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Eight romantic breaks UK

Eight romantic breaks UK

We’re blessed with many options for romantic breaks UK, they’re not just confined to smart country house hotels. Our cities offer some of the best experiences and romantic weekend breaks. Read on for highlights and things to do 😍

Romantic breaks UK – 8 of our favourites

York

Historic York has more than a little magic. Once the English locus of Viking power, this riverside city still boasts many Viking treasures. Most of the city centre is pleasantly pedestrianised, so you can while away the day wandering the narrow, cobbled ways of York’s Tudor heart, the Shambles.

Today, the Shambles and the neighbouring streets are full of boutiques, souvenir shops and cafes. Meander along them from the impressive York Minster, via the Chocolate Museum to the Jorvik Centre. Find your bearings with a climb to the top of Clifford’s Tower, at the city centre’s southern edge. From here you can see York Castle museum, definitely worth a visit if you are a history buff, and the winding River Ouse.

Amble back up the riverbank through town to dine riverside at The Star Inn the City.  Set in the gardens of St Mary’s Abbey and the Yorkshire Museum, this brasserie is a restaurant with the most romantic view in York.

Ideas on where to stay:

To stay at a city centre location, follow in the footsteps of Kings and stay at the beautiful Grays Court Hotel, just a short step from the Minster. The Judges Lodging is another central option with a historic vibe. If you’re staying in the centre, Roots restaurant on the other side of St Mary’s gardens is a great choice for a Sunday lunch feast of sharing dishes. Follow this with a romantic river cruise before heading home.

If you’d prefer to see a little of the Yorkshire countryside, Aldwark Manor is just a short drive from York. Choose an elegant room in the historic manor house, then roll out of bed on the Sunday morning and amble across the hotel grounds to the local country pub. The Ardwark Arms serves up some of the best Yorkshire puddings in God’s own county.

For a post-prandial amble, you can stretch your legs in the grounds of Castle Howard or Fountains Abbey before the drive home.

romantic destinations in UK - try York

 

Bath

Beautiful Bath’s Georgian elegance can’t help but add a little romance to your weekend.

Start Saturday with a wander around the city. You can pick up a self-guided walking tour by the breath-taking Pulteney Bridge, one of only four bridges in the world to have shops on both sides across its span. From here, an easy stroll will take you past the city’s other landmarks: the Norman spires of the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and the city’s most famous landmark, its Roman Baths. Stop for lunch in the Bath’s pump room restaurant or kitchen, then continue your walk to take in Gravel Walk, the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

For the ultimate romantic experience, book yourselves the twilight package at the Bath Thermae Spa, where you can enjoy a blissful view across the city rooftops while you relax in the healing waters.

Ideas on where to stay:

From there, you’ll want to retire to your hotel for a little R&R. The Abbey Hotel enjoys a fantastic central location. Plus, you can simply roll downstairs to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails at the ArtBar, followed by dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants, Koffman and Mr Whites – all without leaving your hotel. After a lazy Sunday breakfast, head out of the city to the National Trust’s Prior Park Landscape Garden where you can blow away the cobwebs with wander around these beautiful, historic parkland.

If you prefer a country location, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa is just a short hop from Bath. Here, you can indulge in an award-winning spa and wellness centre, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant and beautiful grounds across the sprawling 500-acre estate – perfect for a lazy Sunday of relaxation before heading home.

Bath is the ultimate romantic break destination in England

 

Brighton

It’s hard to think of a more eclectic seaside resort than Brighton. It has everything you could ask for in a romantic weekend away. In addition to the seaside location, you can choose from cool cocktail bars, great restaurants, cosy pubs, fantastic clubs and the odd left-field option, such as the arcades and casino at Pier 9 or the brewery tour at Unbarred.

 

Begin your Saturday meandering by the cafes and boutiques that cluster along Brighton’s Lanes. Here, you can treat yourself to one-off gifts, antiques or handmade jewellery.  Enticing lunch stops abound along these narrow alleyways but dead wax social is a fab option for wood-fired pizza and craft beer. Why not wander back along the seafront for a stroll along Brighton Pier before spending the afternoon touring one of Brighton’s most outré landmarks, the Regency era Royal Pavilion, the seaside pleasure palace of King George IV.

For a seaside pleasure palace of your own, check in to the Artist Residence hotel; ask for a room with a free-standing bath and sea view. Then head back to the seafront for dinner at Brighton’s best seafood restaurant, the Salt Room (the view’s not bad either).

On Sunday, if the seafront is still calling to you, you can head to a Brighton institution, the Red Roaster café where you can enjoy the view, the ambience and a lazy brunch.

Brighton is great for a romantic break away

 

Whitstable

Whitstable enjoys a very different pace to Brighton but very much fits into the ‘romantic breaks UK’ category. This is an old-fashioned fishing village turned seaside resort on Kent’s north coast. It’s most famous for its oyster beds, so you have every excuse to indulge in this traditional aphrodisiac!

Head to the seafront and harbour to take your fill of bracing sea air. The little high street is worth a wander too; you can browse the galleries and craft shops. The Whitstable Oyster Company is located in an old oyster shed in the middle of town, so it’s an ideal lunch stop. As well as the fresh seafood, you can enjoy the view to the beach.

Later, you can spend the afternoon wandering around the gardens of the eighteenth-century Whitstable castle, just a short walk away.

 

Accommodation options are limited, but one is a deluxe sea-view room at the Hotel Continental on the seafront. This hotel also operates some of the old fishman huts by the seashore; their sea views add a little extra romance to the proposition.

It’s just a short stumble from there to the Whitstable Oyster shack on the harbour’s east quay. Hopefully, you haven’t had your fill of seafood, because the location is really wonderful.

If you are staying at the fisherman’s huts, you’ll want to head back into town for Sunday brunch at the Farm and Harper or, further afield, at JoJo’s meze restaurant. If you have time to spare on the Sunday, why not rent a bike in town?  From here you can cycle the Crab and Winkle Way; a pleasingly short six-mile ride through the Kentish countryside to Canterbury.

Whitstable is a gorgeous fishing village and very romantic for a break away in the UK

 

Lake District

There’s a reason the Lake District was such an inspiration to the Romantic poets. Its shimmering lakes and lofty hills will bring a song to even the most frozen of hearts. It’s one of the best spots for a romantic UK break away.

People come here to walk, mainly, and there are plenty of activities of the outdoor adventure kind on offer throughout the national park. But there are also plenty of more sedate options around the tourist hot spots of Windemere and Grasmere or the busy town of Keswick.

Book a suite at the Brimstone hotel in Langdale and you may never want to leave its luxurious rooms and spa. There are a myriad of walks on your doorstep; a slow meander up Langdale will take you to the National Trust Sticklebarn pub for lunch. Or follow the rise over to Grasmere where you can visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, take a row boat out on the water and try some of the town’s famous gingerbread.

Another fabulous option is the Lodore Falls hotel on the banks of Derwentwater.  Book a spa suite for full access to the hotel’s Falls spa and the mesmerising views across the lake. From here, you can take your pick of the walks through the Borrowdale valley. The Langstrath Arms in nearby Stonethwaite is a traditional country pub within walking distance. Or the hotel can arrange paddle-boarding out on the water.

On Sunday, stop in at Windemere on the way home for a walk around the shops (mostly outdoor clothing brands), a trip on the paddle steamer or a stroll around the grounds of Wray castle.

Windermere and the Lakes District - perfect options for romantic breaks UK

 

Edinburgh

It’s not hard to fall in love with the hardy but graceful Scottish capital. Edinburgh has historic sites galore and a thriving food scene, so it’s perfect as one of your romantic breaks UK options.

If you’re new to the city, you’ll want to start with a stroll down Princes Street Gardens from the Scott Monument. This Victorian gothic edifice celebrating the writer Sir Walter Scott is a great place to start; climb its winding internal staircase for striking views over the city, including down Princes Street to St Johns church. Art lovers can take a detour to the Scottish National Gallery, which houses one of the best collections of art in the world. Then stop for some lunch along colourful Victoria Street or the Grassmarket, before heading up to check out the view from the castle.

Back down the hill, you can check into the ‘unmitigated pleasure palace’ that is the Witchery, which claims to be Edinburgh’s most romantic bolt-hole. Close by, the suites at Old Town Chambers luxury serviced apartments are equally well-appointed, minus the gothic drama. Stay at either location and, on Sunday morning, you can take a wander over to Dean Village and Stockbridge. Stockbridge is choc-full of independent cafes and places for brunch, plus on Sunday mornings it hosts a local market, making it ideal for a romantic Sunday morning stroll.

Edinburgh in Scotland is endlessly romantic for a break away

 

Cardiff

The capital of Wales is a dreamy destination to add to your romantic breaks UK hit-list. The centre of Cardiff is immensely walkable, so you can treat yourself to a shopping marathon (don’t miss browsing the stalls at the Victorian central market) or simply take in the sights. Make time to explore the splendid castle; even if you aren’t wowed by history, the view from the ramparts is worth the visit. If you have time, follow the Bute Park sculpture trail in what was once the castle grounds.

Later, wander across town to the marina and Norwegian church. Close by, the St David’s Bay hotel on the waterfront is a great choice, especially if you can squeeze in a few hours to laze in its spa or splurge on a few treatments. It’s also ideally placed if you have tickets to an event at the Millennium Centre. The view from the pool across the sparkling waters of Cardiff Bay adds to the appeal.

If you prefer something a little more intimate, head out of town to Holm House in Penarth. It sits on a bluff overlooking the bay, and you can wander down in the evening to enjoy dinner at  the Michelin-starred Restaurant James Sommerin, Cardiff’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.

If you are staying in Penarth, wandering down to the seafront can occupy some of your Sunday morning too. Or, if you have time, head up towards the valleys and explore the atmospheric Castell Coch followed by Sunday lunch at a traditional country pub like the Pantmawr Inn.

Cardiff is a cool city and perfect for a romantic break

 

London city break

Any romantic breaks UK list will include London, because it’s spectacular! The best way to appreciate London as a romantic weekend destination is to accept you can’t do everything; decide what you want to do and work from there.

If you want to take in a theatre show, pick a boutique hotel like Batty Langley‘s near Liverpool Street.

 

You can spend Saturday wandering around Soho or shopping on Oxford Street, then meander around Covent Garden on the Sunday.

Alternatively, if you fancy seeing some of the main tourist sights, a hotel such as St Ermins or the Shangri La at the Shard might be a better choice. From here, you can walk up the riverside from the London Eye up to the Tower of London. Make a day of it by stopping off at a variety of cafes and bars en route. Cross Tower Bridge to take a tour of the tower and then you can catch the Thames Clipper back to your starting point.

Next morning, the walk from Buckingham Palace  to Horseguards Parade and the Houses of Parliament is a relaxing way to start your Sunday. It includes a romantic meander through St James Park. Then head for lunch at Borough Market before heading home.

there's so much to do in London - it's a perfect break with plenty of romance

 

Each of these cities has something truly special and unique to offer. Whichever you choose for your romantic breaks UK destinations, you can create a wonderfully romantic itinerary for a weekend away that creates memories you’ll both treasure forever.

 

Northampton train station and destination guide (England)

Northampton train station and destination guide (England)

The Northampton train station serves London in just over an hour and Birmingham in just under. This is a town most people will have passed through at some point.

We were in Northampton for our first long stay house/pet sit, with Luna the beautiful Shepherd 🐶 The closest we’d been previously (and on the same train line) is Rugby, birthplace of the game of the same name.

There is so much to see and do in this cute market town. Next time you’re on the west coast mainline get off at Northampton train station and see for yourself.

 

Luna our Trusted Housesitter dog in Northampton

 

Northampton train station and destination guide

As the county town of Northamptonshire, Northampton is steeped in history, with archaeological evidence dating back as far as the bronze age.

It wasn’t until thousands of years later that the town grew in national importance, following the building of Northampton Castle in 1084.

It went on to become one of the most famous Norman castles in England, an occasional royal residence and regular host of parliament.

 

Northampton train station and destination guide (England)

 

Unfortunately, there’s not much left to see. Charles II ordered the destruction of the town walls and most of the castle in 1662 after the town supported the roundheads in the English Civil War.

 

Northampton train station and destination city guide (England)

The rest of the castle was flattened to make way for the train line. The Poster Gate only remains visible today. It was dismantled from its original position and rebuilt into the walls of Northampton railway station.

 

 

The town was hit by more destruction in 1675 with the Great Fire of Northampton. This fire destroyed an estimated 600 buildings. Although, Welsh House on Market Square and Hazelrigg House both survived. They are now Grade II listed buildings worth a visit.

 

Northampton train station and destination guide (England) - Abington Park

 

Where to visit in Northampton

Abington Park was just up the road from where we were staying on our house sit, and it’s beautiful!

The park was built on the site of a medieval manor house and mill which was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s Northampton’s oldest and most popular park. Some of the ruins are really interesting, reminiscent of what you can find in York.

The park features two lakes, a model boating lake and the church of St Peter and St Paul. It’s home to Abington Park Museum, which is housed in Abington Park Manor House.

It won’t come as any surprise to hear that the town is home to a museum of Leathercraft, also based in the house.

 

Northampton destination guide (England)

 

What’s with all the shoes?

Northampton has long been a major centre for footwear and leather manufacturing. By the end of the 18th century, a third of all adult males in the town were making shoes. It also supplied the British army with more than 23 million pairs of boots for World War I.

Barkers, Churches and Trickers are three of the most famous names to come out of the town. Although Churches, which was founded in 1873, is no longer a family run business after it was bought by Prada in 1999.

Trickers might be the least known name on the list, despite having a royal warrant. That’s because 80% of their sales come from overseas.

All three brands still have factories and factory shops in the town today.

This area was also famously the location for 2005’s Kinky Boots which was later turned into a popular Broadway production.

 

Northampton - filming for Kinky Boots and a history of shoemaking

 

From shoes to shopping (for more shoes?)

Shopping is another reason to visit the market town. There are three shopping centres, including the Grosvenor Centre, Weston Favell and Market Walk shopping centre, which are home to all the high street favourites.

We also discovered some excellent vintage and second hand stores. A highlight is Vintage Guru spread across two floors and boasting many locally handmade gifts.

This is all as well as the widely acclaimed market, which has taken place in its present location since 1235!

So, if it’s history, some bargain leather or a sporting event, with both Northampton Town football club and Northampton Saints Rugby based just outside the town centre, there are plenty of reasons to visit.

 

Onwards on our house sitting journey: we went from here, a town all about shoes, to house sitting in an Irish town that’s all about hosiery. Find out more

 

Days out in Oxfordshire England: 4 beautiful places to visit

Days out in Oxfordshire England: 4 beautiful places to visit

With so many beautiful sites to visit, days out in Oxfordshire are becoming increasingly popular with all sorts of visitors. Around 41.7 million tourists are estimated to have visited the UK in 2018. Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the aesthetics of Oxfordshire. Many want to see the architecture in the historic university buildings. After spotting famous landmarks, they’ll seek a picturesque picnic spot overlooking the Thames for a relaxing afternoon out.

We’ve published details on London staycations before. But what about getting just out of the big city? Here are four of the best destinations for enjoying days out in Oxfordshire…

Where to go on days out in Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock

Built between 1705 and 1722, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock is the only non-royal house in England to be called a ‘palace’. Blenheim is an imposing building, certainly worthy of its title. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Blenheim is now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family. It’s best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Several tours and exhibitions dedicated to the home life and work of the former Prime Minister are hosted here.

The palace staterooms, gardens, butterfly house and miniature railway provide further fun for all ages. Special events like cycling and supercar exhibitions are also held throughout the year within the estate’s 2,000 acres of parkland.

If you’re interested in England’s stately houses, you might also like to visit the home of Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle. Or, take a peek inside a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle near Banbury is a fortified manor house set within an idyllic parkland location. The core of this impressive building was initially crafted from locally sourced Horton ironstone in 1306 with additions being made in the 1550s.

Inside the castle, you will find fully furnished living quarters in addition to the impressive great hall.

Outside, the colourful castle gardens have been stylistically designed with benches conveniently placed for relaxation.

Located at the junction of three streams and with a surrounding moat, the stunning grounds of Broughton Castle make an ideal spot for a family picnic. Alternatively, take advantage of the on-site tearoom and gift shop.

Days out in Oxfordshire England: Oxford

Oxford

A summary of beautiful locations wouldn’t be complete without featuring the city of Oxford itself.

Famed for its ornate university buildings, the colleges here provide an architectural feast for the eyes.

Christchurch is arguably the most popular college to visit. This castle-like building comes with its own cathedral and has featured on-screen in films such as Harry Potter.

The striking red brickwork of Lady Margaret College is another draw for visitors, along with the neo-classical style Radcliffe Camera building.

Once you’ve taken in the grandeur, why not finish your day out in Oxford by punting along the Thames?

Henley-on-Thames

Famed for its annual Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames is an otherwise quaint riverside town.

Overlooked by the woodland of the Chiltern Hills, the streets of Henley are home to a number of independent shops including chocolatiers and quirky boutiques.

Head down to the river and view the 18th century stone bridge or enjoy the view over a refreshing drink at The Angel on the Bridge pub.

 

Questions, suggestions or comments? Let us know below. 

 



 

From London to the beach at Whitstable

From London to the beach at Whitstable

If the sun comes out we want for nothing more than to head to the seaside, and the beach at Whitstable is absolutely accessible by train from London to Whitstable for a day trip or weekend.

Whitstable is a quaint seaside destination in Kent. The train London to Whitstable is just over an hour’s ride from St Pancras (at Kings Cross).

Escape to the beach at Whitstable

A Whitstable day trip on the train from London means you can enjoy quirky shopping, seafood aplenty, oysters, oysters, oysters… and best of all, there are dogs everywhere!

Kent is a beautiful and accessible destination from London.

We love it because it’s easy to get to the beach in around an hour; the scenery, energy and vibe of similar beach-side destinations like Broadstairs and Botany Bay means that just one day away from the big city energises you! Well worth the time.

For those seeking swimming opportunities, do your research – the beach at Whitstable is great for paddling and water sports, as well as people watching and lounging about.

It’s not the sandiest of beaches, from what we saw, but it has the best of any seaside experience.

Beat the crowds on your Kent beach day trip

Our major travel tip is be to go early, because if you strike a lovely day, by around midday this little town (and others like it) is packed.

Whitstable is famous for its an annual mid-year Oyster festival.

To give you some idea of how popular this is, the town’s is population is around 32,000 and during this festival attracts an additional 40,000!

Take a look around at our Whitstable beach and seaside escape.

Hopefully you’ll be inspired to book your train from London to Whitstable next time the sun is out.

 

Got questions about travel in and around London? Or your own travel tips? Let us know in the comments… 

 

How to spend a day in Paris | photo story + vlog

How to spend a day in Paris | photo story + vlog

Ever wish you could just jump on a train and spend a day in Paris? Well, from London you can! We’d never taken a ride on the Eurostar before, and when we finally did we wished we’d done it sooner. We’ve discovered an easy way to spend a day in this romantic place, whether it’s cold, windy, wet or sunny.

How to spend a day in Paris

Easy, accessible … 24 hours in Paris is sure to enliven anyone’s spirit. We visited during the colder months, and the city is just as charming, if not more so than in summer. Like Amsterdam, it’s easy to get to Paris from London for a day trip, city break and 24 or 48 hour adventure.

Highlights for our day spent in Paris include a Sienne river cruise on Batobus Paris, Montparnasse Tower, wandering the Latin Quarter and visiting the very gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral. Have a read of our travel guide and vlog, linked in the feature below.

Click ‘read more’ or the arrow in the top right hand corner to scroll the photo story.

Adobe Spark Page

If you have trouble launching in your browser or on mobile, view direct digital feature link here

 

Paris is a huge city with quite a bit of craziness going on. We like this helpful guide by NTripping on how to avoid havoc. We’d love your tips and questions too – drop us a line in the comments or on social media.

Sarah & Cooper x

 

Visit Greenwich in London by boat

Visit Greenwich in London by boat

oh summer in London, how we love you!

If you’re visiting the city, don’t forget to explore via the Thames as well. The river bus isn’t very expensive and gives you so many beautiful, historical old views of this fab city we are lucky enough to call home.

#happyexpats

Here’s a recent adventure we embarked upon starting at the Tower of London and riding the Thames Clipper to Greenwich.