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Best Romantic City Breaks UK

Tuesday 02 July 2024

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Making time for one another is incredibly important in a relationship. In fact, it's been scientifically proven that date nights strengthen communication and emotional connection. There’s no need to travel too far or spend too much though; the most enjoyable evenings can often come from a candlelit dinner in the kitchen.  

For something a little special, there are also many cities accessible by train that offer sparkling romance. So, instead of booking that flight to the Maldives, hop onboard with CrossCountry and explore the best romantic city breaks in the UK. 


Perfect for outdoor-types, Torquay is sometimes overlooked in favour of its Cornish neighbours. And though not technically a city, the skyline and marina at night mimics the beautiful coastlines and promenades of Nice, or even the picturesque streets of Amalfi. Located on the UNESCO accredited English Riviera, the stunning coastal location makes Torquay a great destination for couples wanting some time away from it all. The sandy beaches and tropical palm trees also served as a backdrop for much of Agatha Christies life and inspiration for her detective novels, making it an ideal location for literature lovers.  

Set off on a boat trip and explore Tor Bay, learn how to wakeboard, or take in spectacular views from the Royal Terrace Gardens. For a delicious Michelin Star meal, head to The Elephant where guests are treated to a luxury menu featuring the very best seasonal produce from the area. Or simply get fish and chips by the beach – nothing beats it. 

To reach Torquay station, passengers can catch direct CrossCountry services from Newton Abbot, Exeter St Davids, and Plymouth station


Edinburgh is often lauded as one of the most romantic cities in the world, and we can see why. The aesthetics blend historic beauty into modern style, with both the Old and New Towns as stunning as each-other. Whether you like bustling city life or prefer a coastal break, Edinburgh is situated in a diverse geographical setting that has something for everyone. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and a stone’s throw from the coast, Edinburgh is a fabulous destination for couples. 

Take a tour of The Chocolatarium and choose from over thirty delicious chocolates to sample, as well as mixing your own creations to take home. Take a romantic stroll along the Water of Leith towards Dean Village, a stunning location not far from the city centre. And if you really want to treat your partner, stay at the iconic Balmoral hotel and wake up to views of Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle.  

Those looking for a weekend getaway can catch a direct train to Edinburgh Waverley from Newcastle station, Glasgow Central, and Aberdeen station


Calton Hill in Edinburgh


Known by some as The City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford is an idyllic city, famous for its prestigious university. And while exploring the university and its thirty-eight college buildings is a great free activity in Oxford, there are plenty of other attractions available that entice tourists from all over the world. 

For couples seeking a picturesque nature walk, the Botanic Garden and Arboretum delights visitors all year round, with seasonal highlights like crocuses and daffodils to look forward to in spring, ginormous water lilies in summer, and witch hazels in winter. The gardens are a great place to learn about nature too if you’re a couple with a passion for gardening. There are plenty of tours running all year round to educate visitors on the history, conservation efforts and scientific significance of one of the best botanic gardens in the UK

Finish this thoroughly floral weekend break with an intimate meal under the wisteria of the Old Bank Hotel terrace. What could be more romantic? 


Cambridge is famous for its collegiate Gothic architecture and quiet feel. From shopping to art and culture, it’s easy to spend a day or two in this beautiful city. A favourite romantic activity for couples to bond is punting along the River Cam that winds through the heart of the city, gliding beneath ornate bridges connecting the university buildings.  

Cambridge is an incredibly walkable city and many of its attractions are under twenty minutes from Cambridge station. The delightful riverbanks, located all over the city, offer a perfect picnic spot, while Cambridge Junction is ideal for catching a music or comedy gig. There are plenty of romantic restaurants in Cambridge too, like The Old Bicycle Shop that offers sun-soaked alfresco brunch and cosy evening meals.

River and St Johns College in Cambridge


Nestled in the North-East, just eleven minutes on the train from Newcastle, Durham is another perfect location for a romantic city break. Whilst Durham is relatively small, there is plenty to see and do. Head to Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and enjoy incredible views after climbing the cathedral tower. Or, if you want to relax with your beloved, Ramside Hall is a thirty-minute bus journey from the station. Stay in a luxury treehouse, play a round of golf, or enjoy a treatment at the spa. 

Arguably the best thing to do in the city is explore its sleepy cobbled streets. In fact, a day spent walking around Durham can be a gateway to all sorts of stunning sights like Prebends Bridge and Aykley Wood Nature Reserve. With your partner by your side, Durham can be the most romantic city in the UK. 


The Welsh capital is full of cultural activities for every type of couple. For keen theatre-goers, try the New Theatre for an evening of laughter, tears, and all-round entertainment. The New Theatre has been delighting Cardiff residents and tourists since 1906 and still retains many of the old features. Plus, the plush red seats are perfect for snuggling up to your partner. 

Alternatively, fun-loving couples who prefer games nights to date nights can head over to Flight Club on St Mary Street. The venue promises an evening of competitive fun in their heated roof terrace and an impressive selection of sharing platters and cocktails. Finish the night at one of Cardiff’s finest hotels, The Parkgate, just seven minutes walking distance from the train station. 

Getting to Cardiff Central by train is easy with CrossCountry with direct services running regularly from Bristol Temple Meads, Newport (South Wales), and Birmingham New Street

If you’re planning a romantic city getaway, don’t forget to book Advance rail tickets via our website or the CrossCountry app. Before you travel, make sure to check scheduled train times to find the best journey for you. If you need more information, you can contact us here

Written by Seb

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