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Be inspired every day with Living North
The Forest Spa at Middleton Lodge Estate Cecelina Tornberg
Health and beauty
June 2023
Reading time 3 Minutes

We went along to try the newly-opened Forest Spa, and explore what's on offer on the North Yorkshire estate

The 200-acre Middleton Lodge Estate has long been a favourite of ours. Home to one of the best hotels in the North, as well as two award-winning restaurants and various event spaces, it's become a real destination in itself. When its new Forest Spa opened, we were therefore keen to see what the team have created.

The new spa is, simply, gorgeous. The day we visit is sunny and bright, and the whole feel of the place is more akin to a rustic French villa than a hotel spa in North Yorkshire. Drawing inspiration from the concept of forest bathing, the spa is at one with the nature which surrounds it: elemental, inviting, earthy – yet oozing luxury at every turn. 

This serene sanctuary is centred on a large outdoor pool (heated to a comfortable temperature, because this is after all Yorkshire, not the Med). After we’re welcomed with a refreshing green smoothie and have been shown around the area, this is our first stop. It’s not every day you can swim outdoors in sparkling blue waters in this country, and we spend some time taking in the spa’s relaxing atmosphere as we soak up the sun in the water. 

At the far end of the pool we discover the thermal spa area and make for the sauna. It smells reassuringly of wood, and the views of the fields and woodland beyond the large window are enough to keep us entertained until (having thoroughly sauna-d) it’s time to check out the adjacent cold plunge pool, which sits beneath a gorgeous stone arch. I manage to dip no more than a toe in here before deciding discretion is the better part of valour, while my partner makes it in up to his knees. Instead, the relaxation area is calling, lined with comfortable loungers and side tables scattered with magazines. 

Review: We Tried the 10-Course Tasting Menu at Forge at Middleton Lodge Estate (and it's Full of Surprises)

Cecelina Tornberg
Rebecca Tappin

At the opposite end of the pool, the pool house is filled with spaces for relaxation, squishy sofas and a central log-burning stove which will make winter days cosy and warm. Today, the doors are thrown open to let in the warmth and sunlight.

Hidden away in the trees behind the pool house are six wooden treatment huts. I’m guided along the winding stepping-stone path to one of these for a 60-minute Swedish full body massage. The expert therapist uses Angelica Serratus nourishing body oil (deliciously scented with lime and mandarin) from VOYA for the massage, paying particular attention to the knots in my shoulders. An hour passes in what seems like no time, and afterwards I’m shown to a peaceful relaxation space before its time to head back through to the main spa area. 

Lunch is served poolside in the sunshine – there’s no need to even put on your robe if you didn’t want to, and certainly no need to change. The menu is varied, with lots of light bites and a few more substantial dishes, and features lots of fresh produce from the estate (as is usual in all Middleton Lodge’s restaurants).

Cecelina Tornberg | Rebecca Tappin

Marinated cucumber gazpacho is served with a dill cream, while my kale salad (from the walled garden, of course) is tossed in local rapeseed oil and blueberries, and topped with crispy kale leaves with parmesan. I’ve also chosen Bleiker’s smoked salmon, which is served with dainty buckwheat pancakes and a seaweed crème fraîche, while my partner’s flat iron chicken sits on a flavour-packed bed of spring peas, mushrooms and wild garlic. Finally, a refreshingly icy dish of poached strawberries with chia, rosehip and chamomile granita is perfect for sharing. 

In the afternoon we once again take a dip in the pool, and as the clouds gather we head to the outdoor stone hot tub, which sits beneath a wooden frame to shelter it from the elements and has views across the pool to the open countryside beyond. 

As the day draws on we’re sorry to leave the Forest Spa behind, but once we’ve spruced ourselves up a bit we have time for a drink at the estate’s relaxed Coach House (sitting beneath the stretch tent in the pretty courtyard) before it’s time for dinner at Forge. This is Middleton Lodge’s fine-dining restaurant, and the 10-plus course tasting menu is packed with seasonal, sustainable produce – once again, lots of it comes from the estate itself. As people who enjoy tasting menus, rest assured – this is a good one. Two smooth rosemary negronis get the evening off to a flying start, and culinary highlights include 85-day-aged beef tartar encased in choux and topped with rich egg yolk, and a bowl of Cornish cod served with an XO sauce, asparagus and an English sparkling wine velouté. 

Throughout, the intelligently-chosen wine pairings are fabulous and unusual – we’re even served a Jorvik Blonde beer alongside the bread course, which comes with fennel butter, roast chicken butter, and a buttery dish of Old Winchester custard speckled with mushrooms and mustard seeds. A plate of Texel lamb with salad and black garlic ketchup is pronounced ‘outstanding’ by my partner. Of the dessert courses, the strawberries with toasted hay cream, anise hyssop and delicate meringue discs is our pick – and it’s something of a work of art too. 

When we finally leave Forge, we’re thankful we only have to walk around the corner to our room in the old Dairy, where we fall into bed, exhausted. Relaxing really does take it out of you. 

For your chance to win an exclusive Forest Spa Day Retreat worth £600 for you and a friend, click here.

Middleton Lodge Forest Spa packages range from evening and half-day rituals to full day retreats. Go to to find out more, or to book. Kneeton Lane, Middleton Tyas, Richmond DL10 6NJ

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