Jetting off to an exotic island somewhere with endless sandy beaches and sunsets you thought only possible in films certainly sounds romantic, but who says you have to travel far away to enjoy some quality time with your other half?
A Valentine's Day break may be off the table this year but if you're happy with celebrating your love later in the year, there's an array of romantic places in the UK you'll want to consider for a couples' escape.
The UK is filled with beautiful and romantic places to stay that rival the likes of Paris or Venice – and you won't face the typical flight price hikes for weekends or lengthy customs queues either.
Instead, think elegant countryside retreats, beautiful landscapes for scenic walks, and charming towns with cosy pubs, where you can curl up in the corner together by a crackling fire and gaze into one another’s eyes.
From catching a glimpse of a stunning sunset behind Edinburgh Castle to enjoying a leisurely punt along Cambridge’s waterways, or meandering around the honey-hued villages of the Cotswolds, we’ve rounded up the most romantic places in the UK for a future mini break.
It turns out that romance, really is, never very far away.
If nothing else, you’ll certainly fall in love with the town of Bath itself. One of the most romantic places in the UK, the healing properties of the hot springs here are famous throughout Europe, and its golden-coloured buildings bring a touch of 18th-century glamour to everything that takes place here. The spectacular Roman Baths, first built in 1894, still stand – largely unchanged – at the centre of the town, and impress all those who visit even centuries later.
Best of all for couples, it's still possible to partake in much of the same rituals as these ancient bathers. After touring the Roman Baths and its ancient pump house, head to the modern equivalent, the Thermae Bath Spa. Located just around the corner, it invites you to dip your toes (read: your entire body) in these same warm waters, whether in the facility's impressive rooftop pool — great at sunset — or in one of its two thermal baths.
Where to stay: Nestled regally in the middle of Bath’s prestigious royal circle, beaming down across open parkland and the rest of the city, The Royal Crescent & Spa hotel is truly a gem in the crown of romantic places to stay. Expect regal lounges, stone spiral staircases and an enchanting spa tucked away on the other side of the garden.
The Scottish capital is a honeypot for honeymooners and those looking for a fairy tale backdrop to their love story. Traverse the cobbled streets of the old town, hike up to Arthur's Seat for unrivalled views of the city, or step back in time at Edinburgh Castle, which towers over the parkland below.
And if food is the language of love then Edinburgh is fluent in this too, offering an impressive gourmet scene, from restaurants serving up traditional Scottish dishes to modern dining options and candlelit bistros tucked down twisting alleys.
Where to stay: The Witchery by the Castle offers a range of opulent suites in Edinburgh, each one unique with its own special features.
Lavishly furnished suites display gothic touches, with large oak beds and 4-posters, velvet-lined walls and flamboyant red and gold décor indicative of the style. There are separate seating areas and large bathrooms with free-standing silver baths
This small tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey is the final resting place of the Welsh patron saint of lovers (St. Dwynwen) and so it only felt right to include it in our list of the most romantic places to stay in the UK.
Unsurprisingly, you won’t be the first couple to make the trek here as the almost-island, with its rolling sand dunes, picturesque picnic spots and breathtaking rock formations, is the perfect backdrop to a romantic break. The mainland offers a wealth of romantic accommodation too, from chateaux to snug cottages.
Where to stay: Located in Holyhead in the Gwynedd region, Llanddwyn Penthouse Holiday Apartment, with its three bedrooms, boasts sea views, a balcony and ample indoor space. The beachfront property is the perfect, private base from which to explore Llanddwyn Island the surrounding areas.
Cambridge’s canals lend themselves to romance, whether you want to recite Keats to your loved one as you slowly punt up the waterways or hire someone else to do the work for you as you take in the views from the River Cam.
Steeped in history, the breathtaking colleges that flank the waters add an elegant atmosphere to proceedings, though – as a student hub – the bars and restaurants of the town are never too far away.
Where to stay: University Arms offers 192 rooms and suites, with views over Parker’s Piece, historic Regent Street, and the hotel’s inner courtyard. Conveniently situated in the Cambridge City Centre district, this hotel is situated 350 yards from Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
The Lake District is undoubtably one of the most romantic places in the UK and attracts couples after some alone time in nature, time and time again. In the heart of Cumbria, the area is renowned for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains historic market towns.
Keen walkers won’t know where to look – into the eyes of their loved one or out across the dramatic landscape.
Where to stay: Set in a row of 17th-century fishermen's cottages on the banks of Lake Windermere, the relaxed Wateredge Inn is just 11 minutes' walk from the town centre and four miles from Wray Castle.
Packed with beautiful buildings and landmarks such as York Minster, the walled city of York was built by the ancient romans but is a worthy host for any modern love story too. In this romantic UK spot, you can join a guided tour to really immerse yourself in the culture, or – if you’re brave enough – take part in one of the quirky ghost walks to see a different side of the streets here.
For a more traditionally romantic evening though, head to one of the bustling bars or cosy, candlelit restaurants, and enjoy the friendly service that York is known for.
Where to stay: The luxurious Grand Hotel offers stylish rooms and a vaulted spa. Set in the iconic Grade II listed former railway headquarters, its Rise Restaurant, Terrace & Bar serves up modern British dishes, with locally sourced, freshly prepared dishes. The open kitchen and spacious setting at The Rise, York creates an immersive and social dining experience.
Norwich is a modern cultural hub set within the medieval streets of Norfolk. Here, visitors can marvel at the Romanesque Norwich Cathedral and soak up the history and culture of the independent theatres and museums.
Nineteenth century author George Borrow named Norwich a “fine city” and it’s easy to see why as you meander around the town centre in this utterly romantic place in the UK. We recommend paying a visit to the Planation Garden, a three-acre, Grade II English Heritage registered garden established over 100 years ago in an abandoned chalk quarry, and, in the evening, curl up beside the fire of a cosy city pub.
Where to stay: Sprowston Manor Hotel, Golf & Country Club is set in a 16th-century manor house offers its guests elegant accommodation, an 18-hole golf course, peaceful spa and a fitness centre with an indoor pool.
Wales as a country boasts ample opportunities for couples looking for romantic places to stay in the UK, but the Brecon Beacons in particular – with their dramatic landscapes and cosy, country inns – are a must visit.
Take some time out together on the Four Falls hike which takes you on a trail between the park’s most scenic waterfalls, or wrap up warm and head out for a magical night of stargazing, a rare opportunity in the UK due to light pollution.
Where to stay: The Swan at Hay is one of the best-known hotels in the Brecon Beacons and the accommodation of choice for authors, actors and comedians who come to Hay during the Hay Festival. It has just a handful of rooms and serves up classic British cuisine in the restaurant.
If it was enough to inspire Shakespeare to pen some of the world’s best-known love stories, then Stratford-upon-Avon is certainly enough to have you appreciating your own partner all over again in no time.
And it isn’t hard to see how the Bard managed to channel such romance as you stroll the quaint streets of this medieval market town in Warwickshire.
Where to stay: The 18th-century red-brick townhouse of Hotel Du Vin Stratford hides modern amenities behind its historic exterior. There’s a chic lounge to unwind in, an alfresco seating area and sleek bedrooms, together with a straightforward bistro and a relaxed atmosphere.
The capital of England makes for a romantic place in the UK anytime of the year. Visit during the summer to take advantage of its sprawling parks, alfresco dining opportunities and scenic walks along the river Thames.
While in winter, romantic Christmas markets, ice rinks and myriad of twinkling lights will welcome you into the folds of this magical city in no time.
Where to stay: The boutique Egerton House Hotel, sits behind two regal red brick Victorian townhouses, waiting to enfold you into the family feel on off here. Grab one of their renowned martinis and find an intimate spot in the lounge for an evening of board games and laid-back chat.
Dubbed ‘the most beautiful village in England,’ Bibury – just a short drive from Cirencester – is one of England’s most picturesque chocolate box areas and a romantic place in the UK for a mini-break. From the iconic 14th century houses of Arlington Row (which once appeared on the inside of British passports) to picture-perfect trails along the River Coln, the tiny village is nothing short of enchanting.
Whether you visit in the summer or the winter, romance abounds within this honey-hued area of the UK and you’d be hard-pressed not to immediately fall in love. Head to the Swan for a roaring fire, oversized roast and a cosy countryside atmosphere.
Where to stay: The Swan Hotel, its biscuit-coloured stone covered by vines, is one of the most iconic buildings in the village, and provides a perfect base for exploring the wider Cotswolds with Cirencester, Burford and other charming towns nearby.
Even in the rain, Oxford manages to retain a golden glow, which reverberates off its medieval architecture. Dubbed the 'City of Dreaming Spires' by poet Matthew Arnold, the 38 colleges that make up the prestigious university give the town a gothic, glamorous feel.
Visitors here can explore picturesque gardens, browse authentic wares at the historic Covered Market and marvel at the views from the top of the Carfax Tower.
Where to stay: A former prison up until 1996, the Malmaison Oxford could not feel further from its roots now. Original cell doors and window bars still offer guests a flavour of what the building used to be like, but these stark reminders are coupled with sumptuously-painted guestrooms with velvet-clad headboards and a unique central lounge and dining space.
Loch Lomond is nothing short of magical, and so lands a well-earned place as one of the UK’s most romantic places to stay. The Trossachs National Park in which it sits is Scotland’s first national park, spanning from the Southern Highlands to the Scottish western coast and offers visitors who travel the distance, a window into a fairy tale.
From scenic hikes to enchanting villages and more opportunities for a waterside tipple than you can shake a short stick at, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in another world entirely.
Where to stay: The Lodge On Loch Lomond Hotel, sitting – unsurprisingly - right on the banks of Loch Lomond, provides a perfect base for the restorative waters of the loch and its mountainous backdrop. And, on your return, the hearty cuisine at Colquhoun's waterfront restaurant, using local seafood, will offer a further taste of what is on offer here.
Artists famously adore St Ives for its special quality of light, which also helps to make it one of the most romantic places in the UK. The Cornish town has an impressive arts scene, with a coastal Tate gallery that showcases British artists, and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Culture aside, it’s an excellent place to learn how to surf – popular beaches include Porthmeor. Or set off by boat to see the seal colony that inhabits Seal Island. The harbour is another highlight, as are the cobblestoned streets, cute shops and charming tea rooms.
Where to stay: At Trevose Harbour House, works by the town’s many resident artists adorn the walls. The nautical decor is a perfect fit for the boutique hotel’s St Ives setting, with lots of blue and white, as well as paisley prints and mid-century furnishings. The homely hotel has a snug with a fireplace and a terrace for alfresco aperitivi if the weather permits.
The Scottish Highlands have fans all over the world, with people making regular pilgrimages to see their famously dramatic scenery. Loch Ness of course draws much of the attention, but even without a mythical prehistoric creature lurking in its waters (or not), the Highlands are a truly romantic place to visit.
As well as the highest peak in the United Kingdom, Ben Nevis, the region is home to many more mountains, including some that you can ski down in the Cairngorms National Park. The NC500 is another star attraction, along with charming towns and ancient castles. The country’s northernmost town, John O’Groats, and the wide open skies and empty beaches of Caithness are two more romantic destinations.
Where to stay: If you’re planning on a romantic road trip as part of your trip to the Scottish Highlands, Newhall Mains is located conveniently close to the start of the route. The farm spans a vast 900 acres, near the Black Isle peninsula, with repurposed farm buildings now forming the accommodation.
There are lots of rugged and romantic places in Devon, but Bigbury-on-Sea is seriously special: this South Devon village, near Kingsbridge, is in an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The beautiful beach has rock pools to explore and there are plenty of watersports to try, including surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. Overlooking the beach is Burgh Island, accessible on foot or by Defender at low tide, when the causeway is revealed.
Where to stay: For a truly special hotel experience, Burgh Island offers something unforgettable. The art deco retreat is straight out of an Agatha Christie novel – and the writer herself once visited the hotel, as did Winston Churchill. It’s adrift at certain times of the day, depending on the tide – when it’s in, you can reach the hotel by sea tractor. The glamorous stay has the air of an ocean liner, with live pianists and black-tie parties in the ballroom.
Wales’ Coastal Way spans 180 miles from Aberdaron to St Davids, running the entire length of Cardigan Bay (Ceredigion in Welsh) at the edge of the Irish Sea.
Visitors can kayak beneath towering cliffs, surf at Whitesands Bay and stroll sections of the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast Path. And if you fancy a trip to Britain’s smallest city, St Davids is a 90-minute drive south-west of Aberaeron.
Where to stay: One of the main landmarks along the town’s Georgian harbour (thanks to its bright cobalt-blue façade), Harbourmaster Hotel was built for Aberaeron’s harbourmaster back in 1811 to serve as his home and office. Since the early Noughties, it’s been the best boutique hotel around, with an excellent restaurant where you can enjoy the finest Welsh produce.
Isle of Skye
Much like its Highlands, Scotland’s islands are also some of the most romantic parts of the UK. Even Skye’s name has a romance to it. The isle, which is connected to the north-west coast of Scotland by bridge, is part of the Inner Hebrides. It’s home to quaint fishing villages, medieval castles, freshwater lochs, mountains and beautiful peninsulas.
Swim in the isle’s fairy pools, set sail in search of white-tailed eagles or visit the ancestral seat of Clan Macleod: Dunvegan Castle, which is Scotland’s longest continuously inhabited castle. In the capital Portree, you’ll find pubs to warm up in and shops along the harbour.
Where to stay: For romantic seclusion, check in to Kinloch Lodge, isolated in the hills of Skye. It was a family home for centuries and they’ve shared it with guests for 50 years now. You can expect cosy fires, delicious local food and, of course, some authentic Highland hospitality.
Officially part of the British Isles but closer to France, Jersey is the far-flung romantic destination for Anglo- and Francophiles, since the Channel Islands are a perfect mix of the two cultures.
In Jersey, highlights include cliff-top trails, historic castles and beautiful beaches. The island is just under 120 square kilometres, with coves, cycle lanes and pedestrian paths, and incredible local produce, especially lobsters and oysters, not to mention its famous potatoes and dairy.
Where to stay: The family-owned Atlantic is on Jersey’s west coast, with amazing views of the golden sands of St Ouen’s Bay. You’ll be able to admire the headland from the pool. The stand-out restaurant serves produce sourced from the bay just below the hotel.
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