Ragdale Hall The History

Ragdale is a beautiful idyllic rural hamlet nestling in the heart of the rolling Leicestershire countryside.  It was actually mentioned in the Doomsday book and was referred to as Ragendale which, literally interpreted means 'settlement in a crooked valley'. Over the centuries the village became known as Rakedale, but by the mid 1800's took on today's name of Ragdale.

During the medieval period the original Ragdale Hall passed into the hands of the Shirley family.  The Hall was their Elizabethan Hunting Lodge that was extended in the 17th century to accommodate the family's love of hunting hawks.  The original Hall was located further down the hill by the church within the village itself.

In 1785 a "New Hall" (the current one) was built by the Sixth Earl on an elevated position above the village.  The views from the house are breathtaking with visibility extending 30 miles on a clear day.  During the 1800's modifications were made which gave the Hall a castle like appearance with the addition of crenelations that were in vogue during Victorian times.  It was also surrounded by an ornamental water-filled moat, part of which still exists to this day.

For a period of fifty years at the start of the twentieth century Ragdale Hall, was owned by the Cantrell-Hubbersty family – this was it's golden age.  The family were very involved in fox hunting and Philip was Master of the Quorn Hunt for many years.  Having no children, Philip's widow sold Ragdale in 1955 and 1959 was the last year it was lived in as private residence.

The Hall then commenced its commercial life becoming a country club, night club and restaurant.  In 1973 it was purchased by Slimming Magazine who created Ragdale Hall Health Hydro.

Over the years, under various corporate owners, the Hall gradually enhanced its reputation as being one of the best-known health farms in the country.  The most significant development during this time was the addition of the first indoor swimming pool, built in 1985.

In June 1990 the present owners, Gary Nesbitt and Michael Isaacs, founders of Our Price Records, bought Ragdale Hall.  A complete programme of refurbishment of the entire premises took place to dramatically upgrade the décor.  In addition, the building of several major extensions enabled Ragdale to offer greater and more luxurious facilities and accommodation than ever before.

Since that time through an ongoing development programme considerable progress has been made in bringing Ragdale to the fore of the spa market.  The Hall can now boast some of the most up to date and innovative facilities with luxurious accommodation and surroundings set in a superbly relaxed atmosphere.

Unfortunately Gary Nesbitt sadly died in 2003 after a short battle with Leukaemia; ownership of the Hall now lies equally with his widow Penny and Michael Isaacs. Both Penny and Michael have an active involvement in the running of the Hall with an emphasis on achieving unparalleled standards of excellence in customer care.  With their inspiration together with a dedicated team who offer the highest degree of friendliness, professionalism and service, Ragdale Hall is now considered the premier health resort in the country.

In 2007 the new Thermal Spa was opened boasting two further pools and series of heat and water experiences.

With the addition of the Thermal Spa in 2007, Ragdale Hall was re-branded Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa after revisiting and re-evaluating our identity. Never had our 'Health Hydro' name been more appropriate – with spas opening all over the country, we feel that we are amongst the few emphasising the benefits of all round balance within our lives to achieve a healthy lifestyle – hence HEALTH.

In addition, we are now able to boast five pools (plus a host of water based features of the Thermal Spa), so HYDRO seems now even more appropriate!!

We also wanted to emphasise the size and stature of the new facility and hence 'Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa'.

We launched the Mind Gym in September 2007 which takes total well-being to a new level, and we believe it is the first of its kind anywhere. The use of an eclectically furnished room starts the journey through to exercises for the mind. Hand held computers, space age toys, a wide spectrum of physical puzzles and a library of books will test your logic, challenge your problem solving skills and so push your brain to greater efficiency.

A continual programme of refurbishment has seen most bedrooms be refurbished during the last few years, as well as most treatment rooms and many of the public areas. The ultra sumptuous relaxation area, The Pavilion opened in November 2012 shortly after a complete revamp of the Boutique.

In 2013 we saw the opening of The Beauty Express (a one stop area offering quick fix beauty treatments with instant results) and brand new Hair Studio and 2013 was also the Ruby anniversary year of the opening of Ragdale Hall.

In April 2014 we unveiled our newly refurbished Dining Room. On the request of our guests, we retained the traditional character, notably the oak panelling and chandeliers, however incorporated a few modern touches with new carpet, curtains, lighting and artwork. New service furniture, table linen and crockery provides a sense of luxury to enhance our guest's dining experience. Subtle shades of duck egg blue, pale green and claret have provided a fresh and sumptuous look.


In June 2015 Michael Isaacs and Penny Nesbitt celebrated twenty five years of ownership. Their love for this beautiful old country house is evident but with it, a deep respect for the many guests who return time after time and also warmth for the staff that make it so special for all who visit.

June 2015 marked 25 years since Michael Isaacs and the late Garry Nesbitt purchased Ragdale Hall. Many of our guests, members and staff have been with us since the beginning and enjoyed watching the Hall grow into the award winning health spa it is today,

In July 2015 we extended and redeveloped our Beauty Shop. The new shop has 60% more space and new roof lights make it light and airy and the sophisticated new look features soft metallic and champagne units. We now have an incredible selection of the UK's most desirable (and effective) skincare and makeup brands; all this coupled with the very best professional advice.

February 2016 saw the completion of a major project to refurbish and extend the existing Verandah Bar. The project also included relocation and improvements to the terrace area outside – perfect for alfresco dining in style.

The latest addition to Ragdale Hall's already impressive facilities opened in late 2017 - a sixth pool - the NEW Rooftop Infinity Pool with stunning views over the gardens and valley below. Along with it a beautiful lounge to relax in whilst soaking up the amazing vista.


In addtion, the exercise pool was reopened after a refurbishment with its daily programme of water exercise classes, Aquagym equipment and new colour changing LED light show.

To coincide with this significant development in the life of Ragdale Hall, we unveiled a new logo to give a new, more distinctive look to reflect the ongoing gentle evolution. Ragdale Hall really is - a dedicated spa like no other - with service and facilities like no other spa and all included whatever package you choose! 

For more information on the history of Ragdale Hall see our history book Ragdale Hall - The Life and Times of an English Country House available via mail order.

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