The most unique romantic getaways in the UK

Romantic spots you won’t have visited together yet

Whether it’s your first weekend away together or your hundredth, there are tons of unique romantic getaways in the UK to choose from. You can plan a “staycation” you’ll remember for years to come, from city breaks in underrated locations to visits to fairytale castles and walks on magical beaches.

  1. Cambridge
  2. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
  3. Inverness
  4. Worm’s Head, Gower Peninsula
  5. Bolton Abbey
  6. Windsor

We’ve gathered our top unusual romantic getaways in the UK for all seasons and types of trips. So what are you waiting for? Plan an intellectual escape to Cambridge, try a walking adventure in Wales or Yorkshire, or head to an unexpected gem in Scotland’s wild north.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Cambridge

For unique romantic getaways in the UK, Cambridge has to be near the top of the list. Where else can you visit some of the best museums in the country, then punt down the Backs – the semi-secluded waterways behind the colleges – and finally perch on a bridge for a sunset pint? This perfectly sized city has plenty to occupy you for a weekend. Punting is a romantic must, although if you’re unsure of your skills, consider hiring one of the many professionals to see you blunder-free along the river. The punting station at Mill Lane is a popular place to pick one up. On a sunny day, grab a pint from The Mill pub to sit and sip on the island in the centre of the River Cam. Other romantic activities include strolling through the Botanical Gardens or cycling along the river towards Grantchester. Must-sees include King’s College Chapel, Newton’s Apple Tree and a stop at the chocolate-box-pretty Fitzbillies bakery for a traditional Chelsea bun. Stroll down King’s Parade and nip into the Fudge Kitchen for a melt-in-your-mouth souvenir. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Zoology Museum are all worth perusing, especially on a rainy day.

What makes it unique: Punting

Drink/dine: Brunch: The Old Bicycle Shop/Aromi. Treats: Fitzbillies

2. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount is a truly unusual romantic getaway in the UK, as there are only a few spots like this in the whole country. There’s something quite magical about an island that’s only accessible at low tide and is then lost again to the sea and the waves. At some times of year you can pop across on the ferry too, but for the most romantic effect, we recommend taking the fifteen-minute walk along the cobbled causeway. You might pause at the Giant’s Well or the old dairy or pop into the cafe or restaurant, but the ultimate goal is to climb the winding path through the colourful castle gardens to the very top of the islet. Combined tickets to both the castle and garden cost £24, but strolling around the quaint harbour and the green exterior of the island is free. Cornwall is full of places for a unique break, so you could roll in a trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a visit to the Eden Project or Arthur’s castle at Tintagel, or perhaps even a pilgrimage to the country’s wild southerly tip Lizard Point, or the most westerly spot, Land’s End.

What makes it unique: A castle only accessible via causeway

Drink/dine: Island Cafe, Philps Bakery

3. Inverness

The country’s northernmost city is the perfect setting for an unusual romantic getaway in the UK. Tucked away in Scotland’s northwest, this pint-sized settlement is packed with culture, heart and beauty. The unique thing about this trip is that you can spend your days exploring the wild expanses of the Highlands – or hunting for monsters on Loch Ness – before returning to the cobbled streets to try one of the many highly rated restaurants or cosy up in a pub by a fire. While here, make sure you pop into MacGregor’s for a drink and dinner. It’s an institution serving traditional Scottish fayre and craft beer, with live trad music playing most nights. Leakey’s bookshop is another unique must-see: a two-storey treasure trove of second-hand gems that you can browse like a library. Ness Walk, along the River Ness, is beautiful all year round, but particularly in autumn when the trees are ablaze with colour as you make your way down to the lovely Ness Islands and the Botanic Gardens. The city is a haven for artisans and makers, like the Perk Coffee + Doughnuts shop for a next-level doughnut experience, or the Isle of Skye Candle Company for a souvenir.

What makes it unique: Proximity to the Highlands

Drink/dine: MacGregor’s, Rose Street Foundry, Alleycat

4. Worm’s Head, Gower Peninsula

Those looking for unique romantic getaways in the UK can certainly find unusual walks at Worm’s Head on the Gower Peninsula. This tidal island, said to resemble a dragon’s head, is the most westerly point on the Gower Peninsula and can be reached only via a causeway at low tide. It’s a beautiful walk out to the end, starting on grassy cliffs speckled with wildflowers and leading out to dramatic, jagged rocks jutting out at a seemingly impossible angle. Most people come here for the photo-worthy Devil’s Bridge, a collapsed sea cave that frames the ocean view behind. You can get the full effect from a distance, but the best thing (although not for the fainthearted) is to walk over it and hear the sea roaring below. While you’re here, and after your romantic walk, you might fancy a stroll and a dip at Rhossili Bay or pretty Fall Bay, Three Cliffs Beach, or one of the many other stunning coves and beaches nearby.

What makes it unique: Its geology

Drink/dine: Helvetia or The Bay Bistro, or fish and chips in Port Eynon

5. Bolton Abbey

There are few places as atmospheric as the beautiful, sprawling ruins of Bolton Abbey. It’s a unique romantic getaway that’s chock-full of perfect photo ops. The mystical ruins of this 12th-century priory are nestled on the banks of the River Wharfe, surrounded by swathes of countryside and miles of woodland paths in some of the prettiest landscape the UK has to offer. The abbey is at its most splendid at sunset or in the late afternoon, with the golden rays playing across the water. You can hop across the 60 stepping stones, or stride out on a route towards open moorland via some magical waterfalls and woodland, all the way up to Simon’s Seat for a spectacular view. Spring is one of the best times to visit to catch a carpet of bluebells in bloom at Strid Wood. Perched on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales here, you have countless waterfalls, caves and walks at your fingertips, with some of the most popular being the Ribblehead Viaduct and Malham Cove. Great places to stay are nearby Skipton and postcard-perfect Ilkley, with the added attraction of Bettys Tea Rooms.

What makes it unique: Atmosphere & history

Drink/dine: Tea Cottage, Abbey Tea Rooms, Burlington Restaurant

6. Windsor

Windsor Castle is a must-visit at least once in your life - so why not make it your next trip for a romantic getaway. Inside, you’ll be amazed by the beauty, the opulence and the art; you can peer inside the impossibly intricate doll’s house made for Queen Mary, and perhaps catch the spectacle of the Changing of the Guard. Even outside the grandeur of the castle, just walking around the picturesque and pretty town feels romantic, and on a sunny day there’s nothing finer than a stroll down the Long Walk – heading away from the castle you’ll get to admire the glorious trees, and walking towards it gives a fabulous view of the building. The shopping here is delightful too, whether you’re nipping into an independent boutique, the pretty arcade or the flagship Barbour store. A short amble along the Thames leads you across a bridge onto Eton high street, packed with charming bookshops, pubs and eateries. At the end you’ll find the famous school, along with its chapel, museum of antiquities and natural history museum.

What makes it unique: its beauty

Drink/dine: The Boatman pub, Bel & The Dragon, Misugo (Japanese)

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