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Portmeirion might be the quaintest place in Wales
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15 of the best romantic weekend getaways in the UK

Whether you’re looking for history, culture or nature (or all three), our pick of the best romantic weekend getaways in the UK has you covered

Written by
John Bills
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It is the most romantic time of the year. Valentine’s Day may be greeted with a certain level of cynicism by some portions of the population, but the past couple of years will surely have blown away some of that. After all, you can never have enough joy in your life, and what is more joyful than exploring the most romantic corners of the UK? It sure beats whatever is happening in the news. Get out into all the beautiful countryside, charming towns and incredible coastline that the UK has to offer. 

There is something inherently romantic about this country. Maybe it’s all the history, the poetry, the love songs – or maybe it’s simply the gorgeous places in which all of this comes together. But there’s no point worrying about where it comes from. Planning a loved-up weekend getaway in the UK? Head out and explore one of these thoroughly romantic holiday destinations.

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Best romantic weekend getaways in the UK

Describing a destination as inherently romantic is a tricky business. After all, is it not as much about the experience as the location? In matters of the heart, who you are with is more important than who you are, right? Of course, but discard all that for a second and consider the magnificent romance of the Lake District. The open fires of the charming cottages are the things that books are written about, while the entire district offers up a conveyor belt of magical hotels, in a thoroughly magical setting. Mosey on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway for a spot of old-fashioned travel charm before checking in on the house of William Wordsworth, the king of romantic English poetry.

📍Discover the best things to do in the Lake District

What is love? Happiness, peace, beauty, comfort and a reinvigoration of the soul are all things that come to mind, and if that makes the Isle of Skye the picturesque manifestation of love then so be it. Scotland’s rugged north-west goes about its business as only it can, with alluring villages and medieval castles that create the perfect environment for a spot of romance. Book a night in a yurt for the ultimate back-to-basics experience.

📍Discover the best things to do on the Isle of Skye

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The quaintness of an Italian village mixed with the unrelenting charm of the Welsh? Portmeirion, you are a dream. Designed and built in the twentieth century by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is a treasure trove of gorgeous buildings and romantic nooks, perfect for ambling arm in arm with the love of your life. Being a little village, Portmeirion isn’t overflowing with accommodation options, but the grace of Grade II-listed Hotel Portmeirion more than does the job.

📍Discover the best things to do in Portmeirion

Giant’s Causeway
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4. Giant’s Causeway

Love is magical and mysterious and it doesn’t come much more otherworldly than the Giant’s Causeway, found on the northern tip of Northern Ireland. One legend suggests that the causeway was built by a giant looking to shorten the distance to his great love, a distance he traversed but expended so much energy on that he died in the arms of his love. Luckily for modern visitors, you can simply wander around and take in the majesty of the scenery before heading into the surrounding hills for gorgeous hikes and even more gorgeous views.

📍Discover the best things to do in Northern Ireland

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England’s south-coast stunner is one of the most exciting cities in Europe, with adventure and exhilaration around every corner. Brighton might just be the friendliest city in England, too – and the city’s collection of boutique hotels, vintage shops and thrilling nightclubs make for a tremendous romantic getaway. The retro-rockabilly stylings of Hotel Pelirocco bring an undeniably ‘Brighton’ twist to the romantic-hotel world – the perfect stop after a day of ice cream on the beach.

📍Discover the best things to do in Brighton

Pembrokeshire
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6. Pembrokeshire

Wales is a wild wonderland of gorgeous storytelling and stunning nature, and it all comes together with added magic in Pembrokeshire. This is Wales at its most magnificent, with epic walks mapped out above some of the UK’s best beaches. There are no bad choices when it comes to stops, but Dale makes a great base from which to discover the magic of Pembrokeshire. Get ready for some serious cwtching.

📍Discover the best things to do in Wales 

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Dunfermline
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7. Dunfermline

Dunfermline flies under the radar somewhat as visitors flock to Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands, but that just means there’s more of this darling place for you and yours. A dramatic setting near the Firth of Forth helps. Scotland’s ancient capital is packed with sights for a romantic getaway, from the grandeur of Dunfermline Abbey and the tomb of Robert the Bruce to St Margaret’s Cave and verdant Pittencrieff Park. 

York’s cobbled streets were made for idle wandering. The northern charmer has long had a reputation for being one of England’s most romantic spots and it does not disappoint, its narrow streets conjuring up nostalgic ideas of love and longing in a different time. It also happens to be one of the country’s most exciting gastronomic cities, although you could eschew the fine dining in favour of pigging out at Heavenly Desserts. We won’t judge you.

📍Discover the best things to do in York

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Truth be told, you could cherry-pick any destination in Cornwall and you’ll find some romance to soothe the soul. Padstow has the restaurants and the Isles of Scilly have the seclusion, but it’s in St Ives that the best of the county comes together. The views over St Ives Bay are swoon-worthy, while the beauty of Porthminster Beach and St Michael’s Mount speak for themselves. Round it all off with dinner at Cellar Bistro, a down-to-earth boutique spot with buckets of charm and delicious food to boot.

📍Discover the best things to do in St Ives

The Beatles pretty much redefined the love song for a new generation of music lovers, and The Fab Four wouldn’t have been The Fab Four without Liverpool. The city on the Mersey has been through times good and bad but an indomitable spirit runs through the heart of it, making it a metaphor for love in city form. Be sure to take a slow stroll down Lark Lane (Aigburth), one of the most idyllic streets in northern England.

📍Discover the best things to do in Liverpool

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One of the most beautiful parts of Wales, the Brecon Beacons are overflowing with romantic experiences. Looking to overcome a major challenge alongside your beau? Dig out the climbing boots and hike to the top of Pen y Fan, where you’ll feel on top of the world (or at least on top of the Brecon Beacons). Searching for something that won’t put you out of breath? Amble down the Montgomeryshire and Brecon Canal, often voted the prettiest in Britain. Stop for food at The Felin Fach Griffin and book yourself a room for the night.

📍Discover the best things to do in the Brecon Beacons

North Norfolk coast
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12. North Norfolk coast

Referring to places as ‘underrated’ is the laziest of tropes these days, but it does feel like an apt way to describe this marvellous stretch of sea in the east of England. Norfolk in general goes overlooked (Norwich is one of the UK’s most engaging cities), and its coastline is right up there with the best around. The nostalgia of its seaside towns is accentuated by windswept beach walks and the best fish and chips the UK has to offer, making for a romantic destination that is all about getting back to the basics of love. Cromer is a real treat, with artisanal coffee shops doubling as art galleries as the sea does its thing in the background.

📍Discover the best things to do in Norfolk

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A small town just 11 miles from Belfast, Carrickfergus shimmers with the confidence of a town that knows its place in history. Artists and poets have flocked here for centuries, using the gorgeous setting of Carrickfergus Castle for inspiration. You might find yourself similarly inspired as the sun sets in the distance, covering this twelfth-century stunner in vibrant light. Swoon. As the old song goes, ‘I wish I was in Carrickfergus.’

📍Discover the best things to do in Northern Ireland

Oh Edinburgh, you charmer. The Scottish capital is just about as romantic as the UK gets, with dramatic old buildings holding tales of love and lust in their walls, backed by famous streets and idyllic views that stretch on and on and on. The Balmoral Hotel is home to some of the best views of the Old Town and Royal Mile that you could hope for, and the comfy beds will provide plenty of rest. That’s important, especially after you’ve climbed up to Arthur’s Seat to share a kiss with the city sprawling out in front of you.

📍Discover the best things to do in Edinburgh

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Spas are wonderfully romantic things, and they don’t come much more alluring than those found in Bath. In fact, a cursory glance at the best things to do in Bath might read like the perfect itinerary for a romantic getaway, from punting on the river to admiring all the iconic architecture before sipping cocktails and getting lost in gastronomic heaven. And, of course, the magnificence of thermal baths and relaxing massages before more cocktails and more gourmet food. Tremendous.

📍Discover the best things to do in Bath

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