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Wellness Guide

Wellness Guide

Take some time out for yourself along the Great West Way.

Whether you’re keen on keeping fit or prefer taking it easy in a luxury spa, there are some excellent ways to add a wellness element to your trip. Because wellness means something different for everyone, we’ve provided a few different itinerary ideas to help you plan...

The ultimate Bath spa day

Did you know? Although we’ve discovered a lot about what is in Bath’s famous spring water - 42 different minerals including sodium and magnesium - to this day no one is quite sure where exactly it originates from.

Legend has it that Bath’s health-giving hot springs have been luring visitors ever since Prince Bladud founded the city in 863BC, having found it successfully cured his own ailments. Such a spa-themed backstory makes it the obvious choice for a wellness weekend… 
 


Morning 
Start bright and early for some illuminating time travel to set your visit in context. At the atmospheric Roman Baths you’ll get to see the steamy Great Bath, the cold plunge pool and even have a nosy in the crumbling old changing rooms! You might also bump into a few Romans. The costumed characters who roam the complex, including a soldier and a travelling merchant, are based on real characters who frequented the Roman Baths around 2,000 years ago.

Afternoon 
Enjoy an elegant lunch (or afternoon tea) at The Pump Room, followed by a shot of mineral-rich water from the spa fountain. It may well be good for you, but as you’ll soon discover - it definitely has a distinct taste! There are lots more lovely cafés and restaurants around the city too, with some excellent vegan and vegetarian-friendly places such as The Green Rocket and Acorn.

Afterwards, treat yourself to a spot of spa-themed shopping to help you create some special me-time back home. As well as a Lush store, known for its fabulous glitter bath bombs, you’ll find boutiques like Jo Malone and True Grace selling dreamy scented candles, soaps and essential oils. If a stack of novels and a slice of cake is more your scene, book yourself in for a luxuriant reading spa experience at Mr B’s Emporium. 

Evening 
Take a twilight dip at Thermae Bath Spa, followed by one of their indulgent treatments. Inner Peace, perhaps, where a therapist performs a relaxing back massage and soothing mud mask on the feet, followed by placing rose quartz crystals on your palms and heart chakra. Or the Bamboo massage, which includes a firm massage with specially prepared bamboo sticks. 

Continue the pampering by spending the night at a fancy 5-star hotel. Somewhere like The Gainsborough Bath Spa. You can save their Romanesque spa village for the following morning but for now, dress up for dinner and drinks at their excellent restaurant.


Alternative wellness in Bristol 

Did you know? In 2017 Bristol was named one of 6 Circus Cities in the UK, in honour of its glittering circus heritage and contemporary performances. See a show at Circomedia, a church-turned circus hub, or at the biennial Circus City festival.

Bristol is a city that normally makes waves for its edgy art scene, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a wellness-themed break in the city. You might even find yourself embracing a totally new approach to exercise.

Start your day with a stand-up paddle board lesson with on Bristol’s Floating Harbour or a swim at Clifton’s Victorian Lido. Later on, once you’ve refuelled at one of the many health-conscious, flexitarian-focused restaurants - No 1 Harbourside, Watershed Café & Bar, Thali Café to name a few - try something totally different. There’s a class for just about everything, from circus skills workshops to Beyoncé-inspired jazz dance. Not to mention all the yoga and holistic therapies that are hugely popular in Bristol. Wild Wolf’s Yoga, Bristol City Yoga and Bristol Yoga Space are all fairly central.
 

A spiritual trail 

Did you know? Some suggest Stonehenge was constructed as a place of healing, and that the smaller bluestones used were dragged all the way from south Wales because they were imbued with healing powers from nearby hot springs.

If the wellness you seek is spiritual, you’ll find plenty of absorbing sacred spaces along the Great West Way. Early travellers between London and Bristol would surely have found comfort in these places, as every journey was a leap of faith that came with the threat of highwayman and unforeseen hazards.

Where better to start than one of the almighty cathedrals on or near the Great West Way. There’s the inimitable Bath Abbey, perfect for pondering higher spiritual planes, as well as Bristol, Salisbury and Gloucester cathedrals. Amid those you’ll also find churches, temples and mosques. A growing interest in mindfulness techniques means you can find meditation courses and retreats too. Tarastone near Salisbury offers Buddhist teachings as well as peaceful accommodation in a beautiful setting.

Finally, you can feel the power of England’s pagan past at Stonehenge and Avebury - or, for a lesser-known experience, Stanton Drew. Sunset or sunrise at summer and winter solstice - signalling the longest and shortest days of the year - are when most of the celebrations take place, but they’re magical places of reflection whenever you visit.
 

Luxury countryside spa stays 

If lounging about in a robe at a nice hotel, with a glass of bubbles in one hand and a magazine in the other sounds like just what you need - stay at one of the luxury spa hotels along the Great West Way. On the edge of the Cotswolds, both Cricklade House and Woolley Grange Hotel have scenic locations - ideal for that after dinner evening stroll.

If you really want to splash out, make like a princess (or prince) for a spa retreat at Cliveden. As well as various enticing pools, flotation experiences and treatments, they offer a Garden Oasis Purifying Experience - a combination of body brushing, massage and reflexology that promises to tease you back to tip top condition.  
 

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Product Information

  1. Thermae Bath Spa - Bath

    Bath

    In the heart of the city, Thermae Bath Spa is an award-winning Natural Spa where you can now bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters as the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago.

  2. Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel

    Bath

    The Gainsborough Bath Spa offers the only natural thermal spa inside a hotel in the UK.

  3. Bath

    Bath

    The golden city of Bath has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath is home to some of the most impressive architectural sights in the world such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney.

  4. Roman Baths

    Abbey Church Yard, Bath

    Epicentre (and raison d'etre!) of the Heritage City.

  5. Woolley Grange Hotel

    Bradford on Avon

    17th century stone Manor House set in open countryside, within walking distance of Bradford on Avon and 8 miles from Bath. This family friendly hotel welcomes children and dogs and its Elemis spa, two heated pools and 14 acre gardens, offer a chance to truly relax in this English country house.…

  6. Stonehenge

    Nr Amesbury

    Stonehenge stands impressively as a prehistoric monument of unique importance, a World Heritage Site, surrounded by remains of ceremonial and domestic structures - some older than the monument itself.

  7. Cricklade House Hotel

    Swindon

    Standing in over 30 acres of peaceful, secluded grounds on the edge of the Cotswolds, Cricklade House Hotel offers a traditional, warm and friendly welcome for those in search of tranquility, comfort, good food and wine, with extensive recreational facilities.

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
Thermae Bath Spa - Bath (51.38033,-2.36141)Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel (51.38042,-2.36064)0.05
Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel (51.38042,-2.36064)Bath (51.3856,-2.36168)0.52
Bath (51.3856,-2.36168)Roman Baths (51.38111,-2.35949)0.47
Roman Baths (51.38111,-2.35949)Woolley Grange Hotel (51.35072,-2.22559)8.91
Woolley Grange Hotel (51.35072,-2.22559)Thermae Bath Spa (51.37941,-2.36053)8.92
Thermae Bath Spa (51.37941,-2.36053)Bristol (51.45152,-2.59816)16.51
Bristol (51.45152,-2.59816)Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site (51.41514,-2.03278)35.51
Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site (51.41514,-2.03278)Stonehenge (51.18406,-1.85768)25.62
Stonehenge (51.18406,-1.85768)Cricklade House Hotel (51.63846,-1.87719)45.55
Total Distance *142.03 miles
Estimated Journey Time4.57 hours

* Approximate distance by road

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