Sunset over Scotland
No passport control queues, no embarrassing language barriers (“excuse my French, I meant canard, not connard!”), no itsy-bitsy 100ml shampoo bottles to stuff into a sandwich bag, and very little chance of getting sunburnt… honeymooning at home has many positives. Britain certainly knows how to do charming and romantic hotels too, and from the remotest countryside locations to culture-filled cities there’s always a newlyweds’ love nest to be found. Don’t just take our word for it though; holidaying in Old Blighty is becoming a trendy choice, with 36% of minimooners saying they’d choose a UK coastal or countryside break according to a survey conducted by YouGov, commissioned by online hotel booking system Hotels4U. So chuck your wellies and picnic hamper in the car, and join the staycation nation at our pick of the UK’s most heavenly hotels.
The Hoste, Norfolk
You don’t need mountains for a charming countryside break. East Anglia, with its pretty farms and sparkling rivers, proves that flat vistas can be just as Instagrammable. If you like your rustic relaxation with a slice of city-style luxury, The Hoste in Burnham Market, aka Chelsea-on-Sea, is the place to go. After a day spent on North Norfolk’s huge sandy beaches, you can dress up for cocktails at the bar and enjoy stylishly presented local fare in the restaurant.
The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk
Head south and you’ll emerge from Thetford Forest into Suffolk, the county that inspired John Constable’s beautiful bucolic scenes. Step into another era at The Swan at Lavenham, situated in a picturesque medieval wool town. Claudia Schiffer stayed at this timber-framed hotel during her wedding back in 2002, and today it has the added bonus of a relaxing spa and beautifully refurbished lounge areas.
Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa, Bedfordshire
Or walk in the footsteps of past greats, such as Sir Winston Churchill, at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa. Minimooning here is all about four-poster beds, lazy days in the spa and traditional afternoon teas.
The Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Cumbria
The Lake District is a jewel in the North’s crown and you can enjoy the views over England’s most mountainous region from the hot tub of your spa suite at the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, a family-run country house with food to die for.
Middleton Hall, Northumberland
On the opposite side of the country, near impressive Bamburgh Castle and the North East’s rugged shore, is Middleton Hall, with its array of cute-as- a-button cottages, including a boathouse on the lake and the quirky folly.
The Coach House at Middleton Lodge, Yorkshire
Heading further south, The Coach House at Middleton Lodge is perfectly located between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. A word of warning: the rooms, with their roll-top baths and calming colour schemes, are likely to inspire a complete redecoration of your own home.
The Witchery, Edinburgh
The northern delights don’t stop there: Edinburgh really ups the honeymoon ante with The Witchery by the Castle, a nine-suite bolthole with gothic, theatrical interiors and velvet-draped four posters that just invite you to stay inside all day and night.
Isle of Eriska, Scotland
The Scottish countryside is peppered with retreats, too, but to really get away from it all, you can’t beat your very own island. Just north of Oban, the Isle of Eriska has spa and cottage suites that are so private, the only passers by are the resident badgers.
Castell Deudraeth, Wales
When it comes to secluded getaways, the West may well be the best. On the edge of Snowdonia National Park is the famous yet tranquil village of Portmeirion, the setting for ’60s TV series The Prisoner. Castell Deudraeth is a charming boutique beauty that looks like a castle but feels like a home and is just a short walk from Portmeirion’s colourful waterside houses.
Llangoed Hall, Wales
Another of Wales’ areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Brecon Beacons, has serious minimoon potential in the form of Llangoed Hall. This decadent country-house retreat provides a romance-inducing mixture of characterful rooms, fine food and even finer wine.
Edgar House, Chester
Back across the England-Wales border, honeymooners shouldn’t overlook the pretty riverside city of Chester. Edgar House, a Georgian gem on the city’s ancient walls, more than makes the grade for a special occasion. Think copper bathtubs, deliveries of homemade biscuits and river views.
The Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire
Last but not least, our final western wonder in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland is The Inn at Whitewell, which does room with a countryside view like no other.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
You could honeymoon for ever and a day in England’s stunning South, with so many well-loved hotspots jam-packed with boutique beauties and grand hotels. Starting at the stately end of the scale, Chewton Glen is the perfect base for exploring the ancient New Forest. This award-winning Hampshire manor has romantic tree-house suites and Europe’s largest hydrotherapy pool in the spa.
Barnsley House, Gloucestershire
Known for its picture-perfect cottages, the Cotswolds is a safe choice for a loved-up minimoon. Our pick of the bunch is Barnsley House, a grown-up retreat with famously gorgeous gardens and unfussy yet fabulous food.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
For nosh of the Michelin-starred variety, stop off for a night or two at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons while you’re in the area.
The Cary Arms, Devon
Heading southwest, The Cary Arms’ new contemporary beach-hut suites and
the new launch of The Pig at Combe will certainly put Devon on the romance map.
The Scarlet, Cornwall
In Cornwall, you can get your fill of scones and clotted cream at The Scarlet, an eco- chic sea-view stunner, lled with art and contemporary design touches.
Hell Bay, Scilly Isles
Dropping off the edge of Land’s End, a short hop on a plane or three hours by ferry will take you to England’s island archipelago, The Isles of Scilly. In complete contradiction to its name, luxurious Hell Bay on Bryher is a little slice of honeymoon heaven.
It’s not all ice creams on the beach and muddy countryside romps in the South. Our buzzing capital deserves a mentionin the romance stakes, too. Don’t let the tourists have all the fun, and soak up the sights that make London the second most visited city in the world. But where, oh where, to rest those weary sightseeing feet? For interiors that’ll make you go weak at the knees, we love the Anouska Hempel-designed hotel Blakes in South Kensington.