15 Best UK City Breaks for Couples

The UK is full of fantastic cities worth discovering as part of a romantic weekend away or a longer holiday exploring a part of the country you haven’t been to before.

From Brighton on the south coast to Edinburgh up in Scotland and across to Belfast in Northern Ireland, there’s a large range of great destinations to plan a trip to.

If you’re after a holiday in this country, check out our list of the best UK city breaks for couples.

1. York

One of the most beautiful cities in the UK is York. From its cobbled streets to the intact city walls, it’s the perfect location for a romantic getaway.

With a largely pedestrianised city centre, York is easily walkable so you can arrive by train and see everything you need on foot.

With the impressive York Minister, the magical Shambles, and the beautiful River Ouse, there are plenty of romantic things to do in York for couples that should put this at the top of your list of places to visit.

The city walls in York

What to do:

  • The Shambles: Take a walk down this famous medieval street.
  • York Chocolate Story: Learn about the rich chocolatey history of the city and try some samples while you do!
  • Walk the walls: The city walls offer some of the best walks in York, allowing you to navigate around the city centre and see plenty of sights from the high vantage points.

2. London

Unsurprisingly, the UK’s capital makes for one of the best UK city breaks for couples, with an almost limitless supply of fun activities to try.

London is home to some of the best bars and restaurants in the country (and arguably the world), so if it’s good enough for millions of tourists you can be sure it’s a great place to visit.

With so many romantic things to do in London, you can plan a city break that best suits your interests, such as exploring the world-famous landmarks, chilling in cocktail bars with views over the city, or having a date night out at a theatre.

The Southbank of London at night, seen from Tower Bridge, with the Shard in the distance
London at night

What to do:

  • Sky Garden: Enjoy cocktails or even a full meal high up above the city with views across the incredible skylines.
  • Hike along the scenic canals: follow some of the best walks in London along its serene waterways and discover picturesque areas like Little Venice.
  • Crazy golf: Grab a drink and play mini golf in one of the many fun venues like Swingers or Junkyard Golf.

3. Edinburgh

While many of the cities on this list are in England, take a look north into Scotland for one of the best romantic UK cities for a weekend break – Edinburgh.

With the historic old town full of narrow cobblestone streets and impressive old buildings, there are few places with such a cosy and magical atmosphere to them.

Edinburgh is also easily accessible by many railway lines which connect it to different parts of the country, including London, making it one of the best UK city breaks by train.

What to do:

  • Edinburgh Fringe: For a truly memorable UK city break for couples, visit the capital of Scotland during the Edinburgh Fringe and catch some of the many entertaining shows hosted during this festival.
  • Ghost Tour: If you don’t mind being spooked, joining a Ghost Tour is a great way to see the city at night when it feels even more magical.
  • Edinburgh Castle: The views alone make visiting this 12th-century castle worth it, and you can learn a lot about its intriguing history too.

4. Liverpool

Head into the northwest of England and you’ll find Liverpool, one of the most iconic cities in the country.

As such a lively cultural hub, there are many fun things to do in Liverpool for couples, from taking a cruise along the Mersey or visiting some of its captivating and varied museums.

If you’re into music or a fan of the Beatles, there’s no better place to visit than the home of the Fab Four. With many great venues featuring live music too, Liverpool is also one of the best UK city breaks for couples who enjoy going to gigs.

Statues of the Beatles by the Liverpool waterfront

What to do:

  • The Beatles Story: Discover an immersive museum where you can learn more about this famous band.
  • Hire e-scooters: Zip up and down the waterfront with this fun and speedy mode of transport.
  • Museums: Because many have no cost to enter, one of the best free things to do in Liverpool is to explore museums like the Maritime Museum and the World Museum.

5. Cambridge 

While most well-known for its university, the old streets, beautiful architecture, and green spaces make Cambridge one of the most romantic destinations in the UK.

From its many museums to the historic college of the university, there are many idyllic and romantic spots to discover in the city.

It’s also famous for being one of the best cities in the country for cyclists, so a great way to explore all it has to offer is by getting on your bike (or hiring one) and pedalling down its streets together.

For a full rundown of ideas, make sure to read our blog on the best things to do in Cambridge for couples.

A view of the River Cam and Clare College in Cambridge from the Garret Hostel Bridge
The River Cam running through Cambridge

What to do:

  • Go punting: While it’s almost a cliche at this point, exploring the waterways of Cambridge on a traditional punt is among the most romantic activities you can do in the city.
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum: Any art or history lover shouldn’t pass on the chance to visit The Fitzwilliam Museum which houses many varied exhibitions within the beautiful building.
  • Explore the colleges. The University of Cambridge is famous for its academic output and prowess, but also for the beauty of the old buildings which are still used today. Try King’s College and Queen’s College for two of the most stunning.

6. Bath

The Georgian architecture in and around the centre of Bath is renowned for making it one of the most romantic cities in the UK for a weekend break.

The streets of Bath are so stunning and historic that they are commonly used for filming period dramas such as Bridgerton, so there’s no doubt that it’s a perfect setting for two lovebirds to explore.

For history, the Roman baths should be at the top of your itinerary to visit. Or, for a relaxing and intimate time together, book into the Thermae Bath Spa.

Pulteney Bridge in Bath

What to do:

  • Pulteney Bridge: Built in 1774, this gorgeous bridge is an iconic landmark and offers a great backdrop for a picture. Make sure to take a walk across and discover the shops on the bridge too.
  • Thermae Bath Spa: With a rooftop pool providing views across the city, a session at this spa is one of the most intimate experiences in Bath.
  • Roman baths: At the centre of the city, the Roman baths attract visitors from all over the world and are a must-see attraction if you’re visiting Bath.

You can also read our blog on the best things to do in Bath for couples if you’re in need of more ideas.

7. Brighton

There are few places that offer a better seaside getaway for couples in the UK than Brighton.

With a large beach, an iconic pier, and plenty of options for fish & chips or ice cream, you can have a lot of fun enjoying a classically British beach holiday.

Make sure to visit in summer for the best experience of Brighton, as on a hot sunny day you can even take a dip in the sea.

Brighton Pier on a sunny summers day
Brighton Pier

What to do:

  • Explore the pier: See everything it has to offer, from eating doughnuts, playing arcade games, and trying the many fun rides.
  • Brighton i360: This moving observation tower moves from the ground up 162 metres, offering panoramic views of the city and across the English Channel.
  • Royal Pavilion: This unique and impressive building provides a picturesque setting for picnics outside and a fascinating museum inside.

For more ideas, check out our blog on the most fun dates ideas in Brighton and other things to do for couples.

8. Norwich

Despite being a smaller city deep in the heart of East Anglia, there are many fun date ideas in Norwich and other activities perfect for couples.

From trying some of the best restaurants in Norwich to exploring the historic lanes and amazing landmarks like the castle and cathedral, the city has many options for a fun weekend away.

For more unusual things to do in Norwich, try visiting the Sainsbury Centre or looking around at an antique market located in an old church.

The River Wensum in Norwich
The River Wensum in Norwich

What to do:

  • Bowling House: Play a game in this retro bowling alley and enjoy food and cocktails while you do.
  • Norwich Castle: This structure towering over the city is one of the best attractions in the city, with lots of exhibits to see inside.
  • Cromer: Take a short train ride out to the coast and spend a day at this sleepy and idyllic seaside town.

9. Oxford

Like Cambridge, Oxford is known for its university and rich history but also has lots of fun things to see and do that make it one of the best UK city breaks for couples.

Take a stroll to see its beautiful historical architecture and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Oxford has also been often used for filming locations for TV shows and big-budget films alike, with the Harry Potter series being the most notable. If you’re a fan, it really feels like you’re wandering around the wizarding world.

What to do:

  • Take a Punting Tour: Enjoy a leisurely and romantic tour of Oxford’s picturesque waterways on a traditional punt. This is a unique and intimate way to see the city and its stunning architecture.
  • Visit the Botanic Garden: Stroll hand in hand through the beautiful and tranquil Botanic Garden, which features a vast collection of plants from around the world.
  • Explore the Ashmolean Museum: This world-renowned museum houses a vast collection of art and artefacts, ranging from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art.

10. Manchester

Manchester is a thriving metropolitan hub in northern England and has become an increasingly popular destination for a couples’ getaway in the UK.

With tons of fun bars, cosy cafes, and delicious restaurants, Manchester is particular great if you come for the nightlight, but the choice of museums and other attractions is great too.

If you’re sports fans, there are few cities in the UK with richer football history. Alternatively, you can book in advance to see some of your favourite musicians in venues such as the AO Arena.

Tramlines running through St Peter's Square in Manchester
St Peter’s Square in Manchester

What to do:

  • Castlefield: This historic canal area is a beautiful and romantic walking spot. Enjoy the tranquillity of the waterways and the charming architecture of the area’s converted warehouses.
  • Whitworth Art Gallery: Explore the galleries of this world-class museum together, taking in the beauty of the exhibitions and enjoying each other’s company in a cultural setting.
  • Palace Theatre: Take in a performance at this historic and intimate venue, with a range of productions ranging from musicals to plays to concerts. Enjoy a night of entertainment together and make memories to last a lifetime.

For even more ideas, make sure to read our blog on the many fun things to do in Manchester for couples.

11. St Albans

This small city is easy to get to from London, taking just 20 minutes by train from St Pancras, so it offers an easy location to get to for many people after a city break in the UK.

Explore some of the best things to do in St Albans, from climbing the clocktower and seeing the Roman walls to having a night out at an independent cinema.

There are many amazing places to eat in St Albans too, with an option of fantastic brunch options, dessert places, and restaurants, depending on what you’re after.

St Albans Cathedral in winter

What to do:

  • St Albans Cathedral: Take a look around this magnificent cathedral, one of England’s oldest places of Christian worship. Admire the beautiful architecture and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • Verulamium Park: Enjoy a romantic picnic or walk in this lovely park, which features a peaceful lake and the remains of a Roman wall.
  • Pub meal out: Indulge in a romantic meal at some of the best pubs in St Albans, such as The Boot or The White Hart, which offer a cozy and intimate atmosphere and a menu of traditional English fare. Enjoy a night of good food, good company, and good memories.

12. Belfast

Take a trip by plane or ferry and visit Belfast if you want a truly unique UK city break for couples.

With a rich history exhibited by its many landmarks and museums, it’s worth travelling to Northern Ireland just for a quick getaway to this fascinating city.

Due to its combination of history, culture, and natural beauty, Belfast is a romantic and memorable destination for couples looking for a city break.

What to do:

  • Titanic Belfast: A museum dedicated to the iconic Titanic ship, offering interactive exhibitions and historical displays.
  • St. George’s Market: A vibrant indoor market with a mix of food, arts, and crafts stalls, ideal for a romantic stroll and shopping.
  • Botanic Gardens: A scenic park with a beautiful collection of plants and flowers, perfect for a relaxing picnic or walk.

13. Cardiff

Head into Wales for a romantic city break in Cardiff and you won’t be disappointed.

With its vibrant cultural scene, including museums, theatres, and art galleries, there are plenty of great places for couples to visit in the city.

Cardiff is also a great base for couples looking to explore Wales, with the Brecon Beacons close enough for a drive out to.

You could even take a longer trip into Pembrokeshire and explore the many things to do in Tenby and other locations within this beautiful part of the country.

What to do:

  • Cardiff Bay: Enjoy a leisurely and romantic stroll along the waterfront of Cardiff Bay, taking in the sights of the harbour, the boats, and the stunning architecture.
  • National Museum Cardiff: Explore the galleries of this world-class museum together, taking in the beauty of the exhibitions and enjoying each other’s company in a cultural setting.
  • Dine at a restaurant with views: Indulge in a romantic meal at one of Cardiff’s many restaurants with views, such as The Admiral. Enjoy a night of good food while taking in the stunning views of the city and its surroundings.

14. Stratford-upon-Avon

While only a town, Stratford-upon-Avon offers many of the same experiences as some of the best city breaks in the UK for couples.

As the birthplace of Shakespeare, it’s especially great to visit if you’re interested in literature or drama, and you can even have a night out at the RSC theatre too.

A great aspect of Stratford-upon-Avon is how easy it is to take a short drive out and explore the many romantic things to do in Cotswold.

To help find ideas for activities to include in your itinerary, read our blog on the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon for couples.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre pictured across the River Avon
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

What to do:

  • Shakespeare’s Birthplace: Explore the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest playwrights, William Shakespeare. Take a tour of the house, where Shakespeare was born and raised, and immerse yourselves in the history and culture of the Elizabethan era.
  • Walk along the River Avon: Enjoy a romantic stroll along the riverbank, taking in the picturesque views of the countryside and the town.
  • Watch a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre: Take in a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company, which stages some of the greatest works of the Bard, along with other classic and contemporary productions.

15. Peterborough

A very much underrated location for a short and romantic city break in the UK, take a look at some of the best things to do in Peterborough for couples.

With everything from the historic cathedral to the busy Queensgate Shopping Centre, there’s something for everyone depending on your interests.

We recommend visiting Peterborough in summer when you can take a dip in the lido for a very fun day out.

The centre of Peterborough at night, one of the best UK city breaks for couples
Peterborough at night

What to do:

  • Visit Peterborough Cathedral: Explore one of England’s oldest places of Christian worship and admire the beautiful architecture of Peterborough Cathedral. Take a guided tour and learn about the history and significance of this magnificent building.
  • Stroll through Ferry Meadows: Enjoy a romantic walk through this picturesque park, which features tranquil lakes and lovely gardens. Take a picnic and enjoy the beauty of nature together.
  • Dine at a local restaurant: Indulge in a romantic meal at one of the best restaurants in Peterborough, such as Tap and Tandoor.

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