There’s nothing better than getting away from it all with someone special.
Theresa Harold discovers five of the UK’s most romantic hideaways.
1. Corinthia Hotel, London
Set in the heart of central London, this five-star hotel boasts seven penthouses, two world-class restaurants, and the award-winning ESPA Life at Corinthia spa. But you don’t have to check-in to one of its penthouses to make the most of this hotel – even a day spa package for two will feel like a romantic retreat. Occupying four floors, the spa has a space age feel; think pristine white seating, a fireplace, oval treatment pods and undulating walls. As for the swimming pool: black marble walls and ambient lighting set the mood, inviting you to immerse yourself in the shimmering water.
Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD, +44 (0)20 7930 8181, corinthia.com
2. The Gardener’s Cottage, Edinburgh
On a cold, wet and blustery evening, there’s nothing quite as charming as the thought of enjoying a delicious meal in a cosy cottage. It’s even better if you don’t have to cook it! The Gardener’s Cottage, in a listed building in the Royal Terrace Gardens, is an intimate and inventive restaurant. It serves up fresh, sustainable ingredients – often grown in its very own garden – and offers a six-course set menu. Diners sit at long communal tables, sipping wee drams of whisky and listening to whatever classic vinyl someone has popped on the record players that evening.
The Gardener’s Cottage, 1 Royal Terrace, London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5DX, +44 (0)131 558 1221, thegardenerscottage.co
3. The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath
Paying a visit to Bath is as close to time travel as we’ve come, and The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the very best base from which to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Capitalising on the city’s famed thermal springs, The Gainsborough is the only hotel in the UK with a natural thermal spa. After a rejuvenating session in the steam room, the ice alcove awaits with its basin of lavender-scented ice chips (practically begging to be shoved down your partner’s fluffy spa robe). Just don’t forget to warm up with a cup of melted chocolate – found conveniently located next to the water dispenser.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Beau Street, Bath BA1 1QY, +44 (0)1225 358 888, thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk
4. Stourhead, Wiltshire
Described as a ‘living work of art’ when it first opened in the 1740s, Stourhead is unabashedly romantic, no matter the season. In spring, the estate blooms with carpets of bluebells. Sunlight dapples its mystical grottos in summer. Come autumn and trees are alive with colour. In winter, the frozen lake reflects the gardens’ classical temples. The Palladian house, at the heart of this world-famous landscape garden, is just as impressive, with a Regency library and collection of Chippendale furniture and historic artworks. There’s nowhere quite like it in the world.
Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6QF, +44 (0)1747 841 152, nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead
5. Fernwood B&B, New Forest
Picture the scene: a hand-painted, wooden gypsy caravan overlooking fields where deer and rabbits play like the opening sequence of a Disney film. This unusual B&B, perched on the edge of the New Forest, is the perfect rural escape, especially when visiting with a partner. There’s no electricity, just fairy lights and candles, and a small wood burner to warm the hut. You can spend the evening sitting outside, toasting marshmallows and watching the birds or take a short stroll along country lanes to the local pub.
Fernwood B&B, Hangersley Hill, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 3JN, +44 (0)77 3058 6601, facebook.com/fernwoodbandb