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The most romantic hotels in the UK for Valentine’s Day 2024

Love is in the air so treat your other half to one of these swoon-worthy stays on home turf, from a Lake District retreat to a seaside suite in Rye

Ianthe Butt
Tuesday 16 January 2024 15:19 GMT
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These hotels serve up a hearty dose of romance
These hotels serve up a hearty dose of romance (The Samling Hotel)

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, loved-up staycations are top of the holiday agenda once again.

Couples around the country will be looking for the ideal trip, hoping to mark the most romantic day of the year in a memorable way, whether that’s with an escape to the country or a weekend city break.

And though romance means different things to different people, plenty of UK properties have a special charm deserving of the big day, serving up an unforgettable, romantic stay no matter when you visit.

Whether you’re looking for sultry, come-to-bed decor in a slick city hotel, can’t-help-but-fall-in-love-with-me meals at a countryside bolthole, or a seaside spot where you can drink in a sunrise over the ocean straight from your bed, UK hotels can offer romance in spades.

And to help you plan for the day, we’ve rounded up some of the most romantic hotels in the country.

The best romantic hotels in the UK are:

Best for foodie love-ins: The Double Red Duke

Location: Clanfield, Cotswolds

The Double Red Duke has pet-friendly rooms, with a charge of £25 per night (The Double Red Duke)

This 17th-century coaching inn in Clanfield – close to Bampton, of Downton Abbey fame – brings together step-back-in-time romance, contemporary-cool interiors and seriously good food. A vision in Cotswolds stone, this former merchant’s house is draped in rushes of wisteria, has a pretty lavender-edged lawn dotted with red and white striped parasols out front, and a not-to-be-missed restaurant where Henrik Ritzèn serves elevated pub grub with a cooked-over-fire focus. Foodie couples can pull up a stool at the kitchen counter to wonder at chefs at work, or opt for a banquette in the sociable dining room or the wild-at-heart conservatory to feast on the likes of rump steak and triple-cooked chips, wood-fired celeriac and delica pumpkin pie, followed by sticky toffee pud.

A jigsaw of lounges, all comfy sofas, flickering fires and shelves lined with vintage hardbacks and glinting decanters, mean that bagging a snuggle-down spot for post prandial white negronis is a breeze.

Nineteen bedrooms have a touch of exuberant hedonism, marrying original beams and emperor headboards with flea-market-find furnishings and rolltop baths in look-at-me jade green and vermillion, with wildflower-scented 100 Acres products adding a spoiling touch.

Best for arty cool: Port Hotel

Location: Eastbourne

For £15 per person, the Port Hotel will put together a picnic hamper for a walk on the South Downs (Emma Croman)

Don’t let the gothic-looking charcoal black facade on Eastbourne’s Royal Parade fool you; inside, this Victorian townhouse turned boutique hotel is all gentle, cosseting romance. Downstairs the open plan restaurant meets bar and lounge is part blush Wes Anderson dream, part Scandi-style art-gallery, with salmon banquettes, pendant lighting, Rico furniture and artwork from Eastbourne’s Volt Gallery.

The Luna Bar, lit by a moon-like slab of glowing onyx, is a thing of beauty, and the spot to settle in for local tipples such as Rathfinny Estate wines, or a Ditchling G&T. In the restaurant, chef Loic Williams places Suffolk’s best produce front and centre in the likes of red lentil and peanut tofu curry and poached pear and ginger cheesecake.

Upstairs, 19 bedrooms in shingly grey or mossy green colours pair reeded oak touches with gleaming brass tables and artfully placed binoculars. As well as being moments from the shoreline for leisurely beach walks, Sea View rooms mean over-the-ocean sunrises can be enjoyed straight from bed, or from bath in the case of Sea View 6, which has a freestanding tub in the window.

Book now

Best for nature lovers: The Tawny

Location: Staffordshire, Peak District

The bordering Consall Nature Park features 740 acres of woodland, heath and moor (Andrew Billington Photography)

Instead of your average bedrooms this ‘deconstructed hotel’ in the Peak District has a series of Shepherd’s Huts, Treehouses and Boathouses scattered through the 70-acre grounds of the Consall Hall Estate in rural Staffordshire. Shepherd’s huts have skylight windows for stargazing, while Boathouses make for an ideal birdwatching spot, with lake views through floor-to-ceiling windows, Bateau bathtubs, velvet sofas and feather-patterned carpets. To ensure immersion in the great outdoors, all have bubbling outdoor bathtubs, plus spa robes to cuddle up in afterwards.

Hours can be spent wandering through woodland stretches, exploring atmospheric follies and swimming in the steamy, Roman Baths-style outdoor pool. The spa even has a touch of romance, offering GAIA treatments inside a quaint thatched cottage, while meals at the leafy-walled Plumicorn Restaurant, with giant bauble lighting and passion-flower adorned furniture, feel like dining in a magical rainforest.

From £225 in Wildwood Huts, £400 in Boathouses/Treehouses, B&B; thetawny.co.uk

Best for quirky bedrooms: The Bell at Ticehurst

Location: Wadhurst, East Sussex

The aptly named Love Nest is one of the Bell’s most romantic rooms (Saltwick.)

Those after elements of surprise should pick The Bell at Ticehurst, an absolute looker of a red brick 16th-century coaching inn, renovated with romance at the forefront of mind. Eccentric is the watchword in its 11 slumbering spots – seven rooms (names include ‘the moon wild’ and ‘smiles of memories’) and four lodges – dressed in woodsy shades with king size beds, artful silver birch branches as bedposts, a vintage typewriter here, a ‘wardrobe to Narnia’ there, and some with copper bathtubs.

The circular oast-house-inspired Love Nest lodge has its own spiral staircase, while the recently decorated Pour L’Amour lodge has walls flowing with florals hand-painted by artist Jane McCall. The pub itself packs plenty of off-beat allure, with mismatched vintage wallpapers, bowler hat-shaped lights, inglenook fireplaces, atmospheric ceiling beams and a not-to-be-sniffed-at art collection which includes pieces by Emin and Banksy.

Food-wise, Mark Charker serves up British cuisine with a French influence at The Stables; choose from pub grub or ‘la-di-da’ five-course fine dining with a surprise menu. Afterwards, for hunkering down purposes, there are more snugs and roaring fires than you can shake a stick at.

Best for lakeside liaisons: The Samling Hotel

Location: Lake Windermere, Lake District

Views from The Samling include over Windermere (to the south) and the Coniston Old Man (to the west) (The Samling)

Few spots in the UK are as romantic as the Lake District, with its poetry-inspiring peaks and shimmering meres, tarns and waters. One of the loveliest spots to bed down in is this 12-room bolthole on a hillside on the fringe of Lake Windermere. Horticulturally minded lovers will adore rambling through its 65 acres of fellside, hay meadows and bluebell-sprinkled woodland, and discovering the ornamental garden and its cascading ponds.

Accommodation is divided between the main manor house and a clutch of revamped cottages and farm buildings where the Lakes’ calming surroundings are reflected in blue, green, lilac and dove grey bedroom palettes. The rooms to book are Thirlmere, which has two windows offering a full spectrum of views and silvery-mauve decor, or Windermere, a split-level cottage with a slate wall, wrought-iron staircase and private terrace.

At the striking glass-fronted restaurant, Robby Jenks’ multi-course lunch and suppers – featuring the likes of Iberico ham and Jerusalem artichoke, and straight-from-the-orchard apples with white chocolate and tonka – are as astonishing as the Lake Windermere views.

Best for seaside romance: The Gallivant

Location: Rye, East Sussex

The Gallivant also offers picnic hampers for the beach, where guests can pick from fish and chips, Caesar salad, crab cocktail and more (The Gallivant)

With Camber Sands’ rolling dunes on the doorstep and Rye’s cobbled streets a short drive away, the location of adults-only boutique hotel The Gallivant is hard to beat. Surroundings aside, this 20-room bolthole holds its own as a romantic destination, in no small part due to its could-be-in-the-Hamptons dreamy bedrooms. They range from cosy, timber-walled cabin suites with sea-and-sand colour pops, to luxury garden rooms with oversized rattan lighting providing a sensual glow, bathtubs revealed by sliding panels, inviting beds framed by beach hut-look cabinetry, and French doors leading to a pine-filled garden.

Keen-on-yoga couples can take advantage of morning classes, or instead settle in for chess in the candlelit lounge, accompanied by glasses of Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs, or enjoy seasonal dishes such as pork chops with seaweed salt fries and cider sauce, or Rye Bay mackerel with white gazpacho and grapes in the restaurant. For extra special sunsets, staff will pack a hamper with a blanket and homemade margaritas, hot toddies or rum coffees for two, ideal for barefoot sundowners.

Best for sultry surrounds: L’oscar London

Location: Holborn, London

L’oscar sits within walking distance of Covent Garden, the British Museum and the Royal Opera House (Paul Winch-Furness )

Announced by a glowing calligraphic signature, home to an ostentation of peacock motifs, more-is-more mirrored ceilings, low-lit lounges dressed with velvet armchairs, draped aubergine and gold curtains and flocks of bird-shaped lanterns, this Holborn hotspot – named after literary legend Oscar Wilde – does dark, sexy surroundings with aplomb.

The grade-II listed former HQ of the Baptist Church has been given a risque new identity, courtesy of acclaimed French designer Jacques Garcia, who’s gone for full-throttle opulence throughout. Lalique butterflies adorn bathroom taps, a black tasselled rope bannister leads up the staircase, and rooms are a riot of silks damasks, fringed lampshades and oversized upholstered headboards in bold sweeps of crimson and butterscotch yellow.

The former Baptist bar in the octagonal former chapel space re-opened in 2023, and it doesn’t disappoint. Neither does the L’Oscar restaurant; with twinkling lights, a mirrored ceiling and amethyst-upholstered furniture, it gives the feel of dining inside a jewel box – albeit one where waiters in smoking jackets bring plates of burrata with basil emulsion, cheeseburgers with truffle fries and tiramisu. For Valentine’s Day 2024, the restaurant will provide a menu with themed around ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, including oxtail tacos, spatchcocked baby chicken and truffle mash potato.

Best for elegant escapism: No.1 by GuestHouse

Location: York

No.1 also offers afternoon tea menus for £30 (No.1 by GuestHouse York)

A grand Georgian townhouse-turned 38-room boutique hotel, this property is all about playful elegance. Martin Hulbert’s clearly had a riot creating No.1’s eyecatching interiors, which range from a black sweeping staircase decorated with violins-on-repeat, to a can’t-fail-to-elicit-a-smile miniature train which puffs its way round a ceiling track in the railway-inspired bar, where excellent Utter Shambles passionfruit sours and a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary are served.

High-ceilinged bedrooms in dusky pink and cream Battenburg hues offer a beautiful retreat, with stout antique chests of drawers topped with ceramic bud vases, turntables to spin your favourite records, and – in top suites – decorative fireplaces, curtained four-poster beds and bathtubs with mosaic-tiled screens.

While there’s hearty wild british fare on offer at the restaurant – think traditional beef sirloin roasts or stone bass with heritage potatoes – the help-yourself pantry kitchens stocked with sweet treats, and open 24/7, are ideal for refuelling in the wee hours. The cellar spa, with cocooning treatment rooms between the arches, including one for couples, is a must-visit for soul-soothing herbal healer treatments.

Best for city splendour: Gleneagles Townhouse

Location: Edinburgh

The wellness space at Gleneagles Townhouse offers around 40 complementary classes (Gleneagles Townhouse)

Smack bang on St Andrew Square, the little sister outpost of Scotland’s most famous countryside retreat is an on-the-money reimagining of the former Bank of Scotland. At its heart is grand restaurant The Spence, set in the old banking hall underneath a magnificent glass dome, an always-lively space as appealing for curled-up chats over coffee as to clink ‘opening bell’ vodka, salted lemon and cremant cocktails. Meals here are ones for the memory books; Jonny Wright’s dishes show off ‘Scotland’s natural larder’. From truffled gnocchi to harissa-roasted carrots with labneh, each dish is a triumph. And, that’s before the roving dessert trolley – laden with strawberry tarts and hand-piped doughnuts – rolls up.

Slumbering wise, no two rooms are the same, but all have charming touches, from fairytale-style canopied beds to antique lighting and rugs. A real push-the-boat out city break, expect across-the-board attention to detail – from engraved ice cubes at rooftop Lamplighters bar, to warm hospitality from staff who know the city inside out.

Best for rock’n’roll romance: THE PIG at Bridge Place

Location: Near Canterbury, Kent

THE PIG is less than an hour from central London by train (The Pig)

Connoisseurs of crafting hotels which define contemporary countryside luxury, The PIG’s outpost just outside Canterbury brings unrivalled romance, and a hint of risque, to the Kent countryside. The attractive, red brick 17th-century manor house, just outside Bridge in the Nailbourne valley, has a storied history - the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Kinks performed here in days gone by - and its new incarnation is just as appealing.

There’s a sexy wood panelled bar with Jacobean features, a roaring fire and ‘stained glass style’ lighting created by mismatched bottles in which to enjoy garden herb-infused drinks. A rustic restaurant has a delicious menu, and there are an array of maximalist-patterned sofas that sink into in the main house. The most romantic rooms are the Hop Pickers’ Huts, which, set along a meandering wooden decking, are wonderfully private and have woodburning stoves and characterful reclaimed interiors. Come summer time, for added rock’n’roll romance, the hotel hosts the PIG’s popular Smoked & Uncut festival too.

Doubles from £215 room-only; thepighotel.com

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