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UK Spa Breaks: A guide for Beginners

If this is your first time planning a spa vacation and you aren’t entirely sure of what to expect, then be prepared to be amazed because you’re in for a treat!

Spa holidays are perfect for everyone, but especially for those looking to escape the stress of everyday life.

By spa break, we mean at least a one-night stay (which we highly recommend to get the full experience).But if you’re just booking for the day, this guide is also for you too as you’ll still experience much of what you would if you stayed for a night or two.

Do I really need a spa break?

relaxing on a pool lounge

Now, don’t get us wrong, daily life can be wonderful, but sometimes it’s just hard to find the time for self-care while running a busy home, working a hectic job, or perhaps even doing both!

All these things can take a toll on your body and mental health. But a spa break could give you the perfect opportunity to take care of yourself and schedule in a little bit of self-care once or twice a year. 

One of the best parts of booking your self-care spa trip is that you can take your spa break alone or you can use it as an opportunity to spend quality time with company.

Whether it’s a spa day with your mum or a romantic break with your partner, there isn’t a more caring gift to give to someone than the ability to enjoy a relaxing time with you at a spa.

If your much needed break is one you wish to take solo, then a spa is the perfect place to spoil yourself and enjoy your time of self-reflection. Whatever choice you make, you'll undoubtedly feel renewed and rejuvenated by the end of your trip. 

What should I expect from my Spa vacation?

getting a relaxing head massage
Did you know: a head massage is a great way to relieve stress!

If this is your first spa trip it’s totally normal to have questions about what to expect out of your spa experience and to even feel nervous.

We always recommend speaking with the staff before booking, this will help you get a feeling for the place before you even book your room.

From their tone and responses, you’ll get to see if they are helpful and friendly or if you feel reassured by them.

Speaking with them directly will help calm all your worries and it will also give you the opportunity to gain valuable information about your upcoming trip.

Before you call them up check out our guide about the different spa treatments available. Booking the perfect spa comes when you know what’s on the menu! It’s a great introduction to the main facilities you’d find in most reputable spas.

If you’re a planner,you’ll be happy to know that as soon as you’ve booked your spa you’ll receive a full itinerary. Within it, you’ll find all the necessary details, such as what you should wear and what else to bring with you. 

We certainly don’t want any apprehension to stop you from booking your much-needed getaway. So,we’ve created the following guide to prepare you for what you can expect during your stay and our suggestions for the best UK spa getaways for your first spa break.

But first, before we delve into your actual stay you might be wondering about how to prepare for your spa trip. 

Preparing for the trip

hot tub
The Romans were huge fans of hot tubs - 2000 years later not much has changed!

Thankfully, there’s not a lot you need to do in advance of a spa vacation other than to get excited!

Of course, depending on your spa package you might need to browse and book separate treatment(s) in advance.

After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything during your time there simply because you didn’t book things on time.

And remember, spas want their guests to be as comfortable as possible. So if you have any specific requirements or requests, simply contact your chosen spa ahead of your visit,and where they can, they’ll do their best to accommodate your request.

Once you’ve booked everything you can kick back and relax, you’ve now scheduled a room in the perfect place to unwind and give yourself a little pampering.

And for extra relaxation, one thing we recommend is to arrive early on the day of your vacation and to leave plenty of time for the unexpected. That way you can reach the spa ready to unwind.

If you still have questions about spa etiquette then we recommend that you read the following guide from Spabreaks.com, that way you’ll be prepared for everything relating to spa etiquette and you’ll gain valuable insight on all acceptable behaviours during your time there. 

What should I wear at the spa?

Deciding on your attire for the spa trip can be tricky, especially if this is your first time visiting one. Most spas offer a complimentary robe, slippers and towels in true spa style.

All you really need to bring is a suitable swimsuit (or two) and some exercising clothes so that,should you wish to, you can visit the gym or join a class.

In terms of attire that should cover everything that you might need during your visit.

What should I bring with me?

We recommend you bring a separate day bag for your swimwear and daily essentials.

In the off chance that your room is not yet prepared when you arrive having your day bag will allow you to start relaxing straight away by visiting the pool or just chilling outside.

Fill your day bag with anything that you would take with you for a day at the beach, that way you will be ready to rest and calm down from the moment you arrive. 

What happens when I arrive?

path leading to a building

From the moment you arrive, you can, literally, kick back and relax.

You’ll be greeted at the reception where they’ll check you into your room so be prepared to feel like a celebrity!

When you check in you can either choose to drop your luggage off at the reception and head straight to the spa (with your day bag) or you can make your way to your fabulous room. 

Typically, an overnight stay will comprise of a three-course dinner, breakfast, lunch, full access to the fitness suite, full use of spa facilities, and of course the chance to book in for some heavenly treatments*.

We know this might sound like a lot, but there’s nothing to worry about as there will be someone to walk you through every step of the way!

*Spa inclusions and itineraries vary- always check individual package listing before booking.

What should I expect during my spa treatment? 

massage table in ambient setting
Give your tired muscles some love, ambiance included!

For most people when they hear the word spa their immediate reaction is thinking of getting a massage.

The pure bliss of fully relaxing your body and getting someone to really treat your muscles and release all the tension from your body!

Normally, during your massage session, your therapist will guide you from the relaxation space into a private room. They’ll also explain everything that you should expect during your session.

This is the best time to let your therapist know of any specifics regarding medical conditions or what levels of pressure you prefer. This way you can set your mind at ease and make the most of your pamper session.

towel, oil, candle for massage therapy

With most spa treatments you might be required to remove your clothes at least down to your underwear- however, you will always be properly covered.

Your comfort is of the utmost importance so don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re feeling on edge or you are uneasy during any part of your treatment. 

And remember, the benefits of spa treatments extend far beyond a good ol’ massage!

You can choose from a range of treatments intended to enhance wellbeing.

Here is a snapshot of some of the spa facilities and spa treatments you'll likely come across:

table showing spa facilities and treatments

In case you’re still uncertain of where to book your first spa trip, we recommend that you take a look at our top 3 spa break options listed below. You’ll definitely find yourself indulging in wonderful treatments and enjoying some of the best features that spas have to offer. 

Best 3 UK spa breaks if it’s your first time (or not)

With the plethora of spa locations throughout the UK, you’re spoilt for choice.

From a getaway to Britain’s best country house spas and retreats to an escape to one of the luxury city spa hotels, there’s something available for every taste.

Our top 3 suggestions for newbies are listed below, between those options you are sure to find what you are looking for. ** 

**Availability will vary depending on government COVID-19 guidelines. Always check your chosen spa’s policies before booking.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

spa salt with lion feature

Enjoy a tranquil Romanesque spa for an authentic first-time experience, situated in a five-star hotel in Bath, in the heart of a UNESCO world heritage site.

Make the most of the naturally heated thermal waters in contemporary style within its Spa Village.

Here, your bathing journey will include a circuit of natural thermal pools, saunas, a steam room,and an ice alcove.

Relax and restore your body like a Roman emperor with traditional treatments that focus on bespoke aromatherapy and aquatic body therapies.

Fairmont St Andrews Spa

Your own oasis of luxury and relaxation awaits at Fairmont Spa in the incomparable St Andrews Bay setting.

Selected as one of Scotland’s top spas, it boasts ten treatment rooms, a serene pool, a fitness suite, and a range of hydrotherapy experiences. Relax, unwind and escape to the Scottish coast and let the scenic atmosphere charm you.

Reconnect your mind and body in a unique haven that is designed to soothe, cleanse and invigorate with special spa packages for any occasion.

Whittlebury Hall

woman enjoying hot tub

Book an overnight stay at the award-winning four-star hotel, situated in the heart of the UK, in rural Northamptonshire.

This spa is one of the largest in the country and it instils a sense of calm and serenity while offering the ultimate pampering to those who visit.

It has many facilities available, including stimulating heat and ice experiences and a leisure club.This truly is the perfect place to get away from the world and chill together with family or friends; it is sure to give you the best first impression for your first spa experience.

It's all about feeling your best. For a break, holiday and some bodily care, you can't go wrong with a perfect UK speak break!

Ready to book? Search spas all over the UK and book your spot today through Spabreaks.com