A Summer Staycation: UK Holiday Ideas For 2021

Top places for yoga breaks in the UK

Top places for yoga breaks in the UK
By Ellie Ross

Yoga may have its roots in ancient India, but it’s spread around the world – and the UK is no exception. Since first landing on the scene here in the early twentieth century, its popularity has soared. At a time where mindfulness is in high demand, here are five of the UK’s best locations for a yoga escape.

Best places for Yoga escapes in the UK

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Yoga brighton pier england UK

A peaceful start to the day on Brighton Pier

Yoga breaks in Cornwall

Welcome to England’s wild west. Cornwall’s 400 miles of coastline, fresh air, seaside towns and buzzing yoga scene make it a great location for a coastal yoga escape. A sun salutation feels somehow more blissful – albeit harder to balance – when you’re doing it with sand between your toes.

Local teachers will run private classes on the beach or cliff top, and Cornwall is also raising its game in the studio department with some great studios in Truro, Falmouth and Newquay.

Recommended classes & studios

Alicia Ray (www.aliciaray.uk) offers 90-minute classes at Gwithian and Porthtowan for £10pp.

Lime House Yoga: a brand new, state-of-the-art studio just outside Truro complete with Iyengar-style wall ropes and roof fittings for aerial yoga. See limehouseyoga.com; Mount Hill Farm, Mount, Rose, Truro, Cornwall TR4 9PP; 01872 572620; 90-minute classes £12.

In Newquay, you can don a pair of headphones and join a silent disco yoga session on the beach (sessions are also held at the highly recommended Eden Project.) Check the website (www.silentdiscoyoga.co.uk) for upcoming dates and book ahead. From £12pp for adults, £6pp for children.

The ZedShed: overlooking Penryn River, near Falmouth, this carbon-neutral hall offers regular yoga classes and workshops. See www.jubileewharf.co.uk/zedshed; 01326 374960; class prices vary depending on the teacher but are around £10pp.

While you're there

Cornwall’s other big attraction is surfing: Newquay’s Fistral, Towan and Watergate are among its best surfing beaches, with numerous schools offering lessons and board hire. Other great spots for all levels include Polzeath and Praa Sands.

Alternatively, try a section of the South West Coast Path. At 630 miles it’s the UK’s longest National Trail but can be easily broken up into more manageable sections.

Need to know

Cornwall gets busy and accommodation will sell out in the summer. If you can, aim for the shoulder seasons of May-June or September when the weather should still be reasonable for outdoor yoga sessions. Quieter spots with private instructors include St Agnes, Mawgan Porth and St Austell.

Read more

To learn more about the South West Coast Path see our guide to The UK's Best Long Distance Walks.

Yoga breaks in Cumbria & The Lake District

Natural splendour is on tap in Cumbria, home to the world-famous Lake District. Finding mindfulness feels easier in the mountains with fresh air in your lungs and majestic lakes around you.

Yoga in the Lakes extends beyond the confines of a studio, though some of them are exceptionally good. Hiking is what the Lake District is best known for, and stretching out after a day of hiking is needed. Enter the yoga and hiking combo, where yoga classes and guided hill walks meet.

For something quirkier, Cumbria has a different take on dog and goat yoga, with lemurs in the spotlight. Lemur yoga – or “lemoga” – is said to help you feel at one with nature, and reduce stress and blood pressure.

Recommended classes & studios

Yoga Hikes: Yoga and hiking breaks include daily, six-hour guided walks with an all-ability yoga session before and after. See yogahikes.co.uk; three-day breaks from £295pp including accommodation and all meals.

Lemoga: These quirky sessions are held at Armathwaite Hall. See www.armathwaite-hall.com; Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick CA12 4RE; 017687 76551; A Lemoga Spa Break costs from £495 for two people sharing a room, including breakfast, a three-course dinner and a spa treatment.

The Yoga Studio Carlisle: a 300-year-old barn has been converted into a modern, open-plan studio offering everything from beginners’ aerial yoga to relaxing yin. See www.theyogastudiocarlisle.co.uk; Kinmont Barn, Treasury Court, Carlisle CA3 8RF; 07850 668402; classes from £6pp.

La Vida Yoga Studio: classes and workshops by local Yoga instructor, Joanna Mason. For prices and times see www.lavidayogauk.net; 2 New Market Stree, Ulverston; 07703493055.

While you're there

The Lakes offers some of the UK’s best running trails. An accessible, ten-mile route takes you around Ullswater (from Patterdale to Pooley Bridge) with 391 metres of ascent.

Alternatively for some open water wild swimming, popular spots include Derwentwater, Buttermere and Wastwater. Check conditions first, have suitable clothing and make sure someone knows where you are.

Need to know

Some of the most famous lakes, valleys and mountains (like Windermere, Borrowdale and Scafell Pike) get swamped in summer and accommodation can get expensive. Try to time your visit outside of the peak summer months, or base yourself in a quieter corner: Ulverston on the nearby Furness Peninsular is a less popular but attractive market town with easy access to the Lakes.

Low cost Lakes

For more information on visiting Ulverston see our guide to Budget Walking Holidays In The UK.

Yoga breaks in The Highlands

The UK’s only true wilderness awaits in the Scottish Highlands. This uplifting sense of remoteness – paired with superb yoga offerings – are ideal ingredients for a wellness escape.

Go off-grid and reconnect with yourself, surrounded by hills, lochs and forests. The solitude provides the perfect setting for meditation.

But a retreat here doesn’t have to mean back-to-basics wild camping. You can find hot yoga, which has benefits including improving flexibility, boosting cardio fitness and nourishing the skin. Inverness, the Highlands’ only major city, is more than just a springboard for your trip, with a number of studios offering everything from dynamic vinyasa to slow flow classes.

Recommended classes & studios

EcoYoga: luxurious yet eco-friendly experiences, with a glazed studio, hot tubs and veggie meals made with produce from the organic garden. See www.ecoyoga.org; Inverliever Lodge, Ford, Argyll PA31 8RH; 01546 810259; from £80pp per night.

Hot in the Highlands: weekend and week-long hot yoga breaks near Kinloch Rannoch, suitable for all levels. See www.hotinthehighlands.co.uk; Pitlochry, Perth And Kinross, PH17 2QH; 07702087460; three nights from £410pp, including meals.

Soul Seeker Yoga: a boutique studio in Inverness. See www.soulseekeryoga.com; 33-35 Union Street, Inverness, IV1 1QA; 07903 584594; £16pp for a 75-minute class.

While you’re there

For a true sense of freedom, it’s hard to beat wild camping. Pitching up away from designated sites is technically illegal in most of England and Wales, but it’s legal (with certain restrictions) in much of Scotland. Scope out your pitch and check guidelines in the Open Access Code first.

Hiking and biking holidays are a big draw in this part of Scotland and you’ll find a big range of guided and self-guided trips for most abilities.

Need to know

Some of the main Highland hubs, like Inverness and Pitlochry, are connected via the Scotrail train network (scotrail.co.uk). Depending on your final destination, a car becomes useful to reach farther-flung areas.

Walking in Scotland

For more information on other activities in the Highlands see our guides to Walking Holidays in Scotland and Cycling Holidays in Scotland.

Yoga breaks in Surrey

Easily accessible from London, yet feeling a world away thanks to its ancient woodlands and gentle hills, Surrey is a great choice for a quick, country yoga escape.

You don’t have to disappear for weeks at a time to find inner peace. Surrey is home to a number of day retreats – the perfect antidote to the stress of city life. If you do spend the night in the county, there are stately homes galore, such as Foxhills Country Club and Great Tangley Manor, which have tranquility (and yoga) on tap.

The county also has some great studios, whether you’re into hot yoga, pregnancy yoga or meditation. Many are conveniently located near stations or in leafier surroundings such as Box Hill.

Recommended classes & studios

Whitecalm: meditation and mindfulness day and overnight retreats. Expect everything from walking meditations to workshops on handling stress. See www.whitecalmwellbeing.com; 0207 971 1000; from £199pp.

Akram Hot Yoga: a heated yoga studio, 100 yards from Addlestone station. See www.akramyoga.co.uk; The Old Barclays Bank, 157 Station Road, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 2AT; 07427412845; classes from £13pp.

Box Hill Yoga: specialising in beginner, pregnancy and post natal classes, owner Diane Sage teaches at locations including the Box Hill Village Hall. See www.boxhillyoga.co.uk; 07411 383430; £15pp per session.

While you're there

Cycling is a great way to tune into nature. Follow in the tyre tracks of the Olympic peloton and cycle the eight-mile Box Hill Olympic loop.

Or you could learn how to cook healthy meals on a plant-based cookery course at The Abinger Cookery School in Dorking (£150pp).

Need to know

Some of Surrey’s towns have an uninspiring, commuter feel, so venture away from the stations to discover the landscapes made famous by Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott. Historical Guildford and quaint Godalming both make good bases to explore the nearby Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Yoga breaks in Sussex

With wildflower meadows, the South Downs and 90 miles of chalky coastline – plus an ever-expanding yoga offering – Sussex is a great location for a wellness break, also within easy reach from London and the commuter belt.

For something a little different, how about practising yoga in a wildland estate, or while balancing on a paddleboard? SUP yoga is increasingly popular, and Hove Lagoon is a great place to learn thanks to its sheltered position and expert instructors.

Brighton beach may be best known for its pier, but there’s a new way to experience it – through movement meditation. Learn how to relax your body and mind through simple motions, ranging from tai chi to the Eastern practice of Sufi whirling. Pop-up classes run in summer and take place near the bandstand.

Recommended classes & studios

SUP Yoga at Hove Lagoon: boost your balance dramatically as your paddleboard becomes your yoga mat. See www.lagoon.co.uk; Kingsway, Hove BN3 4LX; 01273 42 48 42; £20pp per hour.

The Yoga Garden: located in a rewilding project on the Knepp Estate, this collection of yurts becomes a space for classes, teacher training and workshops. Styles include yogalates and Sivananda yoga. See www.the-yoga-garden.co.uk; Swallows Lane, Dial Post, Horsham, West Sussex. RH13 8NN; 01903 892459; classes from £8pp.

While you're there

There’s some great walking in Sussex, not least the 99-mile South Downs Way. For shorter walks try the Seven Sisters walk from Cuckmere Haven to Easbourne, watching the wildlife change from forest to seashore.

Or wade in the shallows and explore marine life in Selsey, with its two designated Marine Conservation Zones.

Need to know

Pick your day for SUP yoga. The windier it is, the harder it will be to balance, and the colder it is, the less enjoyable it will be if you take a spill (wetsuits can be arranged, but don’t forget your own towel, dry clothes and a flask of hot tea!)

Read more

For more information on walking the South Downs Way see our guide to The UK's Best Long Distance Walks.

Top places for yoga breaks in the UK

Ellie Ross

Ellie is a NCTJ-qualified travel journalist specialising in active travel, yoga, and fitness. She is published in The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, National Geographic Traveller, among many more.

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