Where are the best places in the UK for a relaxing city break?
Relaxation is the raison d’être of vacations. But what exactly creates the right conditions for relaxation? It’s different for all of us of course – some might find that an active ski trip is just the answer, while for others, relaxing means doing as little as possible.
A group of wellness gurus have created a formula to find the UK’s 15 best ‘Zen’ getaways. The number of spas, retreats, green spaces and yoga studios will gain a spot. Conversely, a fast WIFI speed will cause a location to lose points.
So if you’ve enjoyed a digital detox over Christmas and want to set aside some time to relax properly in 2022, check out this list of CFAH.
Where are the most spas in the UK?
It might surprise you to learn that the UK’s destination with the most spas is neither Bath – where the Romans first channeled hot springs – nor other famous spa towns, like Harrogate. According to CFAH calculations, Edinburgh tops the list with 104 spas. The town that Scottish poet Hugh McDiarmid memorably called “a mad god’s dream” has an impressive number of tranquil pools within it.
Devon came in second, with 85 spas and four retreats. The Southwest County is well known for its stunning fossil cliffs and sandy beaches, but it is also full of places to get the star treatment.
In fact, Devon was named the UK’s Best Zen Getaway overall, scoring 86.96 according to the ranking. A large number of green spaces and CBD shops also helped. CBD is a natural compound extracted from hemp, and much appreciated for its therapeutic qualities. Stores sell all kinds of things with it, from oil to honey and bath bombs.
Which city in the UK has the most yoga studios?
A high number of yoga studies is another sign of a city full of peaceful nooks and crannies. Brighton has 100 studios where you can greet the sun and the dog at the mercy of your heart.
Bath came in second with 97 yoga studios. The picturesque town is an ideal base for exploring the Somerset countryside, with visits to Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury.
Edinburgh, Hampshire and Wye Valley also have many yoga studios: 84, 83 and 78 respectively. Some of these may be a short distance away, as CFAH has also counted locations within an hour’s drive of each area.
What about green spaces?
Relaxation is a state of mind. But it is certainly useful to have wonderful green views to get lost in and walks on foot. The Cotswolds and the Lake District received the highest rankings for this, alongside New Forest, Wye Valley and Pembrokeshire in Wales, and Devon and Cornwall at the southern tip of the UK.
Wye Valley straddles the Welsh-English border; it is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) thinner than the Lakes or the Peak District, but fully deserves the title. If you are a fan of Netflix series Sex education, you have undoubtedly already admired the beautiful valley at the top of which stands the big red house of Otis. It is located in the village of Symonds Yat.
It is not only a great filming location, but the fifth best UK destination for a Zen weekend.
The most “zen” escapes classified in full
Considering the number of spas, retreats, green spaces, CBD shops, yoga studios, average WIFI download speed – as well as the area’s ‘happiness’ rating – these are the places the most zen in the UK:
10. New forest
9. Lake District
5. Wye Valley