Fantastic forest bathing locations in Great Britain

This year a forest bathing garden was crowned winner of the RHS Chelsea Best in Show, proving you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience the practice. But what is forest bathing?

Known in Japan as shinrin yokuForest bathing encourages taking time to be quiet and calm among the trees, to be in the moment and absorb the sights and sounds around you and feel more connected to nature.

Research has shown that even just 15 minutes spent among trees can lower cortisol levels, boost the immune system and reduce anxiety. There are plenty of places in Britain where you can experience the healing power of trees, albeit in a less structured, more DIY style than in Japan.

So here are our suggestions for where to go to experience forest bathing in Britain. Remember to turn off your phone before you leave and leave your camera behind.

Hampshire and Gloucestershire

Forest of Dean

Forest Holidays offers free 90 minute forest bathing sessions – Alamy

Forest Holidays – a partner of Forestry England – has trained rangers as forest therapy guides and offers free 90-minute forest bathing sessions. The peaceful walks encourage people to experience contact with nature. Each outing ends with a tea ceremony – the brew made from collected local plants. From £710 for a 4-night stay in the Forest of Dean in September (03330 110495;


Fifinella Retreat's Scandi-inspired wooden cabin overlooks the Black MountainsFifinella Retreat's Scandi-inspired wooden cabin overlooks the Black Mountains

Fifinella Retreat’s Scandi-inspired wooden cabin overlooks the Black Mountains – Canopy & Stars

Glamping specialist Canopy & Stars has a huge collection of forest spots for a shinrin yoku pause. This includes Fifinella Retreat, a unique Scandi-inspired wooden cabin, designed and hand-built by the owner, Zac. Flanked by an ancient forest and with views of the Black Mountains from the deck, you can enjoy wonderful seclusion. Cabin from £180 per night, for 2 people (0117 204 7830;


The owner of Happy Valley glamping resort in north-west Norfolk is an enthusiastic advocate of forest bathing. Katy Coe’s shepherd’s huts, tree houses, tepees and bell tents stand among tall trees. She hands out maps and information to all guests, offers a tour of the immediate forest space and provides hammocks for guests to absorb the forest atmosphere. From £99 per night for a bell tent for two people; book via


The Tawny Hotel site in the Staffordshire countrysideThe Tawny Hotel site in the Staffordshire countryside

The Tawny Hotel site in the Staffordshire countryside

Forestry England recommends heading to Cannock Chase Forest on the 4-mile loop that passes through Fairoak Valley and the pools, which are an important habitat for the area’s wild deer. Staffordshire’s Community Forest Services is offering a free course to better understand the benefits of forest bathing, with classes in open-air breathing exercises, barefoot walking and foraging all taking place among the trees.

Stay near The Tawny Hotel (cabins from £250) and you can book a forest bathing experience on the beautiful, rewilded 70-acre grounds, then retreat to the heated outdoor pool.


You can find otters, badgers and more than 100 bird species in the Falls of Clyde reserve near Lanark in Scotland – not to mention four spectacular waterfalls along well-marked forest trails. Visit from January to March to see otters in the wild or from April to August for a beautiful display of wildflowers in the forest. The reserve is on the Clyde Walkway, which leads to nearby World Heritage-listed New Lanark, an 18th-century former cotton milling village on the banks of the Clyde with a hotel. Double rooms from £85 for room only; cottages cost from £129 per night. On the Lanrick Estate, Kip Hideaways offers treehouse accommodation with outdoor pools and a forest sauna. Their Pipin tree house can accommodate 4 people. Prices from £210 per night, minimum 2 nights; (


Guests at Lost Meadow in Cornwall can stay in cedar-clad pods hanging from the treesGuests at Lost Meadow in Cornwall can stay in cedar-clad pods hanging from the trees

Guests at Lost Meadow in Cornwall can stay in cedar-clad pods hanging from the trees – Bonnie Gough

Another suggestion from Canopy & Stars is Lost Meadow in Cornwall, where you stay in a bulbous, cedar-clad pod suspended in the trees. There are beautiful views down to the river and 20 hectares of woodland where you can enjoy secluded forest swimming. The boom pod sleeps two people and costs from £115 per night (book as above). Treehouse stays are perfect for immersing yourself in the beauty (and silence) of the forest, and they don’t get much more nature-focused than at Kudhva, an architect-designed, off-grid glamping site near Tintagel and Port Issac. The stilt huts start from £100 per night with a minimum of two nights.


Horner Wood on the Holnicote Estate in Somerset, one of the largest and most beautiful ancient oak woodlands in Britain, was traditionally used for producing wood for fuel and making hand tools, and for winter forage for supplies. Today, the centuries-old oak trees provide a home for wood warblers, pied flycatchers and deer. Book a Holnicote Lower House, a five-bedroom, part-thatched cottage managed by The National Trust, prices from £700 for two nights. An hour over the border in Devon, and attracting the Center Parcs crowd, is the Mole Resort (01769 540561;, which offers two-bedroom lodges from £168 per night, based on a stay of three nights.

The New Forest

Lime Wood Hotel is located in the Sylvan New Forest National ParkLime Wood Hotel is located in the Sylvan New Forest National Park

Lime Wood Hotel is located in the Sylvan New Forest National Park – Amy Murrell

You will find miles of ancient forest, much of which has remained unchanged since William the Conqueror declared it a royal hunting ground in 1079. Hiking and cycling trails lead to peaceful open spaces conducive to meditation and forest bathing – there are particularly beautiful woodland areas nearby. Bolderwood car park and visitors site. See, and for details. Located in the Sylvan New Forest National Park, Lime Wood Hotel offers the one-day retreat ‘Wild Wanderings’, including forest bathing, pilates, breathwork and sound healing for £265 per person. Rooms in Lime Wood start from £495 per night.


Another trust property ideal for a spot shinrin yoku is Colby Woodland Garden in Pembrokeshire. Set in a leafy valley, it has beautiful sea views and you can relax under the tallest Japanese redwood in Britain ( The two-bedroom Colby Rose Cottage is managed by National Trust, with prices from £520 for two nights.


Immerse yourself in the ancient woodland of Badgells WoodImmerse yourself in the ancient woodland of Badgells Wood

Immerse yourself in the ancient woodland of Badgells Wood – Alamy

According to the team at Badgells Wood, this spot on the Kent Downs is “as close to wild camping as you can get.” The team offers “the chance to immerse yourself in our beautiful ancient forest and allow nature and the magic of the campfire to send you home healthy, energetic and relaxed.” Perfect for shaking off the pressures of the modern world. Camp in tents and campers from £24 per night for adults and £12 for children. (

lake area

Cumbria has several ancient mountain and lake forests to explore and in Whinlatter Jen Grange from Lakeland Wellbeing organizes her wild wellbeing experiences, from first baths and mindfulness to foraging, full moon circles and Reiki courses. Jen says the area is “a beautiful place to relax and heal; in nature there is no judgment, only acceptance and space to breathe.” After many years working in conservation, Jen now brings the importance of respecting nature to everyone who takes her classes, which can be booked as part of a group or as a private guided experience. Stay at Armathwaite Hall, Keswick, Cumbria, which also offers its own ‘Forest and Moon Bathing Experiences’. Rooms from €199 per night.


A spa day may not be quite in the spirit of shinrin-yoku, but the Aqua Sana spa at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest does feature a forest meditation immersion zone with a glass wall overlooking the forest and a 10-metre treetop sauna with a view over the mountains. canopy. There are two outdoor hot tubs in the woods and a wide range of de-stressing treatments. Spa days cost from £119 per person Monday to Friday and it is possible to visit for the day as an external guest. (0344 826 6205:

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