Forest Holidays, various locations

    Britain’s best hot tub holidays

    10 August 2020

    Nothing gives the feeling of being on holiday quite like basking in some warm water with a great view in front of you.

    But with threats of quarantine from those heading back from the Med and many people still nervous about returning to hotel swimming pools and spas, it’s time to find an alternative – and one that doesn’t involve a chilly dip in the North Sea.

    Follow our guide to the best staycation destinations – from glamping sites to treehouses – that come with their own private hot tub.

    Squirrel’s Nest

    Squirrels Nest, Powys

    Perched on their oak wood stilts, the two treehouses at Squirrel’s Nest in Powys look like something dreamed up in a child’s story book. But real they are – and an adult’s dream too, with their own private hot tubs looking out over the 900 acres of surrounding Welsh hillside and valleys.

    If you go for the Cadwollen treehouse you can switch between bubbles in the hot tub to luxuriating in the enormous free-standing copper bathtub or rinsing yourself off in the outdoor shower.

    Both have fully-equipped kitchens, although most guests prefer to cook over the smoking coals of the fire pit out on the deck. They come stocked with complimentary muesli, Welsh tea, coffee pods and other pantry items.

    Grab one of the maps in the treehouses before heading out to explore the area. It’s ideal for outdoorsy types, with a feeding centre for red kites and the 13-acre Llandrindod Wells boating lake just a few miles away.

    The minimum stay is two nights and prices start from £234 per night.

    The Chilterns View

    The Chilterns View, Wallingford

    The rolling hills of this chalk escarpment, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, are breath-taking at any time. But they are particularly lovely when seen at sunset.

    The large hammock, hot tub and private veranda that come with each lodge at this luxury holiday site offer a perfect vantage point. Stay out a little longer and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the night sky – untainted thanks to the lack of artificial light.

    Each lodge comes with a king size bed, en-suite bathroom, dining area and kitchen and a log burning stove.

    Rachel, the owner, will be more than happy to offer her expertise on the best local pubs and walks.

    The site is just an hour’s drive from London and around six miles from the pretty market town of Wallingford, which hosts a famous regatta and has a romantic ruined castle.

    Cynefin Retreats

    Cynefin Retreats, near the book town of Hay on Wye

    Another hidden secret of the Welsh borders, the eco-pods at Cynefin Retreats sit around four miles outside of Hay-on-Wye.

    This tiny town hosts a world-class literary festival which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year.

    Sadly this year events and talks had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, but Hay is still definitely worth a visit – particularly for bibliophiles. The town has around 20 bookshops, approximately one for every 75 residents, with shelves of tomes spilling out into the streets.

    It’s also the gateway to the Brecon Beacons, which have hundreds of walks and cycle routes for all abilities.

    Luxury lodges near Hay on Wye

    If you want to steer clear of the main tourist trails, Cynefin Retreats is an ideal choice. The stylish wooden pods ooze Scandi chic and there’s precious little around, except for the surrounding countryside, so you can feel like the sprawling views from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors are entirely your own.

    The pods, which are surrounded by pine trees and wildflowers, can sleep two adults and one child – with dogs welcome too. There’s a wood burner and underfloor heating should the Welsh weather turn against you and the outdoor hot tub to ease weary muscles after a long day’s hiking in the Brecons.

    Guests need to book for at least two nights, at a price of £245 per night for a weekend stay in peak season.

    Tinywood Homes

    Tinywood Homes in Warwickshire

    The exquisite little cabins at this Warwickshire retreat could have come straight out of a doll’s set. They come in a few different styles – some looking like miniature ski chalets and others uber-luxurious garden sheds – but all clad uniformly in Douglas fir.

    Despite their diminutive appearance, the homes are actually very roomy and some can sleep up to six people. Most come with their own barbeque and wood-fired hot tub.

    For larger groups, there’s also a barn that sleeps up to 10 and has an outdoor spa tub.

    A short stroll away is the village of Long Itchington, which has timbered Tudor houses, a whole host of award-winning pubs and an old railway turned cycle route.

    It costs £450 to rent one of the larger cabins for a two-night weekend break in summer time and £250 for two nights in one of the two-person lodges.

    Forest Holidays

    Forest holidays, various locations across the UK

    This group has 11 locations dotted in woodlands all over the country, from the lochs and glens of Ardgartan Argyll on Scotland’s west coast to a deer park and ancient millpond close to Looe in Cornwall.

    Each site has a number of different log cabins sleeping between two and 10 people. All come with a private hot tub and some have wheelchair access. The white willow cabin even has its own outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven, and guests are greeted with a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival.

    The sites are generally pet-friendly and half are located in national parks, including the North York Moors and Snowdonia. Forest Holidays partners with Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales to help protect the natural habitats they are based in.

    The local site managers and forest rangers are on hand to offer tips on where and when to find the area’s best wildlife, including pine martens and red squirrels.

    Fritton Lake

    A wood-fired hot tub at Fritton Lake, Norfolk

    Whether you’re after a swanky hotel room, rustic farm cottage or secluded cabin, Fritton Lake caters all tastes. Whichever accommodation option you choose, you’ll get your own private terrace, either looking out over the two-mile expanse of water or the surrounding woodland.

    The holiday site sits on the Norfolk–Suffolk border and is part of Somerleyton Hall, said to be one of the grandest stately homes of the Victorian era.

    The list of activities available to guests is extensive. You could start the day with a sunrise wild swim or paddle board, followed by some sailing or canoeing after breakfast and round it off with a spot of early evening tennis on one of the four private courts or maybe a yoga glass on the lawn.

    Lake side lodges

    Water skiing lessons are also available. Children will not be short of entertainment either, with their own adventure play area and zip wires.

    Fuelling up after all that exercise won’t be difficult. The award-winning estate pub, the Fritton Arms, does deliveries of local food and produce to the door of your cabin or cottage, including wines from nearby vineyards and chutneys made from kitchen gardens on the estate itself.

    The Norfolk Broads aren’t far either – perfect for a day’s excursion by boat.

    King Arthur’s Willow

    A treehouse on the farm in Wiltshire

    Mill Farm in Wiltshire is home to ducks, donkeys, sheep, a herd of dairy cows and even a few rabbits.

    The friendly owners offer tours of their organic farm, donkey rides, feeding sessions with the animals, fishing in their pond and laser clay pigeon shooting.

    The glamping site has four canvas lodges – each with a large master bedroom, a bunk room for children and another room with two single beds. There’s a chichi little kitchen, with a beautiful stove and wood fire.

    Relax with a view

    The farm’s pièce de résistance, though, is the King Arthur’s Willow treehouse. Inside it’s like a fairy grotto, with a wooden four poster bed and a tree sprouting from the middle of the dining table. Best of all? The indoor whirlpool bath.

    The treehouse sleeps up to six people and a two-night stay costs around £690.