With the 20°C+ heat wave the UK is currently experiencing, what better time to whisk your date away on a romantic mini break. Pack your picnic blanket, organise your overnight bag and hop on the train to one of these great locations.
Dating destination one: St. Ives, Cornwall
After a long day on the beach is there anything more romantic than watching the sun go down?
St Ives’ reputation as one of the most beautiful seaside towns is well deserved and if you’re dating a food lover you’re in luck; St Ives’ proximity to the shoreline makes for amazing fish and chips. Porthminster Beach Cafe is highly recommended for a portion wrapped in paper, but if you fancy something a little more upmarket The Carbis Bay Hotel offers gourmet dining with seafront views. An evening here is guaranteed to get you some dating brownie points.
The winding cobbled streets and quaint cottages of St. Ives are sure to make you fall in love, and not just with the place. However, if you fancy some time away from the shore, head up to the Steeple Woodland Nature Reserve for a picnic amongst the views.
Dating destination two: London
The UK’s capital city has got to be one of the most romantic cities when it comes to dating. From the hustle and bustle of central London, to the countryside atmosphere of Wimbledon village, there’s no shortage of romantic things to do.
A favourite with Londoners and tourists alike is a visit to Parliament Hill. Try your hand at kite flying, visit the farmers market or just take in the sites. If you find yourself getting peckish, head to Villa Bianco for a delicious selection of homemade pasta, tender veal and fresh lobster.
Continuing with the Italian theme, the canal boat ride from Little Venice to Camden Town is one of London’s most romantic offerings, but if you’re looking for somewhere a little more lively, make a trip to Portobello market. Take an afternoon to browse the antiques, street food and vintage clothing, then head over to the Garden Bar & Grill in Latimer Road to examine your purchases and fill up on the tasty bar food.
Dating destination three: Cambridge
Home to one of the UK’s oldest universities since 1209, this tiny city is packed full of culture, making it a perfect dating destination. Spend a morning wandering through the fascinating art collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum, then grab a bottle of champers and a punnet of strawberries to take down to the river, where you can have a go at punting.
You may get heckled if you crash into other punts, but it’s only because Cambridgeshire folk are so passionate about the Cam, and rightly so. Some of the best restaurants line its shores (Midsummer House has two Michelin stars) and quaint villages such as Granchester are within easy reach using the riverside cycle paths.
In such a small city you may feel the need to get out and explore. Head north of the city to discover the home of Oliver Cromwell and the magnificent Ely cathedral, or travel a few miles south to visit the medieval town of Saffron Walden and the stunning Audley End house and gardens.
If all that culture gets a bit much for you, catch a gig at the Corn Exchange and finish the evening with a nightcap at trendy bar, The Cow, situated right next door.
Dating destination four: Bath
Bath’s key attraction, the Roman Baths, is handily also its namesake, making it easy to work out at least one thing to do there. However, that’s not all Bath has to offer. If you want to impress the lady or gent you’re dating, then this is the city for you.
Visit the Pump Room (as mention in Jane Austen’s novels) for afternoon tea and feel like you’ve travelled back in time to a far more elegant era, or get active with a six mile Bath Skyline walk. The trek offers great views of Sham Castle and the diversion through Prior Park practically begs for a Mr Darcy style moment on the Palladian Bridge.
If your date doesn’t suffer from vertigo, consider taking a balloon ride over the ancient city for stunning panoramic views and a glass of bubbly. Upon landing get your glad rags on and head to Bath Racecourse for an evening of glamour, overlooking the scenic city.
Dating destination five: Canterbury
Another historic city, another romantic mini break. Arguably Canterbury’s most famous attraction is the Canterbury Cathedral, which offers guided tours about its history. Definitely worth a visit if you or the person you’re dating is religious, as it’s the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, but if you’re more of an anti-theist, grab a copy of The Canterbury Tales. Written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, the stories paint a not entirely rosy picture of England and The Church.
If you fancy something a little lighter, take the boat ride down the River Stour or hop on a bus to Herne Bay, where you can relax by the seaside. When the sun sets, join one of the city’s ghost walks or have an after dark picnic on the University’s hill, where you can enjoy the views of the lit up city.
If you believe dating equals eating then Canterbury won’t disappoint. Visit the farmers market at The Goods Shed and sample a few tasty morsels before heading into the onsite restaurant for delicious, seasonal food. The menu changes twice a day and the chefs only cook ingredients fresh from the market. However, if you want something a little more traditional, The Old Weavers does a great roast and has lovely views onto the river.