You needn’t travel far to impress that special someone – there’s plenty on offer on home turf. We’ve rounded up some of our most romantic UK hotels and hideaways, all ideal for relaxing minibreaks and hassle-free minimoons.
What could be more romantic than bubbling away in an alfresco hot tub, glass of wine in hand? How about bubbling away in an alfresco hot tub, glass of wine in hand, while gazing up at the majestic peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park? Spread across a former school and headmaster’s house, Yorebridge House is an outpost of cosmopolitan glamour in the rural village of Bainbridge. The 12 rooms combine designer furniture with period touches, and many open onto private patches of riverbank complete with Jacuzzis; another, Greenwich, is a stylish loft-like suite with twin clawfoot bathtubs overlooking the hills. There’s also a sophisticated restaurant and a bar serving creative cocktails.
Dating back to 1211, Trewornan Manor is one of the oldest houses in Cornwall – and one of the most beautiful. Now a tranquil B&B, it was impeccably restored by owners Paul and Lesley, who added emperor beds, rainfall showers and freestanding tubs to the 5 sumptuous bedrooms. All retain oodles of character, and in one you can see where an 18th-century bride excitedly scratched her new name into the window pane using her engagement ring. Crackling fires and lazy breakfasts await downstairs; step outside and you’ll find 25 acres of rolling grounds, along with blustery coastal walks and sweeping beaches. Come evening, the fine-dining restaurants of Rock, Padstow and Watergate Bay lie within easy reach.
If you want to hide away from the world for a while, few places beat this quartet of chic self-catering cottages, set in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house a couple of miles from the North Norfolk coast. Owner Katie is an interior designer and her expert eye is evident in the sleek bathrooms, the sophisticated blend of vintage and designer furniture, and the soothing Farrow & Ball colour schemes, which reflect the shifting shades of the vast landscapes outside. It’s tempting to spend much of your time snuggled up by the wood-burner with a bottle of wine, but venture out and you’ll find bird-filled marshes, windswept beaches and pretty harbour towns.
Hidden deep in the Somerset Levels, in 7 acres of tranquil parkland, is this intimate and indulgent manor house. The 6 rooms are full of historic quirks – ornate plasterwork ceilings, cracked beams, 300-year-old graffiti carved into stone lintels – but they’re now paired with four-poster beds and contemporary comforts such as heated floors and Kevin McCloud lighting. There’s also an elegant drawing room for fireside aperitifs, plus a sweeping lawn for games of croquet. But the biggest draw is the delicious food, prepared by talented chef and owner Olly, brimming with seasonal produce, and served up by candlelight in the elm-panelled dining room.
You know you’re in the countryside when all you can hear is birdsong and bleating sheep. But despite the bucolic setting, this bijou B&B is packed with contemporary flair. It’s owned by Aussie Kari and her husband Chris, who swapped London life for this blissful spot just outside Hay-on-Wye and set about creating a barn-like structure housing 5 spacious bedrooms. Each is different, but all have clean lines, fabulous feature walls and interesting details such as enormous wire-ball lampshades and shelves made from old crates. You also get a private terrace with views over the Welsh hills – the perfect spot for a sunset tipple, and lingering over the tasty breakfast hamper that’s delivered to your door each morning.
If a romantic city break is more your thing, how about a few days exploring the elegant Georgian terraces, cutting-edge waterfront galleries and renowned restaurants of Bristol? Located in upmarket Clifton, just to the north of the city centre, is boutique B&B Number Thirty Eight – a stylish adults-only base with a suntrap terrace and a relaxed vibe. The 10 rooms combine wood panelling with calming Farrow & Ball shades (our favourite, the West Loft Suite, has a decadent copper bathtub and petrol-blue walls), and modern art is scattered throughout. But best of all are the views: rainbow-hued streets to the rear, the leafy expanse of the famous Downs to the front, and the soaring spires of the university and cathedral in the distance. Wonderful.
For views of a more watery nature head to Linthwaite House Hotel, perched above the eastern shore of Windermere. A family residence until 1969, this Edwardian mansion still feels like a home-without-the-hassle thanks to its comfy sofas, roaring fires and attentive but discreet service. The restaurant and bar serve gourmet food and perfect G&Ts, and there are 14 acres of gorgeous gardens, complete with towering trees and a small tarn. Many of the huge rooms have egg-shaped tubs and picture windows gazing out over the lake below; if you really want to splash out, book room 21 with its outdoor Jacuzzi, or the Loft Suite with its telescope for stargazing.
Nestled in the Scottish Border hills, this cosy hideaway offers fine food, total tranquillity and as much fresh air as you can handle. It was built by mill owner Mr Ballantyne in 1906 for his Austrian wife, and ornate carpentry, leaded windows and ceiling roses lend a sense of grandeur; yet the feel is also intimate, with only 6 bedrooms and lots of homely touches (inviting sofas, Nespresso machines, bathrobes) courtesy of current owners John and Sylvia. Spend your time exploring some of Britain’s most stunning scenery, then return for fireside drinks (the bar stocks a wonderful range of speciality whiskies), a superb 5-course dinner and one of the best night’s sleep you’ll ever experience.