The UK is home to some of the most iconic love stories ever told, so it’s no surprise that its sloping hills, picturesque villages and quaint pastoral landscapes make for a perfect romantic getaway. To help you plan one of your own, we’ve put together a list based on feedback from Bookers around the globe.
Gretna Green, Dumfries and Galloway
The clasped hands statue is a symbol of marriage and unity
The village of Gretna Green has long been associated with romance. In the 18th century, English law decreed that couples under the age of 21 could not marry without their parents’ consent. However, girls over 12 and boys over 14 could get married in Scotland. Gretna Green is close to the English border, making it the first town that eloping lovers would reach as they crossed into Scotland. Though English laws have relaxed since then, the allure of “running away to Gretna Green”—now a common saying in British English—still lives on today. Wander down the streets lined by thatched cottages, which are beautiful in every season. And don’t forget to touch the sacred anvil – it’s known as a symbol of love, originating back from when blacksmiths conducted marriage ceremonies. Bookers can stay at The Gables Hotel.
Hike up Catbells Fell for scenic views
The Lake District in Cumbria features gorgeous landscapes that have inspired generations of writers, most notably during the Romantic era. The town of Bowness-on-Windmere is located near the district’s largest lake, making it a great home base for visitors wanting to explore the area. Spend the day in town walking among the stone Edwardian cottages, lively pubs, and local boutiques lining the streets. Then explore the Lake District’s blossoming meadows, rivers, ancient forests, barren fells, and the lake islands of Derwentwater. For a truly scenic view, hike the 3-mile trail up to the peak of Catbells before making your way back to Bowness and the quaint Linthwaite House.
Stick around for views across the weir to Pulteney Bridge
Bath is another English town that has often been featured in Romantic era works – and rightfully so, since this scenic city remains one of England’s top destinations today. Walk in the footsteps of Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters as you stroll around the Circus and elegant Georgian homes with their pale stonework, sash windows, and perfect proportions. Then check out the city’s famous namesake—the ancient baths—which is one of the world’s best-preserved ancient Roman spas. You can’t enter the water here, but you can still soak in Bath’s natural thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa. After some well-deserved R&R, have afternoon tea at the Pump Room Restaurant next door, which features gorgeous chandeliers and Corinthian columns. Bookers can head back to the The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa to unwind.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
The railway viaduct is one of Harrogate's most iconic sites
Harrogate is a pretty, classically Victorian North Yorkshire spa town with broad romantic appeal. Once renowned for its waters’ alleged healing powers, Harrogate has traded thermal springs for tea these days, now considered one of the UK’s most tea-loving towns. Its atmosphere and architecture makes it the perfect spot to sip on a warm cup of tea. Take a walk through the chic Montpellier Quarter and its assortment of boutiques and ivy-covered stone buildings to reach Bettys Tea Rooms. Located exclusively in Yorkshire, this three-story tea room serves delicious crumbly cakes that go perfectly with a strong cup of their signature teas. Harrogate has a another more subtle link to cozy getaways and romance – this was where Agatha Christie fled while attempting to escape her broken marriage. Bookers, however, can keep things a little more cheerful, with a cozy night at West Park Hotel.
Stratford-upon-Avon, West Midlands
Visit the cottage of Anne Hathaway—Shakespeare’s wife—when in Stratford
Stratford-upon Avon is a medieval market town full of timber-framed Tudor buildings. It’s the renowned birthplace of William Shakespeare, as well as home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, where Bookers can catch a performance of one of his timeless love stories. Beyond theatrics, Stratford-on-Avon also features a charming atmosphere in its own right, with thatched cottages and manicured gardens. Wrap up your tour with a stay at The White Swan Hotel, a listed building with a rich history.
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**These destinations were picked based on endorsements for “romance” in the UK, according to Bookers worldwide.