Valentine’s Day is a great excuse for couples to get away and find a special spot for some quality time together. Here at Holiday Lettings, we’ve searched Scotland, England and Wales to reveal 18 off-the-radar romantic destinations. So go on, treat your someone special to a few days away: it’s much better than a heart-shaped box of chocolates…
Rows of attractive stone-built cottages are a distinctive and charming feature of Cupar in Fife, Scotland. This picturesque town was once a bustling royal burgh and many buildings still stand as reminders of that history. One building with grand columns houses a restaurant called Watts of Cupar. Its historical and cosy atmosphere provides a unique dining experience you really should try.
As you explore, you’ll discover a fascinating array of local wildlife: the Scottish Deer Centre is just a couple of miles away and is a delightful way to pass an afternoon. Or you can simply wander alongside the river Eden on your own Scottish safari. Just don’t forget your binoculars!
With the Cairngorms National Park right on its doorstep, Grantown-on-Spey is ideally situated to explore some of Scotland’s most captivating landscapes. It’s another wonderful spot for nature lovers, surrounded by woodland teeming with wildlife. The location is also a perfect base for winter sports enthusiasts heading to Aviemore for the snow.
Partial to a wee dram of single malt? The Speyside Malt Whisky Trail, where you can find almost half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries, is tantalisingly close. Visit Glenfiddich or The Glenlivet to see how the warming amber liquid is made. And sample some yourself, naturally.
The town of Newton Stewart, known as “The gateway to the Galloway hills”, is beautifully situated on the banks of the River Cree. One can’t help but be seduced by the sprawling heather-covered hills and charming stone bridge spanning the river. The town is particularly popular with mountain bikers searching for scenic and exhilarating trails to test their skills.
If your interests are more sedate, then try the walk through Galloway House Gardens which leads you through green glades and down to the beach. And for refreshment? The Riverbank restaurant provides a very satisfying coffee and scone.
Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Boat of Garten is known as ‘the Osprey village’: in the 1950s, these magnificent birds reappeared here after apparently dying out in the UK. Visitors can now observe them hunting against the spectacular backdrop of the Cairngorms peaks reflected in the smooth surface of Loch Garten.
While you’re here, why not give salmon fishing on the nearby river Spey a go? Or play hide and seek with the wildlife on a mountain hike? In the evening, head to Anderson’s restaurant for a lovingly prepared meal using fresh and seasonal Scottish produce; it’s just the thing to end an inspiring day in the beautiful outdoors.
This quiet village is perfectly positioned for an exploration of the Scottish Highlands. Here, you can try fishing and grouse hunting, as well as more mainstream outdoor pursuits including pony trekking and cycling. The village is also home to the Highland Folk Museum which brings the history of the Highland people to life.
If you don’t fancy cooking for yourself, check out the charmingly named Letterbox restaurant; their haggis recipe has a modern twist that may surprise you.
The river Dee trickles quietly past this village in Aberdeenshire. Walkers will love exploring the riverbanks and following the river as it changes from calm glass to frenzied froth, crashing past rocks in its path. Beautiful stone bridges provide ideal vantage points to take in the views which, as you can imagine, are spectacular. This is Scotland, after all.
If you’d like to sample some local produce, the Finzean Estate Farm Shop & Tea Room showcases Scotland’s seasons through the wonderful array of dishes it serves up.
Windermere, England’s largest lake, is a pretty high profile tourist trap. However, venture just a few miles further down the lake’s east side and you’ll stumble upon the lovely lakeland town of Bowness-on-Windermere. With stunning views of lake and fell, it’s a sweet spot for a romantic getaway.
Buildings made from the local dark stone line the streets and give the place that classic and calm Lake District charm. If you fancy coffee and cake after exploring the town, the Old Pump House Coffee Shop is perfect for a pitstop. Looking for something more substantial? The AA Rosette-winning Porto Restaurant is just the place for an outstanding dining experience.
This Lancashire town was made famous by the David Lean film Brief Encounter, in which a couple meets on a steam train. The station retains a sense of this 1940s nostalgia and its heritage centre, which celebrates the golden age of steam, is well worth a visit.
But Carnforth isn’t just for fans of the film or steam railways. A short distance away, the wide sandy stretches of Morecambe Bay attract holidaymakers in droves. If beer appeals to you, check out The Snug (a pint-sized ‘micropub’) or take a tour of the Old School Brewery. If your tastes are more stately, a visit to nearby Leighton Hall won’t disappoint.
Tree-covered cliffs dotted with houses, fishing boats bobbing in the harbour… the village of Polperro is the place to experience real Cornish charm. Its narrow, winding streets create a maze filled with cute cafés, independent shops, cosy pubs and unique art galleries. No two houses appear the same as you wend your way down to the harbour and secluded bay.
After you’ve wandered and found your favourite views of the coast, Couch’s Great House restaurant is on hand to satisfy your appetite. Its head chef draws on Cornwall’s incredible local produce to create an inspiring menu that demonstrates a passion for the area. This gem of a Cornish coastal village will have you under its spell and definitely keep you coming back.
This quiet and unspoilt Yorkshire village is a wonderful getaway destination. Go full-on Wuthering Heights with a walk across the windswept moors of Swaledale. A few miles away, Richmond’s thousand-year-old Norman fortress gives a sense of the area’s history as an important stop on the road north.
Staying on a Sunday? Head to Catterick Bridge Racecourse for the weekly market and pick up some fresh local produce for dinner. Prefer to eat out? The Hildyard Arms tops the TripAdvisor list for restaurants in Catterick with ‘friendly’ and ‘welcoming’ featuring in many visitor reviews.
It’s hard to imagine a better place to escape to than this ancient village in the Norfolk Broads National Park. Bordered by the rivers Bure and Thurne, the picturesque settlement features windmills and cottages alongside the rippling waters. The best (and most relaxing) way to experience the natural beauty on show is by boat.
If you’re a fan of traditional cream tea, you’ll adore the quaint and cosy thatched cottage surroundings of The Staithe & Willow Tea Rooms.
Situated in Hampshire on the edge of the New Forest National Park, Ringwood is a historic market town dating back to 961. Nowadays, it’s renowned for its famous brewery which offers tours throughout the year (except on Mondays). The brewers are self-proclaimed ‘relaxation enthusiasts’ so if you need an escape, this is the place.
For a bit of adventure, take on the energetic treetop trail situated in the family-friendly Moors Valley Country Park. And when you’ve worked up an appetite swinging among the branches, Framptons (a warm and welcoming gastropub) offers live music to accompany a tasty evening meal.
This seaside town in Devon has long been a popular summer holiday destination, but its appeal endures all year round. Long stretches of sandy beach are just perfect for romantic walks; beautiful secluded coves and cliffs are a feast for the eyes; and a wealth of attractions appeal to all tastes and ages.
Don’t miss the exciting Paignton Zoo where you can feed animals including baboons and pelicans as part of special keeper sessions. Peckish yourself? Tapas at TJ’s restaurant by the harbour is spot on for any time of day.
A walk through the Norfolk town of King’s Lynn takes you alongside the River Great Ouse at its most magnificent, just before it meets the North Sea in The Wash. There’s much to delight history fans, including the impressive King’s Lynn minster and nearby town hall. Nature lovers, on the other hand, are sure to find their natural habitat at The Wash National Nature Reserve.
For a romantic dinner in a cosy atmosphere, the family-run Market Bistro is just the ticket. From home-smoked fish to a range of tempting desserts, it offers a sophisticated dining experience celebrating the local area.
You’ll find this peaceful and pretty village tucked away in a sheltered bay on Holy Island, just off Anglesey. Golden sand, invigorating views, and waves crashing on the crescent-shaped shore serve up all the ingredients for a memorably romantic walk along the coast. When you’re ready for dinner, try the Driftwood Bar & Restaurant for some tasty local fare.
South Stack, at the north tip of the island, is ideal for wildlife spotting and views across the Irish Sea. Whilst Wales has miles of glorious coastline, this particular area seems to enchant visitors and keep them coming back time after time. Why not try it yourself?
The old market town of Dolgellau lies in the lush, unspoilt landscapes of the Snowdonia National Park. Awash with trickling streams and rivers spanned by stone bridges, this is Wales at its most idyllic.
To make the most of the area, strap on your walking boots and head for higher ground with a hike up Cader Idris. This mountain is 893 metres high (think of it as Snowdon’s little sister) and provides a challenging yet rewarding climb. Take in the views, breathe in the fresh air and feel completely at peace. Glorious. Hungry after the hike? Head to Y Meirionnydd restaurant for a cosy dinner.
Visit Rhosneigr on the idyllic island of Anglesey and it’ll soon have you in its thrall. Take an invigorating walk along the shore, taste the salt in the air and spot the boats dotting the sea’s surface. This destination also goes down a storm if you have four-legged friends to bring along; the beach is every dog’s dream with acres of space to chase around.
Seafood is, unsurprisingly, a speciality of Rhosneigr so head to Sullivan’s restaurant to sample local crab, lobster, moules and sea bass.
Mumbles village, with its pretty pastel houses and views across Swansea Bay, has been charming holidaymakers since the early 1800s. A walk along the Langland Bay coastal path provides a perfect view of the Mumbles lighthouse and there’s a wealth of wildlife on show including dolphins, seals and seabirds. Explore the coast on a boat tour and you’ll discover hidden coves and shipwreck sites; all part of the area’s history of smuggling.
For a cosy evening dinner, ‘The Kitchen Table’ serves simple fare with flair.
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