Lemurs are the latest animals to practise yoga with, and make the perfect chilled out companions for this Lake District spa break with a difference.
Yoga with lemurs, need I say more? Armathwaite Hall has long been offering guests encounters with animals in the adjoining Lake District Wildlife Park and their latest “Lemoga” spa break includes a lemur yoga session in the actual lemur enclosure. In a beautiful countryside setting near Lake Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw mountain, it’s a unique chance to wind down in the company of critters, and in a slightly more traditional manner back at the hotel and spa.
You’ll take part in a Yin yoga session, which is perfect for de-stressing and takes a calm, slow pace with long holds and deep stretches. The lemurs are used to visitors and seem very happy to greet us in their enclosure. In fact, as soon as we sit down for a quick briefing from the keeper about the species and etiquette around the animals (basically – stay calm!) they gather round and one climbs up my back to perch on my shoulder. We start our practise and we’re quickly surrounded by lemurs moseying around and chilling in their natural relaxing posture which looks like a perfect lotus.
It’s quite surreal but delightful – they are fascinating creatures and it’s tempting to just stop and watch them when they’re nearby. One female is carrying her new tiny baby clinging to her chest and still comes to hang out so we can see the little one close up… my heart! At one point a lemur licks my toes and occasionally I have to gently move a furry tail out of the way to get in position, but they’re so chilled out and sweet it’s not intrusive. We’re lucky enough to have a warm sunny day, the birds are singing, the lemurs are purring (yes, they purr like cats) and at one point I feel a bit like I’m in a rather niche Disney scene. The session is over all too quickly and I feel so relaxed and strangely at home I could stay there all afternoon.
The Spa, part of the Temple group, has a thermal suite designed around a lovely Hydrotherapy pool. There’s a swimming pool with huge windows overlooking the sun terrace and grounds, a separate children’s pool, and my favourite spot, the outdoor hot tub. For my treatment in the luxurious upstairs treatment area I opt for a “Work it Out” massage, a detoxifying, deep tissue massage designed to relieve fluid retention and work out tired, aching muscles – I’ve been super stressed and it’s the perfect choice. The following day I have a more relaxing “Drift Away” Mediterranean massage and I’m reluctant to leave the table again as I have in fact almost fallen asleep – bliss. Luckily, I’m taken straight to the Hush room, where I’m invited to sip a smoothie or herbal tea in a cosy day bed looking out over the grounds. The birds outside are singing and the dreamy relaxed vibe continues until I’m ready for more pool time.
The Lemoga break includes dinner in the modern Courtyard Brasserie, I forget any notions of detoxing and have a superb steak and chips. Breakfast is served in the lakeside restaurant, ask for a table in the conservatory for a view across the perfectly manicured lawns down to the lake and fells beyond.
The following evening I have dinner at the lakeside restaurant, a three course formal dining experience with super fresh, locally sourced ingredients. I go for a delicate pork belly and apple starter followed by a delicious local trout, and dessert of Yorkshire rhubarb. All the dishes are light and prettily presented, the setting in the wood panelled room is luxurious and service is formal but friendly.
Armathwaite was a former stately home built in the 17th century, and many of the beautiful original features have been retained. The scale is grand with wood panelling, antique furniture, mounted Stag heads and huge leaded windows, but the feel is relaxed, calm and cosy. Both lounges and cocktail bar have roaring fires and plenty of comfortable seating for hanging out in the evenings. The cocktail bar is more glamorous in style with an art deco vibe and an extensive cocktail menu. Rooms vary in size from a luxurious studio suite to family and dog-friendly options, all are well appointed, cosy and traditionally tasteful.
The chance to have the hotels recommended glass of Prosecco in the outdoor hot tub – heaven. Spa treatments are excellent and definitely worth booking in advance to take advantage of the wide choice. If you’re on a longer break or can tear yourself away from the Spa on an overnight stay, the hotel is near some wonderful walks – though you’ll need a car to get to the starting point. Nearby Keswick is a perfect base for a whole variety of hikes, from flat to challenging peaks – take the wooden launch from Keswick to landings around Derwent Water to walk around the lake or up one of the peaks – a hike up Walla Crag gives a stunning view over Derwent valley, the stunning Borrowdale valley and back toward Bassenthwaite.
The need to know
The Lemoga Spa Break is from £495.00 for 2 people and includes:
- 3 course dinner in Courtyard Bar and Brasserie Restaurant
- Overnight accommodation based on sharing double/twin room
- Full Cumbrian breakfast
- 55 minute treatment in the Spa
- Full use of the spa facilities from check in at 2.30pm until check out at 11.30am
- “Lemoga” session with Yoga instructor, including entrance to the Lake District Wildlife Park at either 10.30am or 3.30pm
For every Lemoga Spa Break booked, Armathwaite Hall will donate 10% to a Madagascan charity called SEED Madagascar.
The charity manages a range of sustainable developments and conservation projects in Madagascar to help ease poverty in the country.