Top UK locations for romantic winter weekends

Winchester

Nestled in a picturesque river valley, Winchester is a mellow town that feels trapped in time. It was once home to the Anglo-Saxon king of England, Alfred the Great, who made Winchester the capital in 871! This rich history is evident everywhere you go – from ancient walls and cathedrals, to Elizabethan buildings that line narrow, winding streets.

The result is a town brimming with charm and intrigue – the perfect backdrop for a date! In the winter, the dark nights come to life, with markets, choirs and lights taking to the pebbled roads. The focal point is an ice rink situated in the shadow of the famous Winchester Cathedral – an impressive, yet fun start to any romantic getaway.

Manchester

Don’t let anyone fool you – there’s far more to Manchester than two football teams and a big shopping centre. As the focal point of the industrial revolution, the city is home to a fantastic blend of industrial buildings and modern architecture. From art-covered cotton mills and railway viaducts, to underground bars and warehouses repurposed as music venues.

It doesn’t just look the part either – there’s so much to see and do, with museums, theatres, and bars galore. It’s also home to Canal Street, the famous club-laden home of Queer as folk, and one of the UK’s biggest pride events.

The culture is dialled up to 11 in the winter, with seasonal activities popping up all over the city. For a really fun wintery date, head to Chill Factore, the UK’s longest indoor ski slope, to show off your snowboarding skills (or lack of!). Then, nip over to Manchester’s seasonal Ice Village for a tropical cocktail in the Ice Tiki Bar – the perfect way to ‘chill’ out!

North Norfolk

If you’re more at home in natural surroundings than in a bar, then you might want to consider North Norfolk, home to more than a quarter of the rarest wildlife in the UK, thanks to it’s stretches of marshland and sweeping beaches.

The real highlight here are the seals, who live on the coasts of North Norfolk all year round. Heading to the beach in winter may sound a little mad, but it can actually be the best time to catch them, as they start to have their adorable pups in early November! For the best view, head to Horsey Gap, just north of Great Yarmouth, where you can walk right up to the seals, beyond the grassy sand dunes.

To top off your night, make your way to Wiveton Downs, an area recognised by the UK Dark Sky Discovery partnership as being an exceptionally dark site. This means it’s unaffected by light pollution, so the seven stars of the Orion constellation, along with the Milky Way, are  actually visible to the naked eye. On some nights, you may even catch the northern lights – how’s that for romantic!

Rye

If you prefer to pub, rather than club, then you can’t do much better than Rye, a quaint, medieval town in the south east of England. A labyrinth of vines, cobbled lanes and crooked tudor buildings, it’s an ideal location for a couple to get lost in – there are even castles and a nature reserve to explore!

As for the pubs, most are housed in charming 17th and 18th century buildings, on streets with dainty names like Watchbell Lane, Mermaid Street and Wish Street. In the winter, you’ll find they pay host to roaring fires and mulled wine – the perfect way to cap off a brisk walk in the cold!

Edinburgh

The sprawling, medieval hills of Scotland’s capital feel particularly special in the winter months, when the frost adds a little bit of sparkle to its stunning mixture of architecture. The Royal Mile, which runs from Edinburgh Castle to the Queen’s Holyrood Palace, is a great way to drink in the sights of the city with your other half – you’ll see everything from bagpiping buskers, street magicians, and moving gargoyles!

Along the way, there’s some great spots to stop off at – the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions offers five floors of fascinating visual trickery, whilst the Scotch Whisky Experience boasts the world’s largest whisky collection – 3500 bottles. That’s some way to warm up!

If you’re feeling brave, head to The Real Mary King’s Close, which is a den of streets kept just as they were in the 1600s – prepare for chilling tales of plague doctors and hauntings, and keep your partner close!

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