Love is in the air! The best local Valentine’s Day stays
Grab your fanciest pants and pack your suitcase - we've rustled up some seriously romantic Valentine's Day stays in Suffolk, Cambs and beyond to get you in the mood for love.
In the mood for love? Of course you are! We’ve rounded up the best Valentine’s Day stays in Suffolk & Cambs for the annual romance fest. Dig out the silky undies, practise your come-hither eyes and enjoy the most exciting five minutes of your month.
The Swan Hotel, Southwold
Right in the middle of Southwold (overlooking the main square and a pebble’s throw from the gorgeous beach and colourful beach huts), The Swan has recently been renovated beyond recognition into a romantic bolthole by the sea. Expect amazing pops of colours, plush velvets and beautiful bathrooms in the vast rooms and a smart restaurant serving local fare for the special loved-up meal. There are plenty of cute cosy corners and lovely lounges for cuddling up together, plus they’ve dreamt up some fun packages with romantic extras like picnics on the beach and couples’ massages.
Happenoak Treehouse, Balsham
There’s something rather romantic about staying up high in a treehouse, just the two of you, with no one to eavesdrop and see what you’re up to (ahem) other than the birds. And treehouses don’t get much more stylish or charming than Happenoak in the woods just outside Balsham. A winding path through the trees (take a torch if you’re arriving after dark!) leads to the entrance of this octagonal beauty, which is flooded with light during the day thanks to the huge windows, which look out across the glorious countryside. You don’t have to take in the views through the windows though – our favourite feature is the outdoor bath on the deck that was made for soaking under the stars with a glass of bubbly.
University Arms, Cambridge
If you haven’t been to the newly renovated University Arms since it reopened in 2018 then you need to get yourself booked in sharpish. A superstar architect and interior designer (Martin Brudnizki of Annabel’s fame) have come together to create a magical hotel that manages to mix elegance with good old English eccentricity. Both literary lovers and football fans (the rules of footie were made up on Parker’s Piece just outside) will thrive here with all the nods to the town’s famous uni, plus a cosy panelled library and the fun interior sporting touches. Cosy Parker’s Tavern restaurant (designed to look like a colleague dining hall) is a wonderful place for a romantic meal or try and sound intellectual while propping up the velvet-upholstered bar while drinking The Secret of Life cocktail inspired by the discovery of the double helix. Book the Terrace Suite for a bath with a view and a cool rooftop terrace.
Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, near Ipswich
This pretty country house hotel is so romantic that Suffolk and Cambs editor, Hollie, chose to spend her very first night as a married woman in one of the dreamy suites with bath and sexy sofa at the end of the bed. It might look huge and grand on the approach, but this is actually a boutique affair from the talented Milsoms group and only has 23 rooms, plus a delightfully relaxed vibe (although plans are afoot for more rooms to be added soon). In spring and summer, no one bats an eyelid if you want to make the most of the views of sweeping grounds and spend an entire afternoon sipping rosé on the terrace before a romantic meal in the Brasserie. Although, once they’ve opened their exciting new spa this year, we guarantee that’s where you’ll be all day.
The Woodman’s Lodge at The Lost Garden Retreat, Hintlesham
This might look like it’s thousands of miles away in rural Canada, but this idyllic little spot is actually in Suffolk in the grounds of Hintlesham Hall. Pitch up for some luxury loved-up glamping in one of the four tented safari lodges (just remember the walls are made of canvas please!) or whisper sweet nothings to each other over the bubbles of your own hot tub on the deck overlooking the water. There are four spread-out lodges to choose from, but we like The Woodman’s Lodge with its deep sofa by a wood-burner and unique king-sized four poster bed. As it’s part of the estate you can use the Hall’s spa, restaurant and golf course too, so it’s not complete rural isolation if you prefer something a little livelier.
There’s something so undeniably romantic about shacking up just-the-two-of-you in a cute little cottage and closing the door on the rest of the world. You can do that to perfection at Suffolk Secrets’ Interludes in Aldeburgh. This cosmopolitan option is in a quiet part of town, but a quick walk to the shops and beach. Forget classic seaside charm and beachy decor, this is a coastal holiday let with a difference. Once inside you feel like you’re in a chic city loft apartment with exposed brick walls, dark wood floors and modern art touches. You’ll come home wanting to completely redo your own interiors!
Fancy spreading your wings and heading across the border…?
The Langley, Iver
If you’re going to swing on any chandeliers this Valentine’s Day, do it at The Langley in South Bucks – they have whoppers in almost every room. This five-star country pile, opened just last year, is a total knock-out, the 18th century former estate of the Duke of Marlborough spilling over with original features in a renovation that’s taken five years. With incredible views at every turn (no surprise there, it’s set in 150 acres of Capability Brown-designed grounds), there are 41 super-plush bedrooms to choose from, complete with frankly enormous in-room TVs, if you’re taking ‘Netflix and chill’ literally. Foodies will be in their element – our editor had a fantastic meal here when she reviewed, and it’s a very cool dining space, and it’s sacrilege to not visit the mammoth subterranean spa here, particularly the hammam, amethyst crystal steam room and infinity edge pool. Treat yourself to a couple’s massage and forget about the outside world for a bit. marriott.com
Minster Mill, Minster Lovell
Tucked alongside the Windrush riverbank between Witney and Burford, Minster Mill is a picturesque 15th century bolthole with 38 Scandi-chic bedrooms and plenty of romantic walks on its doorstep if you’re that way inclined. If you’d rather spend the weekend swaddled in a fluffy robe, The Garden Spa is the big draw, and the double treatment suite complete with walk-in double shower is ideal for couples’ treatments (plus, if you book a treatment you get access to the rest of the spa facilities for free). More of the foodie? The Valentine’s Day package will see you right – for £378 per room, you’ll get an overnight stay with breakfast, a whacking seven-course tasting menu and a glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé. You’ll hardly fit in your negligée afterwards – which is no bad thing, we suppose! minstermill.co.uk
The Porch House, Gloucestershire
For atmosphere in buckets, where better to spend a romantic weekend than England’s self-proclaimed oldest inn? Parts of The Porch House may date back to 947AD (mind-boggling when you think about it), but you’ll get considerably more up-to-date service here – especially considering they’ve just had a stylish makeover (doors reopen this Wednesday, FYI). There are thirteen rooms to choose from (the vibe is country cozy), including two dog-friendly suites in case you’re bringing Fido along on the jaunt, and the adjacent restaurant boasts rustic yet refined dishes. The Valentine’s Day menu looks absolutely mouth-watering, and includes three courses washed down with a glass Laurent-Perrier Rosé for £60pp. Staying overnight? Room packages start from £240 per room, which will include your Valentine’s meal and the entire bottle of champagne rather than just the glass. porch-house.co.uk
The Lygon Arms, Worcestershire
Broadway stunner The Lygon Arms is absolutely worth crossing the border for – after all, last year it made Condé Nast Traveler‘s list of the Top 35 hotels in the UK. More importantly it gets the Muddy seal of approval – see my review. Famous names in the guest book include Oliver Cromwell and Charles I (top tip – his namesake suite is romance manifest), and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton eloped here during their affair to snuggle up in the various dark, cozy corners – so what better place to escape to for a an amorous tryst this Valentine’s Day? The Broadway Romance package is ideal for this – prices start at £310 for two people, and includes overnight B&B accommodation, dinner for two in the Lygon Bar & Grill, a bottle of Prosecco and use of the spa. Get booking, folks. lygonarmshotel.co.uk