Kim Williams went along to discover the specialists’ secrets of detox, healthy eating, beauty and inner calm at East Lothian’s first health and well-being festival at Archerfield Walled Garden

As a nation, we have well and truly embraced the concept of ‘wellness’. We have wellness hotels, wellness retreats – and now wellness festivals. When I was asked to write about East Lothian’s first ever well-being festival at Archerfield Walled Garden, I was sceptical. After all, I’m just not a spa-type of girl. I don’t do “relaxing” – to spend hours relaxing in a spa feels decadent beyond belief. And another thing, all that new age spacey nonsense, it’s just not my cup of green tea – if I had chakras, I’d trust that they were in reasonable alignment and not waste my time attempting to re-jig them. In my humble opinion, life is also too short to spend time on therapies of dubious value, including colour therapy, visualisation, and the truly unappealing colonic therapy!

So it was with some trepidation that I set off (dragging my most health conscious friend along with me) to the Detox Health Beauty Day at Archerfield Walled Garden. A day which promised to enrich both body and soul. East Lothian’s first health and well-being festival is the result of a collaboration between Detox Health Beauty founder, Sheena Skinner and Archerfield Walled Garden. The festival boasts an impressive line-up of experts from the world of detox, health and beauty, including some of the country’s best skincare brands, plus the chance to sample super-healthy foods and revitalising fresh juices, and take part in invigorating yoga sessions or relaxing meditation. 

On arrival, feelings of trepidation quickly left. The day was glorious and the setting, simply stunning. Cute tee-pees decorated with flower garlands were dotted around the estate, delicious scents wafted from the vegan and vegetarian food zone and the super talented Funk Wagen set the sound track for the day. Think Ibiza meets East Lothian and you’ll get the idea.

After a quick caffeine pick-me-up (yes, you could get coffee!), we headed along to try one of the many exercise classes on offer. Sneaking in to the back of Nutritious Lolly’s core fitness class, we giggled our way through 30 minutes of exercise in the sunshine. This was just one of many fitness classes which ran throughout the day at the Fitness and Lulumon zones.

Next on our list was the Health Fair Zone. A market-stall affair set in the courtyard, featuring well-known names from the world of beauty. Brands such as Harvey Nichols, Lululemon, Neal’s Yard Remedies, and award-winning Edinburgh-based spa, salon and skincare specialists, Zen Lifestyle, sat alongside artisan producers and beauty experts, including local aromatherapy brand Beatitude and lifestyle brand Laura Thomas Co. 

After a spot of retail therapy it was time to sit in the sun, relax and tuck into a delicious vegan dish from Hendersons of Edinburgh.  We managed to resist one of the totally instagrammable and equally delicious-looking vegan cakes from Laurianne’s Raw Cakes.

Energy levels restored, we set off to the The Barefoot Talks Tent where you could hear motivational talks on every subject from nutrition to the menopause. Nutritionist and author Amanda Hamilton, Health and Peak Performance Coach Lyndy Stanway Marsh, The Cashmere Queen and Entrepreneurial Business Woman, Dr Belinda Robertson OBE and ‘green beauty’ specialist Louise Dartford were among the dozens of health, beauty and well-being experts taking part.

Wandering through the estate we came across the mindfulness workshops and treatments set down by the lake in the Retreat Zone. In such a beautiful setting, all earlier cynicism forgotten, it was easy to see why, as a nation, we have truly embraced the concept of wellness. Here you could visit a life coach, try the crystal healing beds, have reflexology or simply a facial.

Sheena explained “Today is all about helping visitors discover how to feel and look better. There are lots of fresh and exciting ideas for ensuring you look and feel better than ever. There’s something for everyone – whether you want to pick up something beautiful to wear, try out a new beauty treatment or discover how to achieve peace and that inner calm we all seek.

Well, it certainly worked for me. I went home feeling infinitely calmer and with a new found respect for wellness. I’ve even reconsidered the idea that relaxing in a spa is weird and self-indulgent! I’m with the nation and definitely a fan of wellness festivals.