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Getting the Spark Back on a British Weekend Away

Lake District

We’ve all had our fair share of relationship problems; over time, and it’s probably true that repeatedly discussing them at 11pm on weeknights is not the most reliable way to solve them. As every good Vulcan knows, dissection and logic don’t apply all that well to emotions, and sometimes it’s better to try and remember – then rediscover, through action – what you enjoyed about each other’s company in the first place.

The problem with trying this at home is that you’re surrounded by all the little practical reminders – the washing that’s not getting done, the pants draped over your record collection, the bathroom light that still keeps getting left on – so spending a weekend away together is an excellent chance to forget all that and focus on the positive aspects of your mutual dynamic.

Some tips for choosing a destination:

  • Avoid places where you already know people. This is about you two, not hooking up with mates.
  • Getting out for a ramble in nature can be particularly relaxing, unless your partner is irrationally scared of ants
  • Find somewhere with plenty of nice chilled out cafes, for coffee and cake-fuelled chats
  • Avoid anywhere that’s a stag/hen do mecca (Bournemouth, last time I checked)
  • Don’t base your choice on whether or not there’s a Sky Sports pub in the area
  • Make sure there’s a fair bit to look at. Comfortable silences in a relationship are lovely, but it’s nice to have something to look at, during them, that isn’t a newspaper/teacup/your iPhone
  • Avoid crowds, e.g. London during the Olympics. You want to spend your weekend sauntering peacefully together, not shuffling along pavements and navigating elbows.

…and some ready-made suggestions:

Edinburgh by Sleeper Train

If you live in the South, and you’re feeling over-familiar with London as a city-break weekender, try heading up on the Scotrail Caledonian Sleeper train from London Euston to Edinburgh. It runs every night except Saturday, departing around 9pm and arriving in Edinburgh in time for a nice breakfast the next morning. It’s travel and one night’s accommodation rolled into one, and once in Scotland you can drop your bags off and set off to explore the castle, the Dungeons, the museums, the botanic gardens, the aquarium… And if you have a little longer to spend, there’s a nice beachy coast only a short hop on the train east from the city.

Exploring the Lake District

I’m a bit obsessed with the Lake District at the moment, having only recently discovered it; it’s beautiful, dramatic, yet accessible, with trains to Windermere from all over the UK, friendly locals, and an excellent, helpful administration running the Lake District National Park. You can stroll, hike or cycle the peaks, and sail, row, motorboat, kayak, paddleboard or even zorb your way around the lakes, with Coniston Water and Windermere typically the most popular. Camping isn’t always the route to domestic harmony, so perhaps leave that until things have settled down, and opt for a nice old coaching inn instead.

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