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13 places for a romantic break in England

Plan a romantic weekend away

With fairytale scenery, swish rooftop bars, mouth-watering Michelin-starred restaurants and secluded hot tubs never far away, England is one of the best places for a romantic weekend away.  

Need some help planning the perfect trip? We’re at your service with our in-depth guide to some of the most romantic breaks across the country.

Romantic town and city breaks

1

Take a boat trip for two along the River Cam

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Man and a woman punting on the River Cam in autumn, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.

With its endless architectural eye-candy, the university city of Cambridge is a charming spot for your romantic escape. Home to many a poet, author and artist over the years, its prestigious streets are quipped to inspire lots of new love stories. Enjoy green scenes at Cambridge Botanic Gardens, climb the Great St Mary’s Tower for skyline views or go stargazing at the Institute of Astronomy. Whatever you do though, don’t leave without a punting trip on the River Cam. Get comfy inside a vessel built for lovers with a glass of champagne in hand as a gondolier-like guide navigates the river for you, showing you some of the city’s most romantic spots.

Where to eat

As the night draws in, opt for two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House, an inventive eatery set inside a Victorian villa and famed for its dreamy taster menu. Afterwards, show off your moves at one of Hidden Rooms’ jazz evenings or sip classic cocktails and craft beer at 2648, an intimate speakeasy hidden beneath Trinity Street.

Where to stay

For an all-in-one package, book a room at The Varsity Hotel, where you can have dinner with a view at its restaurant, Six, and unwind in its swanky spa. Celebrating a special occasion? The luxury University Arms – with its decadent chandeliers and Edwardian interiors – is your best bet.

Plan the perfect city break for couples
2

Watch the sun set across the capital

London

Gay couple standing by the River Thames near Tower Bridge, London.

From hidden spas beneath Covent Garden to sipping champagne at the top of the London Eye, there are so many romantic things to do as a couple in London. Spend an afternoon sailing along leafy Regents Canal on your very own boat, or explore the manicured gardens at one of London’s many royal palaces before snuggling up on a bench to watch the sunset from Parliament Hill (the highest spot in the city). As the night draws in, get dressed up and see one of London’s legendary West End shows or watch theatre by candlelight at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Where to eat

For the hottest table in town, book a booth at Bentley’s Oyster Bar, near Piccadilly Circus, where you can knock back British oysters and sumptuous seafood platters, or nab a dinner slot at Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden, hailed as the most romantic restaurant in London. With its tables set under a canopy of blossoming flowers, it’s easy to see why. For post-dinner cocktails, head to Mayfair’s The Connaught Bar, voted the World’s Best Bar, or sink a bottle of wine with your muse at cave-like Gordons Wine Bar in Embankment, said to be one of the oldest wine bars in London.

Where to stay

With double-ended sunken bathtubs, rooms at the flamboyant Rosewood London in High Holborn are idyllic urban sanctuaries, perfect for a romantic night away. Close to St Paul’s, there’s The Rookery, a dark warren of rooms with Georgian period features, open fires and four-poster beds, while over in the Royal Victoria Docks you can stay in a floating hotel with panoramic views across to Canary Wharf. The Good Hotel London, located away from the bustle of central London, even re-invests all its profits into training long-term unemployed people in London. Sounds like a winner to us!

Plan a romantic getaway to London
3

Be part of a Shakespearean story in Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. View of the Theatre from the River Avon. Barges and rowboats, passenger boats moored on the river. Bridge across the water

Embark on a Romeo and Juliet-style weekend at this medieval market town in Warwickshire. The birthplace of William Shakespeare is chock-a-block with the Bard’s greatest inspirations and legacies. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace for a look into his upbringing, or wander around Anne Hathaway’s Cottage’s acres of beautiful orchards and gardens. Afterwards, see one of his greatest love stories played out at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, one of only three RSC theatres in the country.

If you’re visiting in the springtime, make sure you pack a picnic and hire a rowboat or punt from the Boathouse to glide down the River Avon. On the flip side, during the winter you can get a little slice of paradise at Stratford Butterfly Farm where hundreds of beautiful butterflies flutter around freely – now and again they’ll even take a pitstop on your nose!

Where to eat

Celebrating something special? The chef's table at Salt  – the town’s first Michelin-starred restaurant – makes for an unforgettable meal.

Where to stay

When it comes to romantic hotels, look no further than Ettington Park Hotel – a Neo-Gothic mansion that looks like something straight out of a fairytale. With round turrets, church ruins in the garden and chandeliers galore, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a storybook.

Find more things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
4

Stroll the cobbled streets of Knaresborough

Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Railway Viaduct over the River Nidd Floodlit at Dusk Knaresborough North Yorkshire England

A warren of medieval streets and stone staircases, this Yorkshire market town’s star attraction is the viaduct with its elegant arches straddling the River Nidd. Take a morning stroll underneath it on the promenade, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and one another. Start at Mother Shipton’s Cave – England’s oldest and most mysterious tourist attractions – and finish at Our Lady of the Crag, home to an early-15th-century chapel excavated from sandstone Check out the romantic ruins of Knaresborough Castle too, with its ancient graffiti, secret tunnels and views across the town.

Where to eat

Warm up afterwards with coffee and cake at Number Thirteen, where everything is upcycled, handmade and Fairtrade, and in the evening, treat your other half to a sumptuous seven-course tasting menu at General Tarleton, a hidden gourmet gem in an unassuming 18th-century coaching inn. For small plates and cocktails, head to Six Poor Folk, housed in one of the town’s oldest buildings.

Where to stay

If you plan on staying the night, book The Cottage at Dower House & Spa, a self-contained room tucked away in the gardens (perfect for that added bit of privacy). Alternatively, go all out with a stay at Goldsborough Hall, a stately manor formerly home to Princess Mary, Her Majesty’s aunt, for lavish gardens and Jacobean hand-carved four-poster beds. You’ll have hearts racing with that one!

Plan your romantic break in Knaresborough
5

Plan a surprise proposal in Chester

Chester, Cheshire

Historic timber-frame buildings in Chester, Cheshire.

Tip-toeing on the border of Wales, the walled city of Chester is up there with the most romantic places in England. Cruise along the River Dee in your very own private picnic boat or go shopping on The Rows. These double-decker streets are lined with first-floor Medieval walkways leading to lots of independent shops. You may even stumble across England’s oldest shopfront.

Afterwards, escape the hubbub with a walk along the city’s Roman walls, keeping an eye out for fascinating sights like the Eastgate Clock - built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee - and the Wishing Steps. Legend has it that if an unmarried girl could successfully run up and down the steps while holding her breath, the man of her choice would propose to her.

Where to eat

Reserve a table at Chez Jules – housed inside one of Chester’s iconic Tudor buildings – for French-inspired dishes that change daily, or enjoy sunset views over the UK’s oldest racecourse at 1539. Named after the year racing first began in the city, this award-winning restaurant serves up twists on British classics. Looking to impress? Treat your other half to top-class cuisine at the two AA Rosette La Brasserie at The Chester Grosvenor. Sink some bubbly at its glamorous Champagne bar before tucking into the likes of Colchester oysters and dark chocolate marquise.

Where to stay

Fit for royalty, The Queen is a landmark hotel said to be the first skyscraper of its time. Furnished with four-poster beds and suites dedicated to former kings, the hotel has had a roll call of famous guests, including the likes of Charles Dickens and Cecil Rhodes. Just outside of the city centre, surrounded by 1,000 acres of land, is the luxurious Carden Park. As well as an onsite vineyard and two golf courses, the hotel is home to an outdoor spa garden complete with thermal garden pods, hot tubs and a Bollinger bar.

Find more romantic breaks in Chester
6

Write your own love story in Bath

Bath, Somerset

A couple enjoying a dip in the Thermal Spa, Bath, Somerset, England.

Inspiration for many of Jane Austen’s romantic novels, the UNESCO City of Bath is another of England’s dreamy cities. Fill a hamper and visit one of Bath’s beautiful parks and gardens, all of which are worthy of a picnic – the Royal Victoria Park, with the iconic Royal Crescent as a backdrop, is one of our favourites. The National Trust’s 18th-century Prior Park is equally as striking, with its series of lakes and Palladian Bridge, said to be one of only four in the world. For scenic views book a private sunset tour of the Bath Abbey Tower, which includes a glass of bubbly when you reach the top, soak in the Thermae Bath Spa’s rooftop pool, or why not float through the air in a hot air balloon as it glides over the honey-coloured Georgian buildings below?

Where to eat

Be transported back to an era of elegance with a delicious afternoon tea in The Pump Room – a venue at the social heart of Bath for more than two centuries – accompanied by the sounds of the Pump Room Trio. In the evening, get dressed up for a meal at the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Bath. The Olive Tree, located inside the Queensberry Hotel, is known for its fine seasonal produce and creative menu. Or set the mood at Italian-inspired Ponte Vecchio, a candlelit eatery overlooking the iconic Pulteney Bridge.

Where to stay

Set in 20 acres of private grounds, Bailbrook House Hotel has charming views towards the city, and even offers breakfast in bed. Or stay right at the centre of the action at Harington’s Hotel. Tucked away down a quiet cobbled street, you can hire their secluded courtyard for a private hot tub session. For the ultimate treat, book No.15 by Guesthouse, a boutique hotel with independently designed rooms, all of which have access to a pantry full of complimentary goodies to enjoy day and night. Be sure to book a couple’s slot in the hotel’s subterranean Copper Room too, to enjoy a soak in its huge round copper bath and side-by-side treatments using eco products.

Find more things to do as a couple in Bath

Romantic countryside breaks

7

Connect with nature in the Lake District

Lake District, Cumbria

Coniston Water in the Lake District, an area of outstanding natural beauty and a national park. A ribbon lake formed in a valley in the Coniston Fells.

Gentle rolling hills, glassy waters and charming villages – the Lake District is the epitome of romance. It’s no surprise then, that the region was once home to romantic poets like Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge. You’ll be spoiled for choice here with miles of walking routes, countless picnic spots and endless dramatic scenery – all with barely another soul in sight. Wander up to Friars Crag, where a perfectly placed bench welcomes sweethearts to soak up the views across Derwentwater, or embark on the Catbells Lakeland Walk, rated the most popular walk for loved-up couples. Literature lovers can’t miss a visit to Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth, while the Theatre by the Lake puts on performances throughout the year. Planning to propose? Hire a rowboat to take out on one of the lakes, or for the ultimate movie moment, go horse riding around Ullswater with Rookin House.

Where to eat

For a romantic meal out, there’s L’Enclume – a two-Michelin-star eatery with theatrical flourishes – and The Drunken Duck, which whips up dishes like crab & apple crumpets and cheese & chive soufflés. Or go off-piste with a candlelit dinner at The Cottage in the Wood – a fairytale-esque restaurant hidden in Whinlatter Forest.

Where to stay

For a dreamy night’s sleep, hide away at the Scandinavian-style Hinterlandes Cabin. Tucked away in the woods, it has its own private firepit and wood-fired hot tub. For luxurious suites with emperor beds, book Brimstone, which has a spa and a library with free drinks and snacks, or snuggle up by the fireplace in Holbeck Ghyll, a former hunting lodge-turned hotel.

Visit the Lake District with your partner
8

Follow a romantic road through The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds

A couple, man and woman, walking arm in arm in the historic village of Castle Combe.

Dotted with quintessentially English villages, each with its own character, The Cotswolds is one of our favourite places for a cosy couples’ getaway. The ultimate way to explore the region is by hiring a classic car and taking The Romantic Road, which winds through the area’s best bits – like Broadway, Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold – starting and finishing in the spa town of Cheltenham. Park up and wander around the chocolate box villages and have lunch in a snug pub before driving off into the distance to your next destination. Other romantic activities include exploring the beautiful botanic garden of Batsford Arboretum, hiking up Devil’s Chimney for unrivalled views over the Malvern Hills or taking a tour of one of the Cotswolds’ many breweries and distilleries.

Where to eat

Fuel up at the poshest pub in Britain, The Wild Rabbit. Set in the UK’s largest organic farmland, this homely inn serves up award-winning food from a theatrical open kitchen. Over in Chipping Norton, you’ll find The Chequers, a grown-up gastropub with cute candlelit tables and specials like twice-baked cheddar souffle. Or splash out on a treat meal at the Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.

Where to stay

The ivy-clad Swan Hotel in Bibury, home to a selection of unique rooms and quaint garden cottages (complete with private hot tubs), is one of our favourite options for resting your head. Alternatively, for a quirky stay in a back-to-nature bolthole, try The Fish Hotel with its collection of shepherds’ huts and treehouses.

Find more romantic weekends away in The Cotswolds
9

Work your way through East Sussex’s wineries

East Sussex

Two people drinking wine at Bluebell Vineyard, East Sussex.

One of England’s greenest counties, East Sussex is famed for its white cliffs, lush fields and a myriad of award-winning wineries. Treat your other half to a tour of one, two or ten of the county’s vineyards, from the Albourne Estate with its sparkling varieties to Bluebell Vineyard and Court Garden Vineyard, with its choice of reds, rosés and whites. Many, like Rathfinny Wine Estate, have onsite restaurants, so you can accompany your tipples with a range of gastronomical delights.

When you’re not sipping home-grown vino, take a slow walk atop Beachy Head for spectacular views across the English Channel; explore 17th-century Bateman’s, the former home and sanctuary of Rudyard Kipling; or feel like a loved-up teenager again with arcade games, candy floss and ice cream on Brighton Pier.

Where to eat

Arrive hungry to The Gallivant near Rye, where the fish and seafood haven’t travelled very far at all. A lot of its other produce is sourced locally too, including its garlicky Celtic cabbage. Further west you’ll find The Curlew, a former coaching inn within a stone’s throw from Bodiam Castle. Alongside quirky, modern interiors, the kitchen serves an ever-changing menu of small, sharing plates that are perfectly paired with a selection of organic and biodynamic local wines.

Where to stay

If you want the full vineyard package, you can stay onsite at Oxney Estate – England’s largest organic vineyard – which has a selection of cosy cottages and shepherd’s huts overlooking the vines. Elsewhere, be sure to book a hotel in the pretty cobbled town of Rye, like Jeake’s House – a quirky, B&B with antique décor and four-poster beds. Or go off-grid at the Meadow Keeper’s Cottage at Swallowtail Hill Farm. This crooked cottage on wheels was hand-built by local craftsmen and comes with a private outdoor shower.

Find more picturesque places to visit in Sussex

Romantic coastal breaks

10

Stroll hand-in-hand along the sandy beaches of St Ives

St Ives, Cornwall

A couple visiting the small town of St Ives, a well known beach resort, historic town and cultural centre on the North Cornish coast. Walking on the seafront.

Home to hidden coves and some of the best beaches in the UK, Cornwall – and in particular St Ives – is the ideal place for a romantic trip. Walk hand-in-hand around Carbis Bay, Porthmeor or Porthminster, searching for shells and skimming stones, before warming up with a wander around the iconic Tate Gallery. If you’ve got a car handy, take a road trip down the coastal roads to Lands End, soaking up the views with every twist and turn, or head over to Marazion to walk the cobbled causeway over to St Michael's Mount. It’s said that by touching a Wishing Stone at the summit of this imposing island, a truly romantic wish will be granted. Do we hear wedding bells?

Where to eat

Treat your better half to a slap-up meal at The Cellar Bistro in St Ives. With rouge-red walls and candlelit tables, this Parisian-chic setting is perfect for a romantic supper. If you have a foodie to impress, journey up to Padstow for modern British food at Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No6, or even further up the coast to Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. Located in a 15th-century fisherman’s cottage in Port Isaac, this mouth-watering set menu celebrates Cornwall’s freshest seafood and local produce.

Where to stay

Continue the luxury vibes at St Ives Harbour Hotel, with an onsite spa and sea-view rooms, or retreat into the forest at Saint Agnes’ Chui Treehouse. With a stargazing skylight above the bed, a hot tub on the decking and nothing to see for miles but treetops, badgers and deer, this is the perfect place to spend some time connecting.

Find more romantic places to visit in Cornwall
11

Fall for the ancient capital of Northumbria

Bamburgh, Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle in the snow

Take a romantic trip to the wind-swept sandy beaches and breathtaking backdrops of Bamburgh. Soak up history at Bamburgh Castle (which has dominated the skyline here since Anglo-Saxon times), and stretch your legs with a walk along Bamburgh Beach. If you really want to get those steps in, take the coast path down to Seahouses or up to Budle Bay, a serene spot that’s great for bird watching. For a glimpse of puffins and seals, cross the causeway on foot to the mysterious Lindisfarne, a remote island rich in religious history and topped by a 16th-century castle. Northumberland is also one of the best places in the UK for stargazing, so be sure to spend an evening at Kielder Observatory watching the night sky. Just be sure to book in advance as the stargazing events are extremely popular.

Where to eat

What better to eat on a trip to the seaside than seafood itself? The Potted Lobster is a relaxed restaurant with a menu packed with fresh, locally caught seafood, from Lindisfarne Oysters (in case you fancy an aphrodisiac), to lobster thermidor and seafood platters for two. The Brasserie at the Victoria Hotel is also famed for its seasonal produce and friendly northern welcome, alongside its decadent afternoon teas.

Where to stay

Just south of Bamburgh you’ll find Beadnell Towers, a boutique hotel with a handful of both accessible and dog-friendly rooms. The rooms are modern yet cosy and have lovely, large waterfall showers – ideal after a long day outdoors. If you prefer some space to yourselves, check out Budle Bay Bothies’ Two Shakes – a stylish and snug shepherds hut, hand-built to traditional methods. It’s got everything you need for a glamping break, plus an outdoor fire pit to keep you toasty in winter.

Find more romantic things to do in Northumberland
12

Enjoy an intimate island stay in Ventnor

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Medicinal Garden in Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Make your romantic getaway more exotic with a trip to the Isle of Wight’s southern coast. Ventnor, with its unique micro-climate, is ideal for a warm winter break filled with outdoorsy activities. Take to the clear waters on a kayak or surfboard, or crack open a bottle of bubbly on the soft sands of Ventnor Beach. Stroll along the coastline to Shanklin, an olde-worlde village lined with charming shops and restaurants, for a spot of lunch, or stay for the evening to catch a show at the Shanklin Theatre. If you only do one thing though, make sure it’s a visit to Ventnor Botanic Garden. Home to 30,000 subtropical plants, Britain’s hottest garden is bursting with colour. Discover the garden’s secret corners with secluded seating areas and views over the English Channel, and organise a private Tunnel Tour where you can explore the underground caverns and hidden passageways that lead from the tropical gardens to the seashore. Oh, and just so you know, you can get married here too.

Where to eat

For waterfront scenery, check out The Spyglass Inn in Ventnor Bay. Its menu features locally sourced ingredients and there are regular performances from local bands too. The Admiral’s Platter is a must for seafood lovers too. For a proper pub lunch, break up a walk with a stop at The Buddle Inn, a 16th-century clifftop pub in the island’s Area of Natural Beauty. Noted for its real ales and cosy vibes, it also has the likes of duck bao buns and smoked haddock scotch eggs on the menu. Alternatively, if you want to splash the cash a bit, book a table at Michelin-starred The Hambrough Restaurant, an intimate eatery that showcases the island’s best produce.

Where to stay

Opt for a tropical stay onsite at the Botanic Gardens in The Cabin. Tucked away in the Upper Nursery with views out over the Channel, this wood-panelled hideaway even has its own Mediterranean garden. Or go all out with a room at one of the oldest hotels on the island, The Royal. As its name suggests, this former coaching house has welcomed in royalty over the years and was said to be Queen Victoria’s favourite place to visit in Ventnor. Nestled in exotic south-facing gardens, the hotel also has an outdoor heated pool, daily high tea and a two AA Rosette restaurant.

Find more romantic breaks on the Isle of Wight
13

Be swept off your feet in Southwold

Southwold, Suffolk

Row of beach houses along Southwold beach

Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, is a quintessentially British seaside town, complete with a beach hut-lined promenade and Victorian pier. Feel the salty sea air hit your faces as you walk together along Southwold Beach before heading down the pier to catch a glimpse of its playful water clock. Be sure to visit Adnams, a Southwold institution, on a brewery or distillery tour where you can learn all about how their tipples are made, before indulging in a few for yourself. If you’re looking for something extra special, book a gin-making experience and take home a bottle of booze tailored to your taste buds. And for the ultimate date night, catch a flick at the intimate Electric Picture Palace which, through its deep-rouge décor, usherettes and Tiny Wurlitzer organ that appears during the interval, aims to recapture the golden age of cinema.

Where to eat

After a busy morning, stop by the Tiptree Tea Room for a light lunch of cream tea. Everything is served alongside Tiptree jams and marmalades and there’s even cute outdoor courtyard seating. For seaside classics like fish and chips and fresh oysters, head to harbourside Sole Bay Fish Company, a restaurant and takeaway where all the seafood is caught daily using their own boats. Elsewhere, eco-conscious Sutherland House is perfect for that extra touch of luxury. This adult-only fine-dining restaurant is exclusively laid out with tables for two and offers predominantly seafood and plant-based dishes. They even print food miles on the menu, so you know exactly where your food is from. 

Where to stay

Right in the centre of town, The Swan Hotel has been welcoming guests for over 350 years. Nowadays, the hotel is home to stylish and contemporary bedrooms with luxury down bedding, and come with a bottle of Adnams gin on the house. Further along the coast is The Sail Loft, a beachside restaurant with rooms. As well as sleek décor, the venue is dog-friendly and hosts weekly live music sessions. Alternatively, head inland for a night with nature at the Birch Igluhut at Blyth Rise. Sleeping two people, this lodge is surrounded by wildlife (including a resident otter) and has access to two sauna cabins.

Discover more romantic things to do in Southwold
20 May 2022(last updated)

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  • 1

    Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

  • 2

    London

  • 3

    Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

  • 4

    Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

  • 5

    Chester, Cheshire

  • 6

    Bath, Somerset

  • 7

    Lake District, Cumbria

  • 8

    The Cotswolds

  • 9

    East Sussex

  • 10

    St Ives, Cornwall

  • 11

    Bamburgh, Northumberland

  • 12

    Ventnor, Isle of Wight

  • 13

    Southwold, Suffolk

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