9 wellbeing breaks to book now
Need a well-earned breather? We hear ya! Here's our pick of local de-frazzlers, across Dorset, Somerset and Devon from wellbeing retreats to mindfulness, yoga, foodie treats, writing, weight loss and beach sauna.
1/Reconnect with nature at 42 Acres, near Frome
It may be called 42 Acres but there are actually 170 acres of ancient woodlands, lakes and meadows in which to reconnect with nature, yourself and others at the wellbeing retreat and regenerative farm in the Somerset countryside. Book yourself into one of their simple but beautiful rooms, eat organic food, pick veg and flowers, take walks, observe nature or go wild swimming. The weekend transformational experiences sound good.
Good for: Savouring life in the slooooooow lane.
Not for: Those wanting a raft of treatments – you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The damage: For an experience weekend, from £390 in a shared room.
2/Go on a juice detox and yoga retreat at Platinum Healing, Glastonbury
Where better to boost mental and physical wellbeing than spiritual Glastonbury, aka heart chakra of the planet? Platinum Healing, founded by Kate Tyler (bestselling author, celebrity hypnotherapist, self healing and personal transformation expert), offers organic juice cleansing, daily yoga, meditation, breathwork, walks and a choice of over 50 holistic treatments and therapies, with accommodation in glamping pods and cottages with views of the iconic Tor *sigh*.
Good for: A thorough spring clean inside and out.
Not for: Those who don’t like their veg.
The damage: Four nights from £999.
3/ Start or finish that novel at the ‘Get it Done’ writing retreat with Libby Page, Marston Park, near Frome
Got a book inside you but don’t know how to begin? Or you’ve started to write but finding it hard to keep going? Bestselling author and Somerset resident Libby Page, whose hit debut novel The Lido is now being made into a film, shows how to ‘get it done’ on a three-night tutored retreat at the glorious lakeside Marston Park (luxury bell tents, wild hot tub and swimming, delicious nosh, your own private glowing garden installation by artist Bruce Munro). From Sun 22 to Weds 25 May.
Good for: Anyone wanting to kick start their creativity, finish a writing project, connect with other writers.
Not for: Probably not needed if you’ve just sent your 10th novel off to your publisher.
The damage: £750.
4/Lose weight sustainably at The Body Retreat, near Bridport
No starvation diets or dawn workouts here! These one and two-week weight-loss retreats run by women, for women at a beautiful house 20 minutes from the Jurassic Coast, aim to help you make lifestyle and behavioural changes, eat more consciously, exercise – and lose weight – in ways that are actually possible to maintain when you get home. They also run retreats in Somerset and Andalucia.
Good for: Losing weight – sustainably – in a women-only space.
Not for: Those on a budget; the retreats aren’t cheap (but they’re worth the dosh).
The damage: From £2,200.
5/Enjoy an individual retreat at Middle Piccadilly, near Sherborne
Just about as far away from the other Piccadilly as you can get: individual retreats at a peaceful 17th century thatched farmhouse in the Dorset countryside, with holistic treatments (from an Atlantic seaweed soak to shamanic therapy and yoga ), home-from-home atmos and veggie cuisine. Their ReEmerge package, aimed at healing trauma, grief, stress, illness or relationship issues caused during the pandemic, is timely.
Good for: Retreats are totally flexible; there are no set retreat dates; book yourself in when it’s best for you.
Not for: Those wanting bells and whistles; this is a relaxed, unpretentious sanctuary.
The damage: Three nights from £500.
6/ Get fit on land and sea at The Dorset Fitness Retreat, Symondsbury
Ex-military mental health nurse Lucy and her team aim to combine activity, relaxation and luxury at five-day fitness and swim retreats – and they certainly pack a lot in. Activities include: early morning runs, boxing, boot camp, hikes, HIT sessions, open water swimming and more. Relaxation: beach saunas, mindfulness, yoga, massage and other treatments. Luxury: accommodation at the grand 18th century Old Rectory at the base of West Dorset’s iconic Colmers Hill, with homemade organic, vegetarian or vegan meals.
Good for: High octane fun with a bunch of like-minded peeps.
Not for: It might not be for shy, retiring types.
The damage: Five-day course, shared room for 4 £1,435/room; double from £595/person. One-day fitness retreat £85 (20% discount of booking two places).
7/ Dig a gardening & mindfulness getaway at Sharpham Trust, near Totnes
Reconnect with nature and sharpen your garden know-how right on time for spring at Sharpham Trust, where, between sessions of quiet contemplation on a cushion, you’ll be outdoors in their beautiful walled garden, sowing seeds, planting veg and flowers and getting your hands in the earth. You’ll be staying in a brand-new 18-room retreat centre, The Coach House, a restored Grade II listed quadrangle around a cobbled stable yard, modernised with wooden floors, calm neutrals and a gorgeous glass-sided green oak conservatory (the word doesn’t do it justice) for your morning mediations.
Good for: People with ants in their pants; a sustainable and planet-friendly ethos.
Not for: Couples, come on your own, please; committed carnivores (it’s veggie); fair weather types, you’ll be gardening in all weathers.
The damage: From £450 for four nights, available from April.
8/ Get a Spring wake-up call at Selgar’s Mill, mid-Devon, Fri 1 – Sun 3 April
Slough off winter and give your mind and body a wake up call with a weekend of health coaching, breath work, massage, yoga, snoozing and chatting (and more snoozing) in a the soothing surrounds of a working mill, designed to top you up and work out issues, culminating in a sesh around the fire pit on Saturday night, where you write down anything that’s been holding you back and chuck it on the fire.
Good for: Getting it off your chest; getting to – it’s just off Junction 27 of the M5 and 5 miles from Tiverton Parkway train station.
Not for: Modern Millies and city gals – this is a rustic retreat in an old mill, surrounded by streams and rural idyll.
The damage: A super-affordable £250pp if you don’t mind sharing, or £475 for a double room/£550 for couples for two nights.
9/Tuck into a Calming Spa & Foodie Break at Boringdon Hall Hotel, near Plymouth
Just the one night, but what a night! Tuck into the fresh, new four course taster menu (newly awarded a 4 AA-rosette) in a romantic mezzanine eatery, overlooking an ancient baronial hall. Next morning lie in bed with your continental brekkie delivered in a hamper, then slouch in your waffle robe down to the multi-award winning Gaia Spa, for a restorative 60-minute treatment. There are eight to choose from, ranging from hot stones, to a back and shoulder massage (yes please!) to a Gaia Jade Facial to drain the lymphs and leave you glowy and loads more. You’re also free to use all the glorious spa facilities, including the pool, steam room and saunas while your’e there. Quite the top up.
Good for: blissful indulgence of taste buds and body in a luxury five-star hotel.
Not for: er, people who don’t like spas?
The damage: £556pp inc breakfast and four course dinner, available until 17 Jun 2023.