Middleton Lodge Forest Spa Review

 This post is based on a visit in March 2024 which was paid for by myself. Please check with venue direct for the most up-to-date info and pricing. 

Middleton Lodge Forest Spa Review


Middleton Lodge Forst Spa had been on my friend's bucket list for ages and when she asked if I'd like to join her for the day as part of her birthday celebrations, my arm was easily twisted.

It's fairly expensive though so we decided to wait for their Black Friday deals which I'm glad we did. We managed to purchase discounted vouchers and booked as part of their Christmas sale so what should have been an (out of budget for me) £300pp spa day ended up costing us around £160pp which although still expensive, was exceptional value when you consider what was included. 

We booked their 'Spa Retreat' package which included: 

  • Spa access from 9:30am - 5:30pm 
  • Use of robes, flip flops, towels, toiletries and flavoured water 
  • A 2 course lunch 
  • Welcome drink 
  • A 2 hour massage / facial 
  • A 45 minute spa bath ritual 

This is their top of the range package - we knew we wanted to experience the spa properly and it was a birthday treat after all. Cheaper packages are available - for example an evening spa and dinner starts at £75. 

Prices are high but in line with other 5* spas in the region and like I said earlier, I do feel like this spa offers fantastic value. 

Middleton Lodge Forest Spa is part of the exclusive Middleton Lodge Estate near Darlington. It takes just under an hour to drive there from Newcastle and is literally straight down the A1. I don't think it's easy to reach by public transport as it's fairly remote. You'd probably need to take a taxi from Darlington 




As well as the spa, there are B&B rooms, cottages to hire, a coach house restaurant and 'forge' restaurant which offers estate to fork fine dining with a tasting menu. The venues are available for private hire and a wedding here would be the absolute dream. 





There's ample free car parking and despite reading other reviews saying the spa was difficult to find, we found it was well signposted from the car park. 

On arrival we immediatly loved the welcoming and relaxed ambience. My friend said she knew the minute we stepped inside that it was going to be a good day. For me, it takes a little longer to win my affections but I did have high hopes and we were off to a good start. 





We were directed to a shoe stand and asked to change into flip flops (provided) as soon as we checked in. We then completed a fairly standard health questionnaire, were given a menu to select our lunch options and a printed personal itinerary which I thought was a nice 5* touch. All while sipping on a complimentary beetroot juice. Very nice indeed. 

This was followed by a spa tour (much appreciated) and we were led to the changing rooms and shown our locker, robe and where to find towels. 











There are four changing rooms all with their own toilet, hairdryer, toiletries, shower and towels. They were lovely and a FAR cry from my gym changing rooms at home.

There was a little wait for a changing room when we left at 5pm as some people were leaving the day spa and some were just checking in for the evening but I would say we only waited 5 minutes. Other than that, there was always one available to pop into when needed across the day. 










There are lovely indoor spaces where you can just relax with a book and there are drinks and snack menus dotted about for you to order from at any time. Alcohol is available too. 




There are also several outdoor seating areas and when the sun came out, they popped cusions on the loungers. I joked when we arrived that we'd be sunbathing so imagine my surprise when we actually were! We felt at times like we were staying in a private villa in the Tuscan hills. 







The pool is the focal point of the spa. It's heated (although not as warm as the spa/outdoor pools at Center Parcs) and feels nice and pleasant. The depth is 1.4m. 

These photos were taken at various points across the day and I haven't magic erased any people from them, it was genuinely quiet - they cap the numbers at this spa so it feels really exclusive and quiet.

My pet peeve is not being able to find a lounger (my mam and I once had to perch on a plastic garden chair at a spa which wasn't pleasant!) but that wasn't an issue here at all. 

We generally had every single area to ourselves. There was one time that two other women shared the sauna with us and another where two women were in the Thermal Suite reading with us but apart from that, it was just us two in our own little areas. 









The Thermal Suite is just across from the pool and is a lovely place to just relax. There are day beds, chairs, cosy blankets and a fire. You can order drinks to enjoy here or there is complimentary infused water which was topped up across the day. 

One thing that baffled us was that the spaces were always kept so tidy yet we never really noticed staff tidying up. It was all very discrete. 

My ONLY negative from the full day was that I'd like to see a bigger selection of magazines in here. There was a random wallpaper magazine and that was really it. I love browsing something like Living North or Appetite when I'm at a spa. Most people did bring their own books and if this was the only fault I could find, you know they're doing well. 








The Thermal Suite is also home to a plunge ice pool which we didn't fancy. If this is your jam though I imagine it's refreshing! 

There's also a sauna and a steam room - both pretty big and of excellent quality. Plus two showers with complimantary toiletries. 

We spent time catching up on the day beds and relaxing in the sauna. 














My first 'treatment' was a 45 minute Bath Hut Experience. This was included in my package but can be purchased separately for £60. 

There are three options - Forest Bath, Rose Bath or Seaweed Bath. These experiences take place alone in your own little hut. 

I will say, the Seaweed Bath Experience won't be for everyone and may make some squemish but I absolutely LOVED it. 

You're invited into a warm bath which has been filled with hand-harvested seaweed from the Atlantic Ocean. Seaweed will nourish your skin, increase circulation and promote healing. 

As you lie back, a guided mediatation fills your cabin and you listen to the words and sounds of the ocean/waves. 

I recently read Weyward (here's my review) and part of that book's theme is how women are deeply connected to the earth and nature. 

As the guided meditation was coming to an end, I had to put the soles of my feet onto the seaweed and 'reawaken' my body. Honestly I was just really overwhelmed and started crying. I actually did feel like it was a spiritual experience. Again, I know this isn't for everyone but it's just how I felt. 

As part of the ritual, I had to take regular sips of water and use the scrubbing brush to scrub the seaweed water into my skin. It ended with using seaweed infused moisturiser to seal everything into your skin. 

I haven't really done anything like this before and it felt like a really personal experience for me I loved it. After speaking to my friend, I know she had a completely different experience to me (with the Rose Bath) so I would say if you fancy this, make sure you read the descriptions and pick the Bath Experience that suits you. 








The guided meditation lasted 20 minutes but the full experience was 45 minutes. If I was to do this again, I'd make sure I stayed in the bath for longer than I did after the mediation ended to get the most out of the experience.

There's a clock in the room and they knock on the door when you have 5 minutes left so it's easy to keep track of time. 





After chatting with my friend about our different Bath House Experiences, it was time for lunch. You can just sit anywhere at your allocated time so we chose this sunny spot overlooking the pool. I believe in the summer you can sit outside. Everyone stayed in their swimwear and robes for lunch and it felt informal. 





I ordered a coffee and as you'd expect, it was high quality. 


The buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon starter was nice enough but I do kind of feel like I could have easily put this together myself. Smoked salmon overlooking the pool though did feel decadant. 




My main was a chicken and bacon ciabatta which was out of this world! Served in fresh ciabatta with homemade pesto and coleslaw which had a real kick. It was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I'd actually go back just for this and I'll be livid if I do go back and they've taken it off the menu. 



After lunch, we spent some time in the hot tub catching up. I would say the hot tub was popular but nobody hogged it. I think with there being so much else to do and everyone on a spa day has treatments booked, this helped to keep facilities available for all. 





At 3pm it was time for the highlight of our day - a 2 hour bespoke treatment. I don't think I've EVER had a 2 hour treatment before so this felt like such a treat. 

You're led to your individual treatment cabin in the garden, invited to take a foot bath as the therapist goes through your treatment. The 2 Hour Voya Garden Ritual was included in our package but you can book separately for £160. 

It's a bespoke massage and facial using a combination of Rosehip Oil, Lavendar and Avocado Oil. My therapist asked if there was any area I'd like focusing on and she'd spend longer on that area but I just said to do whatever they thought I needed. 

It was just incredible. So peaceful and relaxing and I did feel like a new woman afterwards. I left feeling like my full body had been given some TLC. 

The therapists here are all just fantastic - they seem to just ooze a warm heart and like they actually care / want you to get the best possible experience. 




Post-treatment we were led to the relaxation area and given fruit tea, fruit and an energy ball plus a little affirmation card. No hard sell on products at all. We could take as long in this room as we wanted and there were books on breathwork to read as well as lovely garden views. 












But then all too quickly it was 5:30pm and our day had sadly came to an end. We changed, settled our drinks tab and then made our way home, both saying how this was the best spa we've ever been to. 




This was genuinely the best spa I've ever been to. It truly felt 5* in terms of the facilities, the friendly staff, how beautiful it was and the quality of everything on offer. I WILL go again and do 100% think it was worth the money for me. 


As I've grown older, I much prefer quieter more exclusive spas and Middleton Lodge Forest Spa really delivered. I am usually so picky and places that don't deliver when they claim to offer the best (hello Matfen Hall) really frustrate me. It was so refreshing to visit somewhere that really did live up to their reputation. I will be singing this spa's praises for a long time. 

It's not like we visited on a 'quiet' day either - you generally have to book a spa day here quite far in advance as it's popular and we think it was at capacity on the day we visited. 


There's no denying it is SO expensive though (not a criticism - I do think it's worth it & you get what you pay for). I did look at visiting with Steve for our anniversary in November but if we booked the cheapest option for visiting the spa for the day (£200pp) and stayed over in a room with a hot tub (£330 inc breakfast), this would work out at £730 before we even thought about dinner.


Spa access is not included with overnight stays and needs to be booked and paid for separately and at the moment, there isn't an option to book a spa day without a treatment or lunch so this is pretty much the cheapest way to do it. 


In comparison, Seaham Hall offer hot tub rooms (inc breakfast) with spa access from 12noon check in to 12noon on check out for £270 and although that doesn't include lunch or a treatment, it is SO much cheaper. However I will say, the spa at Middleton Lodge Forest Spa is so much more my vibe and I often find Seaham Hall to be uncomfortably busy at times.

Is Middleton Lodge Forest Spa worth the £450 extra spend though? Probably but it's just a lot of £ isn't it.  We could book a weekend abroad for the same price (or less!). 


I think we are likely to keep an eye on their Black Friday deals this year and see what's available and will probably use this to book another discounted spa for our wedding anniversary next year instead. 


Find out more: https://middletonlodge.co.uk/forest-spa/


If you're interested in local spa reviews and deals, make sure you follow North East Spa Deals on Instagram and / or North East Spa Deals on Facebook. 



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Middleton Lodge Forest Spa Review

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