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The best spas in the UK

Written by Travel Adventures

Best for: party animals

When Soho Farmhouse landed in the Cotswolds all those years ago, it brought us cosy cabin cool on an epic scale. The members’ club/hotel/hamlet is as close to an American ranch as you’ll get in England – and what’s clever is that the rough-around-the-edges look (giant cartwheel lights, mounted cow horns, troughs as sinks in the loos) is entirely in keeping with the have-fun, wholesome feel of the place. Wooden cabins and huts are proper Little House On The Prairie hideaways, built along the banks of a lake and ringed by pretty meadow flowers, with steel baths on the veranda, rocking chairs and a little kitchenette with jars of homemade biscuits and stacks of liquor. You may never want to move.

But even if you do skip the countless restaurants, deli, homeware shop, cinema, tennis courts and stables, you must make it to the spa. The vibe here is upbeat and fresh, and the music funky; you can drink Prosecco with pals and natter by an open fire, and there’s even an outdoor deck for massages with a view. In the beautiful Boathouse, there’s an indoor-outdoor pool, steam room, ice room and sauna, and if you book a private Onsen-bath in the shiny new Lazy Lake area you can spend an afternoon leaping between hot and cold-water pools (immersion therapy is proven to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and boost your mood) and ordering picantes straight to your tub.

All the Cowshed signature thrills are available in oasis-like therapy rooms, with bare brick walls and white-painted tongue and groove: immaculate pedicures, facials using the Soho Skin range (a new performance-focused in-house skincare brand) mud rasuls to exfoliate and cleanse, and the ever-popular maternity treatments. There’s a regularly rotating programme of residencies too, including cool London barbers Curfew, and Sarah Bradden, who’s brought her signature Bradden Method (which is rooted in Chinese acupuncture to help sculp, tighten and reduce the signs of ageing) to the Cotswolds. If you’re feeling active after all that R&R, you could hop on a bicycle and fly through the gorgeous countryside, but really, coming here is all about getting lost in the wilderness, and fighting for survival in the smartest surroundings imaginable,

Address: Soho Farmhouse, Great Tew, Chipping Norton OX7 4JS

Now read our full review of Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire


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