Combine relaxation with intensive training at this West Sussex "Surf & Turf" health retreat

Martin Gaston

Want (or need) your relaxing hotel break to feature intensive workouts? This two-night "Surf & Turf" retreat at Bailiffscourt in Climping, West Sussex mixes tough fitness sessions with cosy crackling fireplaces, thirty acres of private parkland and a luxurious spa.

Where? The coastal Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa in Climping, West Sussex, a beautiful but amusingly faux-Tudor building constructed in the 1920s, complete with room names lifted from 16th century locations and buildings connected via not-so-secret underground passages.

It's a calm, welcoming space which somehow feels even more relaxing with a spring chill in the air, although you'll be wishing for warmer weather when up and out at the crack of dawn.

Working out: There’s an initial consultation with personal trainers Ross and Nathalie upon checking in, followed by nine different workout sessions over the weekend. The majority focus on high-intensity training, but there's dedicated sessions to recover with stretching and yoga. The best bits take place outdoors: flinging around ropes, flipping over tractor tyres and clambering up rocks, all stuff that’s both trendy right now and hard to do in overcrowded London gyms.

Rest assured, the workouts leave you aching the following morning. And before those sore muscles become the stuff of memory, guests are given personalised recommendations on how to further their fitness regime – I took home a programme complete with some much-needed recommendations on stretching, mobility and core training.

The food: We were encouraged to go hell for leather during the sessions and then tuck into glorious plates of hearty, locally sourced food: fresh salads, rich stews and classic full English breakfasts. The menu contains plenty of lighter options for those who want it, however I woke up famished both days (a good sign) even after the sheer volume of food eaten during the evenings before.

And After that? Head to the heated outdoor hot tub between workouts, or consider one of the hotel's excellent spa treatments for some extra indulgence. Sneak in some time (an extra day wouldn’t hurt) to scoff chips on a seaside stroll. It’s also worth packing in a trip to Arundel, a nearby market town with gorgeous tea shops, a picturesque castle and its own local brewery.

Need to know: Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa is a 15 minute taxi ride from Barnham, with hourly trains to London Victoria, albeit served by Southern Rail. Prices start from £645 and include a two night stay in a Superior room, a light spa lunch and three-course dinner on both days of the stay.

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