Sharing is Caring (and Delicious)
The United Kingdom offers a massive variety of accommodation options, and there are also plenty of bolt-holes for loving couples looking for an intimate getaway. Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, offers some ideas for quirky, luxurious, and achingly romantic spots…
Supernova is a converted chapel on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands, overlooking Loch Harport and with the majestic Cullin Mountains as a backdrop. The self-catering cottage has its living-room upstairs to capitalise on the views, and there’s a telescope for stargazing. Petrie suggests a day out that includes exploring 80 km of serene water, walking to the Rubh’ an Dùnain outcrop in the primal, snow-capped, 60-million-year-old mountains, where you can see fossils and dinosaur footprints, and a visit to the famous Talisker Distillery. Then return to Supernova with Scotch and some of the famous Isle of Skye fudge, and warm up in the sauna and the double-ended bath for two. For more info, visit www.uniquehomestays.com.
The Abbey Gatehouse has guarded the entrance to the Tewkesbury Abbey since 1500, but the little apartment over the gate welcomes guests with a fireplace and a double bed in the small gallery above. Nearby are the rolling Cotswolds, picturesque, historic villages built with honey-coloured local stone, and countless walking-trails. For starters, take a stroll between the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, the name derived from the Anglo-saxon word for “mud”, rather than anything bloodier. Further afield, the village of Broadway looks like it belongs on a biscuit-tin, and its Crown and Trumpet pub is famed for locally produced, seasonal food and its own beer, like the award-winning Wizard Brew. The Cotswolds’ agrarian heritage shines through in its food, from Gloucester cheese to Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, trout and fresh produce. The Feathered Nest Inn offers both pub grub and fine dining with a view. For more info, visit www.landmarktrust.org.uk and search for The Abbey Gatehouse.
The Lookout at the Pig on the Beach Hotel in Devon is a double-storey dovecote overlooking the hotel’s vast kitchen garden and the coast. The room has a double bed, free-standing bath and monsoon shower. The restaurant takes pride in local, “microseasonal” food, with a menu that includes haunch of Purbeck venison, crispy Jurassic Coast gurnard and braised pork cheek, and chocolate gingerbread and smoked-chili-chocolate sauce. There’s an impressive wine list too. Take your special someone on a little break to one of the loveliest regions in the UK – you’ll be in the good books for a while. For more info, visit www.thepighotel.com.
Love in the Round is a copper-roofed roundhouse on the edge of a vast meadow of wild flowers in a Cornwall forest of ancient oaks. Nearby is a shepherd’s hut with a shower for two, a fire pit for barbeques, and a stream for cooling wine from the honesty basket. If you’re looking for simplicity and seclusion, you have 11 acres of flora and fauna as company, along with your plus one, and with glow worms and stars instead of bright city lights at night. If it all feels like the rural idyll of the Hobbits’ Shire, it’s because the hut was designed by of the set crew from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and built on the base of a 100-year-old Roma Gypsy wagon. For more info, visit www. canopyandstars.co.uk and search for “love in the round”.
Finally, if you want to escape England’s green and pleasant countryside for one of the world’s great cities, book into the One
Aldwych Hotel in Covent Garden, London. It’s close to London’s theatre district, the Victoria Embankment and Waterloo Bridge, just right for strolls or evenings at the theatre with your special someone. The hotel has more than 300 contemporary artworks, several restaurants, and the Lobby Bar celebrates the hotel’s coveted location in the West End with a cocktail menu divided into comedies, musicals, satire, dramas and backstage. Compared to some other hotels in London, it offers value for money and comfortable rooms, which keep décor to a tasteful minimum that estate agents would describe as “sumptuous restraint”. More information is available online at www.onealdwych.com.
You may not think that Britain has much to offer in terms of romantic hideaways, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The rolling hills of Cornwall will put love on anyone’s mind, as will the stunning views on the Ilse of Skye. Head off to cosmopolitan London for a taste of life in the fast lane, head to Gloucestershire for a little rest and relaxation, or enjoy the sea in Devon. Don’t save your next romantic gesture for Valentine’s Day, and get a head start with one of these beautiful weekend escapes.