Whether you’re honeymooning on a budget, limited for time, need to take the kids or pets, or just want to celebrate your marriage by exploring the beauty of Britain, we’ve got 10 brilliant UK honeymoon destination ideas for summer 2017.
Find laid-back luxury in London
Our first UK honeymoon destination is our cosmopolitan capital. London has much to offer honeymooners, from must-see sites in the Centre to hip bars in the East. But if you want to relax and enjoy a truly luxurious London honeymoon, head West to stay at the Artist Residence between stylish Belgravia and Chelsea. A chic London bolt-hole with an intimate 10 rooms, its own cocktail bar and an all-day restaurant it has a super lux yet laid-back vibe and is perfectly positioned with the whole of the city on your doorstep.
Things to do:
Visit the beautiful V&A Museum of Art & Design to enjoy their summer exhibitions including ‘Shaping Fashion’ showcasing Spanish couturier Balenciaga, where you can drool over decadent silk gowns. Then dine like royalty with their recreation of Queen Victoria’s Afternoon Tea in the exquisite Morris Room. For a budget-conscious alternative (but still in sight of a real palace) take a picnic in to St. James Park. Set in the heart of ceremonial London, the oldest of London’s Royal Parks is an oasis of peace for newlyweds; with a lake, the Tiffany fountain and its own lovebirds – the famous pelicans.
Hopefully summer in the city will mean sunshine, but a rainy day is the perfect excuse to cosy down together in the beautifully restored Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. Spend an afternoon watching arthouse, classic or mainstream flicks from red velvet-covered double beds while a waiter delivers you cocktails. Then step out onto the Portobello Road and head up to The Dock Kitchen for dinner and a pick-me-up. Located in a stylish Victorian Wharf building this experimental restaurant with rooftop bar overlooks the Grand Union Canal. Perfect for people watching on a balmy summer’s evening with a chilled bottle of wine.
Enjoy family fun in Norfolk
Cooler than the Cotswolds, quieter than Suffolk – cheaper than both. Norfolk, with its thriving independent scene, quirky festivals, big skies and rolling hills, is also one of the driest areas of the UK. So you might not need your umbrellas on the beach.
Where to stay:
The Victoria Inn and Ancient House at the Holkham Estate are nestled in an especially romantic setting in the windswept Norfolk countryside and boast beautifully appointed en suite rooms. After a brisk walk to flush your cheeks on nearby Holkham Beach, guests can enjoy relaxing in the peaceful and private walled rose garden of the Ancient House, or enjoy a modern British menu at the hotel restaurant which uses seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Children are welcome and dogs can stay in the rooms at the Victoria Inn.
Best place to eat:
For lunch head to The White Horse at Brancaster to enjoy the freshest of locally caught seafood including oysters during the season. Take in the spectacular views across the Norfolk Coastal Path and the tidal marshes and if you’re lucky, you might even catch Cyril or Ben, the next door neighbour ‘mussel men’ cleaning and netting their mussels for delivery to the kitchen door.
Exercise kids and dogs as you wander along beautiful sandy beaches to between five star pub stops along the coast. And if you want an even more more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, you can take a steam train ride along the Wells Walsingham Railway full of old England charm and eccentricity – with five bridges en route for extra excitement.
Discover True Romance in Margate
Grab your bucket and spade – Margate has recently put itself back on the map as a desirably hip destination, so much so that it has been renamed by some as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’. Perfect for couples that long for salty beach-kisses and some good old fashioned fun, with an ironic twist.
Only two hours from London, Margate has burst back to life with a spruced up version of its famous kitsch past thanks to the sleek new Turner Contemporary Gallery and a wave of independent retailers. You’ll still find striped deckchairs and sticks of rock but you’ll now find ultra-cool Margate born brands like Haeckels, alongside vintage furniture shops and new pizza places like the Great British Pizza Co.
What to do:
Get your adrenalin pumping on some heart-stopping rides at the newly reopened Dreamland; spend the day on roller-coasters and eating candy floss against a backdrop of vintage cool and modern design. You can’t visit Margate without sharing a traditional vinegar soaked fish ‘n’ chips (grab a large one from Mario’s) then head down to the beach for frolics at sunset and see why Turner described the skies here as ‘the loveliest in Europe’.
Where to stay:
If you’re looking for somewhere super stylish to stay, The Reading Rooms offer the perfect antidote to Margate’s colourful kitsch. Muted colours complement this beautifully restored Georgian townhouse and make this luxury boutique hotel an oasis of calm for couples seeking pared-back grandeur. Top tip: Make sure you book a room with a roll-top bath to enjoy champagne and bubbles.
Enjoy an outdoor adventure in Cornwall
Boasting the best surf in the UK, amazing Michelin star restaurants and as much art and culture as you can shake a stick at you’d be pushed to find a soggy pasty in Cornwall these days. But you will find beautiful villages with vibrant communities that welcome all-comers, tons for kids to do and 50 beaches are dog-friendly too!
Cornwall offers great self-catering options such as Treworgey Cottages in the Looe River Valley, where children and dogs are welcome. With picture perfect cottages covered in honeysuckle, a horse riding centre, heated swimming pool, a small petting farm and an indoor beach for rainy days, this is the perfect place for couples honeymooning with kids in tow.
Things to do:
Take a day trip by boat to the stunning Looe Island Nature Reserve. A one time haunt for smugglers and a sanctuary for sea and woodland birds, this tiny island has a fascinating history and the waters around it teem with marine wildlife.
Book a family surf lesson with the passionate people at award winning Sennen Surf Centre. Crystal clear waters, golden sands and consistent surf make this place a winner. After working up an appetite on the rollers, check out beach side restaurant Benn Tunnicliffe restaurant that promises ‘Good food and family time in beautiful surroundings’.
Don’t miss a trip to St. Ives; with its cobbled charm, quaint cottages and literary heritage it’s the perfect place to take in some culture including the Tate Modern Gallery, Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. And if you’re near Penzance head to the Jubilee Pool, a recently refurbished Art Deco Lido perfect for an invigorating sea water swim.
Find a family paradise on the Scilly Isles
Stay close to home on a sub-tropical family honeymoon with a large dollop of Enid Blyton time-warp. Uncrowded, unspoilt, and surrounded by golden-sanded beaches, the Scilly Isles archipelago really are a paradise on your doorstep. Located at the most Southwesterly point of the UK and an area of outstanding natural beauty, these islands are rugged, remote and virtually car-free, making this a great holiday for couples who want to escape it all or families who want the freedom of a get-out-there-and-explore holiday without the long haul flight.
Arrive at your island destination by propellor plane or ferry and experience a simpler way of life. Visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk for travel options. Island hopping by boat is a fantastic way to see marine wildlife and explore some of the uninhabited islands. Check out www.islandseasafaris.co.uk for day trips from St. Mary’s; go on their ‘Shipwrecks, Seals and Seabirds’ excursion for the best of the island sights.
Things to do:
The islands, some with as few as 80 inhabitants, are dotted with small farms and farm shops, walking and cycling routes and boast a wealth of ancient remains, castles and towers as well as amazing local produce and seafood. A sub-tropical microclimate make the Scilly Isles a unique place to see flora and fauna not found on the mainland and the gardens at Tresco Abbey are considered to be the UK’s most outstanding horticultural paradise. You might even spot a red squirrel, now almost extinct on the mainland.
Stay at Tresco Sea Garden Cottages with sailing, a beach cafe, swimming pool, tennis courts and a gym to keep everyone happy. All cottages also have wi-fi and satellite TV for when the kids have had enough of playing Enid Blyton style.
Eat at Juliet’s Garden on St. Mary’s to enjoy seafood, steak or vegetarian dishes and Artisan Cornish cheeses on the beautiful terrace providing breathtaking views across the harbour and the other islands.
Don’t miss: Troytown Farm on St. Agnes for their spectacular ice-cream made from their small herd of 9 dairy cows.
Celebrate your love-story on the Yorkshire Moors
Live out your own Gothic love story in our next UK honeymoon destination – the rugged and romantic Yorkshire dales. Take a blustery walk in the Bronte sisters’ footsteps and discover the atmospheric ruins, dramatic skies, and windswept moorland that inspired them. Then look forward to cosy evenings snuggled up with a glass of red in front of a roaring fire.
Things to do:
Embrace your rebellious spirit and stay in a bright red Gypsy van, ‘Carmen’, set in a peaceful glade at historic Markington Hall in North Yorkshire with bountiful welcome hampers, your own campfire, a nearby river to fish and frolic in and the moors at your doorstep.
For long walks, breathtaking scenery and dramatic views, Bronte Falls at Haworth, Sutton Bank on the North York Moors, Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales, and Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge are all must-dos. Then for a real treat, book a table at the michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead. With a mix of traditional Yorkshire warmth and a dynamic and creative menu, this not-to-be-missed restaurant is perfectly located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.
Go free wheeling in Wales
Be the envy of everyone else on the road behind the wheel of your very own classic original VW Campervan like ‘Lily’ from Pembrokeshire Classic Campers. Lovingly restored and ready to take you on your honeymoon adventure. Then it’s just you two and the open road, with the wind in your hair and Wales at your feet.
With activities in the area ranging from canoeing and surfing, to hang-gliding and golf you’ll find adventure awaits at every stop-off.
Things to do:
Highlights include Caerphilly Castle, the stunning coastlines of the Mumbles and the Gower peninsula. If your honeymooning in May – June you can catch the Literary festival at Hay-on-Wye and if you’re headed to Wales in August don’t miss the annual Jazz festival in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Long drives require constant supplies of Welsh rarebit (the world’s finest cheese on toast) so make sure you’re well stocked up.
Explore Connemara on horseback
Always wished you lived in a castle? Pretend you do for a week at luxurious Ballynahinch Castle in Ireland. Situated in the heart of Connemara, this stunning castle hotel is set in 450 acres so it’s easy to wander through the woodland together imagining it’s all yours.
Things to do:
Located along the wild Atlantic Way, set against the stunning backdrop of the 12 Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch is the perfect base for exploring the area either by car, on foot, or even on horseback.
Riding school Erislannan Manor close to the castle can organise riding and trekking on Connemara ponies for which the region is known. For guided walks, island trips and general advice on exploring this stunning part of Ireland, contact Walk Connemara.
If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the fairytale-like Kylemore Abbey and take a walk hand-in-hand around the woodland and lakes in this1,000 acre estate. And if you’re feeling lazy, enjoy a pint (or two) in a typical Irish village, such as Cong, famous as the location shoot for the 1951 John Wayne film ‘The Quiet Man’.
Live like kings in a Scottish Castle
Rich in history, with stunning cities, mysterious lochs and delicious whiskey to discover, Scotland is the perfect place for a honeymoon fling. And if you really want a honeymoon fit for Kings why not stay in a real Scottish castle? Just 8 miles from Edinburgh Dalhousie Castle is a 13th century fortress on the picturesque banks of the river Esk. This castle hotel and spa has traditional decor and uses a lot of tartan so won’t necessarily win any design awards. But it’s interior style is certainly warm and welcoming. And you get to sleep in a four-poster bed, in a castle!
Things to do:
Once you’ve been properly pampered in the spa, have explored the castle grounds and the water-y wilderness beyond head to Edinburgh. Wander around the Grassmarket and Victoria Street to browse bustling independent shops, artisan stores and take your pick from the excellent range of lunch options in this vibrant al fresco setting. Then visit the magnificent Edinburgh castle for afternoon tea. Spend an elegant evening starting with cocktails at Panda & Sons on Queen Street, then take a stroll back up towards the castle to dine at the lavish and decadent Gothic institution The Witchery by the Castle.
Fall madly in love in Manchester
Our final UK honeymoon destination is Manchester. Whether you were there back in the day – or just wish you had been – go all-out with a love fuelled Manchester weekender. The best bit? Now you’re grown ups you can dance together till dawn, then sink into a luxury king size bed rather than crash on your mate’s saggy sofa.
Check out The Red Door in Deansgate for cocktails and classic tunes – open till 4.00am on Fridays and Saturdays. For a more chilled out night, get yourselves to the Soup Kitchen, award winning canteen and bar with communal tables, vegan food and a great selection of cask ales. Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter District, this is your go-to destination for live music, film nights, comedy events and art exhibitions. Or head to Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club in the Northern Quarter. Showcasing the hottest jazz talent, as well as a host of other genres, this place also doubles as a restaurant with great pizzas and sharing plates and has a fantastic selection of wines and a great cocktail list.
Where to stay:
If you want to avoid disapproving glances from hotel receptionists when you rock up at 6am, book yourself an apartment so you can come and go as you please. To experience stunning loft living in an historic 200 year old building a stone’s throw away from the city’s bars and clubs check out the Old Mill on Airbnb.