17 Best Romantic Things to Do in the United Kingdom

St Pancras Statue of the Lovers

Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

From villages straight out of fairytales to unique cottage hideaways, there's no shortage of romance in the United Kingdom. Skip the chocolates and roses, and instead test your relationship by getting lost in a contemplative maze, show your commitment with London's finest custom jewelry, or go camping under the stars. You can choose to spend time in the picturesque countryside, or hit the pavement of a big city like London, both complete with countless activities perfect for rekindling a spark. Make your honeymoon or anniversary one for the romance books with a trip to a nostalgic British destination.

01 of 17

Take a Cruise on Lake Windermere

A bird's eye view of Lake Windermere

Ashley Cooper / Getty Images

Windermere, United Kingdom

A trip to the lake district is not complete without a boat cruise on the famous Lake Windermere. This 10.5-mile and 200-foot deep lake is the largest natural lake in all of England. Start your excursion in Bowness, Ambleside, or Lakeside to enjoy a cruise up and down the narrow lake, complete with narrated history. Take in points of interest and the sweeping mountain views, perfect for photo ops. You can book a trip on a smaller launch boat (recommended for couples) or a larger "steamer" for a 75-minute round-trip journey. Combine your cruise with a visit to a local attraction for a whole-day affair.

02 of 17

Soak at Thermae Bath Spa

Roman hot springs in Bath, England

oversnap / Getty Images

The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath BA1 1SJ, UK
Phone +44 1225 331234

Nothing is more romantic and relaxing than soaking together in natural mineral-rich waters. At Thermae Bath Spa, in Bath, you can enjoy a rooftop pool filled with 92 Degree F water that contains over 42 minerals and trace elements. Bask in the hot springs to heal your bones with a two-hour spa session, and then retreat to the on-site massage rooms for a couple's massage. You can also book the Wellness Suite to enjoy the Georgian Steam Room, the Infrared Room, and the Celestial Relaxation Room. 

03 of 17

Sip Tea at Lucy's Tearoom

English tea in a traditional tearoom

Debby Lewis-Harrison / Getty Images

The Square, Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AB, UK
Phone +44 1451 830000

If you find yourself in Cotswold, stop into Lucy's Tearoom for an afternoon tea. (in typical local fashion). This small, family-run business sits inside a 300-year-old stone cottage in Stow's Market Square. Go inside and admire the architecture, complete with flagstone floors, exposed beams, and a large bay window. Then, sip on traditional cream teas and eat homemade toasted teacakes, alongside plant-based healthier fare. You can also book one of two tea-named rooms at their bed and breakfast upstairs.

04 of 17

Get Lost in Puzzlewood

Twisted trees in an English forest

James Mills / Getty Images

Puzzle Wood, Coleford GL16, UK

Located in Gloucestershire’s historic Forest of Dean, Puzzlewood gives you an outdoor experience full of twisted trees, meandering paths, bridges, and lookout points. Don your hiking boots and experience a forest full of otherworldly sights, like interesting rock formations and underground caves. These caves, called scowles, were formed by the erosion of carboniferous limestone, and then they surfaced over time exposing some of the cave features. Along the trail, look for badgers, deer, fox, rabbits, and a variety of bats. Then, when you're done exploring, hit the cafe for baguettes and tea.

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05 of 17

Have a Brief Encounter

St Pancras Statue of the Lovers

David Williams / Getty Images

Carnforth Station, Warton Road, Carnforth LA5 9TR, UK

Carnforth Station, in Lancashire, posed as Milford Junction in the classic British movie, David Lean's Brief Encounter. The station has recently been refurbished with a nod to its historic cinematic debut. Meet up under the clock featured in the film, or have a more modern encounter of your own at London's newly refurbished St. Pancras International Station. Start by taking a selfie with Paul Day's 30-foot tall statue, The Meeting Place, and then drink champagne at the world's longest champagne bar located on the station's platform.

06 of 17

Shop for Custom Jewelry

Traffic in Jewellery Quarter - home to many businesses involved in the jewellery trade

 peeterv / Getty Images 

Birmingham B18 6JZ, UK

Approximately 40 percent of the jewelry made in the United Kingdom, including much that finds its way into the exclusive shops of London's Mayfair, is made in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. The area is full of designer-makers (some who were trained at the district's own college) working out of small, glamorous shops. Many artisans can create a piece to your own specifications, usually for much less than you might expect to pay for custom work elsewhere. While you're waiting for your piece to be completed, ogle over the sparkly stones at a diamond shop, or grab a glass of wine at one of the district's trendy cafes.

07 of 17

Visit the Sexy Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant
Getty Images
The Giant Inn, 24 Long Street, Cerne Abbas, Dorchester DT2 7AL, UK
Phone +44 1297 489481

The Cerne Abbas Giant could well be the sexiest ancient monument in the British Isles. The National Trust describes him as a huge chalk outline sculpted into the hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas, representing a "naked, sexually aroused, club-wielding giant." Those wanting to spice up their relationships are drawn to amorous encounters near the Giant's most upstanding feature (take a guess). In the past, couples have even spent the night here. If you are tongue-tied on Valentine's Day, a trip to this ancient drawing proves that sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words.​

08 of 17

Stay the Night in a Castle

Low Angle View Of Edinburgh Castle Against Cloudy Sky
Tim King / EyeEm / Getty Images

You just can't move without bumping into a castle or a castle ruin somewhere in the UK. More amazingly, many of them have been turned into unique luxury hotels. Imagine a room in a turret with ancient stone walls, a roaring fire, and baronial hangings all over the place. Nowadays, these castle hotels, like Langley Castle Hotel, mostly fit the "boutique hotel" genre. Still, you can expect four-poster beds, luxurious bathrooms, historic landscaped views, moats, and battlements to keep your most romantic fantasies going.

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09 of 17

Hold Hands on a Beautiful Beach

Kynance Cove

Andy Stothert / Getty Images

While it's not exactly a tropical beach destination, the UK's breathtaking beaches were carved out by the wind and the glaciers of the ice age, creating remarkable landscapes. The National Trust of Wales designated some of these beaches the best place to pop the question. A few of the most popular include Watergate Bay, which boasts 2-miles of pristine sand and is a great place to watch surfers. Another surfing beach, Saunton Sands, backs right up to Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. And the fabulous tranquil coastal village and beach of Sandsend will take you out of the city's hustle-bustle and into Fairytale Land.

10 of 17

Lose Yourselves in Leeds Castle Maze

Leeds Castle Maze, Kent, England

VisitBritain / Pete Seaward / Getty Images

Leeds Castle, Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL, UK

The English pride themselves on their elaborate hedge mazes, and these sites are not just family attractions. Three to 400 years ago, in the heyday of English maze design, mazes were considered places for flirtation and a hideout for secret lovers to rendezvous. Go during the day, when the kids are in school, and you'll have plenty of private time for snogging (that's British for smooching) between thick walls of yew. Leeds Castle, in particular, has a dense yew maze set within a square. Yet, when seen from above, the pattern is circular. This unique feature makes this maze hard to solve. You can literally spend hours inside.

11 of 17

Stargaze at Brecon Beacons

Wild camping on Black Hill in the Black Mountains on the border between England and Wales

Michael Roberts / Getty Images

Brecon Beacons, Brecon LD3 8NL, UK

Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales is an outdoor couple's haven. Here, you can hike miles of meandering trails, take a romantic horseback ride through the countryside, or mountain bike on roads and hillside tracks. This park also earns its name as an International Dark Sky Reserve. The skies are so clear at night, you can see the Milky Way, major constellations, bright nebulas, and meteor showers with the naked eye. Book a camping or glamping experience, grab a blanket, and cuddle up with your romantic someone, while appreciating incredible celestial sights.

12 of 17

Stroll Through a Lavender Meadow

Close-up view of lavender in field, Norfolk, UK

Joanna Potępa / Getty Images

Caley Mill, Norfolk Lavender, Lynn Road, Heacham PE31 7JE, UK
Phone +44 1485 570384

The town of Norfolk, famous for its lavender plants, is home to Norfolk Lavender, which houses the National Collection of Lavenders. Here, more than 100 different varieties of the fragrant herb grow in abundance. Wander the fields, hand-in-hand, taking in the relaxing aromatherapy. Then, take a guided tour of their distillery and see the plant go from flower to perfume. After that, hit the Lavender Lounge Tearoom, where you can indulge in lavender-infused cake and tea.

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13 of 17

Row Your Way Through Cambridge

Members of the public punt along the river Cam in front of the colleges of Cambridge University

 Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Cambridge, UK

In the college town of Cambridge, the River Cam has long been navigated by punts, traditional flat-bottomed boats similar to those that ply the canals in Venice. Book a private tour for you and your sweetie, while the boat's operator uses a setting pole to guide you down the waterway. You'll see sights like the Mathematical Bridge, King's College Chapel, the impressive Wren Library, and you'll pass under the Bridge of Sighs. Take a boat out by yourself, if you'd rather enjoy more privacy. Still, with a trusted guide at the helm, all you need to do is relax with a glass of wine and take in the view.

14 of 17

Take a Walk in Dartmoor

A woman walks around the barren moorland alone in Dartmoor National Park, Devon England UK

Jason Jones Travel Photography / Getty Images 

United Kingdom
Phone +44 1626 832093

Idyllic Dartmoor is home to the Emsworthy Mire, a moorland nature reserve where thousands of bluebells flower every spring. And in the protected Dartmoor National Park you can explore miles of trails through open moorlands and deep river valleys. Just head out on an abandoned railway or on an archeological walk, and it won't be long before you find yourself alone, complete with a pristine view perfect for picnicking. Start at Princetown's network of trails, and don't forget to check the weather and pack accordingly before you go.

15 of 17

Ice Skate at London's Somerset House

Empty ice skating rink, Somerset House, The Strand, London, UK

coldsnowstorm / Getty Images 

Strand, London WC2R 1LA, UK
Phone +44 20 7845 4600

London operates different ice rinks during the winter months, but few are as romantic as the one at the Somerset House. The neoclassical landmark is illuminated from below, as skaters of all ages and ability levels glide around on the ice beside it. A skate at this venue is considered one of London's favorite winter experiences. Take a glide around the ice, while gazing into each other's eyes, and then enjoy artisan food and drink at Chalet Barragiste with Jimmy Garcia. Go during the holidays to see the 40-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated in lights.

16 of 17

Take a Stroll Through Bibury

Arlington Row, Bibury, the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England

 joe daniel price / Getty Images 

Bibury, Cirencester GL7, UK

Bibury, an ancient village situated along the banks of River Coln, was once described by the poet William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England." Surrounded by the Cotswold Hills, this idyllic town boasts cobblestone houses, most donned in meandering ivy vines. Take a stroll along Arlington Row and admire the architecture of the cottages built in 1380 as part of a monastic wool store. And don't miss a visit to the Bibury Trout Farm, a working farm where they breed Rainbow and Brown Trout for restocking waterways for anglers. Rent a snug little cottage, or stay at the romantic riverside Swan Hotel.

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17 of 17

Take a Steam Train Ride Through Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct

TripSavvy / Jess Macdonald

Fans of Harry Potter will recognize the iconic steam train, as it makes its way throughout Scotland's ancient villages and picturesque lochs. A trip over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Inverness makes you feel like you're living part of the Potter movie, as you feel the romance of a past era. For this experience, make sure to book the West Highland Line. Other journeys, like an overnight train experience, take you deep into the highlands, and half-day excursions pass by villages and beaches where you may spot herons, eagles, and otters. 

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17 Best Romantic Things to Do in the United Kingdom