With the economy the way it is, many people are starting to plan early for their 2023 breaks. If you’re one of those people who are already looking forward to Valentine’s Day, anniversaries or the chance to spend some time in romantic surroundings with your loved one, here are a couple of suggestions to help make the planning process easier.

North Devon is one of the most romantic places in the UK – it has the seal of approval from several of the great romantic poets after all! People like Shelley, Coolridge and others all loved and were inspired by the views at Exmoor and you can find lots of walks in the area named for famous poets and writers like Kipling Tor. One of the greatest romance novels ever written, Lorna Doone, is even set on Exmoor, so it is the best place for a romantic get-away in 2023.

For something unique, take a look at Harta Retreat. Based near Barnstaple, this tranquil hide away is great for couples and offers luxury glamping for two in cosy tipis hidden among scenic hills and meadows and just a stone’s throw from the region’s award winning beaches. Though you might not think staying in a tipi is particularly luxurious – think again! At Harta, you can expect a king sized bed and soft organic linen, underfloor heating, roll top baths, flushing toilets, coffee machines and more all for you. These unique, hand-crafted tipis are a great way to have a memorable trip together.

harta retreat
Image: Harta Retreat

Another cosy, romantic option in North Devon are cottages. Cottage holidays are a wonderful choice for couples wanting something small and intimate and of course, completely private. Plus, by going self-catering, you don’t have to plan your stay around the opening of the dining rooms or for cleaners – you can come and go as you please, or not go anywhere at all if you wish. In the Barnstaple area, where you’ll also have access to shops, theatres, cinemas and eateries, as well as only being a short distance from the coast, are Bampfield Farm Cottages. Hidden away in a secluded area of the countryside, these cottages come complete with all the home comforts you need for a relaxing stay. The wood burners come with unlimited logs – perfect for cosy nights in by the fire – and with complimentary WiFi, you can take the time to catch up on all those shows you’ve had to miss because of your busy lifestyle. Bampfield Farm is a working farm and the onsite shop features produce right from the fields around you, so if you fancy a farm house breakfast, you have everything you need right on site.

Alternatively, in the Ilfracombe area, there is Strawfields. This small, rustic and peaceful location consists of three cottages, four shepherd’s huts and a small campsite all on the same farmland, so you have a choice of accommodation options. It is so tranquil you wouldn’t know that you can easily reach Ilfracombe itself, as well as the nearby beaches of Woolacombe, Saunton, Croyde and Putsborough – all great beaches for surfing and other watersports, should you want to try something new together while you’re away. Whether you choose to stay in one of the cottages, a shepherd’s hut or go for the ultimate rustic holiday and camp, you can be sure of a private, cosy place to call home and the chance to use all the farm’s facilities including unlimited WiFi and well equipped kitchens and other amenities.

If you want to stay in North Devon because of the award winning beaches – Woolacombe’s beach for example consistently wins Britain’s Best Beach Awards and the rest of the coastline falls under a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – take a look at Beach Cove Coastal Retreat. Part of the Darwin Escapes portfolio, Beach Cove Coastal Retreat features a range of quirky beach huts and holiday apartments with stunning coastal views full of all the modern luxuries you could expect, including hot tubs, Smart TVs, complimentary WiFi, spacious rooms and modern kitchens. All the accommodation overlooks Hele Bay – so you’re never too far from the coast and can enjoy as many romantic breaks on the beach as you like!

beach cove coastal retreat
Image: Beach Cove Coastal Retreat

Perhaps when you think of a romantic break, you think of being waited on and pampered, if that’s the case, then why not take a look at one of the hotels in the area? For those of you that like the sound of being on the beach, Saunton Sands Hotel is perfect for you. As one of the Brend brand of hotels you can expect nothing less than the best and overlooks three miles of one of the best beaches in the region. There is even a private pathway down to the beach itself. This luxury hotel has a host of additional facilities including a spa, gym, heated swimming pools, award winning restaurants, surf instructors and in house entertainment. A stay here means you won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy locally sourced dining options and pampering is always on hand.

Alternatively, there is Woolacombe Bay Hotel. Set within 11 acres of private, beachside grounds and close to both the beach and the Exmoor National Park, this hotel also has its own on site spa, gym, exclusive lido, a host of dining options and its own cinema! The cinema is perfect for a date night – with luxury sofa style seating for two, you can enjoy a variety of films shown daily, all without having to leave the complex. With boutique rooms and suites available, many with a view across Woolacombe Beach, this is somewhere you can relax in comfort.

woolacombe bay hotel
Image: Woolacombe Bay Hotel

If you’re a couple with a penchant for the dramatic, Hartland Quay Hotel is a must. Located right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by unspoilt coastline, the hotel has been running since 1886, so you can easily imagine the period drama romances that many of us aspire to. Whether you’re an Austen fan or wish you could experience an episode of Bridgerton, this hotel is certainly the home of romance. Many of the films and TV shows we love from the Regency and Victorian eras were filmed at the hotel and on the surrounding rocks and you have incredible views across the Lundy Island which was once the home of pirates! With plenty of walks and attractions like Hartland Abbey nearby, you’ll find plenty to delight and inspire you here.

If you were intrigued by the history mentioned above, why not look at booking a stay at the Red Lion? Sitting on the harbour of Clovelly village, which is a tourist attraction in its own right, this 18th century inn is rich in history and gives you a chance to fall asleep while listening to the waves crash in the harbour below. Clovelly itself used to be owned by the royal family and remains completely car free, instead deliveries are made by a herd of rescue donkeys and the cobbled streets and thatched cottages really give you a chance to step back in time. The Red Lion is popular with couples, particularly honeymooners, so you know that this is a truly romantic destination. While you’re staying, you can spend some time exploring the village and for those of you visiting from April onwards, take a stroll around the Court Gardens where much of the food on offer at the Red Lion comes from.

For hotels that are much closer to towns where you can enjoy the nightlife, there are plenty of options in places like Barnstaple and Bideford. The Royal and Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple is just one example. This sophisticated luxury hotel retains its historic charm while offering modern comforts, you’ll find it at the top of the high street, so you’re right in the heart of the town and have easy access to a host of shopping and eating opportunities, as well as being well placed to explore the region’s top attractions. Each of the hotel’s rooms come with free WiFi, luxury toiletries, tea and coffee making facilities, ensuite bathrooms and free parking, as well as the choice of two great restaurants offering both fine and informal dining. There is even a cocktail bar to really liven the mood and get you ready for a night out.

Of course, this is just a small selection of the accommodation on offer in North Devon for a romantic break – you can find loads more options here.

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