ESCAPE LONDON – Relax, exercise and pamper to your hearts content at Ragdale Hall health hydro and thermal spa
I love living in the city with it’s fast pace of life, bustling streets and a mass of different cultures combined into one. But city life can get a bit hectic, so once in a while it is lovely to get out of London and see some of Britain’s beautiful countryside. After a particular hectic week, all I could think of was going to a spa and after booking a weekend at the luxurious Ragdall Hall Spa it certainly gave me plenty to look forward to!
Leaving London on the drive down to Leicester the traffic flowed (well most of the way) and the excitement grew for a wonderful weekend of pampering, exercise and relaxation. On arrival I was greeted with a friendly smile and my little city car was parked for me, first impressions are everything and they certainly started well. The actual building is set in acres of beautiful gardens, perfect to sit outside and have a girly chat with a glass of wine.
The actual building is set in acres of beautiful gardens, perfect to sit outside and have a girly chat with a glass of wine.
This beautiful building was actually mentioned in the Doomsday book and was referred to as Ragendale which, literally interpreted means ‘settlement in a crooked valley’. Over the centuries the village became known as Rakedale, but by the mid 1800’s took on today’s name of Ragdale. During the medieval period the original Ragdale Hall passed into the hands of the Shirley family. The Hall was their Elizabethan Hunting Lodge that was extended in the 17th century to accommodate the family’s love of hunting hawks. The original Hall was located further down the hill by the church within the village itself. In 1785 a “New Hall” (the current one) was built by the Sixth Earl on an elevated position above the village.
I met my friend at Ragdale and she was already gushing about the wonderful facilities at the spa. Lauren came to greet us and explained where everything was, she also gave us a timetable of our treatments, breakfast, lunch and dinner. She also gave us an exercise timetable and as my aim was to get pampered and be healthy, I was quite excited about the variety of classes available.
Our room was huge and beautifully decorated, with the sound of running water outside. Naturally we thought it was rain, but it was actually a stunning fountain outside our window. We were also blessed with a beautiful view of the green, which combined nicely with the girly and relaxed feel of the room. Robes and slippers were laid out on the bed for us, as well as a vast choice of healthy breakfasts which could be delivered to the room. At first we were not in agreement with the ‘leisurely breakfast time of 8-8:30am’, after all we wanted to be able to relax as well as exercise. But if truth be told after a full day of activity on Saturday, we were in bed by 10 and ready for our 8am breakfast on Sunday. Looking in more detail at the classes there were a great selection, sadly my favourite Spinning was booked, but we managed to book Zumba on Sunday and the times were easy to fit around our treatment and dining schedule.
Our room was huge and beautifully decorated, with the sounds of running water could be heard gently outside.
Dinner was booked in for 6:40pm on the day of arrival and the time was happily changed to give me time to arrive from London. The manager Karen also gave us a quick call to ask if we would like a guided tour. The dinner hall was grand, with beautiful tall ceilings, stunning chandeliers, spacious tables and the friendly chatter of the guests could be heard as soon as we entered. The staggered dining made for no waiting and although our waitress was friendly, it could be said she seemed a little inexperienced and not to sure of the menu. There was a good selection of wines on offer and the menu clearly marked calories, as well as gluten and diary. Robes could be worn at dinner, which enhanced the relaxed atmosphere. Sadly the dinner did not match the surroundings as the cod and vegetables seemed a little dry.
Robes could be worn at dinner, which enhanced the relaxed atmosphere.
After dinner we booked a couple of extra beauty treatment and headed to our room for a good nights sleep. The beds and pillows were out of this world comfortable, as were the beautiful fresh linen sheets. It was a lovely touch having a water jug placed in the room and plenty of water machines throughout.
The beds and pillows were out of this world comfortable, as were the beautiful fresh linen sheets.
We were awoken promptly at 8am, with fresh coffee and our breakfast choices. Soon we headed down for our first class of the day water aerobics and were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful array of gym equipment actually in the pool. This was new to us and very exciting, luckily we were very early for the class so had a chance to enjoy them. The acqua gym was fully equipped with a rowing machine, stepper, abs lift and more. The classes at Ragdale are excellent, with friendly and encouraging instructors and classes that suit all levels.
The classes at Ragdale are excellent, with friendly and encouraging instructors and classes that suit all levels.
After the invigorating class we headed off to enjoy the steam rooms.The candle room is pure bliss, with ambient pink lighting, quiet piano music, water just the perfect height to relax in and candle filled walls. The thermal spa is a delight with an abundance of steam rooms to suit your taste. From the colourful cave, organic salt bath and the scented room to the rose sauna. To really get you in the tropical holiday mood there is even a volcanic shower, with a water fall or warm rain storm complete with thunder and lightening.
The thermal spa is a delight with an abundance of steam rooms to suit your taste.
Soon it was time to be pampered, we started with a facial and back massage which can only be described as pure heaven. Perfect to unwind after a hectic week at work in the big city. Lunch was beautiful in both presentation and looks. The buffet provided a wonderful array of fruits, fish, meat and vegetables. Being able to eat a leisurely lunch in a dressing gown feels like a lazy sunday afternoon, although it was still only Saturday.
Being able to eat a leisurely lunch in a dressing gown feels like a lazy sunday afternoon, although it was still only Saturday.
In the afternoon we managed another water aerobics class, as well as a quick game of tennis and although at first we had wondered why the breakfasts were so early we soon became clear why. After a days relaxation and exercise your body is naturally ready to switch off earlier than usual. The dinner was equally wonderful and we had a a lovely walk in the beautiful gardens surrounding the Hall. After a lovely nights sleep yet another delicious breakfast was waiting for us, we followed the breakfast with Zumba, another lovely lunch and a luxurious manicure.
I would recommend Ragdale Hall to anyone you needs a break and some time for themselves. It is just the right distance to get away from London and enjoy some me time. This luxury spa is perfect for a girly weekend, a mother and daughter weekend or even a weekend with your partner. It really is the perfect combination of health and relaxation.
Heart London Magazine 5 * rating
Cat, Heart London Magazine
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