When you’re in dire need of fresh air, expansive skies and verdant landscapes as far as the eye can see, Wales is one of the perfect locations to recharge your batteries, reconnect with nature and re-establish your life balance. There are heaps of opportunities for wild camping or B&Bs but sometimes, for that full recharge, we need to be completely looked after by someone else: ensuring we can fully “let go”.
Make resting a priority
Nestled in a quiet valley, the grounds of the Lake Country House Hotel are bordered by fields and farms. The main hotel building is a former fishing and hunting lodge, flame red foliage bedecks the front of the house in the autumn months and an equally warm welcome awaits on arrival.
Opulence and comfort collide on entering: sparkling chandeliers and velvet chaise lounges are de rigueur, but so too are big squishy sofas, crackling fires and drawn out games of chess. You’ll be unobtrusively assisted with your luggage and shown to your room.
The Eugenie is an especially beautiful suite having quite recently experienced a revamp. On the door swinging open and stepping into the room, it’s difficult to know where to look first but it’s impossible to overlook the thoroughly romantic-notion-fulfilling ornately carved four poster bed. With large windows overlooking the grounds to the side, the Eugenie is light and airy – with the light adding more magic to the room as it glances off the chandelier.
There is a lovely little reading desk next to a window and an enormous, and somewhat regal, bathroom equipped with a large walk in shower cubicle as well as an oversized bathtub.
All of this combined with a bottle of bubbly on ice waiting for you is very likely to have you feeling like an entirely more relaxed you in no time. And whilst it’s very tempting to just stay and make the most of your beautiful room, there’s still lots more to see…
Relax your mind
A leisurely afternoon stroll or brisk pre-breakfast amble amongst the hotel grounds will be sure to blow out the cobwebs and restore peace of mind. Step out of the hotel and head down the front lawn, kick up the leaves and take a stroll along the river where you can sit and watch the flow and listen to the rush of water over rocks for a while, or continue on, to where the trees open out onto the expansive lake: it’s a great place to meditate or read a book. Plus, this walking route will handily bring you to the Lake Country House Spa…
Unwind tense muscles
Situated 400m from the main hotel building, right next to a glassy lake shrouded in verdant greenery and sat upon by serene swans – you’re unlikely to find a more aptly located spa (in the UK at least!) Opting for one of the signature spa treatments is highly recommended for a totally blissed out experience. The spa uses Temple Spa products – which are not tested on animals and Temple Spa don’t hire others to do so on their behalf – and the staff are clearly well trained.
The small but perfectly formed health club features a pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Steam Room, gym, treatment rooms and coffee bar, so it is fully equipped for your wellness escape. If sweating it out in the gym is what you need to destress, take a run into the next village and back, refuel over breakfast and then take a light jog over to the gym for some strength training or a warm down before hitting the pool.
Relax muscles and tired minds in the mermaid tiled steam room, traditional wooden sauna, grab a lounger by the pool or pop upstairs and out onto the deck for a dip in the hot tub overlooking the lake – time this right and you could catch a glorious sunset, accompanied by the singsong of birds, the rustle of trees and the faint rushing of the river punctuated by occasional bleats from the neighbouring sheep.
No doubt after all that your stomach will be growling at you to fill it with nourishing and tasty food, in which case you should head back, change and follow your nose downstairs for a foodie’s delight…
Nourish yourself with good food
Canapes are served before dinner, in the lounge, whilst you mull over the wine list and sink into a sumptuous velvet covered chair. The hotel staff are wonderful at considering dietary requirements and the kitchen demonstrate wonderful creativity in the face of vegan, nut free coeliacs.
Some examples of what a nourishing and eye opening food experience might look like here:
Beetroot salad canapes
Pesto soup amuse bouche
Mushroom risotto starter – meaty, earthy and rich, this dish would keep even the most dedicated meat eater happy. Roasted courgette on a pea and bean cassoulet with roasted baby plum tomatoes: absolutely packed full of flavour, you’ll wonder aloud at just how this could be achieved.
Pea and pesto soup amuse bouche – charmingly served in white tea cups and saucers, this rich mossy green soup screams healthy, smells mouth-watering and tastes wonderful. One you’ll be trying your hand at when you return home.
Beetroot salad starter – a plate of food so artistically presented and delicate that it may pain you a little to mess it up by eating it. Slivers, cubes and thin globes of beetroots of every colour strategically placed around a plate dotted with a vibrant green pea gel and a deep burgundy balsamic glaze. Curling pea shoots draped across and scattered lovingly around; the tiniest and most perfect viola flowers.
Discs of roasted aubergine interspersed with pickled vegetables, slivers of onion, cucumber coins and tiny ethereal mushrooms. And at the centre of all this: the most superb lentil daal, perfectly spiced and totally nourishing.
Restore your wonder at the outside world
If walking, being away from other people and being close to water are what you need for restoration, visit Elan Valley. Especially peaceful during the fall months, follow the path around the reservoir and contrast the chipped grey slate with the lush green hills, reflect on the ripples of the water and watch sheep drink from waterfalls trickling down the valley.
Alternatively, visit Hay on Wye and immerse yourself in the scents and sounds of times gone by; while away the hours in one of the many, many bookstores or antique shops. There is a wonderful deli to stock up on whole foods and local, organic treats and there are some fantastic places to take a load off and refuel. The Old Electric Shop is a dedicated vegetarian eatery and antique shop/local artisan’s collective. There’s a wonderful atmosphere and you’ll be hard pressed to leave without picking up an old relic or two. The food is delicious and the staff are great at making recommendations to cater for dietary requirements; a great vegan, gluten free and nut free option was the Buddha Bowl with a pot of Orange and Rosehip tea.
From gastronomical delights to picturesque and breath-taking landscapes, this Wellness in Wales retreat has everything you need to fully recharge your batteries. When was the last time you took time out for yourself and how did you feel after?
I’m Lea, the face behind Can Eat Attitude; I try to spread the “Can-eat, can-do attitude” by highlighting the amazing and nourishing things you CAN eat on a “restricted diet” and the exciting things you could accomplish with that attitude. I share wholefood, plant based and generally “friendly” recipes, some cool places to eat out safely and positive experiences to try alongside your “can eat” attitude.