Escape from it all with a peaceful, relaxing break, at home or abroad
There are many benefits to practising yoga, but one of the main reasons it’s so popular is its ability to quieten your mind and help you relax. Whether you’re an aficionado or a beginner, you’ll feel right at home on a Real Life Yoga Retreat at Ragdale Hall, in Melton Mowbray. Run by Meg Jackson, who specialises in teaching people how to fit yoga into their day-to-day lives, the two-night break will include seven yoga sessions, two 25-minute treatments, all meals and use of the spa’s amazing facilities.
•8-10 September, from £357pp. To book call 01664 433000 or visit www.ragdalehall.co.uk
Having trouble getting a good night’s kip? You need the Champneys two-night Sleep Retreat, held at the Tring branch. Led by a professor of sleep science, you’ll learn how to break the pattern of insomnia without the need for drugs. Not only will you get an individual assessment and six information and treatment sessions, but you’ll also enjoy a 25-minute massage and full use of the facilities.
•Available from 9-11 September or 18-20 November, from £499pp. For more information call 0843 316 2222 or visit www.champneys.com
If you love messing about in boats, why not embrace the art of mindfulness with a narrow boat retreat? Climb aboard Spirited Away, outside Rugby, for a weekend (or long weekend) filled with group meditation, home (boat) cooked meals, guided walks, a lingering journey along the waterways and plenty of peaceful time to read a book or have a nap.
•Prices from £235pp fully inclusive for two nights. For more information call 07806 818973 or visit http://floatbyboat.co.uk
For peaceful walking and beautiful views, consider a trip to Rhossili Bay in Gower. It’s been voted one of the best beaches in Europe thanks to its golden sand – perfect for sand castles – and if you’re feeling adventurous you can try your hand at surfing. Then take a walk along Worms Head island, joined to the mainland by a rocky causeway (check the tide times first – even local Dylan Thomas got stuck there once!) and look out for birds including guillemots and kittiwakes.
•For more information visit www.visitswanseabay.com
Italy is without doubt one of the world’s most vibrant countries, but you can easily escape the crowds of its cities by looking slightly further afield. Lake Orta in Piedmont (about 1.5 hours from Milan) will astound you with its gentle beauty, and the best part is that it’s practically unknown (Italians call it ‘Cenerentola’, meaning Cinderella, as it’s the secret sibling to the popular lakes including Como). It’s only seven miles long and a mile wide, making it ideal for picture-perfect strolls. The proof of its peacefulness? There’s a convent on an island in the middle of it. Stay in the hilly town of Orta San Giulio and wander its cobbled lanes, enjoying the evening sun, or for a peaceful festival, visit in September when Poetry on the Lake sets up camp.
Be one of the first to stay in a brand new hotel in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains this autumn. L’Amandier Hotel, in Morocco’s Ouirgane Valley, will boast 360 degree views across a National Park and olive groves, as well as a stunning infinity pool where you can swim your cares away. If you’re feeling more adventurous there are lots of activities to try, from horse riding to kayaking.
•From £210 per room per night. For more information visit www.lamandierhotel.com
The Faroe Islands might not be the first place you think of when planning a holiday, but that’s exactly what makes them a great space for escaping the crowds. Made up of 18 islands and with a population of 40,000, you can experience sea diving, bird watching (look out for puffins on Mykines) and plenty of other outdoor pursuits without ever feeling claustrophobic.
•Daily flights from London from £368pp return. For more information visit www.visitfaroeislands.com
Blow the budget for total R&R at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Wander the private beach and coconut grove, pull up a lounger for an afternoon of reading or visit the Zen Oasis – an adults-only relaxation space with a pool, hot tub and bar. Unwind with an outdoor yoga class, indulge in healthy snacks and juices from the Hibiscus Wellness Bar, or even pluck up the courage for a session at the Cirque Du Soleil School where you can learn to tightrope walk!
•A departure on September 3 for an all-inclusive seven-night break, including flights, costs £959pp. Find out more by calling 020 3811 1507 or visit www.clubmed.co.uk
- Not got time for a holiday? Treat yourself to some quiet time at home with some DIY spa treatments.
- For more holiday inspiration, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine