UK & Ireland

8 fabulous winter breaks for couples in the UK

Cosy urban hotels and rural retreats amid dramatic scenery provide the ideal setting for romantic winter getaways across the UK

This winter, discover some of the most beguiling corners of the UK’s historic cities and diverse landscape by seeking out one-of-a-kind hotels ideal for weekends away as a couple. From a cosy inn to cliffside hideaway to a grand castle, each of these unique properties provides an immersion into its captivating locale.

Head up to the wild Scottish Highlands, find seclusion on the dramatic coastline of West Wales and make the journey to the bucolic landscape of Northern Ireland. Stay in compelling neighbourhoods of some of England’s most exciting cities and, wherever you choose to go, take in the some of the country’s most celebrated views. Read on for inspiration on where to go for the best winter breaks for couples in the UK.

Overlook Avon Gorge from a leafy corner of Bristol

Taking over a historic building on leafy Clifton’s Sion Hill, Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin Bristol is set apart by its uninterrupted views over the lush Avon Gorge and Bristol landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. These views are paired with good food and fine wine at the smoke house with open-kitchen dining concept, Goram & Vincent. The restaurant is named after the two brother giants legend says dug gorges to prove their love to a woman named Avona, with Vincent creating the Avon Gorge. Year-round both guests and locals also gather for drinks on the panoramic terrace of the White Lion bar.

During a stay, guests can also retreat to the hotel’s cosy lounge for classic cocktails in a space pairing plush furnishings with an array of artwork. The hotel’s stylish rooms and suites look out over the gorge or Clifton’s Georgian streets and rooftops, ranging from the Cosy Room and Deluxe Balcony to the Signature Suite with twin roll top bathtubs and bridge views. The hotel’s enviable position makes it the ideal base for exploring Clifton Village and walking into central Bristol.

Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

Bristol
8.1 Very good (1509 reviews)

Revel in the spectacular scenery of the Lake District

Exceptional food and wine come paired with exploration of the great outdoors when you’re staying at Linthwaite House Hotel in Windermere, which lies at the heart of the famously scenic Lake District. This contemporary country house hotel sits amid wooded hills and close to the shores of Lake Windermere in landscape visited throughout winter for its scenic walks ending with fireside drinks in a cosy pub.

It`s set in 14 acres of its own gardens and woodland covered grounds, with its position on a hilltop providing views over the scenic surroundings. Another highlight is the relaxed restaurant, Henlock, where acclaimed chef Simon Rogan serves a seasonal menu of dishes utilising the produce from his own farm.

These farm-to-table dishes come paired with the wines of Leeu Estates in South Africa while a seasonal cocktail offering is served in the cosy Bar & Conservatory with panoramic views of the lake. The luxurious accommodation here includes View Rooms overlooking Lake Windermere and Lakeview Hot Tub Suites where you can unwind on your private veranda.

Linthwaite House Hotel

Top rated
Windermere
9.3 Excellent (437 reviews)

Stay on the dramatic coast of West Wales

The aptly named Cliff Hotel & Spa benefits from a dramatic location on 30 acres of headland overlooking Cardigan Bay, as well as Cardigan Island, on the Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast in West Wales. In this picturesque location, guests can get to know coastal surroundings and tee off on the hotel’s nine-hole golf course. It’s all set within an area of outstanding natural beauty, where dolphins are often seen chasing fish into the bay. Back indoors, guests can unwind at the tranquil Cliff Spa.

These spectacular surroundings are complemented by the family-owned hotel’s guest rooms, across a range of room categories — some with balconies and others with private hot tubs — making the most of their coastal views. The hotel’s restaurant, Carreg at The Cliff, also looks out over the coastline and sea and serves casual plates incorporating some of the local seafood.

The Cliff Hotel & Spa

Top rated
Cardigan
8.7 Excellent (787 reviews)

Find escapism in Northern Ireland's Holywood Hills

A grand, castle-like retreat, Hotel Culloden Estate & Spa sits high on the hills of Holywood overlooking Belfast Lough and the Country Antrim coastline in Northern Ireland. Originally a bishop’s palace, the luxurious property is surrounded by 12 acres of woodland and secluded gardens. The indoors is now distinguished by cosy antique-filled interiors, home to lounges with fireplaces, modern guest rooms, Irish fine dining venues and a sophisticated spa offering ESPA treatments.

Stay in one of the rooms with estate views, including Tower and Palace Suites, and dine at the on-site Vespers restaurant where dishes highlight ingredients from the surrounding environment. Indulge in the hotel’s “Bridgerton”-inspired afternoon tea at Vespers, soak up the atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub and bistro at The Cultra Inn and order classic cocktails at The Lough Bar. In the spa, treatment rooms are joined by a steam room, sauna and vitality pool with garden views.

Hotel Culloden Estate and Spa

Top rated
Holywood
8.7 Excellent (592 reviews)

Stay in a London landmark

Ideally located in London’s buzzy Marylebone neighbourhood, The Landmark London is an enviable base for getting to know local cafes, boutiques and sites like The Sherlock Holmes Museum.

However, you may also be tempted to while away much of your time within this luxurious historic-meets-contemporary landmark hotel where the focus first falls on a spectacular high-ceilinged inner courtyard with glass roof. Known as the Winter Garden, this year-round oasis filled with giant palm trees provides the memorable setting for modern European dining and the decadent High Palms High Tea.

More drinking and dining experiences are then to be found in the stylish but laidback Grand Central Bar and glamorous Mirror Bar offering pre- dinner cocktails and late-night drinks. A winter weekend here is enhanced by time in the Spa at Landmark London, offering personalised treatments like The Landmark Heaven on Earth ritual and housing amenities including a serene 15 meter pool.

The hotel has a range of plushly decorated rooms and suites to choose between including the Grand Central Suite celebrating this property’s history as a grande dame of railway hotels.

The Landmark London

Top rated
London
9.0 Excellent (2140 reviews)

Retreat to coastline in Cornwall off-season

As most tourists head to Cornwall during the summer months, an off-season visit means getting to know the famously scenic coastline and coastal towns without the crowds. St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa places guests just moments from the beach and harbour of what’s known as one of Cornwall’s great draws and also a hub for the arts.

This hotel’s seafront location, just steps from Porthminster Beach, make it an ideal winter weekend retreat for couples. The boutique property houses a collection of colourful coastal inspired rooms and suites, many with sea views and some with balconies, featuring in-room amenities such as complimentary gin and sherry.

Guests dine with a view over the beach and water at Harbour Kitchen, Bar & Terrace, where dishes utilising seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are offered alongside the beers and spirits of local brewers and distillers. Time here can be spent tucking into the Champagne Afternoon Tea or in the luxury spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and heated swimming pool.

St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa

St Ives
8.1 Very good (693 reviews)

Seek out a historic bolthole in York

Dating back to the 17th-century, the Lamb & Lion Inn provides an atmospheric setting to eat, drink and stay adjoining Bootham Bar, one of the four main Roman gateways to the historic York city centre. This characterful building is home to just 12 modern guest rooms linked by narrow passages, a parlour-style restaurant serving modern British dishes highlighting fresh, local ingredients and an outdoor drinking and dining area.

In winter, the inn also hosts guests for food and drinks in Winter Wonderland Igloos, adding another layer to the overall hotel experience. A stay in one of this intimate inn’s city- or landmark-view rooms, with evenings dining in the convivial restaurant, can then be spent getting to know the hotel’s historic surroundings.

Walk along the ancient York City Walls and stroll down the winding Shambles shopping street. Pay a visit to the city’s best-known landmark, The York Minster, and venture to the central York Museum Gardens home to St. Mary’s Abbey ruins, York Observatory and the Artists Gardens, among other sites.

Lamb & Lion Inn

York
8.1 Very good (654 reviews)

Feel like the king of the castle in the Scottish Highlands

A town tucked into the western Scottish Highlands, Fort William places guests by the shores of Loch Linnhe and close to Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis Valley. Inverlochy Castle Hotel lies within lush green sprawling grounds, complete with a private loch.

Queen Victoria even stayed here during a trip to Balmoral in 1873. Each of the castle hotel’s 17 rooms and suites pair classic Scottish grandeur and modern amenities with views over the loch and grounds.

The experience of staying here is then heightened with the culinary offering at Michel Roux Jr. at Inverlochy Castle. The restaurant features British cuisine with French influence served in three dining rooms decorated with period furnishings presented as gifts to the castle by the King of Norway.

Days here can be spent trying your hand at sporting and country pursuits like fishing, clay pigeon shooting and hill walking before heading back indoors for afternoon tea.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Top rated
Fort William
9.1 Excellent (301 reviews)