In Dublin we always stay at The Clarence Hotel with its peat smoke fires and nourishing chilled Guinness. It’s bang on the river and the bed linen is marvellous. Doubles from £190 per night.
6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1407 0800 http://www.theclarence.ie
Edinburgh is rapidly becoming a credible alternative to the cultural highs and retail joys of Glasgow. I love The Scotsman Hotel for its fabulous views out across to the castle, its estate tweed headboards and unbelievable selection of whisky. Doubles from £250 per night.
20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1YT
0131 556 5565 http://www.theetoncollection.com
There’s no doubt about it, Manchester is becoming an energetic rival to London as an international shopping destination. There are some fabulous boutiques and depending on our mood we’ll either stay at the elegantly minimalist Lowry with all the WAGs, doubles from £150 per night, or the naughtily baroque Malmaison with all the popstars. Doubles from £170 per night.
The Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf, Manchester, M3 5LH
0161 827 4000 http://www.thelowryhotel.com
The Malmaison, Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1LZ
0161 278 1000 http://www.malmaison-manchester.com
We’ve quite fallen in love with Belfast. Everywhere you go in the city the romantic Celtic landscape glowers at you from beyond the buildings. The restaurants are rapidly becoming fabulous and The Merchant Hotel is, for me, one of the best decorated hotels in the world. Check out the gnomes in the hotel’s roof garden. Doubles from £160 per night.
35-39 Waring Street, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast, BT1 2DY
028 9023 4888 http://www.themerchanthotel.com
And finally, for a romantic weekend of escape as far away from urban distraction as possible Barnsley House near us in the Cotswolds is exquisite. Jackie swears by the innovative contemporary spa and I love the modern take on 18th Century cuisine. Doubles from £325 per night.
Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5EE
01285 740 000 http://www.barnsleyhouse.com