Our writer submits to a strict seven-day regime of fasting, abdominal massage, and lectures on nutrition when she checks into a retreat in the peaceful Surrey countryside

Plus: healthy holidays in Switzerland and Portugal

Two days after arriving at Grayshott, I am shaky and sobbing. I have been deprived of caffeine, sugar, refined carbs and calories. I've yomped across the South Downs at dawn, struggling to keep up with the fitness instructor striding ahead of me. I've sat through complex lectures on nutrition. My stomach has been poked and prodded until my internal organs feel jumbled up. But what tipped me over the edge was my own folly: trying also to work, to meet a hellish deadline, with haphazard Wi-Fi.

Grayshott (grayshottspa.com) is a long-respected, proper old-fashioned health farm set in a Victorian manor house in Surrey, just an hour's drive from London. The estate, which was briefly owned by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, has 47 acres of peaceful and extensive grounds, with the glorious National Trust-owned Hindhead Commons just outside the gates.

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