On the very edge of Stafforshire’s Peak District, within touching distance of the Roaches and Ramshaw Rocks, is the unimposing Three Horseshoes Country Inn. This may look like a standard country pub, but adjoined is a small spa with a rather unique range of relaxation options, including a cedar plunge pool and a Peak District Stonebath.
Along with my good blogging pal Katy, who covers a lot of Staffordshire content on her blog, Otis and Us, I attended a spa afternoon at the Three Horseshoes Country Inn on a dry February day to review for the ‘Parents Only‘ section of the Peak District Kids website. Well someone’s got to do it 😉.
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About Three Horseshoes Country Inn
The Three Horseshoes has been run by the Kirk family since 1981, and even though this pub is locally renowned for the great food, this place really goes beyond what you’d expect from a country pub. Here you’ll also find boutique accommodation (from pub rooms to luxurious four poster garden rooms with a hot tub) as well as the Mill Wheel Spa, which is open to non-residents.
The bar area is oozing with character and offers fun, old-style games alongside cocktails, whereas the spa area has modern touches such as an automated rock steamer in the steam room.
The spa day package
There are a range of spa packages detailed on their website. We booked in for an afternoon half day spa package, which included:
- 2 course lunch at 12pm in the Country Inn
- full use of the spa facilities from 1pm to 4:30pm
- luxury robe and fluffy towel (note that no flip flops are not provided)
- 25 minute choice of treatment (mini facial, neck and shoulder massage, full body exfoliation, or leg and foot massage)
Arriving to Three Horseshoes Country Inn
Living in Bakewell, I will never tire of the drive over towards Leek, especially as you approach the imposing boulders of Ramshaw Rocks. It’s one of the most stunning views in the Peak District, and as you turn into the ample car park behind the Three Horseshoes Country Inn, a full panoramic view of The Roaches comes into view.
Sadly, this is the only place where you can appreciate the view on this Peak District spa day at Three Horseshoes Country Inn, but more on that later.
We walked into the spa entrance to a friendly welcome at reception, and were directed to the bar area as we arrived a little early to enjoy a natter over a tea before our lunch. The tea isn’t included in the spa day package, but we very much recommend doing this as the bar area is so beautifully cosy.
Lunch at Three Horseshoes Country Inn
I’ve experienced quite a few meals that are included in ‘spa day packages’ across the UK, and in all honesty they tend to disappoint, either portion sizes are rather meagre, or the food quality just isn’t good.
However, I would go as far to say that the two-course lunch included in our Three Horseshoes spa package was perhaps one of the best I’ve experienced. The menu stays true to its country-pub routes, but is far from bland. Indeed, after posting about our day on my main @travelynnfamily Instagram account, many local followers messaged to comment how good the food is at Three Horseshoes.
Both Katy and I are vegetarian, and the menu options were very good compared to most pubs in and around the Peak District, which always seem rather meat-heavy. For starters, we selected the garlic mushrooms on toasted sour dough, and the grilled flat bread with hummus, both to share. For mains, Katy opted for the falafel burger, whereas I went for the veg lasagne.
Oh my, delicious! Good portion size, but didn’t leave us feeling heavy and sluggish for our session in the spa area.
I should also mention the very friendly and attentive service in both the bar and restaurant too. Please note that drinks are not included in the spa day package.
Mill Wheel Spa
The spa area is very small compared to, say, Shrigley Hall, which is another Peak District spa day that we recommend, and there is no swimming pool. But really, who wants to be swimming laps on a relaxing spa session with friends?
However, where the spa area perhaps lacks in size and a pool, it gains with quirky experiences.
Forming the focal point of the spa is the namesake, Mill Wheel, a large, wooden watermill that shovels alternating cold and warm water. Sat behind is the ‘cedar plunge pool’, where a 30 second cold dip will stimulate and refresh you. There are then various doors leading you to:
- The Farmers Sauna – replicating an Alpine cabin, this alternative, wood-panelled sauna enables you to breathe in the spicy goodness of the forest.
- The Peak District Stonebath – a steam bath experience set in a typical Peak District stone barn. Local mineral stones are heated in the oven and then dipped into a basin of cold water to omit all the valuable minerals along with the steam to fill the room.
- Rasul – a two-person spa experience involving mud being lathered over your skin whilst the room heats up over a 30 minute period. As the treatment nears its end, water will rain down onto you to wash away the mud, revealing fresh, revitalised, healthy skin. This is at an extra cost.
To the left of the Mill Wheel, a door leads into the ‘Relaxation Suite’, where loungers, armchairs, blankets and cushions welcome you to sit down with book or magazine.
Within the Relaxation Suite is the ‘Beach Hut’. This is an enclosed room that replicates a sunrise and sunset at a warm beach over 25 minutes with relaxing music and essential oils completing the ‘holiday’ experience. A perfect way to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to top up Vitamin D levels helping beat winter blues. This is also at an additional cost.
But our favourite area and where we spent most of our time, was in the hot tub of the spa garden. Admittedly, the water could have been a tad hotter to warrant being called a ‘hot’ tub, but it was comfortable enough and is the perfect place to catch up with a friend. You can even order teas or cocktails to drink in the hot tub.
As we visited during winter, all the outdoor furniture was covered and out of use.
However, a big shame is that the outdoor spa garden is very enclosed and doesn’t make any use of the sweeping views over to the Roaches. It would really elevate the spa experience if you could enjoy that view from the hot tub, similar to the hot tub views at Losehill Spa near Castleton.
Our spa package included a 25 minute spa treatment and you could choose from a mini facial, a neck and shoulder massage, a full body exfoliation, or a leg and foot massage.
I love a good massage, and so opted for the neck and shoulder massage. I often find massages in the UK on the weak side, so asked for a strong and firm massage when we first checked in at reception. I’m not sure the message got through.
Whilst it was relaxing, the massage was rather weak and didn’t seem to have any flow or logical process. Much of the time was spent parting my hair into separate sections, and I couldn’t help but think of a child playing with their mum’s hair. I was more expecting an Indian head massage, and would have preferred a much firmer back and shoulder massage.
Indeed, I should have probably said something during the massage, but I kept thinking that she was just warming up, until it was too late to say anything. All very English, I know.
If you do prefer a firmer massage, I suggest you say something right at the start of your treatment.
How to book a spa day at Three Horseshoes Country Inn
You can book direct, but we found a really good offer on buyagift.co.uk, so it’s worth checking on there.
Final thoughts on a spa day at Three Horseshoes Country Inn
A spa day at Three Horseshoes Country Inn is exceptional value. The food was great and the we enjoyed the intimate and quirky spa experience. Cocktails served to us while in the hot means extra bonus points are awarded.
The massage was rather lacking for me, and I really wish the spa garden allowed for views of the Roaches from the hot tub. But then again, our visit was all about old friends catching up, and for that, it was perfect.
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