A selection of the most romantic boltholes for two, both at home and abroad.

Annabelle Thorpe, Editor of 101 Short Breaks uses her travel expertise to tell us where to book a romantic getaway.

Holidays in hotels can be a lovely, relaxing treat, but sometimes what you want most of all is the chance to be alone with your partner – to set your own pace, eat when you want, sleep when you want and just have some quiet time together in complete privacy. Renting a villa or cottage is the best way to achieve this, but finding properties for two isn’t always easy. So we’ve done the hard work for you, and found a selection of the most romantic boltholes for two, both at home and abroad.


When the sun decides to shine, a week away in rural England can be seriously romantic – and even if it’s grey, a country cottage can be a wonderfully cosy retreat. Devon offers great walking, classic pubs and beautiful beaches; hole up at picturesque Rock View Cottage near Gulworthy, which has a woodburner for cooler days and an alfresco hot tub for summer evenings. Or choose a bolthole right by the water; the Junket Studio at Noss Mayo in South Devon is a stylish, open-plan space with glorious river views from the glass-walled lounge and sundeck.

The New Forest is one of Southern England’s most beautiful spots, offering plenty of romantic walks, horse-riding, and lovely gastropubs. Stay at The Old Telephone Exchange in picture-perfect Beaulieu, a stylish open-plan studio with luxury bathroom and spacious outside deck. Or head to quiet Herefordshire – one of the most rural counties in England, but also one of the most overlooked. This is the place for a blissfully tranquil week; Humber Court Barn is surrounded by countryside, with waymarked paths from the doorstep. Inside, the barn has been converted into a luxurious, airy space with a sumptuous ensuite bedroom.

For a truly romantic break, Cornwall’s Barefoot Beach Hut oozes style – with everything from chic Orla Keily furnishings to an outside bath for two. The beautiful beach and dunes at Penhale Sands are just outside the door, with Perranporth and Newquay within easy reach.


A perennial favourite with British visitors, there are some gorgeous properties for two dotted around the French countryside. Gil’s Workshop is a stunning conversion of a former carpenter’s workshop, which has been in the same family for four generations. The workshop has a lovely open-plan kitchen and living area, spacious bedroom and outdoor Jacuzzi and sun terrace. For something more contemporary, Le Cocon in Brittany is a quirkily chic hideaway, with beamed ceilings, a classic tin bath and an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary furniture and designs.

Villas for two are rare in Italy’s most popular region, Tuscany, which makes Sestuccia Cantina – a one-floor, stone-built hideaway on a vineyard in Chianti – such a find. The cottage has its own pool and outdoor Jacuzzi, and guests can help themselves to produce from the estate’s vegetable garden.

If you’re keen to have facilities close by, La Limonaia – part of the Borgo Basta Creti estate on the Tuscany-Umbria is an ideal choice. The villa is spacious and traditionally furnished, with a pool, tennis court and the Borgo’s social hub, Club Bastia, all within easy reach.

The smallest of the Ionian islands, Paxos has a wonderfully unspoilt feel – the thickly wooded landscape is scattered with sleepy hamlets and villages, including Loggos, the most picturesque, with around 30 houses clustered along the waterfront. One of them, Sophia’s House, is available to rent, and with a vine-covered terrace, spacious living room and bedroom, is an deal bolthole for two.

For something a little more lively, the charming Villa Yesemi on the island of Levkas, offers a sense of seclusion, while the bars and tavernas are just five minutes’ drive. If sea views are important, Amfitriti in the village of Livadia on Crete is the perfect choice. A light, airy, stone-built house perched right by the sea, the house has an open-plan living, dining and sleeping area that makes the most of the wonderful views outside.

Rural Spain offers a very different experience to the crowded coastline, and Casita la Pipa – surrounded by the spectacular Picos de Europa mountains – is a delightfully rustic retreat. The accommodation is simple but comfortable, and forms part of a traditional Asturian farmhouse – heaven for walkers and birdwatchers.

For something completely different, how about a characterful Casa or luxury tented suite with a private plunge pool at the intimate DDG Retreat in Andalucia…?

If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, Little Seascape in Barbados is a rare find; comfortable, affordable and just a stone’s throw from one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Lively Speightstown is just a five minute drive away when you want to escape the beachfront idyll.

March 2018