Situated just an hours drive from central London, Newmarket may not be featured on your must-visit list, with neighbouring Cambridge and it’s fancy historic bridges, gothic cathedrals and ability to punt around waterways taking more than its fare share of the limelight, but the pretty market town is well worth a visit. Especially if you’re a fan of horses. And spas.
The home of horse racing (there’s no mistaking you’ve made it to in Newmarket thanks to the horse statues lining the street), it has the largest racehorse training centre in the country, but for a town that revels in high octane sports and Thoroughbreds, the place has an amazing sense of calm – especially when it comes to the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa.
The Bedford Lodge Spa
If you’ve never done a spa trip solo, I’m going to suggest trying it out here at Bedford Lodge. Yes, you may be thinking that a traditional spa trip is something you do with a plus one, but not having anyone to talk to, or to think (or care) about for a few hours allowed me to literally walk from pool to pool, water experience to hot tub and back again, unencumbered. The selfish spa experience, is, in my mind, the perfect spa experience.
The spa itself is a dream; relaxed, with friendly staff on hand (in case like me, you get lost) and numerous spots to chill out in the lounge upstairs area before heading outdoors to the rooftop hot tub which overlooks the stables. But the main event is on the ground floor, where the modern facilities and impressive design sets the spa apart.
I got lucky and went on a sunny day, where the light streamed through the huge windows on to the pool area, creating a halo-like effect on the water adding to the whole ‘out of body’ experience, but you know, it’ll probably be just as relaxing on a cloudy day, too. The hydrotherapy pool itself has five different water experiences, including power bubbles that are great for easing back tension, overhead rainfall type showers and an in-pool seating area so you can recline in a sea of bubbles before heading back to the steam room and then the sauna and then pool again (on repeat).
Special mention goes to the incredible 90 minute Balinese hot stone massage, being the first time I’ve nearly fallen asleep whilst having a treatment. It was that relaxing.
FYI: On arrival, you’ll be given rubber sliders and a robe, so all you need to do is bring a swimsuit. No wonder it’s five star bubble rated…
The Bedford Lodge hotel
After an arduous day at the spa, you’ll probably be too tired to go home. Helpful then, that the Bedford Lodge hotel is a minutes walk from the spa. Flanked by racing stables, the smart hotel features spacious rooms, Molton Brown products in the bathroom, plus noteworthy tea and coffee making facilities: we’re talking Teapigs products and a proper cafetière coffee plunger. Plus, breakfast in bed comes at no extra charge.
My large double room was on the first floor and overlooked stables owned by a sheik. I was told that these weren’t his ‘main’ stables, so whilst these horses weren’t on the A-list, their accommodation looked five star to me. If you were in any doubt that you were in the land of the horse, just defer to the friendly hotel staff who told me that between 6.00am and 11.00am each morning, around 2000 horses (!) come out to play AKA training on the gallops. Simply ask at reception for the best place to view these horses in action.
How to book
A standard room night starts from £265 per person.
Special spa packages include the Sunday Serenity Break, which includes:
+ 35 minute Relax & Revive Massage
+ Use of hydrotherapy and heat experiences on the day of treatment
+ Use of the Health & Fitness Club
+ Soft or hot drink
+ Branded tote and slippers to take home
+ Dinner at the award-winning Squires Restaurant (£35pp allocation)
+ Bed and Breakfast at the Bedford Lodge Hotel
Head to the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa for more information.