Cake crumbs, popped balloons and confetti. Once your wedding is over you might feel relieved, upset or excited. But as you start getting used to being married, there’s still one more thing to look forward to – your honeymoon.
A honeymoon is the first part of your marriage where everything is sweetness and light. Most couples celebrate with a holiday so that they can spend some quality time together before returning to the real world. Thailand, Australia and Greece are all traditional honeymoon destinations, but one place that’s beginning to increase in popularity is the UK.
Honeymooning in the UK gives you the freedom of language, currency and, possibly, transport. There are so many places just waiting to be explored, so why would you go anywhere else?
1. The Lake District
Home to England’s tallest mountain, Cumbria is a beautiful area full of waterfalls, hills and dales. Walk or hike in the park itself and challenge yourself by climbing Scafell Pike. Explore Muncaster Castle, one of the most haunted places in Britain or visit William Wordsworth’s home and experience a working 18th century kitchen. Hire a boat and sail across the lakes, feeling the fresh air in your face.
Stay at Yew Tree Farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter and featured in the film Miss Potter, or take your tents and stay at one of the many campsites
in the park.
England’s capital boasts some of the finest museums and galleries in the world with free admission. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Covent Garden Market with street acts and musicians and trawl the shops of Camden Town for a bargain.
Jump aboard Duck Tours - the tour bus that ends with a splash - before having afternoon tea at the Ritz. Ride the London Eye at sunset for romantic views over the city and then choose from hundreds of West End musicals, plays and stand-up comedy to round off your evening.
3. Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park in the midst of Wales is full of castles, mountains and waterfalls all waiting to be explored. Borrow a torch and explore the dark caves of Carreg Cennen, the medieval castle overlooking the Black Mountain before getting lost in the heathery forest or among the waterfalls.
There are plenty of cosy farm cottages to stay in, most of them offering a full Welsh breakfast, plus the generous Welsh hospitality. Even the larger of the towns surrounding the park such as Abergavenny, are welcoming, with artsy shops, quaint cafés and architecture.
Lovers of history and chocolate can take York’s Chocolate Tour, discovering the history of Smarties and Aero before visiting York’s Sweet Story, a new attraction for 2012. Several hotels offer accommodation for chocoholics, complete with gifts of chocolatey goodness.
The Jorvik Centre takes you deep underground for a traditional Viking experience, while York Minster offers breathtaking views of the city. York is also home to the world’s largest maze and a host of museums full of everything from quilts to trains.
5. St Ives
Near Land’s End, St Ives is a pretty fishing village with cobbled streets set on a Cornish beach. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the golden beaches are popular with surfers, sunbathers and strollers, while the freshest of fish is served in the restaurants.
Self-catering accommodation is readily available and the many holiday parks offer campers swimming pools, pubs and sea views. Famous for art, visit Tate St Ives and browse the local artists’ shops for a picture for your marital home.
6. Northern Ireland
Veer off the beaten track and head to The Walled City of Londonderry, the UK’s first ever City of Culture 2013. Walk around the 17th century walls and see Europe’s largest collection of cannons, St Columb’s Cathedral and the Craft Village. North-east of Londonderry you can see the Giant’s Causeway, visit Carrickfergus Castle, brave the rope bridge and marvel at Mussenden Temple on the edge of the cliffs.
Not to be forgotten is Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital with the Titanic Exhibition that opened in April 2012. Stroll in the Botanic Gardens and enjoy a pint of Guinness in the 19th century Crown Bar. Hundreds of restaurants, bars and theatres provide the evening’s entertainment in another city that never sleeps.
7. The Cotswolds
Full of idyllic villages and market towns, the Cotswolds is ideal for a honeymoon. This year saw the 400th anniversary of the Cotswold Olimpicks, offering light relief from the frenzy of London 2012. Wander around Malmesbury, Tetbury or Winchcombe, some of the most picturesque villages in England.
Venture further afield and visit the city of Bath to see the Royal Crescent, the Circle and Pulteney Bridge, not to mention the Roman Baths. Stay in The Halcyon, the hotel with a romantic rooftop spa offering views over the city.
8. East Anglia
The east of England combines tiny coastal villages with buzzing cities and is perfect for a romantic getaway. Spend the day in Bury St Edmunds, a Suffolk market town with abbey ruins, quirky shops and St Edmondsbury Cathedral and then head to Cambridge and tour the city on a bike, cycling past the university buildings.
Stay in Cley Windmill in Norfolk’s tiny fishing village of Wells-next-the-Sea, just minutes from glorious beaches with sand dunes and enough birds to satisfy even the most experienced birdwatcher.
Scotland is a country full of history and Edinburgh and the surrounding Highlands have beautiful scenery to explore. Visit Edinburgh Castle to see the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, then head to Port Leith to breathe the sea air and eat some locally prepared fish.
If you’re feeling energetic, climb Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano in Holyrood Park and enjoy spectacular views of the city. Take a day trip around the Highlands and experience Scotland’s magical lochs and glens.
10. The New Forest
With thatched cottages, woodland walks and beautiful beaches, The New Forest has something for everyone. Hire bikes and tour the forest, cycling around the ponies and horse riders you’ll meet at every turn.
Watch an outdoor play at Highcliffe Castle, with views of the Isle of Wight, plus a cliff walk down to the beach. Spend the day in the beautiful gardens of Beaulieu, touring Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and the motor museum. Camp in the forest itself, or stay in a cosy, thatched cottage nearby.
How can John Lewis help?
Before you can relax and enjoy your honeymoon, you need to plan your wedding. If you’re organising your special day, it’s important that you have Wedding Insurance to protect you financially if things go wrong.
Starting at just £58.00, John Lewis Wedding Insurance offers six levels of Wedding Insurance up to £100,000, covering the essentials including the wedding flowers, wedding transport, wedding dress and wedding rings. We’ll also pay cancellation costs if you, your partner or a close relative falls ill.
Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply.
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