The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Romantic retreats

Want to show a loved one how much you care? Grab your beau or bestie and whisk them away on one of these dreamy romantic retreats
couple in a hot tub at the manor house in wiltshire

Want to show a loved one how much you care? Grab your beau or bestie and whisk them away on one of these dreamy romantic retreats

The Manor House, Castle Combe, Cotswolds

The Manor House exudes a magnetic energy beginning the moment you make your way up the winding drive leading to the 14th-century country retreat. This idyllic destination has all you need to sweep your sweetheart off their feet, from manicured Italian gardens and a nearby quintessentially Cotswolds village to an 18-hole championship golf course and Michelin-starred dining.

There are various dining options, but it would be remiss not to indulge in a seven-course tasting menu experience at the hotel’s Bybrook restaurant. Executive chef Rob Potter and his passionate kitchen team create seasonal dishes that showcase quality ingredients from artisans and specialist producers.

Stay in the historic main house or cosy up in one of the beautiful mews cottages – one comes complete with hot tub. Either way, you can add an extra ounce of romance by adding a bottle of Ridgeview English sparkling wine, rose petals on the bed and a luxurious box of chocs in your room on arrival.

Tip: Venture to The Castle Inn, The Manor House’s own pub in the village of Castle Combe, which won Best Pub at the Trencherman’s Awards 2023.

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babbacombe bay

Cary Arms, Babbacombe Bay, Devon

For those seeking a seaside escape with their loved one, look no further than the fondly nicknamed ‘inn on the beach’ at breathtaking Babbacombe Bay. The Cary Arms & Spa combines the traditional charm of an English inn with the style of a boutique hotel, with satisfying waterside dining and characterful accommodation.

The latter comes in the form of luxury seaview rooms and suites, chic beach huts and comfortable cottages – there’s even dog-friendly accommodation if you plan on bringing your pooch. After settling into your room, take the chance to rejuvenate in the waterfall hydrotherapy pool – and enter full relaxation mode with a Gaia treatment – in Cary Spa, before heading to dinner. Freshness and seasonality are the names of the game here, with gastro food cooked simply to allow the local ingredients to sing. The daily changing specials reflect Devon’s coast and country, and the hotel also holds various Special Dining Events so consider this a great place to book in for the likes of Valentine’s Day.

Tip: Don’t leave without trying The Cary cocktail: Koko Kanu, coconut water, crème de Violette and lime.

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creme brulee and a bottle of wine at two bridges hotel on dartmoor

Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor, Devon

An escape to Two Bridges Hotel in Dartmoor is like stepping back in time. Ornate fireplaces, polished brass and old paintings, all set against a backdrop of wild sprawling moorland, make it a veritably vintage retreat.

Dining at the hotel’s Tors Restaurant comes with a sense of occasion. The talented brigade of chefs craft globally inspired dishes using high-quality local ingredients – expect to feast on the likes of roasted venison loin with pomme puree, squash, broccoli, braised red cabbage and red wine jus – alongside a carefully chosen wine list to complement each menu.

After dinner, hunker down for sweet slumber: pick a country-style room for cosying up in a charmingly traditional setting, or a four-poster room for basking in spacious vintage glamour. Whichever you plump for, surprise your loved one by opting for romantic extras (such as a bottle of chilled House Champagne or cream tea) on arrival.

Looking for a last-minute break? Enjoy a Winter Warmer break from £85 per person, per night, including dinner and breakfast.

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The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath

A retreat to five-star The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is an experience more than a hotel stay. Ensconced in an acre of lovely gardens, the Georgian hotel may be located in the heart of Bath but provides a tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle.

The landmark building has a prestigious 250-year history, so this is a retreat that will truly charm. The hotel may be old but it offers all the up-to-date ingredients to make a perfect break: feasts of modern culinary delights at The Montagu’s Mews restaurant, refreshing sleep in one of the beautifully appointed bedrooms or suites, rejuvenation at the blissful spa complete with Templespa treatments.

Fancy upping the ante to provide your loved one with an unforgettable experience? The hotel can assist in organising unique experiences such as hot air balloon rides, private culinary tours, photoshoots and abseiling during your stay.

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Dining at The St Enodoc Hotel

The St Enodoc Hotel, Rock, Cornwall

There’s a reason so many guests return year after year to family-owned St Enodoc Hotel: its idyllic setting in the hills that line the Camel Estuary, its 21 individually styled bedrooms, the warm service, the outdoor heated pool and Elemis spa … so head here for your romantic retreat and you may find yourself planning a return trip before you even check out.

Flirtatious foodies will love the gourmet options on offer at St Enodoc. Guy Owen took the lead role in the kitchen in 2020, and has since elevated the dining experience to heady heights. The hotel’s more formal tasting-menu-only restaurant, Karrek, achieved three AA rosettes on its first appearance in the guide. Choose from six or nine courses to experience Guy’s innovative dishes that blur the line between food and art. The St Enodoc Brasserie provides a more relaxed dining experience. At both venues, much of the produce is sourced from the on-site kitchen garden and the hotel’s farm in Devon.

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Like 5 of the best romantic retreats? Discover our favourite off-grid getaways.

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