Queen Victoria is said to have invented the weekend break. Reasons such as this are why she is admired and respected by women around the world. We can see exactly where she was coming from; beautiful and interesting though it may be, London and the lifestyle that comes with it, along with personal stresses, can wear a lady a little thin. Fight back against the aging acceleration with plenty of me-time and, of course, several weekend escapes each year to nearby countryside.
London is an exciting city, full of history, old buildings, modern masterpieces, an abundance of shopping and a diverse assortment of international cuisine. It is also full of people and, sadly, pollution. While the hustle and bustle of the streets can give you an exciting rush, it can also give you a headache. True though it is that London has bountiful parks and green spaces, sometimes these mini-retreats simply aren’t enough. Every once in a while, a girl needs to get out.
Sometimes, the idea of having to plan in and of itself can deter you from making to move to get out for a bit. To take some of the stress off your shoulders, we’ve found some excellent choices for a weekend spa retreat close to London that will return a happier version of yourself back to the city de-stressed and completely refreshed. So grab the girls and make it a weekend!
The Grove, Watford, Hertfordshire
This 5 star hotel retreat is known as London’s Country Estate and considered one of the top resorts and locations in the UK. It was here that Queen Victoria began a tradition of “weekending”, thanks to the lavish house parties thrown by her Secretary and Aide, the 5th Earl of Clarendon. The Grove Estate was owned by the illustrious Earls of Clarendon until 1920.
The Grove’s Sequoia Spa is an award-winning retreat for luxurious relaxation and Ayurvedic spa treatments. The gorgeous estate, with lush woodlands, a 3.2-acre walled garden and a championship golf course, is only a 20-minute train ride from Euston to Chandler’s Cross, making it a perfect weekend retreat to de-stress and re-energize. Overnight spa breaks are currently around £225 per person, but it’s worth the splurge. The Grove’s website guarantees the best rates, so check out Sequoia’s spa offers and indulge in the fine treatment you deserve.
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club, Wych Cross, East Sussex
This lovely four-star is set in Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh stories (though the grounds are actually 186 acres). Popular for its luxurious Country Club and Spa, Ashdown Park is also a country haven that caters to more active lifestyles, offering all-weather tennis courts, golf, fully equipped gym, stunning cycling and jogging routes which include mountainous trails and an indoor heated swimming pool.
Treatments at the Country Club’s Revitalise Spa have been specially designed to incorporate Kerstin Florian and VitaMan products, appealing to both men and women for an all-around rejuvenating and relaxing personal experience. The stunning Ashdown Forest on the estate’s grounds is an idyllic and magical escape from London’s concrete, cranes and pub crawlers.
The hotel is near several historic English towns, so you can do some casual country sight-seeing if you wish, and it’s also located near Royal Tunbridge Wells, a historic spa town with some good shopping.
Ashdown presents the perfect spa retreat experience for a smaller price tag, with spa break deals starting from £127.50 per person. The package includes one night in a Deluxe room, a treatment, access to all spa facilities and both a three course dinner and breakfast in the Anderida Restaurant.
Ashdown Park Hotel can be easily reached on the Victoria Line, but it’s nearly 40 miles outside of London, so the journey is an excellent 1.5-hour retreat outside the city, which makes for very low-hassle travel. East Grinstead train station is your stop, and the hotel is a further 8km, so a quick cab ride will get you there easily without breaking the bank.
Lensbury Resort, Teddington, Surrey
Rural Surrey is an ideal spa retreat, with its acres upon acres of gorgeous parkland only 30-40 minutes by train from London (usually via Waterloo).
Lensbury Resort is no exception to Surrey’s beauty, resting on 25-acre grounds and on the banks of the Thames. We’ve selected this resort because , though not far outside of London (within half an hour by rail), it offers a complete escape and is near to extremely worthwhile attractions.
A five-minute drive to Teddington Rail Station (free shuttle provided), it’s within a 10 minute drive from Hampton Court Palace (a MUST SEE by The Luxe Travel’s standards) and Richmond Park, 10 minutes to Twickenham and 15 minutes to Kew Gardens.
Lensbury Resort offers spa packages on occasion, but you can easily organize your own overnight stay for around £130-£150 total depending on the treatment you seek. Review the Lensbury Spa Brochure to tailor your own treatment. You might also consider heading out for a relaxing day but returning to your own apartment in the evening, as transportation is that easy.
Pennyhill Park Hotel & The Spa, Bagshot, Surrey
This one is another splurge at around £230 for a one-night spa stay per person, but the deal comes with a one hour treatment from a wide range of Ayurvedic options, spa facility access (8 indoor and outdoor pools and Thermal Heaven), dinner credit of £25 and breakfast. Pennyhill Park is a fine luxury retreat just 40 minutes from London, at least keep it on your radar.
Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club, Lingfield, West Sussex
Though part of a large chain, this chain is well-known and respected. This spa hotel is particularly unique in that it rests right up on a racecourse and stables are within the grounds. Many rooms are track-facing, which makes for a lively and exciting view on race days. Though spa packages per se aren’t always on the menu, the Breathe Health Spa and simple but nice rooms make for a quality spa retreat at a reasonable price.
Local attractions include horseback riding, Denbies Wine Estate, Leeds Castle, Hever Castle and several locally organized tours including Great Houses of Greater London. This hotel is actually near Ashdown and so can also be reached via East Grinstead.
If you’d like a retreat location that still offers some city-life, just majorly down-scaled, and/or some seaside scenery, head to the coastal towns of Brighton or Dover, both under 2 hours by train from London.
Treat yourself, unwind and enjoy! Don’t let London age you prematurely – fight stress and big city troubles with some fresh air, gorgeous landscapes, spa treatments and girl time. If you need some help trimming down on the packing, check out our Women’s Vacation Style Guide.