There’s more to couple’s getaways than Swiss mountains or the Eiffel Tower – think canals and colleges. Laura Goulden explores
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 (ox.ac.uk/visitors; 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 (bearoxford.co.uk). 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? (Cherwellboathouse.co.uk; 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 (towerhouseoxford.co.uk; doubles from Dh526, B&B).