga or a week of soul-stirring camping, we've got a UK-based retreat for you. Acknowledge your burnout, take a breath and get booking.

Unmissable homegrown retreats where you can rest, recalibrate and restore

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Broughton Sanctuary

Yorkshire

Broughton Hall could be mistaken for Downton Abbey: ancient tomes, heavy silk curtains and mahogany four-posters abound. The property, home to the Tempest Baronet family for over 900 years, is quite simply magnificent. But, it's not all just heritage splendour on the rugged moors. Alongside the storied main house sits Avalon, a cutting-edge wellness centre brimming with world-class practitioners. The brainchild of current custodian Roger Tempest, Avalon is as modern as Broughton is old, championing forest-bathing, reiki, fire ceremonies, drumming, yoga, and myriad other healing practices. You'll find short and long retreats held throughout the year, plus the option to customise a retreat for groups big or small, plus plenty of accommodation, including an off-grid shepherd's hut we very much fancy sleeping in. This wonderful spot, sitting pretty on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, is definitely one to watch.

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Women + Waves

Cornwall

Let's be real: at some stage we've all attempted to surf, even if it was just in shallow water on a child-sized bodyboard. With Women + Waves weekends taking place year-round, all of our failed attempts look set to become a distant memory. Rest assured, if you're not quite ready to go full Keely Andrew, there are plenty of other water-based activities to enjoy, including stand-up paddleboarding. After an entire day of salty air and riding the waves, make a beeline for Newquay's harbour to visit The Boathouse. At this street-style market, you'll find everything from crab sandwiches to katsu curry and sourdough pizzas.

Address

Unit 3, 58 Fore St, Newquay TR7 1LW

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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 Bounce Back 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 meditating, attending expert workshops 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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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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Wandering Wild

Devon

If, like us, you're well and truly over the festive nesting, then Wandering Wild's three-day outdoor retreat is for you. In 2016, founder and guide, Henriettte Lofstrom swapped the fashion industry for the rural and rugged landscape of Devon. There, she trained as a moorland guide and eco-psychologist in order to bring her vision of a nature escape to life. Today, Wandering Wild excursions include mindful walking practice, wild swimming and journalling, to name just a few of the activities on offer. Taking place across Dartmoor's National Park, evenings end with you putting up your own private tent alongside rippling rivers and granite tors (Milky Way views are an added bonus). The best part? Each journey has a maximum of seven participants, making for a comfortable getaway.

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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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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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Tresco Island

Isles of Scilly

Tresco sits just 45km off Cornwall's south coast, the second-largest islet of the Isles of Scilly. Life here is slow, intimate and refreshing. Streets are characterised by whitewashed cottages that overlook powder-sand beaches and blooming botanical gardens. We can hardly think of a better place to reconnect with our surroundings than this Cornish haven. With this in mind, we're grabbing our stretchiest Lycra leggings and heading straight to Tresco for the ultimate yogic escape. Local legend and yoga expert Gem Hansen is offering four days of island-hopping, restorative sessions, sunrise salutations and guided meditation on 18-22 March - just in time for the spring equinox. The package also includes complimentary bike hire, access to Tresco Island Spa and Tresco Abbey Garden, so, in between perfecting your downward dog, be sure to channel your inner Bradley Wiggins and explore the scenic surrounds (or opt to nurse those stiff shoulders in the sauna - we're not judging).

Address

Tresco, Isles of Scilly TR24 0QQ

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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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Somercecil

Gloucestershire

This immersive retreat takes place in the grounds of the leafy Badminton Estate, on the borders of the Cotswolds. While the focus is on holistic practices, yoga and meditation, participants will also discover the importance of good gut health. With foraging on the itinerary, you'll be ditching the full English breakfast and discovering the joys of whisking up a green juice in no time. Be sure to dust off your running shoes before entering these green grounds: guided runs and walks around the estate are pretty much the equivalent of hot chocolate and a movie here.

Address

Kennel Dr, Badminton GL9 1DG

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Gaia House

Devon

Between our buzzing phones, the ever-present roar of traffic and "ping, ping, ping" of relentless notifications, we're all over-stimulated. A meditation retreat rooted in intentional silence sounds like just the ticket. Gaia House runs programmes rooted in Buddhist philosophy, many of which are also available online. Every retreat (bar the Family option) is conducted in silence and led by experienced Dhamma practitioners. Looking to drown out the noise? Gaia House is for you

Address

Gaia House, West Ogwell, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6EW

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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.

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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 St, W1T 1PG

This article was updated on January 7 2022.

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