Britain’s romantic city spots

Canal in London From boat-lined canals to grand palaces and sweeping countryside, Britain’s cities and their surrounding areas are packed with romantic charm. So if a walk through London’s ‘Little Venice’ or exploring ‘Mr Darcy’s’ grand estate near Manchester sound like dream getaways, here’s how visitors can add a touch of enchantment to future stays in London, Brighton, Manchester and Cardiff.

London’s canals and open-air theatres
Visitors can plan to discover the capital’s tranquil side with an atmospheric walk along Regent’s Canal, just north of Paddington. This nine-mile canal-side walk starts in picturesque Little Venice, continues past the historic locks to Camden Town and finishes in London Docklands. Couples looking for some laid-back romance can explore Regent’s Canal by boat. Options include Jason’s Trip, which has been delighting visitors since 1951, passing sights such as Regent’s Park, Cumberland Basin and Primrose Hill along the way.

Visitors can also look forward to a romantic evening at the award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, with performances of classic plays including Romeo & Juliet and Carousel.

Visitors looking to explore London’s LGBTQI+ nightlife after the show can check out Little Ku or nearby She, Soho, both part of the stylish KU Group family of LGBTQI+ and hetero-friendly bars and venues.

Brighton’s pavilion and country park
Brighton is packed with romantic landmarks, many of which reveal the region’s royal connections. Future explorers can revel in the grandeur of Brighton Pavilion. Built in the 18th century for King George IV, it was the marital home of King William IV and Queen Adelaide. A Brighton icon, it is known as a beacon of luxury, awash with opulent treasures and topped with majestic domes. Visitors longing to explore this regal home can enjoy a virtual tour of the Pavilion, before booking the real thing. Alternatively, they can gain a deeper insight into the palace’s history at the

A Prince’s Treasure exhibition. Running until autumn 2021, it showcases more than 120 previously unseen original objects from the Pavilion’s collection.

Visitors longing for the great outdoors can look forward to experiencing the romantic landscapes of Seven Sisters Country Park. Part of the South Downs National Park, here couples can marvel at the sprawling white cliffs, winding waterways and unspoilt grasslands.

Home to one of the largest LGBTQI+ communities in Britain, Brighton is full of inclusive bars and late-night cabaret.  With a grand re-opening planned for the spring, Proud Cabaret is known for putting on show-stopping performances alongside fine dining and exclusive cocktails.

Manchester’s Gothic library and grand estate
Known for its impressive architecture, independent shops and trendy cafes, Manchester is no slouch when it comes to romance. Take John Rylands Library, a stunning building created by John Ryland’s wife to honour her late husband, which was unveiled on their wedding anniversary. Founded on a love story, the library is full of whimsical stone carvings and marble statues. It features a historic reading room and is home to circa 250,000 books and more than a million manuscripts. Usually open seven days a week, couples can look forward to exploring this mesmerising space once restrictions are lifted.

Just 20 miles south of the city centre, visitors can dream of re-enacting some of Jane Austen’s most romantic moments at Lyme Park, an Italianate palace that became Mr Darcy’s grand residence in the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The 1,400-acre estate is home to a large herd of deer, a lake and a fragrant rose garden. Austen fans can also enjoy an atmospheric Pemberley walk which takes in several picturesque filming locations.

After a day wandering historic sites, visitors hoping to enjoy the city’s nightlife can look forward to a fun-filled evening on Canal Street, Manchester’s gay village. A vibrant hub for the city’s thriving LGBTQI+ scene, here they can visit a number of stylish bars or relax for a spot of canal-side dining.

Cardiff’s walks and vineyards
After marvelling at Cardiff’s castle and medieval city walls, future visitors can arrange to visit Glyndwr Vineyard, the oldest in Wales and just under 20-miles away. Tours of the vineyard are available to book, complete with a romantic walk among the vines, a chance to spot the estate’s llamas and a delicious country platter to finish. Those wishing to experience a more expansive landscape can dream of exploring the Cambrian Way. Starting from Cardiff Castle, this ‘coast to coast’ walking trail covers 298 miles to the town of Conwy, travelling through some of Wales’ most scenic spots, high peaks and unspoilt landscapes.

Future explorers wishing to enjoy a slice of Welsh culture can take note of the Iris Prize Festival – Cardiff’s LGBTQI+ answer to Cannes, with film screenings and panel sessions taking place from 5-10 October 2021.