Romantic honeymoon, travel, staycation and minimoon ideas for couples in Essex

Find your perfect honeymoon with our honeymoon inspiration ideas, resort reviews and hotel guides, travel and packing.

Honeymoons: What a treat - at Elcot Park!

What a treat - at Elcot Park!

Rachel Westall experiences the stylish Retreat at Elcot Park - country-house comfort at its best...Step into luxury at The Retreat, Elcot Park. Since its grand opening in June 2022 it has won many accolades including Britain's Best Hotel by The Times and the Sunday Times, topping their list of the Top 100 Places to Stay in the UK. So, it was only right for us to check it out for our couples.Located between Newbury and Hungerford, this 18th-century country house hotel & spa is the perfect spot to unwind pre- or post-wedding -whether you want a cocktail aside the heated outdoor swimming pool; or are ready to don your hiking boots and clear your mind on the close-by North Wessex Downs.

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Honeymoons: The Italian Dream

The Italian Dream

Louise Prance enjoys her inaugural visit to Italy, discovering the delights of Sardinia with a stay at the impressive Forte Village...For many, when you think 'honeymoon' you think white sands, clear seas, sunshine and an abundance of rest and relaxation. But, if you're anything like me, sometimes you need a little bit more – enter ForteVillage, Sardinia.A self-confessed travel addict with eternal wanderlust, I'm ashamed to say that my recent visit to Sardinia was my virgin voyage to Italy. And what an error or judgement that was. Just a hop, skip and a very short two-hour flight from the UK it was clear from touch down that Sardinia lived up to the Italian dream stereotype and then some.

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Honeymoons: An iconic island

An iconic island

Let yourself be carried away by the relaxed Jamaican atmosphere wherever you are; whether you're enjoying a swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean, sipping on a piña colada in a crystal-clear pool, or on an outing exploring breathtaking mountains and blue lagoons — get ready to enter a state of absolute bliss.Together with Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Cuba,Jamaica is one of the five countries that form the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. An island overflowing with colour and energy, this unique and diverse country has a pace and power, a passion and beauty that make it an unforgettable honeymoon destination.Along with its many natural wonders, the heart of Jamaica is its people and when visiting this ultra-hospitable country, you'll encounter friendly,joyful faces and a vibrant energy familiar across the planet.

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Honeymoons: Total body bliss - Louise indulges in this spa-staycation

Total body bliss - Louise indulges in this spa-staycation

Located in Warwickshire, Ardencote Spa is easily accessible for a spa day or weekend away, however, upon arriving down the leafy drive, you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Set in 83 acres of landscaped gardens, Ardencote is a modern hotel and destination spa offering everything needed for a weekend of wellness after the big day. A pool, treatment rooms,18-hole golf course, leisure facilities, tennis courts and a restaurant and bar await for a blissful UK-based honeymoon.

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Honeymoons: Magical Mauritius - fall in love with this honeymoon destination

Magical Mauritius - fall in love with this honeymoon destination

Editor Claire Ridley fell in love with this year-round honeymoon hotspot...Nestled on the north coast of the island in Anse la Raie (a popular kite surfing spot) sits the five-star, eco-committed boutique hotel Paradise Cove. With Mauritius fast becoming a sustainable island, Paradise Cove's effort to go green includes being part of the Positive Impact Movement (created by the Attitude hotel group) ensuring local sourcing and no single-use plastic. I was excited to visit this adults-only tropical paradise, an acclaimed Small Luxury Hotels of the World, having benefited from a renovation in 2019. It offers a warm welcome with 75 rooms and suites including the Deluxe Premium Rooms, one of which was to become my home for three blissful nights. This honeymoon hideout has been authentically designed in the island's signature style with wood, rattan and tropical palm-print wallpaper and furnishings

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Honeymoons: Provence provided the ultimate in rural romance

Provence provided the ultimate in rural romance

Olivia Gibson discovers the delights of Provence at Hôtel Crillon le Brave. Known for its diverse landscapes, picturesque views, iconic lavender fields, vineyards and Mediterranean coastline, Provence is the ultimate honeymoon destination that oozes romance at every turn. When the opportunity arose to visit Maisons Pariente's Hotel Crillon le Brave, I packed my bags and headed to the airport alongside my partner for a magical stay at the sought-after property.

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Honeymoons: Do not disturb! Moddershall Oaks provides a tranquil setting

Do not disturb! Moddershall Oaks provides a tranquil setting

Olivia Gibson ventures to Staffordshire for a spa minimoon at Moddershall Oaks; Nestled in 72 acres of tranquil parkland in the Staffordshire countryside, Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat is a luxurious property with lavish suites, spa facilities, lakeside dining and a wellness centre. The retreat offers a private location surrounded by unspoilt views of the rolling countryside, setting the perfect scene for romantic minimoonsand getaways. I felt a calming oasis as soon as I ventured onto Moddershall Oaks' winding driveway. With the sun beaming down on me, I quickly left the outside world behind. The next thing I knew, I was enjoying an elderflower spritz while chatting to the attentive and friendly staff who were on hand throughout my entire stay.

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Honeymoons: A Celtic Haven - Galgorm Resort near Ballymena

A Celtic Haven - Galgorm Resort near Ballymena

While Northern Ireland might not be the first place you think of when planning a mini-moon, having spent two nights at the incredible Galgorm Resort near Ballymena, CWM deputy managing editor Kelly Andrews is here to change that! Northern Ireland's premier luxury hotel and spa, located just 30 minutes from Belfast, offers the ultimate haven of relaxation. Set within 380 acres of parkland with the sometimes rushing, sometimes babbling River Maine running through it, Galgorm's enviable location truly provides an escape from the real world.

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Honeymoons: My first, my last, my everything

My first, my last, my everything

Located in the South Ari Atoll, renowned for its marine life and coral gardens, the resort is spread over two islands: one, the blissfully peaceful adult only island; the other slightly more buzzy, welcoming families; both stunningly beautiful and connected via a 500m woodenbridge – the first of its kind in the Maldives! Getting there couldn't be easier with BA flying direct from London Heathrow! Once you land inMalé, you can rest in the Conrad Lounge to cool off with a refreshing juice, bite to eat and even a shower if you so wish before you embark on your seaplane for a 30-minute breathtaking flight to your home for the duration of your honeymoon. And home it is. The resort's friendliness is not to be taken for granted, expect warm smiles, relaxed vibes and nostuffiness often associated with such glamorous resorts.

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Honeymoons: Riverside romance in Surrey

Riverside romance in Surrey

The Mitre Hampton Court was the perfect location for Gracie Leader's night away for two...The Mitre Hampton Court could not be placed in a more romantic location; just a five-minute walk from Hampton Court Palace and nestled on the bank of the River Thames. So, when my other half and I whizzed down to the home county of Surrey for a night away around Valentine's we had high expectations for our stay. Before checking in, we busied ourselves in The Mute Swan, a pub conveniently placed next door, for a few hours.

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Honeymoons: Hooray for Hampshire

Hooray for Hampshire

Kelly Andrews headed to the New Forest to find out what makes it such a special spot or mini-mooners:I'm a huge advocate for mini-mooning in the UK (obviously), and since the dark days of lockdown it's increasingly become the thing to do – short trip post W-day here in Blighty followed by an overseas vacay later on if you're so inclined. I'm here to tell you that for the former you'll struggle to find better than the glorious New Forest. I recently visited two incredible hotels in Hampshire, each one perfect for newlyweds in their own way.

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Honeymoons: Renewed in Newmarket

Renewed in Newmarket

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa provided the perfect setting for editor Danielle Harvey's special stay... My husband and I were keen to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary with a romantic night away. We go away every year, even for a night, to reconnect, reflect and look forward to the year ahead – and this year was no exception. In the heart of Suffolk,the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is a four AA red star hotel nestled in three acres of manicured gardens in Newmarket, the ancestral home of British horseracing. We'd popped in to the town prior to our arrival, and it was hard to believe that mere minutes down the road was a serene hotel setting. On approach, the pretty white building flanked by a grand driveway, shrubbery and trees was certainly smile-inducing, it felt in the middle of nowhere.Offering luxury throughout, the hotel has seamlessly combined theold and the new, modern extensions and sumptuous aesthetics are sympathetic to its Georgian 18th-century beginnings.

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Honeymoons: The City of Love - Paris

The City of Love - Paris

Melissa Cullen reveals why Paris is the perfect honeymoon destination: After a speedy trip on the Eurostar and a leisurely stroll, we arrived at the Shangri-La Paris. With all that Paris has to offer, the actual accommodation you find yourself using can often feel like an afterthought. However, with the history and majesty of the Shangri-La Paris, the hotel is as much a tourist destination as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe or even the Eiffel Tower. A former home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, overlooking the River Seine, the hotel is centrally located in the 16th arrondissement and seamlessly blends European grandeur with traditional Asian hospitality.

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Honeymoons: Fly away with me - romantic city escapes

Fly away with me - romantic city escapes

County Wedding Magazines' Honeymoons editor, Melissa Barker has rounded up some of our favourite city escapes... With a vibrant street life, cobbled streets and awe-inspiring art, Rome is undoubtedly one of the world's most romantic cities. Love has always been a part of the story of Rome, with the largest temple in the Roman Forum being dedicated to Venus and Roma: the goddess of love and the goddess that personified the city.

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Honeymoons: Santa needs a Spa day

Santa needs a Spa day

The Runnymede on Thames set the scene for a much-needed pre-Christmas break for Danielle Harvey. "Located on the banks of the picture-perfect River Thames in Surrey, just10 minutes from Windsor, The Runnymede on Thames is a modern fourstarhotel with an award-winning spa offering.Now, I've been lucky enough to stay at The Runnymede once before,although the warm summer's day certainly wasn't comparable to thewintry, grey November day I found myself in when visiting a second time.I wondered; did it alter my view having been before? Could I honestlyfi nd enough about it to tell all my lovely readers about an authenticexperience – well, read on, because you'll hear why it was second time'sa charm for me!

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Honeymoons: A grand affair - Rhodes-based Ixian Grand

A grand affair - Rhodes-based Ixian Grand

Louise Prance experienced the ultimate luxury combined with traditional Greek appeal at Rhodes-based Ixian Grand & All Suites. Approaching Rhodes by air, you'd be forgiven for missing a bird's-eye-view of the Ixian Grand & All Suites thanks to the beauty of Greece's largest island, but for the eagle-eyed travellers you can spot the hotel due to its inimitable layout and luxurious beachfront private pool suites nestled luxuriously on the beach of Ixia Bay, just metres away from the sea, Ixian Grand & All Suites is only 7km away from Rhodes town and the Medieval City of Rhodes, as well as being a mere 10-minute drive from Filerimos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes.

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Honeymoons: The best mini-moon destinations in Europe

The best mini-moon destinations in Europe

Whether it's for a pre-wedding getaway or a post-nuptial mini-moon, we're truly blessed living in the United Kingdom and being a part of Euorpe. From skiiing in Austria to the beaches of Greece, the romantic history of Italy to the amazing Northern Light in Iceland, there's so much choice when it comes to booking a European getaway for after the big day.

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Honeymoons: On the dock of the bay - Crete

On the dock of the bay - Crete

Sarah Gallivan samples a taste of the Mediterranean on the dreamy island of Crete... Crete, the largest island in Greece, is renowned for its stunning golden beaches, wild natural beauty, delicious cuisine and thousands of years of culture and history. Add to that the kind and generous Cretan hospitality, gorgeous weather and chilled vibes and you can guarantee the perfect getaway. My husband and I jetted off to the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay report on the eastern side of the island at the beautiful coastal town of Agios Nikolaos. Our trip was for a few days, but I don't think a two week break would've felt like long enough – it was truly amazing. It coincided with a milestone birthday too (my 40th!), so it felt extra special, almost as special as reliving our honeymoon all over again.

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Honeymoons: Down by the river - The Great House in Sonning

Down by the river - The Great House in Sonning

Editor Claire was invited to The Great House in Sonning, part of the Coppa Club collection of hotels and restaurants, that resides on the river...This sanctuary nestled in a peaceful location on the banks of the River Thames is ideal for honeymooners, and their four-legged friends and children are also welcome for those wanting to book a family-moon. The tranquil, back-to-nature bolthole, the former Elizabethan coaching inn has some famous neighbours – Hollywood moviestar George Clooney and wife Amal live in this quaint village tucked away in the Berkshire countryside.

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Honeymoons: Pure Luxury at The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield

Pure Luxury at The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield

Beth Morton and her hubby visited The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield after hearing about this award-winning hotel... In the heart of Sutton Coldfield with three world-class golf courses,300+ bedrooms, multiple restaurants and a luxurious spa, I was excited to experience it first-hand. The host of The Ryder Cup four times, more than any other venue in the world, The Belfry Hotel & Resort has gone down in history as the backdrop to some extremely notable golf moments and has hosted its fair share of famous names and faces. Less than 10 miles from Birmingham Airport, International Train Station, Alexander Stadium and Birmingham's NEC, it's surrounded by prominent local landmarks, and is in a prime position for any travelling guests who need a place to lay their heads.

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Hedingham Castle Wedding Show

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Houchins Spring Wedding Show

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Orsett Hall Wedding Show

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Roydon Marina Village

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