Spa towns are those villages and cities in England that become known as resorts due to the presence of hot water springs or natural spas. Usually, the hot springs will draw visitors and economy to the area. The purported healing benefits of these springs will draw tourists from all around the world to partake of them. As more people come to try them out, resort areas will spring up around them and attract businesses, vendors and more tourists.
Most of these spa towns can be found in Europe and Japan, and England has its own fair share of them. Here are some of the most worthwhile spa towns for those looking for a little getaway.
Quite possibly the most famous of all the spa towns is Bath. It is rich in history, having been used by the Romans for its spa’s supposed curative powers and also inspiring Jane Austen in her writings. Additionally, there are local legends attached to the city’s spas, such as the prince named Bladud who had leprosy until the spa cured him of it. He went on to become king of the region. Bath has been used by people for thousands of years, and it became a world heritage site a few decades ago.
Where to stay: The Queensbury Hotel offers great food and accommodation.
In 1716, a spa was discovered in Cheltenham, and the town quickly became a resort area for weary travelers and those who wanted to experience natural healing. The town is famous for its arts festivals, which feature artists from the local area as well as internationally renowned performers. The festivals crowning event is the Gold Cup, a steeplechase horse race.
Where to stay: Hotel du Vin is one of our favourite hotels in Cheltenham.
One of the most prominent spa towns in England is Harrogate. It boasts an incredible 88 hot springs, and it has long attracted the highest echelons of British society. The many Turkish baths give the town an incredible atmosphere, and visitors will find plenty of natural beauty to appreciate in the town’s Valley Gardens. The area is also notable for its many fine dining establishments that make it a great romantic getaway for couples or for those hoping to find love on their travels.
Where to stay: Rudding Park is regularly voted one of the best places to stay in the area.
Sitting at an incredible elevation and home to an amazing geothermal spring, Buxton was founded by the Romans when they discovered the hot springs there. These waters can reach temperatures as high as 28° C. The Romans named it Aquae Amemetiae, a name that translates to “The Spa of the Goddess of the Grove”. The town was developed over a few years by the Duke of Devonshire, as he wanted the town to become a resort area much like Bath had.
Where to stay: The Old Hall hotel is one of our favourites
The town of Ilkley is perhaps one of the most overlooked spa towns out there. It has perfectly preserved Victorian style architecture in this quiet town, a place which hasn’t become as much of spa resort as some of the others on this list. It’s worth mentioning though for those who want something a bit quieter and with fewer tourists. The town has plenty of personality that doesn’t quite scream tourist trap, and there’s the fine Box Tree Restaurant that is considered to be one of the finest eateries in the area.
Where to stay: The Crescent Inn has excellent rooms and is full of charm.