Prince William and Kate Middleton did it after their wedding day and now lots of couples are doing it before the main event! It’s called having a mini-moon and it’s when you go away for just a few days together after tying the knot.
If you’re thinking that you’d both like to spend a long weekend mini-moon somewhere, then you could opt for a chic city break. If you want to mix up a bit of culture, trips to museums, palaces, galleries and concerts as well as relax and enjoy some delicious local food and wines, then you’ll find this type of mini-moon perfect for you.
An exotic Indian escape
Romantic city breaks in Paris and New York are glamorous but not particularly unusual. For a true blend of romance, culture and the hustle and bustle of a city, couples should head to India and combine a twin-centre stay in New Delhi and Agra (home of the beautiful Taj Mahal). In New Delhi, couples can spend days exploring a city seeped in history. Tales of great loves lost and found are told through the city’s tombs, temples, forts and gardens.
No trip to India would be complete without a visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and just two hours from New Delhi you’ll discover the Taj Mahal at Agra. Literally a labour of love, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan over 22 years, with the help of 22,000 men, as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz. For those that don’t have 22 years to spare, they can treat their Queen to opulent rooms in the ‘Khwab Mahal’ wing of the ITC Mughal. Highlights include marble bathrooms, grand four-poster beds and spectacular interiors. The NurJehan and Mumtaz Mahal suites, named after two Mughal Queens, feature the hotel’s first in-suite spa treatment room with steam room and Vichy shower, ideal for couples seeking a private experience. For moonlit drinks or daytime relaxation, a spacious outdoor area comes complete with personal plunge pool, rain shower and luxurious day bed. You can enjoy a never-to-be forgotten moment watching a serene sunrise whilst enjoying a Champagne breakfast on the rooftop overlooking the Taj Mahal.
Direct flights with Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow to New Delhi start from around £510 including taxes and take around eight and a half hours. The time difference between the UK and New Delhi is four and a half hours (ahead) in British Summer Time.
St Petersburg in style
St. Petersburg, the ‘Venice of the North’, is a fascinating city, home to the Czars of Russia from 1732 to 1917. Start your visit with the sights of Nevsky Prospect, the city’s most famous boulevard, before spending the first evening in St. Petersburg, perhaps sampling the caviar at the Grand Hotel Europe’s famous vodka bar. The next day take a guided tour of the Peter and Paul fortress in the morning, the best of the city’s 18th century palaces and elegant canals and the amazing Hermitage museum, housed in the city’s most impressive building, the Winter Palace on the immense Palace Square. Outside the city you can visit the magnificent palaces and gardens built by the Czars, including the Catherine Palace which is famous for its lavish decoration and the ‘Amber’ room.
Scott Dunn offers four nights at the Grand Hotel Europe from £1,650 per person based on two sharing a double room. It takes about three hours to fly to St Petersburg and there is a four-hour time difference from the UK.
Say ciao to Venice, Florence and Rome
Is your favourite food Italian? Take a longer mini-moon by visiting these three fascinating Italian cities in one trip. Start off in Venice by taking a water taxi from Venice airport across the Venetian lagoon and down the Grand Canal. Visit the magnificent Doges’ Palace or admire the paintings in the Scuola di San Rocco. In the evening hop on a gondola to glide down the waterways. Venice is the quintessential romantic destination.
Next, spend a couple of days exploring the city of Florence at the JK Place, a welcoming boutique hotel right in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge famous for its jewellery stores.
After Florence visit Rome, known as the ’Eternal City’. Explore the charming squares of the old town and the ancient Roman wonders of the Forum and Colosseum (make sure you watch the film ‘Gladiator’ before you go). Rome is a wonderful city to walk around, stopping for an espresso, cappuccino or ice cream when you need a break. All of the city’s major landmarks are within easy reach, from the Vatican, the historic monuments, the celebrated Spanish Steps and the iconic Trevi Fountain.
If you’d like a bit more than a long weekend in Italy and would like to visit these three cities, investigate Scott Dunn currently offering nine nights from £2,150 per person based on two people sharing a double room, on a bed and breakfast basis. Including return lights from London and all transfers as well as train travel between the cities. Two and a half hour flight time and one hour plus time difference.
The home of romance
If you’ve never visited Paris before, then you really should seriously consider it for a mini-moon. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris is also famous for art and fantastically tempting food. Discover the laid-back Left Bank with its narrow streets, street-side cafés just made for people watching and cabaret shows like ‘Crazy Horse’. In summer the banks of the River Seine in Paris turn into a beach resort with ‘Paris Plage’.
If you fancy splashing out, stay at Le Bristol, one of Europe’s finest hotels, it has four Michelin stars no less. Alternatively check out Co-operative Travel who are offering four nights in September 2013 at a central Paris hotel for £872 per couple, including flights, accommodation and breakfast. You can fly to Paris in under an hour or hop on the Eurostar to Gare du Nord (and France is just one hour ahead of Britain).
If you’re planning a romantic mini-moon before or after the big day, our Honeymoons section is chock full of great mini-moon ideas!