health farm
I'm 26, I smoke 30 cigarettes a day, I take no formal exercise, I'm prone to stress and I'm told I enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. I need to relax, detox, cut down the fags, drink less and take regular exercise. But can a health farm do what reading the warning on a packet of cigarettes 200 times a week has yet failed to? Grayshott Hall Health Fitness Retreat in Surrey sets out to have a jolly good try. The second I arrived in this beautiful country setting I started to relax. Why? Because the atmosphere, facilities and staff are geared to nothing else.

Treatments include natural therapies, hydrotherapy, spa body treatments and skin care, along with cholesterol screening, an in-house GP and excellent sporting and fitness facilities. I began each of my three days at Grayshott with a relaxing sauna or steam treatment and a Swedish massage, both of which are included in the basic price (starting from pounds 400 for a four- night break), as are the excellently prepared, balanced and very tasty meals which will satisfy all but the total glutton. Those who are watching their weight, rather than just detoxing, are especially catered for.

As additional treatments, I chose cranial osteopathy (pounds 35, 45 minutes), an exceptionally gentle manipulation of the small bones in the head and neck and a very effective method for releasing body tension. A holistic massage (pounds 45 for one hour) felt rejuvenative, but it was the hypnotherapy to try and tackle the fags (pounds 85 for one hour, including a a psycho-visual therapy video) that worked wonders: I haven't smoked now for over 24 hours, which I consider to be a minor miracle.

Grayshott Hall, Surrey: 01428 604331. For details on other health farms, call Health Venues: 01203 690300.