Top 10 Minimoon Destinations from Essential Travel

Top 10 Minimoon Destinations from Essential Travel

A mini-honeymoon typically lasts for a long weekend, or even for just a couple of nights, but finding somewhere that is more than just a normal "weekend away" can still be a challenge...

Honeymoon stays in the UK...

Gloucestershire, England

Gloucestershire is packed with grand castles and cathedrals in an alluring countryside setting, including the Forest of Dean.

Where To Stay: Thornbury Castle is over 500 years old, dating way back to the Tudor era and was even at one stage the home of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. It has 26 elegant bedroom chambers and couples can opt for their special package, which includes a bottle of champagne, one night's stay and a delicious three course meal.

What To Do: Nearby Bath is the epitome of classical romance and home to Jane Austen. Take a Bailey Balloons' hot air balloon ride over the countryside, accompanied by crisp champagne. (Check out Cool Places recommendations of what to do in Bath here)

Letham, Angus, Scotland

If seclusion is more your thing, Letham is a remote little village of only 2,000 people, so you're guaranteed some peace and quiet to enjoy your first few days together as a married couple.

Where To Stay: While 480 year Fernie Castle has the usual awe-inspiring beauty of many castles, it also offers a treehouse as accommodation. It  is situated in the woods of the castle grounds and has everything you need, including bathroom and kitchen amenities (and even a fridge filled with snacks and drinks).

What To Do: Stay at the castle and enjoy strolls in enchanting gardens and woodlands - all 17 acres of it. The castle also has lovely dining facilities and a bar for you to enjoy your relaxing time away together.

Lake District, England

The Lake District yields peaceful lakes, abundant greenery and majestic mountains: great for couples who are keen on spending some time outdoors on their minimoon.

Where To Stay: Sharrow Bay is a stone mansion and was opened to guests in 1949. It is set along one of the most beautiful lakes in the whole district: Lake Ullswater. The country-house hotel offers special packages for couples only wanting to stay for one night - so ideal for those who can't take a lot of time off work. The package also includes a decadent six course meal, champagne and a trip on the Ullswater steamers.

What To Do: Take a page out of the The Notebook and hire a boat to take out onto Lake Ullswater.

Monmouthshire, Wales

Monmouthshire is filled with castles rich in Welsh history, as well as a national park and, of course, the Black Mountains: a perfect getaway for couples who want to be isolated and surrounded by nature.

Where To Stay: Beneath The Stars offer fantastic "Glamping" options (that's glamourous camping) such as a Romany Gypsy Caravan located at the foot of the Black Mountains. Sleep in a cute caravan and the rest of your facilities are in a quaint little cabin only a few feet away.

What To Do: There are warm and welcoming pubs about half an hour's walk from the caravan, or borrow "he" and "she" bikes from Beneath The Stars and ride there together.

Cornwall, England

Cornwall is known for its beaches, so this is definitely a great place to take your minimoon in the summertime when you can spend your weekend soaking up some rays.

Where To Stay: In the special little fishing village of Kingsand, you will find Westcroft Guesthouse - a 1760 guest house equipped with timeless décor, which really takes you back to that era. For the ultimate romantic experience, book the Clock Tower Suite. This gives you the whole top floor, with the added service of fresh croissants and a newspaper in the morning. To top it off, if you organise in advance, you can book candlelit dinners.

What To Do: The beach is only 65 feet from the guest house, so a nice, peaceful walk along the sea is always a good way to relax. If you feel like an even more enchanting walk, visit the Godolphin Garden and Estate - a 16th century medieval garden that has remained the same since then, making this a very authentic Cornish experience.

Or head further afield to...

Marrakech, Morocco

Only three hours from the UK, Morocco is a memorable African destination for your minimoon. The city is known for the red walls of its buildings and its huge market places but needs a 3-4 day holiday to really make the most of it.

Where To Stay: If you book through Boutique Souk, you can stay at the beautiful Selman Palace Hotel and Spa. This hotel has very comfortable rooms as well as five private riads if you really want to splurge (a riad is a Moroccon-style house with its own private courtyard). The luxurious interior design and optional 24-hour butler service will make you feel like a king and queen.

What To Do: From the spa treatments, and swimming pool that stretches 262 feet, to the purely-bred Arab horses on site, there's more than enough to keep you entertained. Or you can head out into the bustling city to soak up the vibrant culture and scenery.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast is the glorious stretch of coastline in Southern Italy boasting tall cliffs, tiny villages and impressive views of the Mediterranean. It's also a very popular place for celebrities to go on honeymoon, such as Kim Kardashian and her then-husband, Kris Humphries.

Where To Stay: For the ultimate extravagant minimoon, try book your stay at the five-star Convento Di Amalfi Grand Hotel. The hotel boasts panoramic sea views and has top-notch restaurants and bars. Best of all, there is an infinity pool, giving the illusion of plunging 262 feet down the cliff into the sea below.

What To Do: The Amalfi Coast only stretches on for 56.4 miles, making it ideal for your short trip. Take a nice, slow road trip along the coast with perhaps a couple of short stops along the way - such as a lunch stop at a typical Italian café.

Büyükada, Turkey

Büyükada is one of the charming little islands off the coast of Turkey and is home to only 7,000 locals. This is the best place to go to for some peace and relaxation, thanks to the car-ban throughout the island. Take a long weekend to explore this quaint island on foot or by bicycle.

Where To Stay: The Prince Hotel is a grand, sea-facing hotel, offering beachfront views, tantalising Turkish cuisine and free breakfasts. You can even end up saving on accommodation on this trip - you can stay for four days and only pay for three!

What To Do: Add a touch of romance going sightseeing in one of the many horse-drawn carriages. Simply request that the rider keeps it as a carriage for two.

Paris, France

It may be a cliché but the city of romance cannot be excluded! The spellbinding lights at night and the staggeringly high Eiffel Tower are enough to make any couple fall even more in love.

Where To Stay: To really soak up the Parisian lifestyle in all its beauty, make sure to stay at the Secret de Paris. The rooms here are creatively designed to reflect iconic places in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and Musée d'Orsay.

What To Do: Take a walk over the Pont de l'Archevêché, or Archbishop's Bridge, that spans across the Seine River and put a love padlock (with your names on) onto the infamous padlock chain fence.

Eastern Cape, South Africa

As the longest minimoon on the list, this needs at least five days  - which allows two days for travelling and the rest for an adventurous, luxurious holiday. The Eastern Cape may not be particularly well-known for its tourism, but just 46.6 miles outside the city of Port Elizabeth there is world famous game reserve frequented by the likes of John Travolta - Shamwari Game Reserve.

Where To Stay: Stay in a beautiful lodge amidst the African wilderness. This reserve is abundant with some of the best wildlife and it's completely malaria-free.

What To Do: There's always something to do on the reserve, and they also serve up delicious traditional South African dishes at the lodges.

About the experts

Essential Travel is one of the UK's leading online travel extra providers, providing priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK. Essential Travel is now part of Thomas Cook UK  Ireland. For further information visit www.essentialtravel.co.uk; or call 0845 803 5434 free.

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