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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.

 

7 awesome reasons to travel on the train from London to Edinburgh

7 awesome reasons to travel on the train from London to Edinburgh

You wouldn’t expect the topic ‘taking the train from London to Edinburgh’ to come up as a dinner party topic, but for us recently it did! I was enjoying a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc over dinner with friends (don’t you love the bottles with twist tops?!).

I mentioned excitedly as I emptied the last of the contents (a bottle doesn’t go far between four people), that I was travelling on the train from London to Edinburgh the following week. Anyone who has been to Scotland will enthusiastically agree it’s a beautiful, friendly country with a long history. Scotland offers amazing scenery, history and filming locations, castles, lochs and even a monster!

Suddenly I was asked what I thought to be a bizarre question, “why are you taking the train?”

7 awesome reasons to travel on the train from London to Edinburgh

…”Isn’t the plane much faster?”

This is when the conversation previously focusing on sport, politics, work and the usual banter steered towards the new topic of train travel. Each guest explained – with enthusiasm – their experiences travelling around the UK on the world’s oldest railway system.

After emptying the contents of a second bottle of Australia’s finest, I felt inspired, excited and a little curious by the prospect of travel on the train from London to Edinburgh (between four and five hours).

visiting Scotland - why you should take the train from London

7 awesome reasons to travel on the train from London to Edinburgh

Door-to-door

Unlike airports which are located anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes from a city, most major train stations are located in the centre of the city.

Avoid rush-hour traffic and an expensive taxi ride. I didn’t feel stressed travelling to the train station but I always have a small sense of anxiety when I travel to an airport.

Our travel from London to Edinburgh by train commenced at the centrally-located and well appointed King’s Cross station in London.

Hassle-free

What I really like about train travel is that you don’t have to arrive several hours before departure and then wait in a long security line.

When I arrived at King’s Cross 30 minutes before departure, everyone was relaxed, no one was rushing and I didn’t encounter any impatient passengers pushing and shoving waiting for the gates to open. No exorbitant prices for food and drinks either. I grabbed a latte, checked from which platform my train was departing, visited a few shops and even had a chance to explore the Harry Potter exhibit (as one does).

Scottish cow

Baggage and expenses

We’ve all experienced that anxiety about having to pay excess baggage fees, and that sheepish feeling of guilt when you know your bags are flirting with being slightly overweight.

Thankfully, conductors who I found friendly and helpful, didn’t even check how many bags I had or more importantly how much they weighed. No angry and surprised passengers standing helplessly when staff remove bags and demand a fee.

On the price side, if you’re familiar with the UK, you’ll know there are of course discount airfare options, but, did you know you can score a train ticket travelling from London to Edinburgh for as little as £25 if you book in advance? Try looking up fares on Trainline.

Comfort and relaxation

My core complaint when flying is the lack of leg room and being boxed-in amongst strangers. On trains there are seats in pairs, or sets of four (two either side), and some with the option of a table in the middle.

Plug a laptop in, catch up on blogging (or the latest episode of Arrow…; read, write, daydream).

Did I mention you don’t have to wear a seat belt and there’s no line for the toilet!? Winning!

Trains can be a little bumpy in a soothing way (like being rocked to sleep); nothing like when you hit turbulence and fear grips your body.

Scottish town - views across Edinburgh

The real bonus – scenery


Trains offer the chance to be engaged by spectacular scenery, unlike planes where, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of a landmark during take-off or landing. I love watching in wonder the rolling green fields, lazy grazing farm animals, charming villages and historical castles standing proud. A kaleidoscope of images, and the landscape of the United Kingdom is really so special, particularly when you travel from London to Edinburgh by train.

The time really does fly by, because the adventure is a travel experience in itself, rather than feeling like a ‘drag’.

Meeting travellers and making friends

A cafeteria and bar offering all the essentials was positioned up the back of my train. Making my way to this oasis felt a bit like imitating a trapeze artist on rope, but, my reward for a delicate balancing act, was that I found this spot to be a great place to meet fellow travellers. We shared tips and a few jokes over a cold beverage.

That said, if you prefer to enjoy a little quiet time, staying in your seat is a perfectly convenient option too, because a trolley of hot and cold delights makes its way through the carriages at intervals through the journey.

Scottish lake

Environment

An important fact, trains are less damaging to the environment and more energy efficient. Trains require half the energy per passenger per mile than air travel. Anything that is great for the environment is a winner in my books.

Sure, we all live active, busy lives and travelling by plane is less time consuming, but there comes a time when we must all stop, relax and smell the roses, so to speak.

I’m discovering train travel in the UK is the chance to experience real travel adventure; you can score tickets at low prices, and view the world while travelling comfortably. The time really does fly by (no pun intended). Definitely worth considering when you’re in our neck of the woods.

−Cooper

Edinburgh tours and other essentials

Edinburgh tours and other essentials

August is my favourite time of year to visit Edinburgh, and I’d love to share with you my favourite Edinburgh tours and other essential information for your trip.

Edinburgh tours and activities in summer

Not only is it summertime and the perfect time for a tour to and around Edinburgh, but the city has a serious case of ‘festival fever’ with the Fringe Festival, International Festival, Book and Art Festival, Mela Festival and Military Tattoo all running over the month.

However, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit – the Scottish capital always boasts a vibrant atmosphere, rich culture, bloody history and never-ending list of attractions, events and sights.

Street Performers - Pipers

Edinburgh essentials

Edinburgh is a small city and easy to walk around and explore on foot. There is a City Sightseeing tour that you can take to get an overview though.

Also, Edinburgh is a base for tours all over the region, for a day or a few including to Inverness and Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and even film and television set locations.

Here are my top things to experience in Edinburgh:

Military Tattoo

With the Edinburgh Castle as its backdrop the Military Tattoo is an amazing and patriotic experience. Each year 220,000 people attend this spectacular event, which features over 1,000 performers from across the globe.

This includes Massed Pipers and Drummers, the Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and cultural troupes. What is great about the Military Tattoo is its crowd – they really get into it – all clapping and cheering along to the marching performers. The most moving performance is always the Lone Piper, a real heart-tugger.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from 1-23 August 2014.

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Fringe Festival

Welcome to the largest arts and entertainment festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Over three weeks (1-25 August 2014), the city is host to more than 42,000 performances and 2,600 shows ranging from stand-up comedy, cabaret, dance, music and theatre.

The Fringe will leave you dizzy with amount of entertainment available – its no wonder the guidebook is over 200 pages. It’s also a great opportunity to check out the city’s venues and performance spaces. Even if you don’t catch a show – the street vibe is electric with demonstrations and busking happening all over.

Tip: Head to the Virgin Money Half Price Hut located at the Mound Precinct on Princess Street for some great deals.

Street view of Edinburgh

The Real Mary Kings Close

Without a doubt one of the best all-year-round attractions in Edinburgh! At the Real Mary Kings Close you are taken beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where you’ll see a maze of hidden streets and buildings that have remained frozen and preserved since the 17th century.

See how people lived back then and hear eerie tales of murder, plague-caused deaths and hauntings.

To this day – visitors have been known to hear scratching coming from inside a chimney where a child perished, sounds of a crowded tavern and a mysterious man has been seen roaming.

My favourite tale is of ‘little Annie’, an upset ghost searching for her missing doll. She now has a constant shrine full of toys left by visitors from all over the world. It’s truly an entertaining and fascinating attraction, giving you a unique glimpse into Edinburgh’s past.

Street Performer

Ghost Walking Tour

No visit is complete without jumping on a ghost-walking tour. Renowned for its dark and bloody history, Edinburgh has endless tales of murder, grave robbing, torture, plague, treason and witch executions.

Explore every nook and cranny of the city and see where harrowing events occurred such as where serial killers, Burke and Hare trawled for their next victims. If you dare join a tour – then be prepared to visit such sights as Greyfries Graveyard at night, be cursed by the South Bridge Vaults and go searching for the terrifying Mackenzie Poltergeist (all available via the ‘City of the Dead’ tours).

Various operators offer ghost walking tours all-year-round.

Ghost walking tour - South Bridge Vaults

Have you visited Edinburgh? Let us know your essential things to do – drop us a line in the comments below. 

 

About the writer
Danielle Muller (@stuffitgotravel) is a Sydney-based travel blogger and communications professional. Follow her travel adventures, stories and recommendations at stuffitgotravelling.com.