There’s more to cou­ple’s get­aways than Swiss moun­tains or the Eif­fel Tower – think canals and col­leges. Laura Goulden ex­plores

Friday - - Contents -

For­get Paris. We’ve found six other charm­ing ci­ties to cel­e­brate love – you’ll be sur­prised which ones.


THE FAIRY-TALE ONE It’s not all dic­tio­nar­ies, dusty li­braries and de­bat­ing so­ci­eties – the UK’s old­est univer­sity town has the kind of mist-wreathed spires and cosy pubs that could coax a cud­dle out of even the crusti­est old cur­mud­geon. Get mem­o­ris­ing those son­nets. The per­fect prom­e­nade: Skirt the Old Town clock­wise from or­nate St John’s Col­lege to woo one an­other by some of the city’s most sto­ried build­ings: Trin­ity Col­lege, with its gor­geous gar­dens (­i­tors; Dh9); un­der the Bodleian Li­brary’s fan-vaulted ceil­ing (Dh27); and in Christ Church Col­lege’s great hall – which dou­bled as Hog­warts’ din­ing room (Dh32). Then me­an­der through flowerbed-trimmed Christ Church Meadow and out along the River Thames. The cosy bar: Built back in 1242, the Bear is Ox­ford’s old­est pub, and still looks like a hob­bit’s lo­cal: all wood­pan­elling, open fires and cosy cor­ners (bearox­ The can­dlelit din­ner: Take a 10-minute taxi north of the city cen­tre to watch the punts rock­ing gen­tly on the river at Cher­well Boathouse (top left). Brave souls can hire them dur­ing the day, but they’re bet­ter as a back­drop – for the choco­late torte for two, per­haps? (Cher­well­; mains about Dh78.) The ro­man­tic stay: Fairy-tale Tower House ho­tel has chunky beams, views of spires and is partly set in the old city walls; a hearty break­fast at the trendy Turl Street Kitchen is in­cluded (tow­er­house­ox­; dou­bles from Dh526, B&B).


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