The Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, Helmsley

Modern day spas come in every size and rank. Take the legendary Golden Door in California, pristine Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland, or Italy’s sumptuous L’Albereta. These are the Louboutins of the spa world.

The Feversham Arms, Helmsley
The Feversham Arms, Helmsley

Closer to home, we have classics like Calcot Manor, Grayshot and Coworth Park, as quintessentially British as Jane Austen’s court shoe. Soho Farmhouse and Babington House’s Cowshed Spa are beloved of the trendy trainer tribe. Up north, Rockliffe Hall is frequented by glamour shod footballers’ wives, Swinton Park favours tweed and the new £70 million Grantley Hall, definitely something expensive.

So then, the Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa in the gorgeous market town of Helmsley must be the welly boot of spas. What this honey-stone bolthole with outdoor pool and wellness suite lacks in big flashiness, it makes up for in cosiness.

Spa Vibe

Much loved by groups of girlfriends, couples using the spa and mothers with daughters, the Feversham is not the place for wheatgrass smoothies and serious clinical treatments. Expect giggly girls in the outdoor hot tub and laughter in the relaxation lounge, as opposed to spa silence.

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Coffee and cake at 10am is the norm, as are glasses of flowing prosecco and indulgent afternoon teas. There are several light, healthy options on the lunch menu – such as Thai king prawn stir fry and superfood salad – but many drop the good intentions and plum for treats like fish and chips, or gourmet burgers.

This is no-nonsense Yorkshire, after all.

Spa Facilities

An aromatherapy room, salt inhalation chamber, sauna, foot baths and drench shower comprise the fairly modest heat facilities. There’s also a private mud rasul, great fun as well as being highly therapeutic, available with prior booking. Outside, guests take their Insta snaps in the bubbling hot tub.

Summer sees the outdoor pool area buzzing with hotel guests and day visitors lapping up the Yorkshire sunshine (when it appears), while the colder months are a winter wonderland scene of fairly lights and steam rising up from the pool and Jacuzzi.

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Spa Treatments

Tension busting body and scalp massage, nourishing aromatherapy facial or detoxifying mud wrap? The majority of guests visit the spa on packages, which usually include a 75-minute treatment of their choice. You can opt to have a back massage followed by a facial, or to focus purely on your body or face.

Treatments are by Mediterranean-inspired Temple Spa (also found at The Grand in York, and the Lake District’s Armanthwaite Hall), and include such delights as:

I’ll Be Back, a targeted back treatment encompassing a hot mitt cleanse, exfoliation, warm mud application and massage;

Outer Glow, an all-over body exfoliation using a heavenly blend of sugar, olive oil and aromatherapy essences;

Champagne & Truffles, a truly escapist facial involving a hot stone neck and shoulder massage, two radiance-boosting masks, lifting facial massage and scalp and hand and arm massages, and finishing with a glass of Champagne and some chocolate truffles, for good measure.

If what you prefer from your spas is hushed quiet, state-of-the-art heat rooms and five-star splendour, the Feversham (or Fev) is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for somewhere to have a giggle with the girls, or just to discover a pretty hideaway in this gorgeous corner of Ryedale, it perfectly hits the mark.

Definitely a no-nonsense welly boot, or a cosy slipper.

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