You might be thinking of treating that someone special to a romantic escape. And if you’re not, you should be. But where to go? Well, we find somewhere beside the sea usually sends the heart aflutter. So here’s The Quirky Traveller with six coastal spots perfect for getting cuddly…
There are many different ingredients that make up the perfect romantic break and each person has their own idea. Me? I want somewhere comfortably luxurious without pretension, delicious food and drink, attentive but unobtrusive service and a destination that is interesting, preferably by the sea and not too commercialised.
Here are a few of my favourite places around the British coast.
Berwick upon Tweed
Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland, was fought over by warring armies in England and Scotland. Take a romantic stroll along its ramparts for a great view of the old town, River Tweed and out across the North Sea. Just make sure you wrap up warm as the wind whips in along the east coast.
There are plenty of places to stay from smart hotels to bijou B&Bs. One of my favourite eateries is Café Curio, an award-winning French restaurant where you eat surrounded by Antiques, all of which are for sale, including your plate and cutlery!
Drive out to Lindisfarne, Holy Island but do check as the road is closed at high tide, or just explore some of the beautiful Northumberland beaches and castles.
Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, is a pretty little place with echoes of Enid Blyton childhood holidays. Originally a lively port, its white walled Georgian houses and quaint fishermen’s cottages speak of by-gone elegance and prosperity. Whatever the weather, you can’t beat walking hand in hand along the sand and shingle beach past the rainbow-coloured beach huts before returning to one of the many traditional pubs or restaurants for a delicious meal.
Beer lovers will enjoy a tour of Adnams Brewery. Within walking or cycling distance is the tiny hamlet of Walberswick, Thorpeness, home to the quirky folly ‘House in the Clouds’ and Dunwich; its medieval town fell into the sea years ago.
Not far away is Aldeburgh, made musically famous by Benjamin Britten.
Rye, one of the ancient Cinque Ports, is a charming little town on the Sussex coast – well, almost…
It used to be on the sea but over the years the harbour has silted up and it’s now 2 miles inland. But don’t let that put you off. It is a delightfully romantic place with cobbled streets and medieval buildings, including the famous 11th century Mermaid Inn, once the headquarters of a local smuggling gang.
Nearby Camber Castle broods ruinously over the Sands and there are plenty of lively seaside resorts along this coast.
St Ives is a pretty little Cornish magnet, popular with art lovers – being world-famous it is usually bustling with visitors. It was the brilliantly clear light that first attracted painters, potters and sculptors here, including Barbara Hepworth. The Tate Gallery has a marvellous collection of art works to rival any around the globe.
There’s a graceful curve of golden sand and many cliff-top walks along this craggy coastline. Lands End, the southernmost tip of mainland Britain is only a few miles away.
Llandudno, in North Wales, has everything you could wish from a traditional seaside resort. There’s a huge, sweeping promenade backed by grand Victorian hotels and boutique B&Bs, a shingle beach that makes a great swooshing sound as the tide rolls in and out, a good choice of places to eat and excellent fish and chips.
You can walk along Llandudno Pier (700m) and try your hand at winning a stuffed toy in one of the Arcades or visit The Rabbit Hole, celebrating writer Lewis Carroll’s connection with the town.
However, the most fun is to take the Tram or Cable Car up the Great Orme, a huge hill looming into the sea. Anglesey and some of Wales’ impressive castles are all within an hour’s drive.
Portree on the Scottish Isle of Skye is a hotch-potch of colourful cottages surrounding a wee fishing harbour and pier designed by Thomas Telford. You can get a delicious selection of fresh sea food in friendly, quaint cafes, bars and restaurants.
To find out more about the island’s Gaelic traditions visit the Àros Centre. Or for lovers of history and romance, the Royal Hotel is the site of MacNab’s Inn, last meeting place of Flora MacDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746.
Depending on the weather, which can be stormy one minute and gloriously sunny the next, it’s possible to travel all round the island in a day, visiting impressive sights such as the majestic mountains of the Cuillins, Dunvegan Castle, seat of the Clan MacDonald, the Quiraing volcanic plateau and The Old Man of Storr.
Take time to simply sit on a bench and gaze out at some of the loveliest scenery in the whole of Great Britain.
So that’s The Quirky Traveller’s Valentine’s selection. Now go ahead and tell us your favourite romantic spots in the UK.