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Press Visit: 24 Hours in Bath Spa

 

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on my first ever press trip to the beautiful city of Bath Spa and I had the most AMAZING overnight stay! Working in conjunction with Visit Bath and the stunning Francis Hotel, I was able to obtain a press pass which granted me access to some of the city’s top attractions. Located in the pretty county of Somerset, the city of Bath is one of the most visited in England, attracting over 3.8 million visitors each year.

Bath became a Spa in 60 AD with the Latin name Aquæ Sulis when the Romans built the baths in the valley of the River Avon, and remains the only place in the UK where you can bathe in thermal waters from the natural hot springs underneath the city. The whole city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and is still the only place in the UK to have this title. The centre of Bath is pretty small, and everything can be seen in a day or two so, without further ado, here is my ultimate guide to this gorgeous city!

 

How to get there

Bath is perfectly positioned just off the M4 and M5 motorways, just 19 miles from Bristol Airport and a 90 minute train ride away from London Paddington station, meaning it can be accessed by bus, car, coach, train or plane. However, as it’s a fairly small city, the roads are often congested with heavy traffic and parking can be a little tricky as it is often so busy. The whole of Bath can be explored on foot, and walking is the best way to truly discover the city, so ditch the car and arrive by train instead! Bath Spa station is just a 5 minute walk from the city centre and offers fantastic frequent services that run smoothly, allowing you to visit from many different UK rail stations.

1024px-bath_spa_railway_station_from_beechen_cliff

Photo credit: By Rwendland – Own work. Source: Commons Wikimedia

 

 

Where to stay

There’s a vast array of different hotels and B&B’s in Bath, many of which are luxury spa hotels given the city’s thermal water heritage, but there are properties to suit every need and budget. For a luxurious stay in a beautiful setting at the heart of the city, I’d highly recommend the Francis Hotel, located on Queens Square. With it’s original Georgian architecture still in tact, the hotel was converted from a row of terraced houses and now boasts 98 individually designed modern bedrooms with a distinct historic feel.

 

There’s also a delightful tearoom where afternoon tea is served daily, snug lounge and bar areas, an underground dining/breakfast room and famous chef Raymond Blanc’s signature restaurant, Brasserie Blanc. Onsite parking and free WIFI is available at the hotel, and the friendly staff are on hand to help whatever your query might be. For a 4* stay at the heart of Bath you really can’t go wrong with the Francis Hotel – my full review will be posted on the blog soon!

 

What to see

There are a number of impressive landmarks in Bath which are not to be missed on your visit to the city – here are my Top 5:

 bathabbey Bath Abbey – one of the oldest Church buildings in the UK, with striking Perpendicular Gothic architecture and history dating back to the 7th century. The Abbey runs frequent tours allowing visitors t0 climb the 212 steps up to the top of the tower for spectacular panoramic views across the city.

 

 

The Roman Baths – follow in the footsteps of the Romans and explore the site where they bathed in thermal plunge pools over 2000 years ago. With a fantastic museumromanbaths and original architecture dating back to 70AD, the Baths are a natural wonder and perhaps the city’s most popular tourist attraction.

royalcrescent

 

 

 

The Royal Crescent & The Circus – a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in the shape of a sweeping crescent overlooking the gardens of the Royal Victoria Park. Both the Crescent and the Circus are some of the country’s best examples of fine Georgian architecture.

pulteneybridgePulteney Bridge – one of only 4 historic bridges left in the world with shops built into it on either side. Completed back in 1774, the bridge was designed to connect the city with the Georgian town of Bathwick. Cross the River Avon in style & gaze down to the striking crescent weir below.

 

Thermae Bath Spa – award-winning natural spa allowing visitors to bathe in the UK’s only naturally warm mineral waters, just as the Romans did over 2000 years ago! Immerse yourself in the spa’s different chambers; a lazy river with Jacuzzi, a range of aromatic steam rooms and a thermal rooftop pool with spectacular views of the city skyline.

thermae-spa

Photo credit: Rob Slade Photography

Where to eat & drink

Bath is known for its high end eateries and its iconic Pump Room is a stunning restaurant at the heart of the city, located just next to Bath Abbey & The Roman Baths. There are also a number of popular chain restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Nandos, Prezzo, Wagamama & Browns which offer visitors an eclectic choice when it comes to dining. As Bath is also a uni city, there are plenty of bars, pubs and even a couple of clubs for those looking for some adventurous nightlife.

 

For a quintessentially English treat, Sally Lunn’s Tea Rooms are not to be missed! With history dating back to the 1400s, Sally Lunn’s is one of the oldest eateries in England. Guests flock from all corners of the globe to get a taste of the world famous sweet and savoury buns, served with different flavoured toppings and fillings to suit every palette. The buns are so large that they’re served in half and traditionally eaten with a knife and fork. Today the restaurant serves up a menu based on the buns that were first created by Sally Lunn herself back in 1680 when she arrived in England as a French refugee. There is a museum and small gift shop underneath the restaurant which houses the original kitchens that Sally used to bake her world famous buns. The museum is free for diners to enter and you can even buy your own buns to take home!

 

What not to miss

Discover a hidden gem at the heart of the city and indulge in a private spa session at The Cross Bath. Located next to the Thermae Spa and part of the same building, although it is not attached, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the steaming thermal waters and enjoy an intimate spa session with private changing facilities. The Cross Bath can be visited individually, or hired out by a maximum of 12 people at a time, making it a quiet alternative to the busy facilities offered at the Thermae Spa. The spa’s catering team can also provide nibbles and champagne for a luxurious treat and an occasion to remember. The Cross Bath is recognised as an official sacred site and is a hidden gem not to be missed when visiting the city!

The Cross Bath- a hidden gem at the heart of #bath! 🇬🇧 #visitbath #visitengland #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain #UK #GB #igersbath

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When to visit

Bath is beautiful at any time of year, but I particularly love it during the autumn/winter months, when the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! In the lead up to the big day, there are a number of popular events in the city, such as The Great Bath Feast, The Bath Film Festival, Bath Rotary Club Fireworks Display, and The Bath Christmas Markets, making autumn/winter one of the busiest times of the year.

Ladies and gents, The Roman Baths! 🇬🇧 #bath #visitbath #UK #GB #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Visiting in spring or summer is just as lovely too though, with the better weather Bath comes alive and the blue skies and green grass really shows off the city in all its glory. Bath Literature Festival, Vitality Bath Half Marathon and the Bath Comedy and Bath Digital Festivals are all fun, family friendly events on the spring/summer calendar making it a great time to visit.

How beautiful is the #royalcrescent looking in the sunshine today?! #bath #visitbath #GB #UK @visitbath #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Why visit Bath?

In summary, Bath is one of those really gorgeous cities that should definitely not be missed when planning a trip to the UK! It’s super easy to visit by either rail, road or air and is in a prime location in the west of the country, perfect if breaking up your journey to London and surrounding areas. Offering a whole host of things to see and do, the history and charm of Bath will leave you wanting to return time and time again.

Oh Bath Abbey how I've missed you! 😍🇬🇧 #bath #wanderlustwednesday #UK #GB @visitbath

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So there we have it, my full guide to visiting the city of Bath – you can now plan your trip and go enjoy a fabulous stay there whenever you choose to visit! Have you ever been to Bath before, or are you planning on going anytime soon? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Love Jess x

NB. For this press visit I was lucky enough to be a guest with Visit Bath and with the Francis Hotel, but all opinions are of course my own.

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#bloggersfestival – event round up!

Hi everyone,

So last weekend I was lucky enough to snap up a ticket for the annual #bloggersfestival held at the luxury Conrad St James Hotel in Westminster by London lifestyle blogger Scarlett Dixon, in association with Scarlett London events. Although back for a third year running, this was my first time to the festival and I couldn’t wait to attend and to meet some new blogger friends! Here’s how I got on…

The arrival

Best backdrop ever 🌸🌸 #bloggersfestival @scarlettlondon #flowerwall

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I think the arrival was possibly the best thing I’ve ever walked into. Like, there was a flower wall. An ACTUAL, real life wall, made of flowers. Think Kim K. Think luxe fashonista and you’re there. I fell in love with this wall – a fair few photos (mainly selfies) were taken and I literally could have stayed there all day, I just wish I dressed up a bit more so I could have taken a more flattering photo!

 

The stalls & sponsors

The set up for #bloggersfestival was looking good last week! Thanks @scarlettlondon @conradlondonsj for an amazing event! #fbf #london

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The stalls at this event were quite heavily beauty and fashion focused, from the likes of Jewellery Box & Beverly Hills Formula to Exuviance and Heaven Skincare, so I felt like there wasn’t really much on offer in the way of travel. I would have liked to have seen a popup stall from a tour operator or even a luggage supplier, but I guess we’re all human and we all have skin/hair/beauty needs so it wasn’t completely irrelevant to my jetsetting lifestyle!

 

The competitions

Hoping to win these beauties from @gosendgo ! Having a fab day at #bloggersfestival @scarlettlondon

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There were a number of competitions that were being ran from selected stalls throughout the course of the day. Some were offering the chance to win big prizes, such as a Michael Kors watch and a £250 US gift bag, whilst others were running ones with smaller prizes. I entered pretty much all of them, via social media of course, but didn’t win a thing – boooo! I suppose it’s the taking part that counts though, and my Twitter/Insta was going crazy with notifications throughout the day.

The goody bags

 

Possibly my favourite thing about the festival was the endless amount of FREEBIES that were on offer throughout the day. I’m not one to go and grab free stuff, sometimes I feel cheeky and that I should pay for things where necessary, but I literally didn’t put my hand in my purse all day as everything was totally free! We were greeted with drinks and pick n mix upon arrival, then different goodies were thrust into our hands (or arms) whilst making our way around the stalls. I picked up everything from face masks and hair oils to phone charging devices, chocolates and make up. It’s safe to say that getting back on the Oxford Tube whilst carrying three bags, my handbag, jacket and umbrella was a bit of a challenge, but a fun one none the less! A big THANKYOU to all the lovely sponsors for the gifts and treats that I picked up during the day.

The goodbyes

Best day at #bloggersfestival with @scarlettlondon @katevictoriaphotography @girlgoesto @footstepsontheglobe

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Loved meeting these girls at last weekends #bloggersfestival @conradlondonsj in #London with @scarlettlondon 💖🎉 #fbf

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I spent the day with the lovely Kate from Kate Victoria Photography, we met up in Westminster just beforehand, once we’d found each other under Big Ben’s shadow and fought our way past hundreds of tourists! When we were at the hotel we met up with Mel from Footsteps on the Globe and Becky from Girl Goes To and we all had a lovely time devouring cupcakes and comparing freebies. Thanks for the company girls – see you at the next event!

So there we have it, my round up of my first ever #bloggersfestival experience. Did you go to the festival too? What did you think? I already can’t wait for the 2017 event – big thank you to Scarlett for putting together a fantastic afternoon!

Love Jess x

#fbf to when me and @katevictoriaphotography made the Twitter wall at last weeks #bloggersfestival 🙋🎉 @scarlettlondon

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My first travel conference: Traverse16

 

So I’m just back from my first EVER travel conference, and what a weekend I had! Traverse 16 was held in the lively Welsh capital of Cardiff this year and the city stadium made for a fantastic venue. I was super impressed by Traverse; they were welcoming, friendly and the whole atmosphere was relaxed and informal yet completely informative and helpful – I learnt SO much! Here are my top highlights from a fun filled weekend…

 

I met so many new people & have made some wonderful friends

We've arrived at the #traverse networking party! Hellooo free food and drinks 🎉🎉 @lucyronan

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So I have known the beautiful Lucy Ronan from Faraway Lucy for the past few months now – we are both shortlisted as finalists in the UK Blog Awards – and we decided we would FINALLY meet by attending Traverse together for our first ever networking conference. Naturally we were both a little nervous but it actually really helped that we were together and I think we boosted each others confidence by sharing ideas and discussing everything we had learnt from our differing workshops.

I also met the lovely Sabina Trojanova, Emma Hart & Sophie Davis from Girl vs Globe,  Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles and Sophie’s Suitcase respectively – we finally met girls!! – and it was lovely to put faces to names as we have been in touch with each other in the virtual blogosphere for so long.

 

I attended workshops with industry professionals and expert bloggers

So many reasons to visit #cardiff 📷🇬🇧@visitwales @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic

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I took part in three workshops and two one-to-one sessions during my days conference – I had such a jam packed day but I loved every second! I also took the opportunity to speak with the sponsors who were showcasing their brands and I met some really interesting people. My favourite workshop was ‘How to take the Leap into Fulltime Blogging’ with Monica Stott of The Travel Hack– this was incredibly helpful and I was full of admiration for Monica after seeing first hand how she has turned her hobby into a career.

 

I also attended a writing workshop with Abi King of Inside the Travel Lab and a photography workshop with Kim Leuenberger – both talks were fantastic and I came away with so many ideas and so much inspo. Before the day was out I was lucky enough to book two 1-1’s with Skyscanner’s Tika Larasati and Julie Falconer of A Lady in London – thanks for the advice ladies!

I entered some competitions

Because who doesn't love dressing up stupid to try win a free trip ✈👓 oh hey @icelollyholiday @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic

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And here's another one.. This time for @expedia ✈🏊 @traverseevents #traverse16 #findyourepic @visitwales

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Who doesn’t love a good competition, especially when there are travel prizes and free trips up for grabs?! I entered four different competitions during my day at Traverse, two included dressing up silly for Expedia & Icelolly to win free trips/credit towards a bookings (see above – I had so much fun) the other was a treasure hunt with ILOVENYPR searching for US themed clues to win (yep, you guessed it, a trip to NYC) and the last one was a Twitter comp with Surprise Trips – guess the ‘surprise’ European city and win a free trip! I had so much fun entering the competitions and chatting to the lovely sponsors throughout the day and I know so many others did too – unfortunately I wasn’t a winner but it’s the taking part that counts, right?!

I bagged tonnes of cheeky freebies

Oh hey freebies.. who knew I could pick up so much free stuff at a travel conference?! Thanks @traverseevents 🙋👜 #traverse16

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This was a MAJOR highlight for me.. who knew there could be so many freebies up for grabs at one of these events?! As I walked through the door at home my mum was quite literally astonished as to how much I’d brought home – I left the house with one bag and came back with FOUR! Amongst my fabulous freebies was a lovely Expedia towel (and pen and paper clamp), a Traverse business card holder, a Skyscanner hoodie, a cute little monkey from Cathay Pacific and goody bags from Visit Wales and Wye Valley. Thanks folks, love all my new blags!

I networked the hell outta there

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEBJWZwNPuf/?taken-by=jessica16_x

 

 

As this was my first conference, the act of ‘networking’ was something totally new to me but I think I took it in my stride and seemed to do ok! Effectively, networking is just chatting with like minded people and making contacts; I was just happy to get my name out there and meet as many people as possible, plus I love a good chat- who doesn’t?!

I set fire to a table (I’m not even lying)

 

Lol. I know what you’re thinking; who even sets fire to a TABLE?! Well folks, it did happen – and I think Lucy and I wanted the ground to just swallow us up there and then. I have never been SO EMBARRASED and I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my time! I’m sure I don’t need to give you all the explosive deets (see what I did there ;)) but basically there was a waffle in a waffle box (obvs) and a candle and a table..and then there was a flame and a pint of water and Lucy got soaked… you get the gist.. nothing in my life has ever compared to how mortified I was on that Friday night! Talk about making a good first impression… #ooopppsss

So as you can probably tell I had a whale of a time at my first ever travel blogging conference and cannot WAIT until the next one! A big thank you to everyone at Traverse who made my first experience so worthwhile, especially Lucy & Ollie who were both hilarious and soo friendly and welcoming <3

Until next time Traverse!

 

Yesterday's beaut of a venue for @traverseevents… It's a good job I'm a football fan ⚽⚽ #traverse16

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24 Hours in Brighton!

 

Hi everyone,

So this weekend I returned from a super short stay in one of the most lively cities in the UK – and what a blast it was! Brighton is a trendy seaside resort brimming with quirky cafes, bars and restaurants as well as a multitude of high street and designer stores. You’ll also find Britain’s answer to the Taj Mahal, a similar looking London Eye and one of the best piers in the country! On a time limit and wanting to explore as much of the city as possible? Read on for my guide to exploring Brighton in 24 hours…

Where to Stay

 

Brighton has a huge range of  hotels from grand buildings with glorious sea views to small, tucked away hostels and B&B’s for those on a budget. The Hilton and Mercure are particularly impressive with a prime sea front location whilst the Travelodge in the centre of the city offers good value for money.

 

I actually stayed at my friends house in Littlehampton, around a 40 min drive from Brighton, but if I returned I’d love to stay at one of the central hotels so I could be in the heart of the action (and avoid the taxi ride home at silly o’clock in the morning!)

 

What to See

 

There’s LOADS to see and do in Brighton, least of all Britain’s answer to India’s iconic Taj Mahal! The Royal Pavilion is a beautiful building right in the centre of the city and is perhaps Brighton’s most visited tourist attraction.

 

 

 

There’s also the world famous pier with its dazzling lights and candyfloss stalls, the pier that got burnt down twice (it’s still half standing in the sea!) and a decent sized Ferris Wheel offering views of the sea and surrounding city.

 

In addition, you’ll find a Sealife Centre, Museum & Art Gallery and Theatre Royal as well as the pretty marina.

Where to Shop

 

 

Brighton is brimming with high street and designer stores as well as quirky, independent and locally owned shops offering handmade goods and quality clothing. Head down to Churchill Square for world renowned stores all under one roof- perfect on a rainy day!

Alternatively, Brighton is also well known for its kooky shopping streets, The Lanes, where you’ll find cafe’s, patisseries, craft shops, record stores and clothes shops aplenty.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_AEsWkHKdI/?tagged=thelanesbrighton

Where to Eat

As it’s such a huge city, Brighton has no end of foodie places on offer from well known chain restaurants including Bills and Bella Italia to locally owned independent Indian restaurants and fish and chip shops!

New #coconut colada made with #Venezuelan #rum – #latin #Wednesday in #brighton

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Head down to the seafront where you’ll find an abundance of high end restaurants and luxury eateries including the fantastic Salt Room serving meat and fish specifically.

Where to Drink

Brighton is well known for having a colourful nightlife with its its array of lively bars, clubs and pubs it’s certainly an eventful night out! Big clubs in the city include Pryzm and Vodka Revs with well known pubs including Wetherspoons and Walkabout also making an appearance.

Brighton ready 👯🍸 #brighton #drinks #nightout

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So there you have it, my complete travel guide to a city break in Brighton! Hope you’ve enjoyed the read – stay tuned for my February Newsletter coming up next!

Love Jess x

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Britain's Most Romantic Getaways

Hi everyone,

For all you lovers out there you’ll be well aware that it’s coming up to the highly anticipated Valentines Day this Sunday! If however you’re single like me, you’ll just be excited for the half price chocolate that’ll be on offer in stores the next day 😉

received_10208397740322507_kindlephoto-293387

In all seriousness though, whether you’re attached or not, Valentine’s is a great excuse to escape for a little weekend away. I’ve put together some inspo from all corners of the UK and thought I’d share seven of my FAVOURITE destinations for that all important romantic getaway…

Bath

Oh beautiful Bath, where to begin?! Located on the banks of the River Avon, this Roman World Heritage city is one of the most visited in the UK and is truly something special. For an unforgettable romantic experience head to the Thermae Bath Spa for a series of treatments and bathe in naturally warm mineral waters whilst enjoying incredible panoramic views across the entire city. Bath Abbey is also a sight not to be missed, especially when it’s all lit up at night!

Oxford

Ok, so I know I’m biased as I just happened to be born here, but Oxford really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! From the cobbled little side streets to the iconic university buildings and the bustling covered market, Oxford has it all. Go punting along the River Thames, enjoy afternoon tea in a posh hotel or explore some of the world famous Harry Potter film locations; with so much to see and do in Oxford you’ll never be bored during your romantic getaway!

York

Like Oxford, the ancient city of York is bursting with hidden cobbled streets and cute little cafes and shops just waiting to be discovered! Aside from shopping and enjoying some of the many eateries on offer why not take a step over to the dark side and explore the fantastic York Dungeons or take a ghost walk around the city? You’ll be sure to cling to each other as you tour the beautiful Minster and learn all about York’s varied history from its Roman, Viking and Medieval times!

Edinburgh

This Scottish capital is on my wanderlust wishlist and is somewhere I’m just dying to visit. Edinburgh has so much to see and do and is one of the prettiest places in Britain with an added touch of romance. Visit the stunning Edinburgh Castle, head to the local zoo (home to the UK’s only koala bears!), catch a show at the Royal Lyceum Theatre or hit Princes Street for some serious shopping. With so much to see and do you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time – don’t forget to wrap up warm though as the Scottish winds make for some sub-zero temperatures!

The Lake District

Late afternoon in the Lake District in northern England. 👍🏼

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The Lake District is England’s largest national park home to almost 3000 square kilometers of rolling countryside, beautiful mountains and yep you guessed it, an endless amount of lakes. Take a boat cruise along Lake Windermere, explore the market towns of Keswick and Kendal or enjoy some traditional English food in one of the many old pubs and inns dotted about the region whilst admiring the stunning scenery. For those of you who are a little more adventurous why not get in your sports gear and attempt to climb some mountains? You know you want to…

The Cotswolds

So I’m biased AGAIN (hey, I’m allowed to be😝) but for a quintessentially romantic countryside break you just can’t beat a stay in the beautiful Cotswolds! I’m lucky enough to have been brought up here and I do take it for granted, but there’s so many places that I’m STILL exploring even now! Head over to Bibury, Burford or Bourton on the Water for cute little days out; you’ll find shops, cafes and restaurants aplenty all set in the prettiest of locations. For somewhere less touristy try Broadway or Chipping Campden which are equally as beautiful!

London

How could I NOT include our very own capital city in this special wanderlust list?! Although somewhat commercialised and highly expensive, there’s just something about London that sees people returning time and time again, especially when there’s a special occasion to celebrate! For something romantic I’d recommend taking a dinner cruise across the River Thames or hopping on the London Eye for unparalleled views across the city. If extravagance isn’t your thing grab dinner in Soho or catch a theatre show in the West End.. the options are unlimited in London and you’ll be spoilt for choice during your romantic stay!

So there you have it, that’s my pick of the most romantic getaways in the UK! Where else would you include in yours? Have you been to many of these places before? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

💜Happy Valentine’s Day you beautiful people!!💜

Love Jess x

NB. Thanks to Quiet Achiever, Love Great Britain & World Places for the Instagram inspo in addition to my own pics!