Relaxation and nourishment in Leicestershire’s countryside

With our incredible summer weather, a sunset swim in the new rooftop infinity pool at Ragdale Hall gave our editor Suzy Walker a perfect start to our #coolcalmsummer campaign


Relaxation and nourishment in Leicestershire's countryside

I always know when I’m getting stressed when there’s blood on my to-do list. It’s pretty gross and I’m old enough to know better but when I’m stressed I bite my finger nails – a habit left over from childhood. Clenching my teeth and pen, blood, as well as sweat and sometimes tears, have been known to drip on my clean, white paper on a Monday morning.

I do yoga, I meditate, I journal, I walk in the woods every day with Oscar our office dog but even so sometimes a 24-hour emergency dash to a spa is exactly what’s needed. A single mother to a teenage boy, a big job and sometimes I just crave some nurturing, for someone to look after me, cook my meals, massage my flesh and tell me everything’s going to be OK.

So, after a particularly tough week, I dash up the M1 from London on a Friday night to Ragdale Hall, nestled in a hamlet in the Leicestershire countryside. Voted the UK’s Best Destination spa, I booked a rejuvenating 50-minute Blissful Face and Back Therapy and afterwards found myself watching the sun set while swimming in the roof top infinity pool. With the ‘scorchio’ weather in the UK in the past few weeks, I was worried about visiting a spa because I didn’t want to be inside all weekend. I wanted to feel the sun on my face versus lying in a darkened room or shuffling from treatment to treatment in my towelling robe.

I needen’t have worried. The new rooftop infinity pool with endless view over the gardens and valley below is the latest addition to Ragdale’s Hall spa and lives up to the hype. 

If the weather’s not great, you can spend your evenings in the new multi million pound Thermal Spa instead. With an underground candle pool, a thought zone, a colour flow zone and wishing stream, it’s like a magical wonderland of relaxation for grown-ups.

I booked into an evening talk about learning how to sleep well but after the sunset swim and Thermal spa extravaganza, I was so relaxed I fell asleep in class and had an early night in my beautiful, luxury room after enjoying a healthy but delicious three-course dinner.  

Bolstered by breakfast in bed the following day, with more sunny weather forecast, I was tempted to borrow a bike and helmet from the Fitness team. But instead strolled through the immaculate gardens to the outdoor pool and found a cosy womb-like chair that swung from a tree and read a book and drank gallons of green juice. I felt cool, calm and there was not a drop of blood in sight.

More info

Ragdale Hall is an unpretentious but luxury multi-award-winning ‘destination spa’ – a perfect escape for 24 hours or a weekend with friendly, nurturing staff, delicious food and plenty of opportunities to commune with nature and the stars as you flirt with infinity in the rooftop pool.

Day packages start from £60. Two-night weekend breaks from £404 per person.

You don’t have to be on holiday to relax

Read our feature in this month’s issue of Psychologies and join our #coolcalmsummer campaign.