Best of British Romantic Escapes

BY Laura Dean-Osgood

1st Jan 2015 Travel

Best of British Romantic Escapes

Why splash out on Paris or Rome when you can get that loving feeling right here in the UK? We pick the best spots and activities to enjoy with your partner.

A Night In A Log Cabin

Strathyre, Stirling


Escape everyday life and venture deep into the Scottish countryside for a romantic night or two in a luxury log cabin. The 35 cabins at this site in Strathyre are dotted along the westerly shore of Loch Lubnaig, with enough space between them to give guests the feeling of quiet seclusion.

If you’re feeling adventurous, hire bicycles to explore the area and cook dinner on your own campfire, or simply kick back and soak in your private, outdoor hot tub. Guests can also book a lesson with the forest ranger, where you’ll learn how to identify animal tracks and explore the forest in the dead of night with the help of night vision goggles.


A Luxury Spa Break

Careys Manor, Hampshire


Recharge your batteries in beautiful surroundings at this spa hotel in the middle of the New Forest. The cosy country-house reception has a large roaring fire and sweeping staircase, and you can shake off your cares with a laid-back itinerary of pursuits.

Guests have free roam of the infinity pool, jacuzzi and sauna, which look out onto the grounds, or can book into the SenSpa for some serious, dedicated you-time. Go through the discreetly positioned door to the candlelit spa area and relax in the warm pool, which features below-water loungers with controllable jacuzzi jets and fountains to blast away the cobwebs.

The rainforest showers, meanwhile, simulate the smells and sounds of a tropical storm, or you can simply recline on a sculpted chair in perfect temperatures. The hotel also has two restaurants, so you can enjoy a hearty meal and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.


A Stargazing Evening

Exmoor National Park, Somerset

Light-polluted skies and our busy lives mean we sometimes forget to look up at the night sky and ponder our place in the universe. As the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe, Exmoor National Park enjoys a distinguished quantity of starry nights. Visitors can hire telescopes from the park centres, download sky maps and guides from the website, and take part in events.

The Yarn Market hotel runs a weekend stargazing course this month, led by an acclaimed astronomer, along with bed, breakfast and dinner.


A Pottery Course

Nether Hall, Suffolk


Take a couple of days or a whole week to learn a new skill with your loved one and get utterly absorbed in creating some of your own masterpieces. Residential pottery courses are taught by established potter Deborah Baynes at her countryside home and studio, which boasts inspiring views of the River Orwell.

After a hearty breakfast, and under Deborah’s expert instruction, you can tap into your inner potter and learn to mould, throw, slip and glaze before breaking for lunch with your fellow students. It’s a fun activity to share with  your other half, and also a great way to make like-minded friends.


A Wine-Tasting Trip

In The Countryside Denbies, Surrey


What better way to get to know each other than over a glass of deep red or sparkling rosé, while learning all about the wine-making and tasting process? Set in the beautiful North Downs in leafy Surrey, Denbies is a vast vineyard that offers many choices for a romantic trip or getaway. 

This month, for instance, you can try a group cheese- and wine-making lesson, tour the winery or explore the atmospheric cellars while working your way through some delicious drinks. From March onwards, guests can take part in grape-picking classes and walking tours that take in the  panoramic viewpoints within the vineyard or take the Denbies train through the grounds with a glass of sparkling Cuvée in your hands.

If you need a good snooze, after all, that wine and walking, cuddle up for a night at the cosy onsite B&B.


A Remote Seaside Sojourn

The Shingle House, Kent


Dungeness on the Kent coast is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe and is officially Britain’s only desert. This fascinating landscape, dotted with small dwellings and two lighthouses, is also home to the beautiful Shingle House, which is available for short stays all year round. It was designed by architects Nord, who redeveloped the buildings with the area’s colours and textures in mind.

“A lot of the ideas have originated from the experience of Dungeness,” says architect Alan Pert. “It’s very different throughout the seasons and that’s one of the things that’s fascinating about it. Many of the elements of the landscape have found their way into the internal spaces.”

Guests can truly get away from it all here and enjoy the breathtaking and ever-changing scenery of the vast beach, which is a nature reserve and home to an incredible array of fauna.


A Stay In A Private Castle

Helen’s Tower, County Down


Built in 1848, Helen’s Tower has been immortalised in lyrical poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning, and a few nights’ stay in this private castle will make you fall in love with it too. 

As romantic locations go, it’s hard to beat. A spiral staircase leads to an octagonal room with an open fire while the views from the top stretch as far as the shores of Scotland. The tower is also an ideal base for exploring the woodland of the Clandeboye Estate and the surrounding area.


A Canal Cruise


View the British countryside from a whole new perspective by spending a few days on the canal. Once you’re behind the wheel of your private boat, the Warwickshire Ring route chugs through beautiful Leamington Spa and past Warwick Castle, and you can moor and explore at your leisure.

“Cruising the canals is a great way to experience total relaxation while trying something new,” says Leighton Jones of Black Prince, whose popular breaks are taken by couples “simply looking to get away from it all”.

Narrowboats are available from two to ten berth, so are ideal for couples and groups of friends, and a full orientation is provided.