As a new TV programme explores Britain’s homeowners’ love affair with hot tubs, one fan explains why nothing beats coming home to her own outdoor bubble bath…
Once derided as ‘annoying’ by gardeners, the humble hot tub is experiencing a bubbling revival.
Now one in ten of us retreat to our own al fresco jacuzzi, come rain or shine, and a new TV show is about to discover just what it is about the lure of the steaming, outdoor tub.
Sally Dickerson was looking for a dream property to buy last year, and she had just one demand – it had to have a hot tub in the garden.
The 53-year-old management consultant from Northleach in the Cotswolds found a seven-bedroom castellated mansion in Angle, Pembrokeshire, that ticked the box and moved into the property last August.
Globe House, built as a hotel (allegedly to put up Queen Victoria) is now a luxury holiday let managed by FBM holidays, and is the biggest house in the seaside village.
“One of the first things I did when I bought it was get in the hot tub,” said Sally, who spends Christmas at the Victorian, listed property, so she can make the most of the bubbling hot tub on the terrace.
“There’s something about sitting in a hot tub, glass of champagne in hand,” she said.
“And it’s actually even more fun in the winter. It’s no surprise plenty of my friends ask to come and visit.”
Due to the demand by holiday makers, Sally’s property is regularly fully-booked, but she’s planning a huge family reunion of 22 there next month (September), that will centre around her favourite thing in the garden.
“It fits eight so we have to take it in turns, but it’s on for the whole weekend,” said Sally.
“All my cousins, their partners and kids will be here and they all love it.
“Once it’s on, it’s on, whatever the weather. It’s even more fun when it’s raining. You just have to make sure you keep the cover on when you’ve finished in there, and it’s then very cost effective.”
With the rise in sales of hot tubs in Britain (a survey* last year found one in 10 households boasted an outside spa), Sally agrees they’ve definitely had an image overhaul.
Last year, the hot tub was listed as one of the top 10 annoyances for readers of Gardener’s World magazine.
“I think the appeal is that it just feels so decadent and luxurious. It’s like taking the bath outside - the bathroom is where you do your chores – plus this has more bubbles.
“With my garden, the hot tub is in a secluded corner and means I spend time enjoying the garden, from the tub. I see it as a benefit, a luxury, not an annoyance. It’s not overlooked so I get peace and privacy.”
And Sally, who insists she hasn’t seen a significant rise in her water or electricity bills since using her hot tub regularly, is happiest when she manages to grab a few moments alone in it with her favourite classical music on the radio.
“The garden’s next to the kitchen, so I can hear the radio while I soak,” she said.
“I love it because the garden is secluded and the hot tub’s not overlooked so you get total peace and privacy.
“When my family aren’t here, I’ll come home after a walk to the beach and sit here, listening to the birds singing, taking in the hill views and wild flowers, and watching the wildlife.
“I use it every day I’m here – I love it. There’s nothing like a soak in the hot tub – that and a glass of fizz and I find you tend to have a very good night’s sleep.”
Hot Tub Britain is on ITV, September 9, produced by Shiver TV.
For more information on renting Globe House, visit http://www.fbmholidays.co.uk/cottage-details/K393
Photo: Sally’s friends Georgia Busby and Gillan Williams enjoy the hot tub at Globe.