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Ullswater, Lake District
Photograph: ShutterstockUllswater, Lake District

The 10 best honeymoon destinations in the UK

From Cornwall’s culinary delights to the rugged landscapes of Scotland, here are the best honeymoon destinations in the UK

Written by
Lorna Parkes
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Before the pandemic, a honeymoon in the UK might have sounded like an unusual idea. Shouldn’t we all be hotfooting it to a relaxing hotel pool somewhere hot and sticky? Rinsing our savings for cocktails in New York or flights to somewhere far-flung and off the radar? The fact is, we’ve now had time to appreciate what’s in our own backyard – and it’s pretty fantastic. 

From the outdoorsy delights of the Lakes and Yorkshire’s opulent country estates to seafood and whisky in Scotland and the pin-up beaches of the southern coast, there’s something for everyone here in the UK. So if your idea of romance no longer involves the prospect of lengthy airport queues, or you’ve decided to cut back on flying for environmental reasons, our pick of the best honeymoon destinations in the UK has you covered.

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The UK’s best honeymoon destinations

Skye, Scotland
Photograph: Nataliya Hora / Shutterstock.com

1. Skye, Scotland

Best for big landscapes

Though it’s connected to the Scottish mainland by bridge, the Isle of Skye has an aura of splendid isolation. Outdoorsy types will adore the topographical drama of the Cullin Hills, a coastal walk to the Old Man of Storr or a dip in the bracing Fairy Pools. But there’s also an excellent concentration of luxury lodges and splurge-worthy restaurants to indulge in. Honeymooners should spoil themselves with a stay at the shorefront Kinloch Lodge and a meal at the Michelin-starred Three Chimneys

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

Padstow, Cornwall
Photograph: djaphoto / Shutterstock.com

2. Padstow, Cornwall

Best for seafood stans

If food is your raison d’être, save up your pennies for Padstow. This upmarket Cornish seaside town is the home of celebrity seafood chef Rick Stein, who has turned the postcard-pretty village into a gourmet extravaganza. Foodies can book to stay either self-catering, above his flagship Seafood Restaurant or in one of six luxury, four-poster rooms at St Edmund’s House. Perhaps book onto a shellfish cooking course, or simply gorge yourself hopping around the harbour. If you can tear yourself away, Padstow is also a good jumping off point for romantic yacht sailing days from St Austell.

📍Discover the best things to do in Padstow

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Isles of Scilly
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3. Isles of Scilly

Best for feeling like you’re abroad

Archipelago island-hopping, Caribbean-worthy bays, subtropical gardens… is this still England? You bet it is – just. The Isles of Scilly trickle off the tip of south-west Cornwall like a cluster of glittering jewels. There are five main inhabited ones, but more than 140 to explore using the network of water taxis. Tresco makes a good base, with its island spa, romantic castle ruins and beautiful Abbey Gardens. Or try Bryher, home to just 80 or so residents and the award-winning Hell Bay hotel. Come in summer, when long balmy days can be spent frollicking on the pristine ivory sands, pootling about on a stand-up paddleboard or seeking out beach cafés for lazy seafood feasts. 

Portmeirion, North Wales
Photograph: BBA Photography / Shutterstock.com

4. Portmeirion, North Wales

Best for design aficionados

If you want to feel like you’re on the Italian Riviera without having to fly there, make a beeline for Portmeirion. This Welsh coastal village never fails to bowl over visitors with its romantic Italianate cupolas and pastel-coloured houses framing a central piazza. The entire, extraordinary village was the passion project of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who started building it in the 1920s. It featured in the cult 1960s programme The Prisoner, and walking around it does feel a bit like stumbling onto a film set. There are a handful of hotel and cottage options, including the waterside Portmeirion Hotel, with its Sir Terence Conran-designed bar and restaurant.

📍Discover the best things to do in Portmeirion

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Jurassic Coast
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Jurassic Coast

Best for coastal walks 

This unique stretch of chalk-white coastline from East Devon to Dorset is England’s only natural Unesco World Heritage Site, and forms a large part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding National Beauty. The magnificent natural limestone arch of Durdle Door beach is a highlight, but the whole coastline is a dreamy expanse made for lazy beach days and clifftop walks along the South West Coast Path. The Pig on the Beach at Studland is the perfect honeymoon splurge, with sea-foraged food on the menu and a private path down to the water.  

Yorkshire Dales National Park
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6. Yorkshire Dales National Park

Best for classy country hotels

This pastoral pin-up is well known for its outdoorsy appeal, attracting cyclists, climbers, cavers and hikers from around the globe. But hidden between the dry stone walls, rolling hills and bird-filled woodlands are also some of the UK’s most magnificent country estates. These opulent retreats make the Dales the perfect bolthole for couples who want fresh air, good food and cosy pubs – but also a touch of glamour. Splash the cash at Grantley Hall, an exclusive estate with Japanese gardens, a sumptuous spa and Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin restaurant. Or bag the castle turret suite at Swinton Park, where there’s a wild-swimming lake, mountain-biking trails and a druid’s folly hidden in the woods.

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North coast, Scotland
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. North coast, Scotland

Best for DIY adventurers

For those who prefer adventure to luxury, a NC500 road trip around the wild crown of Scotland could make the ultimate honeymoon. The thrashing coastline is never far from sight on this 500-mile circular loop, which weaves between Neolithic cairns, castles and coastal bays. DIY trip planners will love the nifty website, which includes suggested itineraries and hotel and campervan-site recommendations. You could frame a trip around puffin viewing or salmon leaping, focus on whisky-distillery tastings and seafood, or seek thrills with cliff-jumping or white-water rafting.   

Burgh Island, Devon
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8. Burgh Island, Devon

Best for Gatsby-style glamour

There’s something utterly romantic about staying on an island that gets cut off from the rest of the world at high tide. This tiny dot on the map is dominated by the Burgh Island Hotel, an art deco, Gatsby-esque beauty built in 1929 – when the sea is in, it sends a sea tractor to bring across its guests. Get dressed up to dine in the Grand Ballroom with a backdrop of live jazz piano, take a dip in the hotel’s utterly gorgeous natural ‘Mermaid Pool’, or simply hang out on your private sun deck gawping at the sea views.  

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Bath
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9. Bath

Best for spa lovers

Restaurant terraces, cocktail dens and honey-coloured Georgian architecture make Somerset’s spa capital a brilliant city break for couples who want urban excitement mixed with relaxation. There’s loads to do here, from scaring yourself witless at Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein museum to digging up history in the nationally important Roman Baths. But make sure you set aside a day to get utterly wrinkly in the excellent Thermae Bath Spa, topped by a gloriously steamy, mineral-rich, open-air pool overlooking the city spires.

📍Discover the best things to do in Bath

Ullswater, Lake District
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Ullswater, Lake District

Best for wild swimmers

Quieter than Windermere and arguably more beautiful, Ullswater is a great honeymoon pick for active types and moochers alike. It sits in the shadow of Hellvelyn, one of the Lakes’ most striking landmarks and popular mountain hikes. Vintage steamer boats ply the lake, making it easy to explore, whether you want to hike the 20-mile shorefront Ullswater Way, brave a wild lake paddle or soak yourself in the spray under the magnificent 65ft drop at Aira Force waterfall. At the lake’s northern end, Another Place is the sort of lovely, laid-back honeymoon retreat you’d expect from the Lakes – a 40-room hotel with garden yoga, a glass-walled lakeview pool, and a hot tub and sauna to soothe aching limbs.

📍Discover the best things to do in the Lake District

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