Romantic city breaks in the UK by Sawday's
Even if you’ve only passed through some of the UK’s cities, the images are iconic – Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Brighton Palace Pier, Bristol’s Suspension Bridge, The London Eye – but cities are ever-changing places, shaped by trends while still brimming with culture. A romantic city break in the UK is all about exploring the sights, streets, cafes, restaurants and watering-holes before coming back to a great place to rest your head for the night.
Our hotels, B&Bs and self-catering places are run by knowledgeable, friendly locals who can introduce you to all the best haunts and ensure you have a truly memorable romantic city break.
Popular romantic city break destinations in the UK
Choose from our favourite UK destinations for a romantic city break and find a great place to stay. Some you will have heard of or visited before, some maybe not, but either way they all have hidden gems that rival a European city break – the lovely beach promenade just 30-minutes’ walk from Edinburgh’s centre, the independent shops and cafes of The Lanes in Brighton, the street art of Bristol’s hip neighbourhoods, and the peaceful green havens of London.
What can you not find in London? Shows in the west end, bohemian bars in Soho, markets, museums, restaurants, huge green parks and all the famous sights, both ancient and modern, that line the riverside.
Man made beauty from the castle in the centre, natural beauty from the cliffs of Salisbury Crags glowing in the evening sun, pubs full of whisky in the walls of steep narrow streets and chips with the mysterious “sauce”.
A tiny city surrounded by green hills that feels like a step back in time. Recent development echoes the ancient stone buildings and walks along the canal path take you out into the countryside. See the Roman spa and try the modern one yourself.
Great restaurants and bars are springing up alongside York’s brilliant old pubs and the city, with the Dales and the Moors nearby, is becoming a hub for hikers and cyclists as history fans explore the cathedral and walk the old city walls.
A quaint seaside town turned vibrant city where you feel like everyone is permanently on holiday. Visit the beach and the grand old pier with the famous Royal Pavilion, then explore The Lanes and hit the many brilliant bars.
Give in to your inner tourist – wander college greens in the footsteps of Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking, take hundreds of photos of the incredible architecture and hire a punt to drift down the river, straw hat optional.
- York: The 3.4km of city walls make for a casual, scenic and historic stroll before you head into the Shambles for coffee
- Bristol: From upmarket Clifton Village, head over the iconic suspension bridge and down through Ashton Court (you can watch the hot air balloons launching at the festival in August)
- London: Follow the glass pavement slabs of The Jubilee Greenway past Kensington and Buckingham palaces and into Camden
- Brighton: The 5km Undercliff Walk takes you out of the city and along the shore to Saltdean with sea views all the way
- Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat is much easier to spot than to walk up, but the views of the city from the top are spectacular.
- Bristol: The riverside is lovely by day, but head for trendy Easton or Gloucester Road for more independent bars and restaurants
- London: Shoreditch is ground zero for the hipster movement, stop at a cereal bar or have a cocktail served in a cat bowl
- Edinburgh: Leith, down towards the sea in the east, is a great place to discover up and coming bars away from the central crowds
- Brighton: North Laine has some of Brighton’s best and strangest bars, but in such a party city it’s hard to miss
- York: Head for the Swinegate/Little Stonegate area for live music and food of all persuasions.
Places to stay for romantic city breaks in the UK
How you stay on a city break can subtly change your trip, whether you go for the indulgence of a hotel, the family touch of a B&B, lively nights at a pub with rooms or the freedom of self-catering. All our places are run by knowledgeable, friendly owners who will give you insider tips for exploring their hometown.
Our favourite romantic city break collections in the UK
More city breaks inspiration
This our main guide to all our favourite romantic city break locations across both the UK and Europe, each offering something special – including Brighton, York, Florence and Barcelona.
A guide to all our favourite city break destinations within Europe, all rich with history, great food spots and cool neighbourhoods – including Paris, Seville, Lisbon and Venice.