It’s always great to get away with your partner, to share time together and enjoy each other’s company. But if you’re hoping for your next break to be one to remember, a regular city break or a usual couple of nights in the country just won’t do. How about a taste of adventure with your partner? Our suggestions of romantic breaks for adventurous couples will give you both plenty of fond memories.
If there is one place in the country that ticks both the romance and adventure boxes, it’s Snowdonia. Over recent years this part of North Wales has been reinventing itself as the adventure capital of Europe, with new activities springing up all over the place. Take Zip World for example. In Bethesda, a few miles from the university town of Bangor, you can hurtle down Velocity, a mile-long zip wire, at 100mph – the closest you’ll get to flying without being in a plane! The views, if you can keep your eyes open, are spectacular. A few miles away, at Zip World’s Llechwedd Slate Caverns near Blaenau Ffestiniog, more adventure awaits. Here you can take on Titan, a 4-line zip wire where groups can fly through the air together, and although only two lines are open during the winter, it’s still perfect for couples. On the same site, Bounce Below is a trampoline park like no other, set in an underground network of slate caverns. Or you can experience the caverns on more zip wires, rope bridges and precarious walkways. Not for the faint-hearted!
If that hasn’t left you breathless, the natural beauty of Snowdonia surely will. There are amazing walking routes in every direction, not least to the top of Mount Snowdon itself, the highest mountain in Wales. On a clear day, the views are stunning. Between the mountain and the Menai Strait, which separates the Isle of Anglesey from the rest of Wales, Seiont Manor offers luxurious rooms in a great location. It also has a 12-metre indoor swimming pool!
If you want more caverns to explore during your romantic break, there are plenty to be found in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Whatever the weather, you can explore the amazing passages and rock formations of some of the best show caves in the country. A cluster of caves around the village of Castleton includes Peak Cavern, with a fascinating approach path to the largest natural cave entrance in Britain, and Speedwell Cavern, where you and your partner can cosy up in a boat for an underground canal tour through a 200-year-old lead mine. There are more too. Treak Cliff Cavern is famous for its beautiful cave formations, stalactites and stalagmites and deposits of Blue John, a semi-precious mineral found only below Castleton. Blue John is the main attraction at the Blue John Cavern where the mineral is still mined and you can take a tour through the Waterfall Cavern, where the cave looks like a frozen waterfall, and the Variegated Cavern, an awesome 200ft high void.
If you prefer getting up close with rocks above ground rather than below, the Peak District is also home to Stanage Edge, a superb rock outcrop perfect for climbing. Local operators run climbing trips and courses. To add a bit of romance, seek out the spot where in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice, Keira Knightly looks moodily out across the sublime landscape.
Nearby in Hathersage, The Plough Inn offers luxury rooms (some with a free standing bath) plus excellent food and they will also arrange flowers and champagne in the room if you’re looking to up the romance levels.
Staring up at the stars together is sure to get you feeling romantic. Under the dark night skies of Kielder, in the Northumberland National Park, you can join one of the regular evening events at the world renowned Kielder Observatory. Snuggle up under a blanket on one of their two-seater ‘moon chairs’ to take in the glory of the stars and Milky Way, and then get a closer view of the universe through the observatory’s telescopes. If the skies are clear, you’ll be able to see planets, nebulae and perhaps a galaxy far, far, away. The observatory sits within the International Dark Sky Park, Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.
Nearby, continue your star gazing at Black Burn Lodge, just over the English-Scottish border. At this stylish, modern boutique bed and breakfast you can make use of their own 200mm telescope. The three en-suite bedrooms all have access to the Studio, a stunning lounge with wood burning stove and wonderful views to appreciate while you plan your activities.
During the day, the area around Kielder is rich in wildlife, including the elusive Red Squirrel, and there are plenty of walks to lead you through the Kielder Forest. Don’t miss the art and architectural installations around the forest, including a giant wooden head and Skyspace, a partially buried circular chamber where you can sit and look up through an opening in the roof, giving a very contemplative and unusual way to look at the sky.
The snow-capped peaks of the Highlands are sure to melt the heart of your loved one. There is just something so romantic about a winter walk in the amazing countryside, and if there’s snow, then all the better. Adventurous couples might want to add some adrenaline to their day out. If that sounds like you, take a look at the activities on offer at the National Centre for Ice Climbing in the Highlands of Scotland. Here you’ll find the largest indoor ice climbing wall in the world, all 12 metres of it, packed with 500 tonnes of real snow! You can experience the thrill of ice climbing without the long trek to get to an ice-covered rock face and without being dependant on the British weather. Sessions are offered at all skill levels, from beginner to expert and as well as ice climbing there is indoor rock climbing and bouldering on offer too.
Between the still waters of the lochs and the grandeur of the mountains, there are so many places in the area to enjoy the countryside and share it with your partner. Ben Nevis is nearby, as is Glen Coe, infamous for the massacre of 38 members of the MacDonald clan men by government forces in 1689. Given the beauty of the area, you’ll want to be staying in a loch-side property to appreciate it all. Why not head to the Onich Hotel, a few miles south of Fort William? This family-run property is superbly located on the shores of Loch Linnhe on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, the perfect spot from which to watch the sunset over the water.
If you prefer to get your taste of adventure in a more urban environment, there are plenty of places you can head to. In London, why not take a walk over the O2? Better known as a place to enjoy the musical and sporting entertainment indoors, the Dome is now also a place to get your kicks outdoors with Up at the O2. They call it ‘urban mountaineering’. Put on boots and a harness and you and your partner can climb, with a guide, the outside of the structure to stand over 50 metres above ground on the central platform above the arena. For more aerial action, take the Emirate Air Line cable car from the O2 in North Greenwich across the Thames to the Royal Docks. You can travel one way or take a round trip. The journey in each direction takes around 10 minutes.
If you’ve still got a head for heights, your next stop should be Orbit, in the Olympic Park in Stratford. Here you can ride the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. Orbit was designed as a centrepiece for the 2012 Games by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and is an iconic addition to the London skyscape. In 2016, a slide was added to the twisting, serpentine sculpture. You can now make the descent from the top of the sculpture back down to earth with an exhilarating 40 second trip through the loops and curves of the slide.
Of course, there are masses of accommodation options in the capital, but since you’re being adventurous, why not give the usual budget hotel a miss and book into some quirky London accommodation? Guests love the atmosphere at characterful Number 16 St Alfeges in Greenwich, and it’s perfectly situated for the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory. It’s easy to get into central London too, if you’re still on the lookout for more romance and adventure.