How a Connection with Nature Can Benefit Your Mental Health

The wellness benefits of green space are well-known and, particularly throughout and following Covid-related lockdowns, more important for our health than ever. With stress being the number one reason for Brits missing work, taking a proactive approach to wellbeing and finding more ways to de-stress is essential.


A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that 45% of people in the UK visited green spaces to help them cope during extended social distancing measures. As measures are relaxed, the relationship many have to nature may have changed permanently as they seek to maintain the benefits they found during lockdowns.

Another study by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health found that it takes 120 minutes of time spent in nature for people to say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of wellbeing. Whether the change is psychological or physical, getting out into nature for at least two hours a week could cause a significant change in your mood and your approach to living healthily.

One of the wellness industry’s latest hot topics, forest bathing, follows a similar approach to wellness. Studies into the Japanese practice found that two hours of mindful exploration through a forest could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol and improve concentration. Researchers use the term “connectedness” when discussing your relationship with nature, relating to how you interpret that relationship and what you do to maintain it. 

The UK’s Most Tranquil Parks & Gardens

If you’re looking to improve your own connectedness with nature, exploring the UK’s many beautiful parks, gardens and estates can be a great way to start.

Whether it’s during the school holidays or simply to get away from the rush of modern life, many visit gardens and parks as an opportunity to slow down and find peace. With this in mind, UK Saunas has analysed TripAdvisor review data for properties owned by the National Trust to identify the most peaceful places to visit in the country.

The Top Ten: Mapped

Winkworth Arboretum, in Godalming, Surrey, claimed the top spot for the most tranquil National Trust estate in the UK. The Arboretum received 577 unique visitor reviews last year. Overall, there were 133 mentions of keywords “quiet”, “peaceful”, “tranquil” and “relaxing”. They were present in 23.5% of total reviews. Claremont Abbey ranked second, with the aforementioned keywords present in 21.16% of reviews. Rowallane Gardens, Sheffield Park and Fountains Abbey also ranked highly. 

Score Breakdown

Estate Quiet Peaceful Relaxing Tranquil Of Total Review
Winkworth Arboretum 35 47 22 29 23.05%
Claremont Garden 24 21 23 12 21.16%
Rowallane Garden 8 11 8 2 20.14%
Sheffield Park 37 66 41 33 14.41%
Fountains Abbey Estate 69 198 88 86 10.98%
Mottisfont 32 55 44 33 10.81%
Clumber Park 41 48 53 17 10.75%
Stourhead 56 93 82 42 10.55%
Nymans 21 41 42 13 9.69%
Cliveden 34 34 30 10 9.57%

Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Winkworth Arboretum is a National Trust owned estate in Goldaming, Surrey. Spread over 95 acres, the Arboretum is the perfect place for a relaxing walk. Winkworth Arboretum was founded by Dr Wilfrid Fox just prior to the beginning of the Second World War and is now home to a fascinating collection of over a thousand trees and shrubs. The Arboretum has been specifically designed to showcase the changing seasons. Visit during spring to see magnolias and bluebells in bloom. Struggling for inspiration for the Easter holidays? Winkworth Arboretum is offering a wealth of seasonal activities. The Easter Trail, which is great for younger children, runs between 2-18th April.

Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey

Nestled in the beautiful Surrey countryside, Claremont Landscape Garden is one of the oldest surviving gardens of its kind. Previously home to Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, Claremont Gardens was popular with both British and foreign royalty. Queen Victoria frequently visited Claremont as a child, eager to escape the monotony and isolation of life at Kensington Palace. The garden sprawls 49 acres and features a serpentine lake, turfed amphitheatre, belvedere tower and grotto. Later this year, Claremont is welcoming four outdoor theatre companies and has released an exciting entertainment programme. Visit this spring to see the camellias in bloom. 

Rowallane Garden, County Down 

 

Rowallane Garden, located in County Down, Northern Ireland, is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll or some quiet contemplation. It’s famous for its extensive collection of azaleas and rhododendrons and is home to the national collection of penstemons. The walled garden, originally used for the propagation of vegetables, is Francis Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” brought to life and features ornamental planting and a pond. There is also a woodland walk, wildlife meadow and rock garden. Visit between 15-24th April to discover Rowallane’s Easter Adventure Trail.  

Methodology

Using visitorship figures from 2020/2021, UK Saunas identified the 50 most popular National Trust properties and analysed TripAdvisor reviews for mentions of words relating to peace.

Words analysed:

  • Quiet
  • Peaceful
  • Relaxing
  • Tranquil

The results were then determined as a percentage of the overall reviews to find a proportional representation for each property.