As our cold winter has sprung into hot summer (for the moment skipping spring) we are drawn to the sunshine and to nature, and rural retreats. Instinctively we’ve known for many years what science now seems to prove, that being in nature nurtures us. A recent article in the Daily Mail discusses the ‘proven physical and mental benefits’ of spending time outside, from a walk in a forest (barefoot if possible) to a solo walk somewhere rural.
There are rural retreats in the UK that offer the added bonus of glorious countryside where you can connect with nature, as well as enjoy yoga on the lawn, meditative walks, or outdoor activities like stand up paddleboarding or just bliss out by admiring the bucolic views from an outdoor hot tub.
In addition to helping decrease stress levels, spending more time in nature helps us to re-energise and provides a heightened sense of wellbeing. The US Journal of Environmental and Public Health states (see published studies by NCBI): “Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth – whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems – may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV (heart rate variability), … and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.” Could support for better health literally be located right beneath our feet?
As earthing (or grounding) has re-entered our awareness, it’s becoming a buzz word, and there is a moving trend to connect with nature. Here at Neal’s Yard Holidays we love connecting with the great outdoors and have chosen some of our top rural retreats in the UK.
AdventureYogi specialise in offering retreats with outdoor activities and plenty of opportunities for earthing. Their wellness retreats in Norfolk are set in a converted barn in a country estate in rural Swaffham. Weekends here blend idyllic surroundings with twice-daily yoga (Hatha and vinyasa, pranayama, partner yoga, yin and yoga nidra), guided meditative walks and delicious vegetarian or vegan food, massages and relaxation. You can join a guided walk to a local English Heritage site and optional beach excursion.
Two nights from £445pp sharing twin/double room (single supplement £150) full board including yoga classes and a guided walk. Holistic treatments extra. Come for May bank holiday weekend 25 – 28 May 2018 or August bank holiday weekend 24-27 August 2018.
Raw Horizons offer women-only retreats at Split Farthing Hall, an 18th-century retreat close to the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Combining a holistic approach to wellbeing with coaching, yoga, meditation and gourmet raw food, the Telegraph name it ‘best holistic retreat.’
Three nights from £625pp twin-share (£745 single room), full board including yoga classes, retreat activities, use of a hot tub and infrared sauna and transfers to/from the local train station. Holistic treatments extra. Come for May bank holiday 29 May – 1 Jun 2018; available for selected dates until 9 October. (Top photo of hot tub in rural Yorkshire is from Raw Horizons.)
Aluna Healing Retreats in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands sits among ancient woodland overlooking Loch Torridon. Daily yoga and meditation fuse with shamanic soul work and walks through the stunning mountains. Where better to awaken a deeper connection with nature and ancient wisdom and how to apply this in your life.
Six nights from £820pp sharing twin/double room (£980 for a single room) full board including all classes and activities. Next date: 2-8 June, and available for selected dates until 27 October.
Mellulah yoga and mindfulness retreat is set in a cottage embraced by gardens and a tranquil lake in a peaceful hamlet close to the Jurassic Coast in rural Dorset with lovely woodland and sacred sites – great places for some good grounding and earthing. The retreat offers a variety of activities and workshops including vinyasa flow yoga, mindfulness meditation and sound healing. A new collaboration with Middle Piccadilly, an equally idyllic and renowned retreat in Sherbourne, is a three-night Deep Transformation Healing Retreat from £499pp shared or single including five yoga classes, two crystal sound baths, cleansing juice, vegan or raw vegan meals and holistic and spa therapies. Available 14-17 September 2018, and selected dates year round.
This delightful rural yoga retreat takes place at four-star Godshill Park Farm with oak-panelled halls and four-poster beds. Alpacas, llamas and other rare breeds graze in the fields as you relax and are inspired, strengthened and revitalised on your mat. Four night SUP (stand up paddleboarding) retreat includes SUP safaris, yoga afloat and ashore, beach brunches cooked over open fires, and sunrise meditation from £435 22-26 June 2018. Be inspired by this video!
Look out for our next blog on rural retreats in the UK in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); for a sneak preview see an overview of retreats in AONB. Further afield there are also rural retreats in Europe and Asia.
Enjoy earthing on your rural retreat!
Jo Fernandez is a leading UK travel journalist, with much of her career spent working for the London Evening Standard where she was Travel Editor until 2015. Now a freelance travel journalist and copywriter, she lives in Essex and has one daughter. As a travel expert, she still enjoys jetting off to write travel pieces, with favourite destinations including Mexico, Croatia and, of course, Essex.
Updated 20 June 2018.