Set up way up back in 1986 by Eliana and Gerry Harvey, Middle Piccadilly was originally an innovative centre devoted to holistic health and healing. Now run by their eldest son Dominic with his wife Lisa, it's a well-established natural health retreat, and enjoys a fabulous location in the heart of Dorset. At its heart is a 17th-century thatched farmhouse, surrounded by outbuildings that have been stylishly converted into self-contained accommodation units. Described by someone recently as ‘a small place with a big heart’, it is as far away from the big country house spa experiences as it's possible to get – and you should be aware of that when you book, because it is more of a retreat than a luxury health spa, with just five guest bedrooms, decorated in a contemporary cottage style and stocked with organic bathroom products and cotton bed linen and thick fluffy towels. All in all the furniture and facilities are comfy rather than high-end, but you may feel that Middle Piccadilly is all the better for it – a welcoming, peaceful place with large grounds and lots of good walking opportunities, serving outstanding veggie food and providing an array of therapies delivered by experienced and sensitive practitioners that really hit the spot. Some of these are conducted in well-equipped treatment rooms while yoga and other communal pursuits take place in an amazing purpose-built circular structure in the grounds. There's a communal living area in a former barn and you eat in the homely farmhouse kitchen.
You can choose from three main of food options – vegetarian, cleansing/detox or raw food – to which you can add your own collection of treatments or select one of their ready-made packages. There's an emphasis on food being at the root of physical and mental wellbeing, and the meals cooked by chef and owner Dominic are at the centre of the Middle Piccadilly experience, with local fresh fruit and vegetables forming the basis of most dishes whichever option you have chosen (there is no full-on carnivore package in case you were wondering!). Above all, though, Middle Piccadilly is a retreat in the purest sense of the word: it's not about luxury, nor is it particularly about activities, but more about restoring balance to your life in a healing and supportive environment. If that's what you're looking for, it might just be the place for you.
Single and double rooms from £120 a night, which includes all meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two-night minimum stay.
Open all year.
Five guest bedrooms – one double, one double/twin-bedded, one double en-suite with freeview and wifi, two singles with wifi – and each room has a hairdryer and tea-making facilities.
Middle Piccadilly, Holwell Sherborne Dorset DT9 5LW
Sherbourne train station is just 4 miles away and it's easy enough to get a taxi from there (try Beaver Cabs on 01935 816620). By road Middle Piccadilly is situated about 11 miles from the A303.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 1 reviews