The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday

‘Estates can be places for spiritual growth’

Badminton estate, Gloucester­shire Foraging, sound baths, festivals


For the well-heeled wellbeing warrior, there’s nothing like a cosy fireside flow in a room hung with the family oils followed by a wellie-wearing stroll to set the cheeks aglow, labrador in tow. Think Soho Farmhouse, but for a spiritual crowd.

At the 52,000-acre Badminton estate in Gloucester­shire, famed for horse trials and the invention of the eponymous shuttlecoc­k game, you will find Lady Bella Somerset and her friend Gaby Cecil hosting retreats in the dower house, featuring foraging, guided deer park runs, fireside philosophy, meditation, e-bike adventures, massages, cacao ceremonies and sound baths (visit @somercecil­experience­s on Instagram; prices from £495-£845). The estate also serves up seasonal vegetarian dishes with homegrown produce straight from its pesticide-free veg plot.

“There are three pillars to a retreat with us: movement, nature and connection,” says Somerset, who also runs treks in the UK and Nepal.

She is full of praise for other aristocrat­s who focus on connection and community. “Roger Tempest at Broughton Hall in Yorkshire and Edmund Colville at West Lexham in Norfolk are doing great things transformi­ng their estates into places for spiritual and personal growth,” she says. Other mindful aristocrat­s include seventh-generation stately homeowner Josh Dugdale at the Wasing Estate in Berkshire, a fan of breathwork and wild swimming.

If wellbeing is too woo-woo for you, there is plenty else at Badminton, including open garden days and private tours of the house, which can be hired for corporate events, parties and weddings: the estate’s church, St Michael and All Angels, is ideal for a traditiona­l service followed by a party in the Old Hall dining hall, which seats 60. The house was also a filming location for Bridgerton.

From August 20-21, the estate will host Tough Mudder South West, a 10-mile obstacle course, and on September 3, Firework Champions, combining pyrotechni­cs and aircraft displays.

 ?? ?? Home stretch: Lady Bella Somerset (in blue yoga pants) leads a yoga group at Badminton
Home stretch: Lady Bella Somerset (in blue yoga pants) leads a yoga group at Badminton

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