Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you are thinking about a romantic destination to visit with your partner, cities like Paris, Rome or Venice will surely spring to mind. These are undoubtedly magnificent destinations, but we shouldn’t forget the many charming spots we have right here at home on UK soil. We have cities and towns packed full of history, culture and even romance, but which ones come out on top?
Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals (holidu.co.uk), decided to seek out the ultimate Valentine’s destinations for a romantic getaway with your other half. These are the destinations where the Brits make the most effort for Valentine’s Day, and some of these places might surprise you.
It’s official! York tops the list of the most romantic cities in the United Kingdom, and rightly so. This ancient city features picturesque, cobbled streets, a Gothic cathedral, and oozes charm. Situated on the River Ouse, what’s more romantic than a candlelit dinner overlooking – or even on – the river? Did you know that the Castle Museum at York Castle houses one of the UK’s largest collections of Valentine’s cards? With over a thousand cards in the archives, they even date back to 1797.
If you weren’t convinced enough, York also has a chocolate-making history, being home to some of the world’s greatest chocolatey treats, including KitKats. Treat yourself and your partner to a tour and discover all there is to know about York’s Chocolate Story, tasting delicious samples as you go. For the superstitious types, sealing a kiss below the West Window of York Minster is said to make you stay together forever.
In second place is Manchester, a city that is brimming with art, culture, cuisine, and nightlife. You definitely won’t be bored as a couple in this city. Whether you prefer peaceful walks hand in hand through the city streets, visiting fascinating museums or indulging in fancy nights out, there’s something for everyone.
With an average of 1,200 searches per month for ‘romantic restaurant Manchester’, it seems this city is a popular choice for couples searching for a romantic dinner. If you’re searching for the ideal date night location, head to 20 Stories in Spinningfields, this iconic restaurant and cocktail bar offers unbeatable views of the city as well as a diverse selection of delicious cocktails and a locally sourced Modern British dinner menu.
Edinburgh is the ideal city for a romantic getaway. Whether you want to explore all the culinary delights that the city has to offer or learn about the fascinating history of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, you will be spoilt for choice of things to do together. Stroll up the cobbled streets, narrow wynds and closes, or perhaps go for a walk up Arthur’s Seat to enjoy sweeping views of the city below. With an average of 2,900 searches per month for ‘jewellers Edinburgh’, it’s clear that this is the popular place to be if you’re looking to buy something sparkly for your special someone.
In fourth place is Britain’s very own Venice! Cambridge is definitely a romantic choice of destination, most notably due to its famous ‘punting’. Cruise along the River Cam in a Venetian gondola-style boat, there are even Valentine’s Day tours available which include a long-stemmed red rose. If a sickeningly cute boat ride isn’t your thing, fear not, as this city has plenty to offer. If you are a couple of bookworms or scholars, then you’ll be captivated exploring the city knowing it is one that has produced some of the best writers, philosophers, scientists, and politicians in the world. With an average of 1,600 searches per month for ‘florist Cambridge’, it also seems like this city is popular for old romantics in search of a pretty bouquet.
Nestled on the edge of The Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a wonderful place to unwind with your loved one. As the UK’s most Regency town, you can expect to be met with a town brimming with history and Regency architecture. This town is only home to just over 116,000 people, making it a suitable place for couples wanting to visit an attractive but less crowded destination.
Cheltenham’s award-winning restaurants place it as an ideal destination for foodie couples. For a really special treat, visit David Everitt Matthias’s Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage. If fine dining isn’t your style, enjoy some unique dishes from independently run eateries.
In sixth place, we have the Northern Irish capital of Belfast. One of the most famous spots is the Scottish baronial style Belfast Castle, where you can take a romantic stroll through the gorgeous gardens whilst taking in views of the city from a variety of vantage points. This is a true fairy-tale location! At night, head to the Observatory that is located on the 23rd floor of the Grand Central Hotel. This spot is the epitome of romance, serving afternoon tea, cheese boards and classy cocktails with unrivalled views of the city.
The second Scottish city making into our top ten is the rather surprising Aberdeen. Now Aberdeen might not be an obvious choice, but hear us out. Located on the northeast coast, Aberdeen boasts wide stretches of sandy beaches, perfect for a romantic sunrise or sunset stroll. The city’s location also makes it perfect for exploring the surrounding fairy-tale-style locations, such as Dunnottar Castle to the south, or Craigievar Castle to the west. With an average of 2,400 searches per month for ‘florist Aberdeen’, it seems the residents of and visitors to the Granite City enjoy their fresh blooms!
The least populated location in this ranking is Lincoln, the city in the East Midlands that is most famous for its well-preserved magnificent cathedral. The ancient walls and medieval architecture are something to be marvelled at, and just down the road from the cathedral you will find Steep Hill, dubbed one of the most atmospheric (and steepest) streets in the country. Make the hike easier by stopping in at one of the pubs along the way. What’s better than a cold pint or a bottle of prosecco shared with your loved one?
Brighton is a haven for all things quirky and cultural and has plenty to offer lovebirds. Wander through one of the city’s most famous and distinctive features, The Lanes, an area of narrow streets that are full of independent stalls, shops, cafes, and restaurants.
If you have a sweet tooth, Brighton might be the city for you, with 720 searches per month being recorded for ‘chocolatier Brighton’. One of the best spots in the city is Be Chocolat Brighton, with an average Google Reviews rating of 4.8 stars, here you can treat yourself and your partner to freshly made chocolates and chocolate ice cream, what’s more romantic than sharing the gift of chocolate?
In order to carry out this study, Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals, analysed all British cities and towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The main objective was to determine the best city/town to visit for Valentine’s Day. For each of the locations, thanks to the extracted data, they analysed the volume of monthly internet searches for: romantic restaurant in ‘city’, valentine’s day in ‘city’, florist in ‘city’, chocolatier in ‘city’, jewellers in ‘city’, cinema in ‘city’. In the end, these Google Search Volume numbers were added up and a final ranking emerged, taking into account the population size of each destination in relation to the total number of searches to make the comparison fair.