The Best Spa Hotels in the North of England

Spa stones
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by Sherelle Jacobs and Charlotte Johnstone, The Telegraph, January 25, 2018

An insider's guide to the best spa hotels in the north of England, including the top places for swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools, saunas, steam rooms, hammams, Rasul mud baths, hot tubs, beauty centres, nail bars and cutting-edge therapies, including ESPA treatments, in the Lake District, York, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Manchester and County Durham.

• The best spa hotels in the south of England


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The Midland Manchester, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The Midland boasts one of the north's best-looking spas. The Thermal Experience is where the fun starts, with alder wood sauna (air infused by a Himalayan salt block); aromatherapy steam room; 'lifestyle' shower (think 'Caribbean storm' and 'Arctic rain' fuctions); and relaxation pool. ESPA treatments include the Serene Sleep range focusing on marma points and rebalancing chakras. Nor is the excitement over when you're ushered into the relaxation room afterwards – with its ergonomic sleep chambers and hanging pods. Book a luxurious room with city views and nab a table at The French for a menu featuring tatties, trotters and truffles. Read expert review. From £82per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Gilpin Hotel & Lake House Lake Windermere, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This 100-acre boutique retreat with its own boat house is about as far from a big, blingy spa hotel as you can get. Hot tub fans are well catered for with cedarwood and ancient-style Japanese ofuro varieties, and private ones installed in several suites. The Jetty spa has a couple's treatment room that floats in a tree canopy above the hotel's private lake. There's also a swimming pool, and salt snug where guests can enjoy a halotherapy treatment inspired by the practices of medieval monks followed by aroma salt scrub. Some of the bedroom suites have their own sauna and steam room. Read expert review. From £215per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Brimstone at Langdale Lake District, Cumbria, England

9Telegraph expert rating

A curving, contemporary state-of-the-art spa that makes the most of its Lake District scenery. The crowing glory is the Thermal Experience with Finnish cabin, ice fountain, Himalayan salt steam room and lava sauna. Treatments are inspired by Lake District flora: think sweet orchid body nourish wraps, and frangipani-soaked hot-stone massages. Facials are of the whizzy Superfood and Dynamic Resurfacing calibre. A private spa for couples has a 'heat-and-steam' cabin. Those committed to the cause can book the Spa bedroom; its humongous bath faces French windows that open straight onto a private terrace. Read expert review. From £250per night.

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Rudding Park Hotel & Spa Follifoot, Yorkshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The fabulous spa at this luxury Harrogate hotel has its own rooftop garden with infinity pool, panoramic sauna, foot bubbles experience and herbal steam room. Treatment packages are bracingly bucolic: they can include a juniper log sauna and bucket shower. There's also an excellent indoor pool. Facial treatments use in-vogue anti-ageing kombuchka (fermented tea); and the combined head and foot treatment with mango butter mask and acupressure is a fab alternative to a generic massage. Also on offer is, ahem, gentleman's foot maintenance. The new spa bedrooms have their own saunas, steam rooms, and gold-tiled spa baths. Read expert review. From £109per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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The Grand Hotel & Spa York, Yorkshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

York's only five-star hotel has one of the best city spas in the north of England. The cracking facilities include an indoor jet pool, aromatic steam room, Nordic dry sauna and mosaic-tiled whirlpool. You'll find many of the latest signature ESPA treatments on offer here, including the Advanced Enzyme Facial with rose quartz and algae-based Detox Wrap. Spa and Stay packages starting at £185 include a one-hour treatment, breakfast and afternoon tea. Overnight guests can bed down in Egyptian cotton sheets and enjoy bathrooms with Molton Brown products. Suites have his-and-hers showers and roll-top baths. Read expert review. From £133per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best spa hotels in the Lake District

Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa Lake District, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

It's all about the views at this Lake District spa hotel. The sizeable infinity pool's French windows look down on the estate's gardens. The outdoor hot tub has stirring views of the fells. Other facilities include an aroma room, amethyst crystal cave steam room, 'rain dance' (yup) shower and makeup and manicure zone. If you're at a loss choosing from the endless treatment menu, just go for Tranquil Lakes, a body exfoliation by candle light followed by private whirlpool bath with essential oils, then scalp massage. Pro-sleep massages are popular with insomniacs and the jet-lagged. Foodies can attack the sherry-glazed duck in the AA-rated restaurant afterwards. Read expert review. From £210per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Rockcliffe Hall Hurworth-on-Tees, Durham, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This former derelict Victorian mansion is now a five-star golf resort and spa with all the trimmings. The spa garden has an infinity-edge pool with bubbles and massage jets, a second heated pool and landscaped gardens overlooking the grounds. There's also a glass-fronted sauna and clutch of state-of-the-art self-heating sun loungers. The spa here has collaborated with Neom Organics (founded by a former Glamour magazine editor) to launch four cornerstone treatments for the stressed and sleep-deprived, drawing on everything from Thai massage and shiatsu to meditation. Book an Old Hall Suite for marble bathrooms with tubs and TVs set in the wall tiles, the finest Egyptian cotton sheets and superb countryside views. Read expert review. From £260per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Seaham Hall Seaham, County Durham, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This luxurious, cossetting Georgian mansion has a huge Feng Shui-inspired spa. There's an ozone-cleansed pool with massage jets, hammam, salt sauna, amethyst crystal steam room, outdoor hot tubs, ice fountain, plunge pools and roof terrace. An aerobic studio and hydrotherapy pool complete the offerings. If you don't come out of the Ultimate Serenity signature treatment feeling like a Duracell Bunny just out of the box, something has gone very wrong; the collaboration with trendy Ytsara products includes a foot massage, body polish, body wrap, scalp massage and bamboo back massage. Colourful, vivaciously-patterned bedrooms are a delightful change to moody, bland spa suites. One has twin slipper baths. Read expert review. From £205per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa Nantwich, Cheshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Cheshire's most glamorous country hotel certainly delivers with its spa, built in the original stable block. This being the county that bought us Real Housewives of Cheshire, the beauty offerings are second to none: there's a Jessica Nails bar and mani-pedi room overlooking the gardens; tired eye treatments and express facials are popular; and the gym does fat-busting dance lessons. Facilities include an indoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam rooms. Rooms have garden views and blingy touches like TVs set into the bathroom tiles. Spa seekers who like their food can indulge in langoustine bisque and seared monkfish in the 2 AA Rosette restaurant after a busy day's pampering. Read expert review. From £98per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Headlam Hall Headlam, County Durham, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This 17th-century country escape tucked away in the Durham Dales has a wonderfully laid-back spa with indoor pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room, sun terrace and spa lounge with log-burning stove. They use products by the niche British brand Elemental Herbology, and the popular stress-busting treatments are based on Chinese medicine's Five Element Theory. Everything from eye lift therapy and collagen-smoothing facials to Polynesian scrubs are on offer. There are spa bedrooms handily located directly above the wellness centre, but if budget allows bag the Lord Gainford Suite for a four-poster bed and slipper bath. Read expert review. From £95per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Swinton Park Ripon, Yorkshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

You’ll need a whole weekend to do justice to the multi-million-pound spa in this staggering country pile once owned by a Bradfordian mill owner. Come in summer for the outdoor sauna fire pit. The dipping pond is fabulous on sunny days – though relaxation beds topped with heated canopies, and furnished with sheepskin rugs and gloves allow guests to enjoy these spaces in winter too. An 18-metre lap pool, smaller hydrotherapy pool, and nature-scented and salt steam rooms provide further pampering. Opt for a 60-minute therapy in one of the many treatment rooms. Highly recommended is the Elemis Garden of England Rose Restore Wrap with poppy seeds; the deep tissue massages also hit the spot. Read expert review From £170per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

Ramside Hall Hotel County Durham, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The smart Espa spa at this sprawling, 350-acre country estate is the ideal escape for those wanting an 'away-from-it-all' setting. It boasts 14 treatment rooms, a relaxation area with sleep pods, a private suite with outdoor infinity pool, saunas, steam rooms and one of the UK’s largest hydrotherapy pools. Treatments are tailored and wide ranging; golfers will love Golfer’s Tonic, a massage that soothes aching muscles after a day on the greens; while shoppers will enjoy the invigorating foot massage. There’s plenty on offer for couples too, including the Mud Rasul Ritual, involving earthy handfuls of mud and your own private steam chamber. Read expert review. From £79per night. Check availability. Rates provided by


This article was written by Sherelle Jacobs and Charlotte Johnstone from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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