If you want to de-city your life for just a few hours then the chances are you will welcome these suggestions. Get ready to restore your sanity and realign your chakras!
Bristol produces the usual hustle and bustle of any thriving metropolis, yet as I have recently discovered it offers a number of ways for residents and visitors to relax during their downtime in the many spas, centres and green spaces located in or close to the city.
Let’s start with the Relaxation Centre located on All-Saints Road. According to their website, ‘life is better when we are relaxed’ which is why the centre offers treatments such as Indian head massage, holistic face massage, hot stone massage and also houses a spa that includes outdoor hot tub, three saunas, a steam room, a cold plunge pool and a meditation garden to help you achieve this somewhat elusive state of mind.
Established 20-years ago and judging by the pictures, the homely Relaxation centre really is the ‘soulful haven’ it proclaims to be. The centre is managed by ‘positive’ and ‘passionate’ employees who all have one thing in common: your well being. Nestled away in the heart of Clifton it is open from morning through to the evenings, and you can even book a slot for two beneath the stars-this would be especially good during the long winter evenings, where there is little to do but focus on staying warm, which is where their hot tub and saunas will oblige.
Open: Sun-Sat 9AM-9PM
Price: from £20
Address: 9 All Saints Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2Jg
Contact: 0117 970 6616
The Lido is a bit of a well-kept secret. Hidden away off St.Paul’s road the Lido fell into disrepair after its closure in the 1990’s. It would be nearly 20-years before the current owner bestowed a new lease of life on the dilapidated swimming pool. The Lido -saved from dereliction, re-opened to the public in 2008 to become the contemporary answer to the Lido’s of old that were once upon a time a British pastime, but with the addition of a few additional features such as a hot tub. The Lido of the 21st Century is a bit more exclusive and offers treatments too.
You have the option of becoming a member which gives you access to the facilities all year round and non-members can visit Mon-Fri between 1-4PM. The main attraction is the open air pool that some may find a bit fresh, but fear not, visitors will be able to warm up in the bubble pool, steam room and sauna as well as have an ice cold bucket shower (challenge?!). Poolside you can enjoy the meditative vibe of the gently bobbing water, with drinks and snacks being served all day long in the Lido’s cafe. The cafe is open to non-Lido users which means you can visit anytime without needing to pay for the pool.
Open: Mon-Fri 1PM- 4PM (non-members)
Price: £20 for three hours
Address: Lido, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BJ
Contact: 0117 933 9530
Perhaps for some Lavish Spa is a bit less special but only because it is a lot more commercial than the other independents I have mentioned. However, I have heard only good things about the Lavish Spa based inside the Marriott Royal at the base of Park Street, which is why it is worth a mention. The Spa includes the usual pool, jacuzzi, steam-room and sauna as well as a range of beauty treatments and massages. If you have a treatment you will have access to all the other facilities mentioned. The lavish design is an indication of the sumptuous experience patrons can expect. Hmmm, a bit tempted actually.
Open: daily from 9AM
Price: from £20
Contact: 0117 927 3389
Robin James Salon and Spa is based in Debenham’s and is a franchise of Aveda. Aveda Salons and Spas can be found in a number of UK cities and towns.
Aveda was born in 1978 after its founder Horst Rechelbacher spent time in India. Influenced by Veda and Ayurveda-ancient holistic Indian medicine highly regarded for its ability to heal via nature, Rechelbacher set about developing plant-based hair and cosmetics products.
Their salons and spas have an idiosyncratic vibe and the smells of their trademark oils have various functions such as energising,calming or purifying. Their salons offer plant inspired hair colour but also offer a range of treatments such as reflexology and Indian head massage. Once you enter their uniquely designed space you forget where you are- in Debenham’s in a bustling shopping centre. The dimmed lights and opulent smells transport you far, far away. Especially if you have a head massage…
Open: various, 9AM until 5-8PM; closed Sunday
Price: from £20
Address: House of Fraser, Cabot Circus, Bristol, BS1 3BD
Contact: 01179 290 682
The Aquarium on Anchor Road part of the Harbourside is a bit out there as a destination to choose to relax in, but water is commonly referenced for making us feel relaxed. The aquatic theme is bound to cast a calming effect over your busy mind as stand and stare at all the sea-life swimming in crystal clear water. The venue has been divided into themes with water-life from the Amazon, the coral reef and the pacific housed in their own gigantic fish tanks. There is even a tunnel which you walk through and you can enjoy the fish swimming in a coral reef above your head. The Aquarium is open daily.
Open: 10AM-4PM Mon-Fri/ 10AM-5PM Weekends
Price: from £11.50 adults/£7.25 children(under 3’s go free)
Address: Bristol Aquarium, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5TT
Contact: 01179 298 929
Ashton Court is a fun and free way to relax just outside the city. There are many ways to access the park: over the Suspension bridge via Leigh Woods or from the south. In the center of the estate is Ashton Court which has been in existence since the 11 century although it has undergone a number of modifications. The court remains grand and intact with a rich history. Today it serves as a great observations point where visitors can sit and take in landscape views of modern-day Bristol. The park is not merely a great place for a long walk; bike hire and a golf courses are available and there is a deer park. The deer park is a major draw and at certain times of the year visitors are permitted to enter their grazing field and walk among them. There are two cafes, one in Ashton Court itself; the other on the north side of the grounds.
Open: Court 8AM-5PM daily; park 8AM – close depending on the season (ie, earlier in Winter)
Price: Free to enter, activities are individually priced; £1.20 to park
Address: Long AshtonBristol, BS41 9JN
Contact: 0117 922 3719
Happy Friday and have a relaxing weekend 🙂