♥ Top 10 Romantic Getaways in the UK for 2021 ♥
Love birds needn't fly aboard to places like Paris for a romantic getaway. There are so many beautiful places in the UK that are perfect for weekend breaks with your other half. There's also the added bonus of not worrying about missing flights or forgetting euros! From cosy villages that seem straight out of a fairytale to bustling cities full of excitement, lush rolling countryside to stunning sandy beaches, there's something to inspire every couple.
At Holiday Extras we want to help take the hassle out of finding where to go for your next steamy staycation, so we've rounded up our top 10 romantic breaks in the UK below, along with recommendations on what to get up to while you're there.
- 1. The Cotswolds, England
- 2. London, England
- 3. Lake District, England
- 4. Bath, England
- 5. Peak District, England
- 6. Edinburgh, Scotland
- 7. Isle of Skye, Scotland
- 8. Cambridge, England
- 9. York, England
- 10. Pembrokeshire, Wales
1. The Cotswolds, England
Best for couples looking for quintessentially English, romantic getaways in the countryside, with dreamy villages and unspoilt landscapes
With its postcard perfect villages, cosy country pubs, impressive stately homes and impeccably manicured gardens, the Cotswolds is a classic choice for a romantic weekend break.
- Explore the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. When people think of quintessential English villages, chances are they're picturing somewhere in the Cotswolds. Think chocolate box cottages, winding cobbled streets, small independent shops and friendly restaurants. Take a look at our top 5 best Cotswolds villages below:
- Bibury - The beautiful village of Bibury is famed for its historic row of cottages dating back to 1380. Arlington Row is the most photographed street in the whole country and even appears on UK passports.
- Castle Combe - Castle Combe is often described not only as the prettiest village in the Cotswolds, but as the prettiest village in all of England.
- Bourton-on-the-Water - With handsome stone bridges spanning the River Windrush, which runs through the heart of the town, Bourton-on-the-Water is known as the Venice of the Cotswolds.
- The Slaughters - Twin villages, Upper and Lower Slaughter, are utterly idyllic and have remained untouched for over a century!
- Painswick - Known as the 'Queen of the Cotswolds' for its regal hill-top position and heritage architecture, Painswick is packed with charm.
Other villages and towns well worth adding to your itinerary include: Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford, Broadway, Cirencester and Chipping Campden to name just a few.
- Experience the beauty of the Cotswolds Lavender Fields. There's no need to travel all the way to Provence in France to enjoy endless rows of purple, when you've got the Cotswolds right here at home! Take a trip to the Cotswolds Lavender farm in Snowshill and breathe in that relaxing, summer scent! You'll have the opportunity to explore the fields, learn about the distillery process, take photos, buy goodies from the gift shop and enjoy some tea and cake in the tearoom.
The lavender fields should start to come into flower around mid June, with the best time to see them in early-mid July. We'd recommend checking the website for harvest timings, to avoid any disappointment.
- Cosy up in a traditional Cotswolds pub. With low wooden beams, open fires, local brews and hearty meals, there's something about a good country pub, isn't there? Well, you'll be pleased to hear that the Cotswolds is brimming with them! Whether you're craving a traditional Sunday lunch, irresistible doorstop sandwiches or something a little lighter, there's a place perfect for you both. We've rounded up some of the most highly reviewed pubs in the Cotswolds:
If a romantic afternoon tea, with fluffy baked scones and dainty finger foods, is more your cup of tea, we've got you covered too. Take a look at our top 5 best afternoon tea spots in the Cotswolds:
- Immerse yourself in the history of stately homes and castles. The Cotswolds boasts some of the most splendid stately homes and castles in the UK, that are ideal date spots, not to mention wedding locations! With places such as Sudeley Castle, known for being the 'most romantic castle in England' and Lacock Abbey, a quirky yet gorgeous 13th century country home, that's also a famous filming location (appearing in Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice), you'll be spoilt for choice! More awe-inspiring homes include: Snowshill Manor,
Sezincote, and Blenheim Palace to name just a few.
- Picnic with panoramic views across the Cotswolds. Broadway Tower and Park is the place to go if you'd like to enjoy a pretty spectacular backdrop as you feast on your picnic. Broadway Tower, set within 50-acres of parkland, is the second highest spot in the Cotswolds and on clear days views span up to 16 counties. The Tower, known as the 'Highest Little Castle in the Cotswolds', which is actually a folly, stands at an impressive 65 ft tall! After your picnic it's well worth climbing up to the top for some seriously atmospheric views of the Cotswolds.
2. London, England
Best for couples looking for romantic city breaks in the UK with a generous dash of luxury. Tick off bucket-list sights and explore hidden gems
From West End shows to set the mood on your date night, to thrilling River Thames boat rides that are sure to get hearts racing, London is bursting with romantic opportunities. When it comes to city breaks in the UK, a visit to the capital shouldn't be overlooked, especially if you're looking for a luxury weekend away.
- Pack up a picnic to enjoy in one of London's gloriously green Parks. London is a green city. It's so green in fact, that it falls under the UN's definition of a forest. Yes, you read that right! There are hundreds of flower-packed parks dotted around the city, that are just waiting to be explored with your special someone. For the best city views while you enjoy your alfresco feast, check out Greenwich Park, Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and St James's Park. For a spot of deer spotting, there's no better place than Richmond Park.
If you plan your staycation in Spring you'll be able to experience the Parks (and the rest of London) during the famous cherry blossom season. Taking a wander beneath stretches of pink petals sounds pretty romantic to us.
- Explore some of London's prettiest neighbourhoods hand in hand. Notting Hill, South Kensington, Hampstead, Dulwich, Chelsea and Little Venice are just a handful of our favourites. With countless shops, cafés, pubs, colourful houses and historic buildings, there's a lot to love about these areas.
- Snuggle up on a River Thames Cruise. Sit back and relax as you take in London's most iconic sights from the water. For an extra dose of romance, why not include an afternoon tea and lovely glass of bubbly? If this sounds like your cup of tea, be sure to check out our Thames River Cruise with Afternoon Tea & Hotel Stay offer. We combine your cruise tickets, afternoon tea and luxurious 4-star hotel in a simple, money-saving package. Thrill seeking couples might prefer a high-speed River Thames boat tour! Hold on to each other tight as you zoom along, taking in the city views. We've partnered up with Travelzoo to offer you a fantastic deal on this thrilling boating experience - enjoy 39% off!
- Soak up breathtaking views over London with a visit to The View from The Shard. You'll be able to take in over 200 London landmarks including Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, and the River Thames. Fancy wining and dining your other half? The Shard is the perfect place, boasting six restaurants, all offering impeccable menus and incredible views. At Holiday Extras you can package your The View from The Shard tickets with a choice of 4-star hotels (with breakfast included) to help make your romantic city break unforgettable.
Plan your visit to The Shard during sunset hours to enjoy some magical views. With the sunset as your backdrop, your selfies are going to be pretty special.
- Want to make your romantic getaway a real show-stopper? A trip to London's West End is calling. It is, after all, one of the best places in the world to see a live show. From long-standing favourites like The Lion King to exciting new shows like Pretty Woman there's something for everyone. Browse our money-saving Theatre Break Deals and treat your date to show tickets and a stylish hotel stay, that is sure to put a skip in their step.
Still looking for more inspiration? Check out top deals on London experiences, including massages and Michelin-star meals, with our partner Travelzoo.
3. Lake District, England
Best for couples looking for beautiful walking holidays in the UK, who have a soft spot for majestic lakes, mountains and some of Britain's literary greats
With crystal lakes, sweeping fells, beautiful villages, and snug cottages, the Lake District is the ideal setting for your next couples getaway. These are the landscapes that inspired romantic poets, such as Wordsworth, writers and artists for centuries, after all!
4. Bath, England
Best for couples looking for relaxing spa staycations, who are eager to discover historic sights and top-notch foodie spots
If city breaks in the UK are your favourite, a trip to Bath is an absolute must. With its famous honey-coloured Georgian architecture, thermal spa waters, gorgeous parks and tearooms aplenty, this UNESCO-protected city is a joy to explore.
- Treat yourself to a spa session at Thermae Bath Spa. For the ultimate couples spa experience, make sure you add the Thermae Bath Spa to your itinerary. The spa uses the water from the three natural hot springs in Bath, allowing you to bathe in naturally warm, mineral-rich waters just as the Romans did. There's also an open-air rooftop pool (that can be enjoyed day or night) where you can soak up swoon-worthy views of the city, while cosying up in the water. What are you waiting for? There's fluffy robes and slippers with your names on them!
- Fly over the city in a hot air balloon
. Bath is undoubtedly beautiful from the ground, but for truly extraordinary views of the city and surrounding Somerset countryside, take to the sky! Drifting over Bath with your partner in a hot air balloon, taking in unique views of Bath's famous landmarks like the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey, is sure to be an experience that will stay with you both forever. Some packages even serve chilled Champagne in flight. Cheers to that!
- Try the famous Bath delicacy - Sally Lunn buns. Sally Lunn's is the place to enjoy one of the city's most famous foods - the Sally Lunn bun. The buns, which are described as part bun, part bread, part cake, and can have both sweet and savory toppings, have visitors flocking from near and far to get a taste. If you're lucky with the weather we highly recommend taking your buns to go and enjoying them in the Royal Victoria Park with Bath's iconic Royal Crescent as a backdrop.
- See Bath's iconic sights. Exploring the city on foot is a great way to take in all the sights that Bath has to offer. Wander at your own pace, taking in the waterways, historic Georgian streets and beautiful parks, but be sure to look out for these top 5 iconic attractions along the way:
- Walk the Bath Skyline. The Bath Skyline, a 6-mile circular walk, provides couples with a romantic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy a relaxing, countryside ramble through meadows, woodland and hidden valleys, all while taking in new perspectives of Bath. Walking boots, cameras and picnics at the ready!
Check out the route on the National Trust website.
5. Peak District, England
Best for couples looking for UK holidays in the countryside with endless beauty spots to explore, from vistas to villages
Lush English countryside? Check. Picturesque villages? Tick. Tasty local dishes? Definitely. Derbyshire and the Peak District have everything you need for a charming, weekend getaway in the UK. Leave with muddy boots, full to the brim with Bakewell pudding and feeling completely loved up.
- Recreate your own Pride and Prejudice moment at Stanage Edge. When you think about the Peak District, the dramatic rock scenery of Stanage Edge probably comes to mind. Set in the Dark Peak moorlands with spectacular far-reaching views of Hope Valley, Stanage Edge found fame on the big screen as the stunning spot where a windswept Elizabeth Bennett (played by Keira Knightley) is dreaming of Mr Darcy in the 2005 film, Pride and Prejudice. Fans of the film, along with hikers and rock climbers are drawn to the area to experience this incredible setting for themselves.
- Watch the sunset from Monsal Head. Monsal Head, looking down on Monsal Dale, is one of the most celebrated views in the Peaks, loved by ramblers and photographers alike. The combination of the winding River Wye at the bottom of the dale, the handsome Headstone Viaduct and Fin Cop hill make this an irresistible spot for watching the sun go down after a day of exploring. Turn the romance up a notch by packing a blanket, along with some snacks and fizz, for your very own rom-com worthy sunset experience.
- Wander the grounds of Chatsworth House. Known as the 'Palace of the Peaks', Chatsworth House is one of the area's most romantic locations. The beautifully maintained, 105-acre garden, that boasts everything from water features to rose gardens, and the 1,000-acre parkland on the banks of the River Derwent, are the perfect places for an unforgettably scenic stroll. While you're there, why not treat yourself to some local goodies from the award-winning estate farm shop.
- Visit the prettiest villages in the Peak District. While the Peak District is famous for its rolling green hills and brooding moors, it also boasts numerous charming villages and small towns that are well worth visiting. Country pubs, independent shops, and historic streets are waiting to be explored. Take a look at our top 5 villages and towns in the Peak District below:
- Bakewell - Bakewell is often described as the heart of the Peak District. Of course, a trip isn't complete without trying the town's world-renowned
Did you know?
The famous Bakewell pudding was actually first created by accident! The story goes that Mrs Greaves, the landlord of the White Horse Inn, left instructions to her cook to make a jam tart. Instead of mixing the almond paste and eggs into the pastry, the cook spread the mixture on top of the tart. It turns out, the mishap went down a treat!
- Ashford-in-the-Water - This chocolate box village is home to the famous Sheep Wash Bridge, which is said to be the most photographed bridge in Britain.
- Castleton - Located in the Hope Valley, in the heart of the White Peak, Castleton is particularly popular for its show caves, idyllic walks, and beautiful Christmas lights.
- Edale - The pocket sized and exceptionally pretty Edale is known to many for being the start/end of Britain's first and most famous long distance walking trail - the Pennine Way.
- Edensor - Edensor is a stunning custom-built village near Chatsworth Park , specially commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire. Marvel at the charming mixture of different house styles, from Tudor to Norman, with Swiss-style cottages and Italian-style villas.
- Snuggle up in your very own luxury hot tub lodge - What could be more romantic than relaxing in warm bubbles next to your partner, with a glass of something chilled, in the gorgeous Peak District? Hot tub breaks in the UK are becoming increasingly popular with couples and thanks to places like Darwin Forest and its dreamy spa lodges, it's easy to see why. In addition to your own private hot tub, there are loads of amazing onsite facilities and activities to enjoy, from the indoor swimming pool to the spa, body zorbing to mini golf. There are also an array of beautiful countryside walks right on your doorstep. It's the perfect place for spending quality time with your loved one.
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
Best for couples looking for city short breaks in the UK that are brimming with amazing culture and cuisine
A city with enchanting architecture, glorious green spaces and a thriving food and culture scene. Edinburgh is sure to get you in the mood for love!
- Take a romantic stroll along the Water of Leith. The 12 mile long pathway follows the river, which runs through the heart of Edinburgh, and passes popular hotspots including the Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, the Royal Botanic Gardens and more. There are plenty of entry/exit points up and down the river walk, allowing you to tailor the perfect route for you and your loved one. One of our favourite spots is Dean Village, a uniquely charming pocket of Edinburgh, with its cobbled streets and beautiful stone houses dating back to the 17th century.
- Watch the sunset from Calton Hill. Marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can enjoy panoramic views of the whole city from Carlton Hill. Take in impressive views of Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle from the South, and Arther's Seat and the rolling slopes of Holyrood Park from the North. Whatever time of day you visit, you're in for a treat! That being said, soaking up the scenery while the sun sets is pretty hard to beat.
- Enjoy a picnic in Princes Street Gardens. Looking for the perfect spot to lay down a blanket, tuck into a delicious picnic and enjoy amazing city views? Princes Street Gardens needs to be on your to-do list. The Gardens, made up of 2 adjacent parks, spread over 37 acres so there's plenty of green space to enjoy.
Did you know?
Princes Street Gardens was created by draining Edinburgh's largest loch, the Nor Loch!
- Attend a chocolate tasting evening at COCO. If you and your loved one love chocolate, this is one sweet date idea. At the Chocolate Connoisseur Evening , run by Coco Chocolate, you'll learn all about the history of chocolate, get to try cocoa nibs, and of course get to taste some exciting chocolate and liquor pairings!
- Go whisky tasting. There is no drink more synonymous with Scotland than whisky, and what better way to experience the famous, national drink than with a whisky tasting experience. One of the most popular whisky distilleries to visit is the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you can learn all about the production and sample a selection of whiskies. Cheers to that!
If you plan your weekend break in Scotland during August, you'll be able to experience the explosion of culture as the city hosts the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There's theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, music, exhibitions and so much more! There's truly something for everyone to enjoy.
7. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Best for couples looking for UK getaways with other-wordly landscapes, dramatic coastlines and wildlife to appreciate
The beautiful landscapes and scenery of the Isle of Skye are sure to take your breath away. Experience the famous lush valleys, mountains, crystal clear pools, and hidden beaches together.
- Dip your toes in the fairy pools. One of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Skye is to visit the Fairy Pools. Located at the foot of the beautiful Cuillin Mountains, the famous Fairy Pools are a collection of pools with crystal clear water that feel like they belong in the pages of a fantasy novel. Whether you fancy a romantic walk around the waterfalls, tempted by a little paddle in the blue pools or prepared to brave a swim (even in summer the water is chilly!), it's sure to be a moment you both remember.
- Explore the Quiraing. The Quiraing, located in the Trotternish area, is an incredible place steeped in natural beauty and history. Formed by a massive landslip, the area boasts high cliffs, rock pinnacles, and hidden plateaus, with small lakes at the base of the mountains. Pull on your walking boots, pack your camera and take in these dramatic and utterly spectacular views on the Quiraing Circuit. You might recognise some of the views from the big screen, as it's featured in films such as The BFG, Macbeth, Stardust, and plenty more!
- Go on a thrilling wildlife boat cruise. What better way to take in the wild stretches of coastline, learn from local experts and spot a variety of marine wildlife than with an Isle of Skye boat trip. Get the chance to see a colony of puffins, otters, dolphins, whales, basking sharks, even sea eagles, the UK's largest and rarest bird of prey. A real must for any animal lovers! Whether you're looking for a relaxing cruise or something a bit more fast and thrilling, there's a boating experience to suit every couple.
- Wander around Portree. The Isle of Skye's capital, Portree, is a wonderful base for your trip. One of the main attractions is the bustling harbour, lined with vibrant rainbow houses - think Copenhagen lite! There's also plenty of independent shops and restaurants to enjoy, along with the award-winning Aros Centre, which regularly runs theatre, concerts and film screenings, if you've got a bit of downtime.
- Have a beach day. The Isle of Skye is home to some of the most gorgeous, tropical-looking beaches in the UK. They're the perfect place for a bit of relaxation, some snorkelling or paddleboarding and possibly even a BBQ. A couple of our favourite beaches include: Camas Daraich and Coral Beach, both of which boast lush golden sands, turquoise clear waters and some lovely nearby walks. Please note: access to these beaches requires some hiking but trust us when we say, it's completely worth it. Plus you get some pretty jaw-dropping, panoramic views from above.
It's easy to forget these beaches aren't in the Caribbean, but remember, this is Scotland (not famous for its balmy temperatures), so if you're planning a day trip we'd recommend packing some layers and a beach tent.
8. Cambridge, England
Best for couples looking for loved-up weekend breaks in the UK, with plenty of cultural goings-on and history to discover
There's so much more to Cambridge than its prestigious, world-renowned university and beautiful historic buildings. With stunning rooftop bars to cosy outdoor cinemas, this city is as charming as they come and absolutely perfect for romantic weekend getaways.
- Punt down the River Cam. A trip to Cambridge without going punting is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. This quintessential Cambridge pastime should be fully embraced! Step aboard a traditional punt and float along the River Cam, cruising past landmarks like King's College, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Mathematical Bridge, while your professional punter shares little-known facts (and urban legends) about the city and the colleges. One of the most established punting companies is Scudamore's, however there are plenty of tour sellers to choose from, so be sure to shop around and see what suits you best.
- Sip cocktails on the SIX rooftop bar. Just picture it now: after a fun-filled day of exploring you're lounging on a sofa together, high above the city, watching the sun set over the Cambridge skyline with your favourite boozy beverage in hand. If that doesn't sound like the ultimate date night, we don't know what would! The super chic bar, located on the top floor of the 4-star Varsity Hotel has it all - a chilled out elegance, unbeatable city views and a seriously impressive food and drinks menu.
- Catch a film snuggled under the stars. For a truly unforgettable outdoor cinema experience with extra romance and whimsy, look no further than Star & Mouse Picture Show. This delightful pop-up cinema, with their whopping 52ft Airscreen and stripey deckchairs, host film screenings in gorgeous locations all around Cambridge, from the River Cam to Madingley Hall. Star & Mouse always go the extra mile to make screenings a magical experience - think fairy lights, cosy fire pits, delicious food and drink, and pre-film entertainment like giant jenga and live music. Browse upcoming screenings and book tickets via their website. Blankets and hot water bottles at the ready!
- Wander the Botanic Gardens. From tropical glasshouses to British wild flowers, rose gardens to rock gardens, there's so much to explore over the 40 acres of beautiful grounds. If you're a picnicking pair, there are plenty of pretty spots to lay your blanket and if cafés are more your scene, the on-site café is there for all your cake and coffee needs. The Gardens boast a thriving events programme so it's always worth checking out if anything coincides with your visit.
- Make your own gin at the Cambridge Gin Laboratory. The Cambridge Gin Lab, owned and operated by the award-winning Cambridge Distillery, is a gin-lover's paradise. Whether you fancy creating your very own gin, tailored to your tastes, getting scientific with a molecular cocktail making class or simply sampling some award winning spirits, there's a gin tasting experience to suit every couple. Leave with new-found knowledge of gin and, quite possibly, feeling rather merry!
9. York, England
Best for couples looking for romantic breaks in the UK, who are self-confessed history buffs and chocoholics.
From admiring the beauty of the city from York Minster to wandering hand in hand along one of the world's most famous streets, York, full of old-world charm, is a fantastic pick for your next romantic city break.
- Hop aboard a city river cruise. Get a unique perspective of the city and learn fascinating facts about York's history on a cruise along the River Ouse. It's a brilliant way to soak up everything York has to offer all while resting your feet and enjoying a drink or two from the bar. If you book with our partner, Travelzoo, you can nab 33% off your sightseeing river cruise. Fancy sitting in the captain's seat? Why not hire a self-drive motor boat and spend some quality time navigating the waterways just you two.
- Marvel at the grand York Minster. Many will say a trip to York isn't complete without seeing its most iconic sight - York Minster. Famed for being one of the world's most magnificent cathedrals, the incredible gothic architecture and expansive stained-glass windows are seriously impressive and worth experiencing up close. While there, we highly recommend climbing the tower itself. There are just under 300 steps and some cosy stairwells to tackle but, once you make it to the top, the bird's-eye-views across the whole of York make it totally worth it.
- Stroll the world-famous Shambles. The Shambles is York's most famous street, it won an award for being the most picturesque street in Britain and is one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Oh and thanks to its cobble stones and overhanging buildings, it's believed to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley, making it a hot spot for Harry Potter fans. Talk about prestigious! The Shambles (and the adjoining alleyways, known as Snickelways) are lined with cafés, bookshops, sweet shops, jewellers, quirky boutiques, dedicated Harry Potter shops, and so many more gems. It's sure to be a delight to explore together.
Being as popular as it is, the Shambles gets very busy so we'd recommend visiting early in the morning or late evening. Weekends are particularly busy so, if you're able, it's best to visit on a weekday.
- Walk the city walls. When in York, a romantic stroll around the Roman-built city walls is a must. Away from the hustle and bustle you'll discover views of the city that you wouldn't otherwise catch from the street, particularly of The Minster. Whether you decide to complete the whole circuit, which will take around 2 hours, or opt for a shorter walk, you're sure to enjoy some cracking views and maybe even learn something new (thanks to the information plaques along the way)! For couples taking the shorter route, we'd recommend the walk between Bootham Bar and Monk Bar, which is a truly picturesque section of the Walls walk, with lovely views of the York Minster and Dean's Park.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at York's Chocolate Story. Known once as the Chocolate City, York has a long and fascinating history of chocolate production with Rowntree's and Terry's both starting here. That's right, York is home to the beloved Kit Kat and Chocolate Orange! The best way to unwrap this chocolate history is to visit York's Chocolate Story. Here you'll learn about the origins of chocolate, York's most famous chocolate-making families, the art of chocolatier, how to taste like an expert and, best of all, tuck into lots of chocolatey goodness.
10. Pembrokeshire, Wales
Best for couples looking for beach holidays in the UK, who are craving glorious coastals walks to hair-raising water sports
With dazzling Blue Flag beaches, stunning coastal hikes, and spectacular islands, it's no surprise that National Geographic named the Pembrokeshire Coast the second best coastline in the world! If romantic getaways by the sea are your thing, Pembrokeshire needs to be on your list.