Delightfully dirty weekends away: part two
Melissa Brobby suggests three romantic breaks in England’s sauciest spots.
Swing from the rafters in Shropshire
Check your bags into the Hundred House Hotel in Telford. This Georgian coaching Inn’s lavish rooms are lit up by chandeliers and furnished with a four-poster beds, Victoria & Albert baths and even swings adorned with velvet and flowers.
You may find it difficult to tear yourself away, but if you’re up for venturing out of your room, take a stroll around the hotel’s gardens filled with intoxicating scents and secret corners where you can hide out and snuggle up together.
Spend the day exploring the medieval market town of Much Wenlock, famous for its black and white Tudor buildings. Stop by traditional shops and quaint tea rooms before marvelling at the dramatic ruins of Wenlock Priory, a Saxon monastery standing on the fringes of the town. From there you can lose yourselves within the ancient woodlands of Wenlock Edge, a limestone escarpment created 400 million years ago with views of the Shropshire countryside.
Pull up a seat at the Charlton Arms in Ludlow, where river views serve as the perfect backdrop for a romantic supper. Tuck into a delectable menu which includes garlic snails, rib eye steak, lemon sole and chocolate ganache, perfect for feeding each other, washed down with a bottle or two of the pub’s wide selection of wines. After your meal you can cosy up on the rooftop terrace and enjoy views of the surrounding countryside.
Frolic amongst the trees in Northumberland
Roam freely without a soul to disturb you at Middleton Hall’s Boathouse, where your only neighbours will be the wildlife nestling in the surrounding woodlands. This romantic hideaway has all the comforts you’d expect, as well as a balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s also completely secluded by trees, so no one will see (or hear) you.
Enjoy a cosy evening on the leather chaise sofa looking out onto the serene setting of the lake, and then get a closer look the following morning on a boat trip in a rowing boat that included with your stay.
Hop on a boat from Seahouses to the Farne Islands, home to one of England’s largest grey seal colonies. The beaches of Brownsman Island are home to more than 1,500 adorable grey seal pups in late autumn and although the Island is closed to the public, you can see all the activity on a boat trip.
Order your favourite tipple at the Lindisfarne Inn, situated at the gateway to Lindisfarne Island. Snuggle in one of the cosy dining areas, swapping mischievous glances as you indulge in a delicious menu of smoked salmon linguine, pork fillet and traditional fish and chips, perhaps followed by a sinful sticky toffee pudding to share before you head back to your love nest.
Get locked up in in Oxford
With its palatial landmarks and gothic spires, Oxford oozes romance but one of its most loved-up locations is actually found in a former prison.
The Malmaison Oxford is one of the city’s sexiest hotels where you can lock yourself away in a ‘cell’ filled with sumptuous burgundy and plum furnishings, a roll top bath and monsoon shower.
Fumble and frolic under the moody lighting on an irresistibly soft bed, and if you’re feeling a little peckish, call room service for some naughty nibbles such as chocolate dipped strawberries washed down with a glass of Champagne.
Spend the day in the company of some of the world’s finest art collections at Ashmolean Museum. Admire the preserved casts of Greek and Roman sculptures such as the iconic Venus de Milo, and browse through the world’s largest Raphael collection which includes his original naked figure sketches. After you’ve got your culture fix, head to the museum’s rooftop restaurant for Afternoon tea and scenic views of the city.
Enjoy a romantic meal at The Anchor in the heart of Oxford’s historic suburb. You’ll be stuck for choice as you glance at the tempting menu of delectable dishes, including lamb rump, dry aged Sirloin and roasted stone bass. Finish off with a sinful dessert of chocolate fondant tart, profiteroles with salted toffee or set lemon custard with blackberries and honeycomb, then cuddle up together with a pint or a glass of wine by the roaring fire.