7 Best Couple City Breaks in the UK

Planning a romantic getaway doesn’t always have to mean jetting off to distant shores. With a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty, there are lots of options perfect for couples' city breaks in the UK.

Emma in the web team

Written by our web team

8 min read | Published 14 February 2022 | Updated 23 October 2023

Whether you're after modern urban life or the charm of historic towns, the UK has it all. Discover the romance of walking down cobbled streets in mediaeval towns. Or delve into the food and arts scenes in bustling cities.

City breaks for couples in the UK certainly offer a unique blend of experiences. Better yet, travel is easy. A host of romantic city breaks in the UK are just a train ride away.

Here, we've curated a list of top destinations. So if you’re looking for some of the most memorable city breaks in the UK for couples, delve in and be inspired.

1. Manchester

Beautiful skyline of Salford Quays Manchester
Manchester easily serves as one of the most vibrant northern towns in the UK. And, it’s certainly among the best UK city breaks for couples.

A must-visit on any trip to Manchester is the Gay Village. Centred around Canal Street, the area is beautifully colourful and always a good time. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs to keep you entertained all weekend long.

For those who love to laugh, comedy shows are played most nights of the week at The Comedy Store and The Frog and Bucket, with performances from national and international comedians.

If you’re after a historical retreat instead, just a short ride out of the city lies a number of National Trust properties that can happily be the centre of any of the best romantic weekend breaks in the UK.

Check out the picturesque Lyme House to soak up the beautifully landscaped gardens. Or, enjoy a theatre night in the gardens of Dunham Massey. Otherwise, travel to Tatton Park to tour the stunning house and grounds (and maybe spot a deer in the park).

Lastly, Cloud 23 bar, located in the Beetham Tower, offers panoramic views of Manchester's skyline. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, it's a perfect spot for a toast while watching the sunset over the city. Ideal as a UK weekend break for couples, Manchester just about has it all.

2. Edinburgh

Edinburgh skyline as seen from Calton Hill
Another stop on our Avanti West Coast route, Edinburgh has long been a favourite of couples who want to escape to Scotland for a romantic getaway. Its historical city walls and cobbled streets attract millions of visitors each year from all over the world.

Edinburgh’s so romantic that it even has its own fairy-tale castle. Edinburgh Castle stands on Castle Rock and looks out over the rest of the city.

This impressive 11th-century fortress draws over two million visitors a year and boasts a rich history, as well as panoramic views of the city, the sea and beyond. It really is a ‘must visit’ on your romantic tour of Edinburgh.

Well known for its literary figures, Edinburgh has been home to authors including J K Rowling, Sir Walter Scott, Ian Rankin and J M Barrie.

Each year The Edinburgh International Book Festival celebrates the city’s rich literary past. It might just be the perfect date if you and your significant other have an interest in the arts.

If literature’s not your thing, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a popular annual event that can make for great, light-hearted entertainment on your romantic getaway.

If you’ve decided on Edinburgh, then take a look at some of the best romantic hotels, including The Witchery by the Castle, The Scotsman Hotel, The Balmoral, and the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. Popular restaurants include Aizle, The Kitchin, and Timberyard.

Love nature? The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a haven for couples seeking some rest and relaxation.

Established in 1670, the garden boasts a magnificent collection of plants, stunning water features, and beautifully landscaped grounds. Whether wandering through the herb gardens, tropical glasshouses, or enjoying afternoon tea overlooking the scenery, it's a picturesque setting.

With its vibrant arts and culture scene, excellent restaurants and more, Edinburgh is a true top pick when it comes to memorable city breaks in the UK for couples. Plus, it’s just an easy and scenic train ride away.

3. Bath

Historical roman bathes in Bath city England
Nestled away in the county of Somerset, King Charles (and now Prince William) has adopted most of the land around here, meaning there are many grand buildings and estates to see.

The city provides an array of buildings that boast Roman, Norman and Georgian architecture. It is particularly well known for its Georgian Royal Crescent. In fact, it is credited as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is even listed as one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe.

If you’re heading to Bath, it is easily accessible by road or rail, with train journeys taking less than an hour and a half from London and roughly two hours from Birmingham to Bath.

The Thermae Bath Spa is another must-visit in Bath. This luxurious location provides couples with a memorable and relaxing treat with its rejuvenating thermal waters. Discover the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters for a truly therapeutic experience.

4. Cambridge

Beautiful view of college in Cambridge with people punting on river cam
A historical gem on the banks of the River Cam, Cambridge is renowned for its excellent university, gothic spires, and picturesque bridges.

This city is a hub of old-world charm blended seamlessly with modern sophistication. The result is a serene setting for a romantic escape.

Strolling with your loved one by the Backs, a picturesque area where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back onto the river, is an experience not to be missed. Or punt down the River Cam for a relaxing treat.

You can also just take time out to relax in the beautiful botanical gardens for a more laid-back adventure.

Favourite eateries to enjoy a quiet, intimate meal include the Michelin-starred Restaurant Twenty Two and the rustic Millworks.

Finally, no trip to Cambridge is complete without a chance to soak up some history. Spend your day exploring the majestic King’s College Chapel or the architecture of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

As the day fades, retreat to The Varsity Hotel & Spa or the quaint University Arms, both offering splendid views and a taste of the city's past. If you love history and culture, Cambridge might be your perfect choice for city breaks in the UK.

5. Brighton

Brighton Pier

Known as the seaside sanctuary of the South, Brighton is all about coastal charm with a bohemian spirit. With things to discover around every corner, it’s the perfect choice for a romantic city break in the UK.

Take a stroll on the Brighton Palace Pier, or explore the shores of Brighton Beach. And if you love all things quirky, the winding lanes in the area are packed with unique boutiques, antique shops, and cosy cafes.

Brighton is also well known for its food. Love seafood? Try The Salt Room. Or if you think you might prefer something meaty, give the Coal Shed a go. For a night's stay, the Grand Brighton stands as a testament to the city's Victorian heritage. Meanwhile, Artist Residence offers a quirkier, boutique experience.

6. York

York river

With its rich history, York definitely makes the list as a top destination for UK weekend breaks for couples.

Wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of The Shambles, thought to be one of England's most picturesque streets, is like stepping back in time. Or check out the well-preserved city walls and the impressive York Minster, a sprawling Gothic cathedral that has stood tall for centuries.

If you love sweet treats, the York Chocolate Story is a must-see. Then, to end a perfect day, indulge in a candlelit dinner at The Ivy York, or visit The Star Inn the City. Both offer delectable dishes for a memorable and romantic meal.

7. Lancaster

Another stop on the Avanti West Coast route, Lancaster is undeniably a great choice for UK weekend getaways for couples.

Stroll through the historic streets of Penny Street and Sun Square and soak in the city’s deep history. And don't miss the iconic Lancaster Castle or Lancaster Priory if you enjoy beautiful architecture.

For those with a love of literature, the Judges' Lodgings Museum is a delightful step into the past. To conclude a magical day, savour a romantic dinner at Quite Simply French or make your way to The Borough. Both promise a culinary experience to be remembered.

Getting there by train

The reason we love the trains so much is that they make the journey as memorable as the destination. So you can sit back, relax and enjoy while travelling to your romantic getaway.

Looking for something really special? Book our First Class train tickets. You’ll have complimentary refreshments, great onboard service, and access to the lounges before you depart. Or if you’re looking for ways to save, book your ticket in advance using our Journey Planner.

If you love all things rail travel, check out some of our other top destinations for weekends away from London by train. Or, discover the Cotswolds or some of the UK’s biggest and most awe-inspiring national parks. With Avanti West Coast, a world of exploration is at your fingertips.

Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

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