Wedding anniversary holiday ideas

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By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel WritWhether you’re coming up to a 10-year anniversary or looking for 25th wedding anniversary holiday ideas, we’ve got some great suggestions that will make you both feel a million dollars, and help give you the motivation to carry on for the next few decades!

The first thing to say is this is not a time for a cheap holiday. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to spend fewer nights away and crank up the luxury. So, for example, I would recommend a night or two at a 5-star hotel rather than a week at a 3-star hotel.

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Anniversary holiday ideas in the UK

Of course you don’t need to leave these shores. There are plenty of great wedding anniversary weekend breaks in the UK. If you are celebrating with a large group, you could rent a historic house in England, Scotland or Wales with Olivers Travels, or a big house in the countryside. The Big Domain normally caters for groups of between 12 and 56.

Another option is the Cotswolds where this collection of luxury rentals ranges from cosy to huge. If you like a hike, how about one of these luxury cottages in the Lake District. For something more modest, stay in a shepherd’s hut or rent one of these charming holiday cottages, on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coast.

For a romantic hideaway, you could rent a cottage with hot tub. If you like your wine, consider the beautiful Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire.

If you just want a few days relaxing in a comfortable, friendly hotel, Warner has 14 country house and seaside hotels in the UK for grown-ups only. There are  live shows featuring artists such as Michael Ball, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Hot Chocolate, and special offers.

Other great hotels for anniversaries and special occasions include Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District. In the Welsh borders, we like Pen-y-Dyffryn, a charming Georgian country house hotel set in rolling hills, and the award-winning Castle Hotel in the historic town of Bishops Castle.

How about sailing the Hebrides on a small boat, exploring islands, sea lochs and mountains, and watching for dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, otters and sea eagles.

For something more cultural, try Martin Randall which offers tours led by an expert in art, music or architecture. You could visit some of the Great Houses of England, or attend a classical music festival. Kirker Holidays also has a selection of cultural tours and music holidays.

Wedding anniversary holidays in Europe

If you want a lovely, authentic hotel in a peaceful location, I recommend this collection of all-suite adult-only hotels in Greece and Turkey exclusive to Simpson Travel.

In France you could splash out on a cruise on a luxury hotel barge, travelling through regions such as Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Canal du Midi. The barges sleep 4 – 20 people and include gourmet meals, fine wines, an open bar and shore excursions.

Or take a short break in Nice on the Cote d’Azur, a year-round destination with classy hotels, beautiful art museums and fascinating markets. Details from Cox & Kings.

If you want a real luxury treat, how about a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. From London you can take a four-day trip that includes the overnight train down to Venice, Budapest, Verona or Vienna.

On a budget? You could take a mini-cruise from a UK port such as Southampton or Newcastle. Perhaps explore the Scottish Isles, or visit Bruges and Amsterdam, or taste the high life on Cunard’s Queen Mary II. Check out the latest offers.

Do you both love Italy? How about joining an escorted tour to soak up history, culture, great food and wine. Options include the romantic Amalfi Coast and the Island of Elba. You can often pick up a last-minute offer.

Or indulge in some classic Italian hospitality of one of the country’s most stylish resort hotels. I recommend the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, part of the Rocco Forte collection, in Sicily, and Forte Village Resort in Sardinia.

You could get tickets to a special event in Italy such as the Carnival of Venice in February, or an open-air performance at the Verona Opera Festival during the summer. Or perhaps just indulge your senses with a short break in Paris.

How about taking the short flight to Slovenia – you can easily explore this pretty, charming little country on a fly-drive holiday. Highlights include Lake Bled and the capital, Ljubljana with the option of renting an electric car.

Another great place for ideas is The Healthy Holiday Company’s month-by-month guide where you’ll find spa retreats, hidden beaches and charming hotels off the beaten track. For boutique hideaways in glamorous locations, also try i-escape.com.

Long haul options

You could treat yourselves to a dream holiday in the Seychelles staying in one of these boutique hotels or luxury resorts.

The island of Bermuda has a quirky colonial style combined with sensational white (and pink!) sand beaches. If you want a luxury all-inclusive resort aimed at couples, head to Sandals in the Caribbean.

Arguably the easiest “long haul” destination is Morocco – wonderfully exotic, but only three hours flying time from the UK. Stay at a luxury riad in Marrakech for rooftop cocktails, French-influenced restaurants and bargain shopping in the souk. Something more exotic? Try the ancient city of Fes.

If you’ve never been to India, consider a tailor-made private tour of Rajasthan (with a private chauffeur and English-speaking guide). Or how about a Treasures of Southern India tour into Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Another bucket-list destination that works well for a wedding anniversary is Peru. Do it in style with this two-week tour, Train to Machu Picchu, a perfect introduction to the country that includes Cuzco, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, the Colca Canyon, an overnight stay at Machu Picchu and a journey on the Belmond Andean Explorer, one of the world’s great luxury trains.

If you want culture and spectacle without a long-haul flight, Jordan fits the bill. It’s a compact country rich in treasures including the rock-carved city of Petra, the Dead Sea and the dunes of Wadi Rum. This Jordan in Style tour hits all the highlights, or combine the Ancient Wonders of Jordan and Egypt.

How about knocking something huge off your bucket list? In my experience, nobody ever regrets booking an Antarctic expedition cruise. It isn’t cheap, but it’s one of the world’s great travel experiences. You can’t take it with you when you’re gone, can you?

For the ultimate African safari, head to Kenya which has the best luxury camps such as Sanctuary Olonana on the banks of the Mara River, and Lewa Safari Camp with its giraffe-shaped swimming pool. After you’ve seen the Big Five, head to the coast for some serious relaxation at a resort such as Hemingways Watamu.

Or head to the Far East for a unique luxury travel experience. Spend four days aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express as it trundles sedately between Singapore and Bangkok with gourmet dining, silk furnishings, white-gloved service and polished wood panelling.

Still hungry for more ideas? Check out more great holidays for couples and Annabelle Thorpe’s selection of the best 101 Short Breaks.

Wedding anniversaries by year

1st wedding anniversary – Paper
2nd wedding anniversary – Cotton
3rd wedding anniversary – Leather
4th wedding anniversary – Linen
5th wedding anniversary – Wood
6th wedding anniversary – Iron
7th wedding anniversary – Copper
8th wedding anniversary – Bronze
9th wedding anniversary – Pottery
10th wedding anniversary – Tin
11th wedding anniversary – Steel
12th wedding anniversary – Silk
13th wedding anniversary – Lace
14th wedding anniversary – Ivory
15th wedding anniversary – Crystal
20th wedding anniversary – China
25th wedding anniversary – Silver
30th wedding anniversary – Pearl
35th wedding anniversary – Jade
40th wedding anniversary – Ruby
45th wedding anniversary – Sapphire
50th wedding anniversary – Gold
55th wedding anniversary – Emerald
60th wedding anniversary – Diamond
75th wedding anniversary – Platinum

Got a “big” birthday coming up and looking for inspiration? See our guides to the best 30th40th, 50th and 60th birthday holidays and 70th.

Last updated: 3 August 2022

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Before you book

Travel restrictions have been lifted by the UK, but some other countries still have measures in place. Check the latest government travel advice.