loader image
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.

 

History and enchantment at Blencowe Hall, northern England

History and enchantment at Blencowe Hall, northern England

It’s amazing to know that in this day and age – following numerous wars, conflicts, industrial changes and migration to all corners of the world – that a medieval building like Blencowe Hall can be visited by me. Me, an Aussie living in London, coming back home, almost.

I say ‘by me’ because Blencowe Hall belonged to an original ancestor of mine in the Blinco clan.

I had the chance to visit Blencowe Hall because of my ancestral roots. You can actually hire the place for an event. It’s exquisite, set in the countryside just outside of Penrith, UK.

Blencowe Hall – the story

Blencowe Hall is in Blencow, Penrith UKAs two cyclists pause with cameras on the country path border of the gorgeous property I’m dancing excitedly around, I’m proud to say ‘it’s mine’!

Well, sort of.

You see, today we ventured to a village, more precisely a property, Blencowe Hall (pictured above).

‘Blencowe’, as you may have noticed, is quite similar to ‘Blinco’.

If you had figured that far, perhaps you correctly assumed that this is somehow related to me.

Related it is, literally, because over the past few years my family in Australia, along with a dedicated international group has been researching, documenting and sharing our ancestry.

It hails all the way from here – a little place called Blencow in northern England.

A book has even been published on our origins – American and Australian migrants.

It covers our surname variations – Blencow, Blencowe, Blincoe, Blinco.

Blencowe Hall - architecturally fascinating

 

We’re lucky because our surname is unique and more easily traceable than some.

One popular theory over this side of the world is that a young lad, Robert Blincoe, was actually the ‘real’ Oliver Twist! But I digress from my actual journey which leads me to The Lakes District.

This area is a well-know ‘must-do’ on any UK itinerary.

But it’s a journey that has become a special individual quest as well. What an extraordinary place to find!

 

Exploring Blencowe Hall

Among other accolades, the property (its owners and architect at time of publishing) won a 2009 Design Award, and in 2010 was an RICS North West winner of a Building Conservation award as supported by the English Heritage Council.

The estate continues to undergo renovations, but is now regularly used for parties, functions, special gatherings and events.

We were lucky enough to enjoy a private viewing.

While it has been restored to the ultimate in chic, original aspects of Blencowe Hall remain both inside and out, including stone staircases, windowsills and fireplaces.

Inside historical Blencowe Hall, Penrith UKFurnishings within complement the old-world feel, with antique wardrobes, dressers and bookshelves completing each room.

Stylish and contemporary fittings are all visitors will find in the bathrooms, kitchen and entertainment areas though.

The main home comprises of a lavish entrance hall, two reception rooms, massive kitchen and pantry.

There are three large levels boasting five bedrooms, a study bedroom, six bathrooms, mature gardens, traditional and modern range of outbuildings (including stables) across 55 hectares.

Inside Blencowe Hall's refurbished old wallsA spectacular dark glazed window over the huge crack in the south tower is the centrepiece of this unique renovation. The project was lovingly embarked upon by the property’s [current] London-based owners who spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on restoring the structure.

 

Their vision was to transform ruins into a historical kind of luxury.

 

Location of Blencowe Hall

Blencowe Hall is listed as a Grade 1 fortified medieval manor. It’s undergone ambitious renovations over the past ten years.

Perched atop a bluff above the small river of Peterill, it is surrounded by its own fields and views to the Lakeland Fells.

Blencowe Hall is nearby to the village of Greystoke which is dominated by Greystoke Castle. It’s near a fabulous pub (always important!), the Crown Inn that’s located in the Hamlet of Blencowe. Blencowe Hall is positioned on the very edge of the stunning Lakes District.

Blencowe Hall grounds

 

The discovery of Roman ruins, gold coins dating back to the reign of James I, artefacts and reportedly the oldest indoor toilets in the region point to the historical interest of this property.

 

For me though, it’s personal.

Knights and Queens at Blencowe Hall

The people who originally lived here and ran the estate are, we’ve recently discovered, my family.

Sir Henry de Blencowe was one of the most prominent members of my ancestors to live here.

Having served twice as High Sheriff of Cumberland, in 1617 he was knighted (fab!) by King James I.

Evidently there was some scandal surrounding this knighthood, but that’s ok – it’s not my place to query and am happy to have knights in my family 😉

 

Another interesting link is ‘The Nine Days Queen’ angle.

Anthony Blencowe was the sixth generation of the family at Blencowe Hall. He married Winnifred Dudley who was a relation of Lord Guildford Dudley, the husband of Lady Jane Grey  (that is, the ill-fated Queen of England for nine days).

Her connection to Blencowe Hall is recalled in a dedication over the main entrance in the Central Range.

It’s thought to have been inscribed by Sir Henry Blencowe during extensive renovations of the property in the late 1500s.

The inscription is in Latin but is said to read:

Live still to die, that you by death may purchase eternal life.”

It’s a sentiment Lady Jane wrote to her sister the night before her sad end.

English history at Blencowe Hall

 

Alas, poor Lady Jane was caught up in the whole ‘King Edward VI (15-years-old) nominating her to be Queen before he died’ affair.

Mary (his half sister, soon-to-turn-a-bit-crazy-on-England, and daughter of Henry VIII) was not pleased at this declaration and managed to take the throne in the end.

Consequently Lady Jane ended up beheaded, along with Lord Dudley.

Interestingly (and on a similar thread), Robert Dudley, a later descendant of the Dudley family, is thought to have Royal connections.

He was one of Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite suitors. How exciting – just like an episode of The Tudors!

English history at Blencowe Hall - Adam de Blencowe

 

At the beginning

Most importantly in relation to Blencowe Hall, the original who made it all happen was a gentleman by the name of Adam de Blencowe

He is the earliest traceable ancestor of our family and founder of the lands we visit here.

Adam’s estate was gradually built up in the area through the 1300s primarily thanks to gifts of land received for ‘loyal service’ from King Edward III.

Adam was actually knighted too, and granted a coat of arms. How extraordinary to think of this lifetime long ago that I’m linked to! A fascinating world of knights, manors, legends and romance. Actually, I made the romance bit up, but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere…

Another amazing historical fact: during excavation work in the area, archaeologists found an ancient Roman drainage system.

It ran from the main courtyard area of Blencowe Hall, under the north tower and out into the garden. This was measured, recorded and left intact under the new floors because it is working just as well now as it ever did!

Ullswater Lakes District around Blencowe Hall

 

Elsewhere around the area

Rain dissipating (finally) and sun emerging, we bid farewell to my own Downtown Abbey… er, sorry, Blencowe Hall, and zoomed off down the M6 towards Windermere.

Here you’ll find the most gorgeous (and largest) lake in England. This region around Windermere is famous for inspiring writers like William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.

I have to admit, after visiting the quaint village with its water activities, cute dogs and bird-life, ice-cream shops and sweet local gift shops I was definitely in an inspired mood.

We headed back towards Penrith via scenic winding back roads, past the equally pretty lake-land precinct of Ullswater, across rolling green hills lined with mysterious stone walls and dotted with old homes and pubs.

A fabulous, interesting, intriguing and uniquely lovely day.

Be inspired to visit the region – view our Flickr album from Blencowe Hall and the Lakes District. 

Lakes District near Blencowe Hall

 

Getting there

nationalrail.co.uk train from Edinburgh, Manchester or London to Penrith.

Blencowe Hall is available to book or view by appointment.

 

Why stay in Penrith?

This Cumbrian market town is well-served by transport from all over the UK. It’s a quaint, historical spot to stop and within easy driving (or train) distance of all The Lakes District attractions including Blencowe Hall, Windermere and Ullswater.

 

Accommodation

The Roundthorn, Penrith for its large lovely rooms, scenic views, fantastic service, delicious breakfast and free WiFi.

 

Getting around

Cabs are simple and reasonable here, but for exploration of the Lakes District try Enterprise rent-a-car. They offered us pick-up + drop-off service (with a smile) and an economical deal. More on: 01768 893840 or enterprise.co.uk