When considering a romantic getaway, you might think of Paris, Florence or even New York.
But with travel restrictions still blighting foreign holidays, more and more holidaymakers are discovering hidden gems closer to home, with Google searches for UK staycations up 173 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021.
A new study has revealed Britain’s best-kept secrets for a relaxing retreat, including some that you certainly wouldn’t expect.
Jewellery experts Angelic Diamonds have dubbed these intimate cities some of the best places to get down on one knee, from Chester’s historic rows to Bradford’s abundance of lavish restaurants.
If the bright lights of city life aren’t for you and you’d prefer a slightly more laid back romantic trip, try one of these smaller destinations — they’re sure to surprise you.
If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away to a slightly unexpected destination, Salford could be the a great option.
The Greater Manchester city was ranked third in terms of romance, placing it above Glasgow and many other major UK cities.
What is it about this large town that makes it so romantic?
The main thing that has boosted Salford up the charts is that it is home to an impressive 291 romantic restaurants.
From Lugana to Platzki, the romantic restaurants in Salford cater to every taste and offer a range of formal or more laid back atmospheres.
Rating the venue five stars, she said: “Porta Tapas is a lovely, vibrant tapas bar in Salford, not far from Spinningfields. The staff are lovely and the food selection is great. I have been multiple times before and probably tried everything on the menu at this point.
“The white wine sangria is perfect for a hot summer’s day and the outdoor seating is comfortable and accessible. My favourite dishes are the broccoli, king prawns, presa iberica and the pastel de natas!””
Susan Griffin rated The Alchemist for its canalside views in MediaCityUK. Her five star review read: “Close to the Coronation Street set and Old Trafford on the outskirts of Manchester is MediaCityUK. One of the best bars here is The Alchemist, which provides a glamorously chilled vibe, stunning cocktails and views across the waterway.”
As well as great dining options, Salford has many other staycation activities to offer, from a trip to the historic Ordsall Hall to seeing a show at the Lowry theatre.
PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Another strong contender for the UK’s most romantic destination is the West Yorkshire city of Bradford.
Like Salford, Bradford won a surprise spot in the top five, becoming the official fifth most romantic place in the UK.
Bradford’s appeal for a romantic getaway appears to be its abundance of restaurants.
You’ll have plenty of options when taking your other half out for a delicious meal in Bradford, with 212 Tripadvisor approved romantic restaurants to choose from.
This city on the south coast of England is a hidden gem when it comes to staycation options.
Southampton offers 86 romantic restaurants and three hotels that are tailor-made for a romantic getaway.
From elegant wine bars like Porters Wine and Charcuterie to locally caught seafood and stunning sea views at The Jetty, Southampton has some unique locations that are sure to make for a weekend to remember.
With 11 romantic hotels and 69 restaurants that are perfect for a holiday date night, Oxford is another serious contender in the competition for the most romantic destination in the UK.
Although it comes in at number 22 in the overall rankings, this small city has charged ahead of the likes of Aberdeen and Swansea.
In Oxford, there are plenty of romantic activities to choose from, such as a picnic in Port Meadow or a trip to the historic Turf Tavern.
2Chill member Daniel Richardson visited the city for his 30th birthday, and booked in at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel.
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He described it as an “unforgettable experience”, rating the venue five stars . He said: “Perfection is what you expect when you eat at a two Michelin star restaurant cooked by Raymond Blanc, and perfection is exactly what we got.
“We had the seven-course taster menu and my oh my was it delicious – I think the citrus ceviche will hands down be the best thing I have ever tasted and I’ll genuinely never forget how perfectly crisp the Sancerre was either.
“Most of the vegetables are grown in their gardens (which you can walk around) – their mantra is ‘from garden to plate’ so everything is 100% fresh.
“We booked as a treat for our 30th birthdays (and for getting through lockdown with a one-year-old) so if you’re looking for a place to eat/stay/go to taste-bud heaven, then I’d recommend booking here. Not cheap but totally worth it for a fancy-pants, unforgettable experience.”
If you’re intrigued by traditional and picturesque towns like Oxford, Chester is also a great option.
This city in the northwest of England was built as a Roman fortress and is a wonderful place to explore cobbled streets and find hidden wonders.
With 15 hotels that are perfect for couples and 63 romantic restaurants, Chester is a wonderful staycation option if you’re planning a holiday and want to go somewhere a little different.