From a festival of running to a full digestive cleanse, here are some of the UK’s more unusual wellness retreats to help take your summer to the next level…
If your summer is currently shaping up to be a whirlwind of festivals, city breaks and liver-punishing hen weekends, it’s quite possible you’ll come out the other side even more stressed than you were going in.
Don’t get us wrong – all of those things are great, but by making room for some restorative downtime, you’ll be adding to your summer in a big way.
Maybe that’s grabbing half-an-hour to yourself with an iced coffee, or maybe it’s a longer spell of me-time in the form of a wellness weekend.
Whether you’re after something active, or just want a few days to get away from it all, here are five great escapes to enjoy without ever setting foot in an airport.
1. For the fitness fan
We get it. Waking up in a cider-drenched tent in the middle of nowhere after approximately 30 minutes of sleep isn’t necessarily everyone’s vibe.
However, that’s not the only kind of festival on the market this summer.
Love Trails (4–7 July) bills itself as the world’s first running and music festival, with a daytime schedule packed full of beach runs, rock climbing, surfing and wild swimming in the rugged surrounds of Wales’ Gower Peninsula.
Insta-famous fitness groups such as Run Dem Crew and Midnight Runners will be in attendance, while the evening agenda will give you the chance to dance yourself clean to music from the likes of Hackney Colliery Band, The Correspondents and DJ Luck & MC Neat.
On top of that, if you still want to enjoy some more traditional festival fun, you can sign yourself up for the Beer Mile Relay which introduces a bit of alcohol into the exercise equation.
And yes, there are still bars. It’s a fitness fest, but it’s not puritanical.
Don’t blame us if you’re craving a reviving Starbucks iced coffee the morning after.
2. For the reformer
The Conscious Living Pilates Retreat (14–17 June) from Your Ideal Fit is all about introducing you to a wellness regime that you could happily keep up when you get home again.
The Norfolk-based retreat will offer guests a carefully tailored itinerary of Pilates classes, nutrition workshops and mindfulness sessions to create an ‘everyday approach to wellness’, minus the spirituality angle.
Fitness specialist Lucy Mills will be leading the Pilates side of things, while plant-based chef Lauren Lovatt will be serving up three vegan meals per day, with a focus on sustainable ingredients.
There will also be a session on clean beauty, with make-up expert Sjaniël Turrell teaming up with Burt’s Bees to help you decipher those labels on your go-to products.
With an overarching theme of ‘conscious living’, you should leave equipped with a little more intel on how to make more mindful choices in your everyday life.
3. For the peace-seeker
Chances are, when you’re in the middle of a busy office/train carriage/Uber Pool, you’ll have found yourself praying for just a few minutes of silence to enjoy your Starbucks in peace.
Well, how does five days of it sound?
The Find Your Peace (20–24 July) retreat at Sharpham House offers guests exactly that, with an immersive, almost entirely silent experience in the Devon countryside.
You’ll be encouraged to interact with nature, keep a journal, practice mindfulness and generally enjoy a calming bit of hush.
There will be occasional talking sessions (in case the idea of keeping it zipped for nearly an entire week feels a bit much), but other than that, you can expect peace and plenty of it.
4. For the frustrated artist
Looking for a dose of mindfulness, but also want to flex your creative muscles? The Brambles Art Retreat (6–8 September) offers a great blend of both.
You’ll spend the weekend in an uber-cute cottage in the heart of Devon, learning to paint and draw under the expert tuition of teachers Janet Brady and Peter Davies.
Lessons take place both out on location and in the cottage’s garden studio, giving you a chance to soak up the great outdoors as you learn a new skill.
Already fancy yourself as a bit of a pro? All ability levels are welcomed, and tuition will be tailored to your own specific requirements.
Not only that, but there’s also an Aga-equipped kitchen and dining area, so you can fully lean into your country-living fantasy after a day at the easel.
5. For the clean eater
There are plenty of retreats dedicated to calming your mind, but The Clover Mill’s Rest & Digest retreat (18–23 July) is all about calming your stomach.
Based in a cluster of eco-lodges in the Worcestershire countryside, the retreat stems from the principle of Ayurveda, which states that most of your body’s ills can be traced back to poor digestion.
So, whether you’re struggling with a gluten intolerance, stiff joints or more general feelings of stress and tiredness, the idea is that you can do yourself a world of good by resetting your gut bacteria.
As you’d expect, you’ll be eating plenty of gut-friendly stuff such as kombucha, bone broth and kefir, but you’ll also learn some less obvious methods of aiding digestion, from meditation to a personalised yoga routine.
Whether you’re planning on swimming in the wild or finding your inner peace, Starbucks have got the perfect Spotify playlist to add to your summer. Listen here.
Want to give your ears yet another treat? Join host Luisa Omielan for Stylist’s Factor 20 podcast, where she’ll be having a 20-minute chat with comedians about their funniest summer memories. Listen here.