Summer summer summertime, time to sit back and unwind. Now is the perfect time to plan a romantic getaway. From the peaceful shores of the Cornish coastline to the charming architecture of Edinburgh, we’ve found plenty of gorgeous holiday locations across the UK that won’t break the bank. Explore our favourite destinations for a romantic staycation on a budget and book the perfect escape this summer.
Where To Go: Edinburgh
Where To Stay: If you’re a couple that like to stay in your own self-contained space (I feel that), Eden Locke's studios start from just £75 a night... and they're bloody gorgeous.
Where To Visit: Of course, no trip here would be complete without a visit to Edinburgh Castle. There’s also the famous Arthur’s Seat and plenty of pretty streets to wander around in. If you’re feeling peckish? Head to Cold Town House for affordable eats and stunning views or check out Mowgli if you're craving delicious Indian street food that won't leave a dent in your wallet. There’s also The Refinery in St Andrew Square, which is a firm choice for cocktails, while gin-based connections reign supreme at Heads and Tales.
Where To Go: The Cotswolds
Where To Stay: With a prime location in the heart of Tetbury, The Royal Oak boasts amazing views of the rolling countryside as well as quirky Art Deco design throughout its cosy bedrooms.
Where To Visit: This little pocket of the country is bursting with things to do, from rambling the picture perfect hills to feeding animals at Cotswold Farm Park or discovering the home that inspired Betarix Potter’s Tailor of Gloucester in Bourton-On-The-Water. A short drive will take you to the area’s busiest town, Cheltenham. It’s here that you’ll be able to scoff elevated British grub at Harry Cook Free House or explore Japanese cuisine at one of the town's busiest restaurants, Kibou.
Where To Go: Brighton
Where To Stay: If you like the idea of watching the sun set over the shore, book into the dreamy Hotel Du Vin which boasts some incredible views.
Where To Visit: You can trawl through vintage shops, stroll along the beach or take on arcade games at the pier. However, Brighton has a legendary LGBTQ+ scene, so a drag brunch is an absolute must, especially when it’s hosted by some of the country's top queens. For a romantic dinner, you’ve got the option to dine on the beachfront at Lucky Beach, curl up in The Lanes at Med or splash out on an unforgettable experience at Palm Court Restaurant on Brighton Palace Pier.
Where To Go: Dorset
Where To Stay: The Fisherman’s Haunt is close to the historic town of Christchurch, and within close proximity to plenty of Dorset’s best attractions, offering charming rooms from £99 a night.
Where To Visit: Dorset has a wide variety of landscapes to explore. From the New Forest, to its stunning seaside, there’s also Salisbury cathedral if you want to sprinkle some culture into your trip. Brewhouse & Kitchen Dorchester is a go-to for freshly-poured pints and stone baked pizza, The Whole Hog in Weymouth is famed for its affordable BBQ meats, while West Beach in Bournemouth can provide a pretty backdrop for romantic date nights on the seafront without breaking the bank.
Where To Go: Cornwall
Where To Stay: Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa has rooms starting from £70, with gorgeous seafront views and cute nautical styling. Make sure to book in advance as the cheaper rooms go quickly here.
Where To Visit: What’s the point in going to Cornwall if you’re not going to the seaside? Should you want to soak up some local history, check out the Jamaica Inn museum or head to Cardinham Woods for a wander in some woodland. Feeling peckish? Head to Fistral Beach Stable and sit beachside with fresh seafood for a reasonable price. There’s also the Rockfish Plymouth in neighbouring Devon with pretty alfresco seating and (a classic) Rick Stein's Fish & Chips in Padstow.
Where To Go: Kent
Where To Stay: The Potting Shed is a cute country retreat from a budget-friendly £48 a night, with quirky features such as wooden beams, stylish soft furnishings and an unparalleled location.
Where To Visit: Canterbury is just under an hour's drive away and is perfect if you fancy roaming around a historical town. In the mood for a trip to the seaside? You can easily get to Margate in an hour, while the Kent Downs will give you plenty of pretty picnic opportunities and is just half an hour away. Food and drink-wise, we’d recommend The Herbalist & Junipers for fabulous frozen cocktails, The Poacher and Partridge for classic pub grub in a gorgeous garden and Wheelers Oyster Bar for tasty, affordable seafood.
Where To Go: Cardiff
Where To Stay: 5- star accommodation in Cardiff on a budget? It's gotta be none other than Cathedral 73 Hotel & Restaurant, whose rooms go for a very reasonable £99 a night.
Where To Visit: Of course, Cardiff Castle is a must for fans of medieval history. If Victorian Gothic architecture is more your thing, there’s the revival mansion located in the city centre and the National Museum if you fancy getting a little deeper into Welsh history. Join Pennyroyal for a cocktail, Uisce for wine and light bites or Lab 22 for science-inspired concoctions. If you’re feeling peckish, the Bay area offers all your favourite chain eateries who provide cheap eats with a view.
Where To Go: Bristol
Where To Stay: Brooks Guesthouse don’t just offer their guests a selection of quirky rooms, oh no. They have rooftop camper vans from just £74, with rooftop views overlooking the courtyard.
Where To Visit: There’s so much to see and do in Bristol, especially if you’re keeping to a budget. There’s gorgeous countryside a short drive outside of the city, a pretty park overlooking Clifton Suspension Bridge and you can even see the whole city from Cabot Tower (and find Cassie’s bench from Skins). If you’re craving a drink or two, head on over to London Cocktail Club for signature sips, The Bristol and Bath Rum Distillery for rum, The Lanes for a quirky activity or The Mall’s famous beer garden.
Where To Go: Cambridge
Where To Stay: Affordable hotels in Cambridge are hard to come across. However, a scroll through AirBnB will show you a number of rooms and self-contained cottages for around £80 a night.
Where To Visit: The city itself is undeniably pretty with plenty of quaint architecture to fill up your Instagram feed. Explore Cambridge University Botanic Garden if you’re into your florals, The Fitzwilliam Museum for a dash of history and The Backs for riverside picnics. If you’re in the mood for a plate of hearty pub grub? Check out The Cambridge Chop House which boasts an impressive beer garden, The Tickell Arms if you fancy cosying up indoors or La Raza for tapas and cocktails.
Where To Go: Oxford
Where To Stay: For a waterside hideaway complete with real ales and pub grub, the Head of the River has you sorted.
Where To Visit: Of course there's cosy pubs like Dewdrop and burgers at Dirty Bones, as well as the university grounds and punting along the river. But if you're after something a little different, head towards the Cotswolds where The Orangery at Blenheim Palace is open for British classics, Aperol spritzes, English sparkling wines and beautiful grounds. You'll even get access to the parklands for a post-supper stroll.
Where To Go: York
Where To Stay: Head to the boutique Hotel Indigo York and you can stay in one of their quirky couples rooms for a reasonable £84 a night, close to all the action of the town centre.
Where To Visit: Within an hour's drive, you can explore the stunning Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors National Park. Within York itself, there’s the cathedral, the National Railway Museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre. Love your craft beer? You’re in luck as House of Trembling Madness has a vast array of options on tap, as does BrewDog, who serve signature brews with hearty burgers and fried chicken, while The Punchbowl is a must for relaxed vibes and classic pub food.
Hungry for more? Check out our guide to the UK's prettiest outdoor restaurants here.