I've found this a good route as it is far cheaper (obviously if you can get student finance for each year this may not be an issue) and it is purely focussed on building counselling skills, both theoretical and via placement. You could potentially get a placement in an addiction agency or relationship counselling. Training in this route but via Relate may also appeal to you if you want to focus on relationship counselling.
Either route would probably take similar time frames so it depends whether you would want to go to university or a college really. You can find accredited courses on the CPCAB's website in the find a centre section.