Take a look at some of the most beautiful places you can enjoy a bath in the open air, all around the UK.
Stuck in a rut? Feel yourself thinking “same s**t, different day” every morning on your commute? You, my friend, need a shake-up.
The daily grind can feel particularly draining if you’re a city dweller, surrounded by pollution and general pandemonium in all directions. But the best way to step off the hamster wheel is to just… go. Take that annual leave so many workers are scared of using, leave the city, and escape to the countryside to have a bath under the stars.
It sounds eccentric, but think about it. Baths are where we have some of our most contemplative moments: totally alone and literally laid back, we can’t even be distracted by our digital devices. Being surrounded by nature is also a proven de-stressor. According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, being in nature can increase our self-esteem and mental wellbeing, while another recent study suggests that being near trees significantly improves our mood. It’s not surprising that the Japanese are such fans of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’, as a mindfulness practice.
Thanks to the temperamental British weather, the UK isn’t exactly brimming with places to bathe outside. But we’ve done some research and found five gorgeous spots where you can get back to nature – by getting into the tub.
In the most secluded of spots, up in the woods of North Wales, lies a teeny, tiny cottage called Hafod Hedd. Once a storage shed for equipment serving the main house, this quaint brick building’s potential was realised after it was turned into a getaway cottage.
The dwelling’s one and only room has views of lush woods and a river running underneath the window ledge. With no electricity and rolling countryside for miles around, this is what we call an opportunity to get back to nature. Seriously, even the toilet is a short walk away – so you can forget about wifi.
One of the most charming features of this dreamy staycation spot, though, is the pair of cast-iron baths brimming with water heated by locally sourced hardwood. In an area with little light and noise pollution, we can only imagine what a peaceful spot this would be to stargaze.
See more on Hafod Hedd here.
This small glamping site in Wales’ Cardigan Bay is every eco-warrior’s fantasy. The wooden pods sit in a pretty two-acre meadow and come with fire pits to keep you cosy in the winter. With a cooking tripod, you can even BBQ yourself some delicious food while you enjoy the gorgeous views.
Opportunities for reflection are in abundance, from the adorable rowing boat moored on the edge of the river to the hammock strung up in the trees. But the best spot by far is the open-air bath tub. Here, you can lie back and enjoy a very different bathing experience to the one you usually have at home.
See more on Ciliau Aeron here.
A sumptuous members’ club on a rural farm in Oxfordshire, Soho Farmhouse spans 40 cabins, an outdoor pool, paddocks and a converted barn. Guests can while their days away by taking rides on pastel-coloured bikes around the surrounding forest, sailing rowing boats across the lake or indulging in spa treatments.
Come evening, you’re invited to dine in the luxurious rustic-chic central barn. Each cabin is unique, but some have a very special feature: a deep-bellied tub positioned on the terrace outside. Each cabin is also stocked with Cowshed goodies, to ensure you leave smelling fresh as a daisy.
See more on Soho Farmhouse here.
Lime Wood Hotel & Spa
This hotel and spa in Hampshire is the cream of the crop when it comes to UK weekends away. Once you’ve tired yourself out with a walk around the grounds, you can retire to the decadent spa.
If bathing outside is what you’re after, request a stay at the Lake Cabin, nestled at the end of a private pathway. Clad in reclaimed timber inside and out, with opulent velvet decor touches, this could be the cosiest cabin in Britain.
When you’re ready for a peek outside, the huge slide-away doors mean you can feel immersed in nature without going very far. Our favourite bit is the full-width balcony over the water, complete with outdoor bath tub.
See more on Lime Wood Hotel & Spa here.
This riverside retreat in the Scottish Highlands specialises in yoga courses in an unbelievable setting. The staff believe that taking time to recentre yourself should be a focus of your trip – and a great way to do this is with a long, hot soak.
As well as a transparent outdoor spa dome, hot tub and artisan sauna, EcoYoga also gives its guests access to two breathtaking baths embedded in the nearby gorge. The upper gorge bath is built into the rock, with hot and cold running spring water for you to wash yourself in.
Lower down, where the river plunges into a natural fissure and joins the mighty Liever River, they’ve created the Lower Gorge Bath. This deep tub easily fits two, has piped hot and cold water, and stands on a solid wooden platform overlooking a waterfall.
Bathing doesn’t get much better than that.
See more on EcoYoga here.
For one day only on Thursday 20 September, Gemma Cairney has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Express Yourself platform – a digital initiative which aims to inspire us, challenge us and encourage us to explore our creative sides.
For similarly inspiring content, check out Stylist’s September Shake Up initiative here.
Images: Courtesy of venues