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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bath is the epitome of Georgian elegance and is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. It’s a pleasurable day trip from London (take Great Western Rail from Paddington); or stay a night or two and truly indulge in all the romantic things to do in Bath!
Personally, I love Bath because it’s easy to get around but has all the perks of a city like shopping, coffee, plenty to see and do. Bath is rich in history – the buildings tell many lifetimes worth of tales, dating back to the Romans right through to Jane Austen, and even the birth of Royal Mail. And, aside from anything else, the city is strikingly beautiful.
It’s one for the romantics, for sure – a very special place, like York (which you also must visit). Here are seven of our sweetest ideas for you to explore…
7 romantic things to do in Bath, England
Bath Abbey Tower Tour
Bath Abbey is the divine structure that makes for a perfect meeting spot in the town centre. It is an utterly surprising find as you’re wandering the old streets, and you’ll have your phone in hand snapping pictures before you even realise what you’re doing!
Indulge in some people watching in the square, and when you’ve gathered your breath, climb to the top for a bird’s eye view of the area.
If this idea takes your fancy, you can book exclusive personalised tours which take place out of hours. Watch the sun set over this uniquely lovely place, away from the tourist crowds. More at bathabbey.org/towertours.
Stroll along the Gravel Walk
This is fine for all, but Austen fans will especially rejoice because it is the setting of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth’s proposal in Persuasion.
Continue your wander through to Royal Victoria Park for a picnic, and wind up your exploration in the lovely woodland of the Botanical Gardens.
Be mindful after dark though, for although it might seem pretty at dusk it is said that a number of Bath’s former residents often also wander here. Particularly notable is a white haired man who will appear before you on the Gravel Walk, only to vanish back into the night. Spooky, although perhaps a romantic pursuit for the ghost-hunters (like me) among you…
Take to nature – canal ride, row boat or horse drawn carriage ride
As you step off the train into the city of Bath, you’ll spot signs for visitor information centres. Drop in and enquire about one of the unique opportunities to interact with nature.
Back in town, we suggest skipping the cab line and instead take a horse drawn carriage ride around the city, just like in Austen’s romantic age. Be enchanted as you pass by grand spaces like the Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park and The Circus. Courtyard Carriages will make it happen.
Stay overnight in a romantic hotel!
Bath is brimming with excellent accommodation options for all budgets. If you’re willing to splash out for a special occasion and take full advantage of this city’s status as a centre for romance, this one looks nice – the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. It’s centrally located with sublime views of the city! We’ve not stayed here, but sure would like to. Seems so very Austen-esque.
Another decadent property I spotted on our travels was Bath Spa Hotel, a five star stay overlooking the breathtaking Bath landscape.
Jane Austen festival in September
Yes, yes and yes!
Indulge in regal splendour – performances, balls, workshops, promenades, fairs, lunches, breakfasts (and the odd Mr Darcy sprinkled around town for good measure)…
There are even short tours of the surrounding area on offer so you can get your entire literary and adventure fix with the least amount of effort. If you’re a fan of the author, don’t miss visiting in September. More at janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk.
Note: there’s a plethora of Austen experiences open all year round too if you can’t make it in spring.
Thermae Bath Spa
Bath is of course famed for its ancient baths and healing waters, and now thanks to Thermae, we can all take a dip.
After you’ve explored the interesting old ruins, step it up to contemporary times in an utterly indulgent and romantic manner. Thermae now boasts a sensational rooftop pool with sweeping city views. There’s plenty of other treatments you can enjoy too – the best of modern pleasures and old world lush blended into a sublime chance to unwind and feel the love.
Country walks and quaint villages
When we visited Bath recently, we actually took the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which features two routes through Bath. One travels around the city and explains the local history, and the other highlights the outskirts upon the hilltops overlooking the city’s skyline. This is an excellent way to get your bearings in the city. Helpful too, because Bath is very hilly so it’s easy to get tired making your way around. An option like this makes it simpler to identify the places you might like to go back to, and the skyline journey in particular showcases some lovely walks.
Suggested places to visit include the ‘prettiest village in England’, Castle Combe (accessible from Bath), Kennet and Avon canals which are some of the loveliest waterways working their way through England. The tour guide also pointed out walks you can try nearby to stops on the tour’s itinerary such as around Middle Hill Lodge.
Words can’t describe how lovely it is here, although many writers have attempted to do so throughout history. Why not visit and see for yourself? You may find the Visit Bath website useful, and book your train tickets in advance for the best deal, Trainline.
If you’ve found this helpful or have a tip to add, please let us know in the comments.
Although there was a period in British history where bathing was deemed bad for the health (and consequently a freshen-up was only scheduled for once or twice a year), there are also important sections of history where a bath was so important that a whole city emerged because of it!
Today’s road trip to Bath included a stop-off at the picture-perfect town of Bourton-on-the-Water, dubbed ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ – an immaculate little place that continues to demonstrate how inspiringly beautiful England really is.
We also explored a very interesting old National Trust property ‘800 years in the making’, Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum.
Located in rural Wiltshire, Lacock village and its Abbey have been featured in numerous film and television productions including Harry Potter, The Other Boleyn Girl, Pride & Prejudice and many more. There are no street lights or antennas here, so the town is easily transformed into a film set for period pieces. The Abbey was originally settled by nuns in the 1200’s. It’s described as being a ‘quirky country house of various architectural styles’, complete with medieval rooms and a cloister court. Another great piece of history associated with this place is the fact that a former resident of Lacock, William Henry ‘Fox Talbot’, is credited with inventing photography, and a museum celebrating this is located in the Abbey.
Bath is a highlight of any trip throughout England. It’s a stunning little city (and a designated World Heritage Site) that really made its mark during the elegant Georgian age when none other than famous author, Jane Austen, resided here. Of course, people were travelling to Bath well before Georgian times. As legend has it, back in the 860s BC, King Bladud – once a Prince struck down with leprosy and forced to leave his home in disguise and take up a job as a swineherd in a regional part of the country – discovered waters that healed him. More on the legend HERE, however it’s these origins that set Bath on the map. So much so that the Romans decided they wanted in on this these ‘magical healing waters’, and the rest, as they say, is history. Roman architecture (or its influence) is seen everywhere in Bath and certainly adds to the city’s charm and intrigue. The original Roman Baths are still the city’s biggest attraction.
Ideally a few days are required to explore Bath properly – beautiful Bath Abbey (one of the last great medieval churches, begun around 1499, completed 1611), Jane Austen Centre, Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, gardens, more museums – attractions old and new. Bath certainly offers something for everyone. It’s a romantic and remarkable mix of ancient and modern history, as well as the very best contemporary dining, coffee, shopping and luxury options. We stayed in the heart of the city at the Abbey Hotel which is ideally situated for exploring on foot (which, by the way, is very easy to do – Bath is a small walking city, however there are numerous tours including the popular ‘red bus hop-on-hop-off option for those daunted by all the hills here).
FUN FACT: Yesterday we all discovered (from a co-traveller!) the origin of the term ‘posh’ (meaning ‘elegant, swanky, rich’). Evidently the term originates from passengers who were travelling on the P&O (Peninsula and Orient) between the UK and India – ‘port out, starboard home’ were the best seats in the house, hence ‘posh’ stuck.
I wasn’t sure how this year would pan out regarding New Year festivities. We didn’t have anything planned, and usually because of this disorganisation, New Year’s Eve ends up being a little uneventful. Also, this time last year we were on a holiday in the UK and went to a fantastic concert to celebrate. It was like being in my world in 1997, but better…
Back to the present though: we woke up on Friday morning and didn’t even realise it was New Year’s Eve. For some reason we had it in our minds that Saturday was ‘party day’, so in our wisdom booked a day trip outside of London for Friday. You would think the date ’31st’ would ring bells, but no… As we were getting ready for our early morning start though, we did notice all the NYE news stories on television and it hit us – THIS was it! The last day of the year. How time flies. This time ten years earlier I had been celebrating with my mate Lauren at Disneyland in California, my first overseas adventure.
Feeling somewhat silly about our lack of preparation, we headed off for our trip. I was particularly excited to finally be seeing Stonehenge, and as it turns out, ticking an item off your Bucket List is a pretty memorable way to see in a brand new year. Those less enthused refer to it as ‘a pile of rocks’, but I’m far more respectful. This is an ancient monument, brimming with legend and history dating back to mythical King Arthur times, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to see. In fact, we were walking around marvellous Stonehenge at the moment our family and friends in Australia were celebrating their midnight hugs and kisses, and it was somewhat surreal to be Tweeting, texting and Facebooking them all simultaneously.
We also explored Salisbury and beautiful Bath during this tour – our second on Golden Tours which offer a range of terrific travelling options in and around London. The reason we chose a tour was because it actually turned out to be more economical (and convenient) than jumping on a train to Bath, or hiring a car and driving. If you’re travelling within the region, check all your options first.
Tired on our return home, but still keen to do something for New Year, we ended up venturing out into the cold to catch up with some Aussie and Kiwi friends who were enjoying celebrations at Bumpkin Restaurant and Bar in Notting Hill. From there, the night turned into one of those impromptu fun parties that ran until the wee hours. Still recovering, but thank God for the Bank Holiday tomorrow!
Cheers to an awesome 2011! S x
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper, and here we share our advice and stories about expat living in the UK; pet and house sitting around the world; wellness travel and creative living, no matter where on the planet you are. We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for 20 years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. We hope you find value in our content. Please do connect by leaving a comment or find us on social media.