If you need a spot of romantic inspiration for next year's Valentine’s weekend, head to some of these loveable places. With tales of royal newly-weds and historic love affairs, National Trust houses, castles and outdoor places offer the ideal backdrop for love to blossom.
Here are ten idyllic havens of love and romance, beautiful places that are just right for a romantic stroll, spending some special time together and escaping from the norm this Valentine’s Day:
Polesden Lacey, Surrey
National Trust Images/John Miller
King George VI and our late Queen Mother spent part of their honeymoon nestled here, amidst the beautiful landscape of the North Downs. What’s more, this spectacular place is still alive with the spirit of its most celebrated owner, Mrs Ronald Greville, whose zest for life and vivacious sparkle made for a whirlwind of weekend parties and the odd spot of romance too. Discover the story of royal romance and take in its charming formal gardens, including the stunning rose garden – it’s the perfect way to spend Valentine’s.
Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey
The Claremont estate was also the setting for royal romance, as in 1816 it was given as a wedding gift to Princess Charlotte of Wales, the heir to the throne as the only child of George IV. The Princess lived there until she died and the estate was later passed on to Queen Victoria. Lovers can walk hand-in-hand around this beautiful landscape garden and its serpentine lake, stopping off for an early spring picnic in its unusual and enchanting grass amphitheatre.
Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire’s grandest country house was home to a man who had a very important part to play in Britain's romantic history. Phillip, the first Earl of Hardwicke, purchased Wimpole in 1740 and 15 years later played an instrumental part in the passing of the Marriage Act of 1754 - establishing the legal basis for the conduct and definition of marriages in England and Wales.
Enjoy a day together exploring the timeless wonder of this fairy-tale estate. Take a romantic stroll along the lake, passing temples, follies and grottos. Then, finish with the awe-inspiring views from the Temple of Apollo - a place so romantic, it was used as the location for Mr. Darcy's declaration of love for Elizabeth in the 2008 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire
A magical land of power and influence for more than 2000 years, Dinefwr Park and Castle is an iconic place in the history of Wales. The magnificent park stretches over 480 acres towards the bank of the Tywi, with water meadows and oak woodland home to more than 100 fallow deer and a herd of rare White Park Cattle - making Dinefwr a breath-taking backdrop for a Valentine’s stroll. Romantic moments include the thrilling views from the top of castle, which could make the perfect proposal spot.
Nestled within this tranquil spot amongst the majestic lawns and sweeping parkland are stories from the lives of the Acland family, which have their very own sprinkle of romance. For 17-year-old Thomas Acland, it was love at first sight when he was introduced to Lydia Hoare in 1804. The teenagers immediately embarked upon an adolescent love affair and, at the age of 21, it was decided that they would be married.
Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire
The scale, grandeur and beauty of Stowe has inspired writers, philosophers, artists and indeed all who have visited since the eighteenth-century, making it the perfect romantic getaway this Valentine’s. From spring time walks through follies and temples to sitting by the lake and breathing in the tranquillity, romance will flourish at every turn.
Gibside, Tyne & Wear
This is the perfect place to take a Valentine who really loves the great outdoors. Gibside is a ‘grand design’ of spectacular sights. Take time to explore the ruins of the orangery, bathhouse and hall, stroll down the oak-lined Long Walk, then take in the dramatic Column of Liberty that rises above the treetops at over 40 metres high. Spoil loved ones at the Gibside Larder, with the region’s finest award-winning food on sale.
Lyme Park, Cheshire
Lying on the edge of the Peak District, nestling within sweeping moorland, lies the magnificent Lyme Park. Its wild remoteness and powerful beauty contrast with one of the most famous country house images in England. As the backdrop to where Darcy emerges from the Lake in the ever-remembered TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, romance oozes from this glorious setting. In spring-time the wooded slopes and rolling moorland, grazed by ancient herds of red deer, will give Valentine’s couples a real feeling of being miles from anywhere - in their very own romance classic.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire
The breath taking ruins of this Cistercian abbey, combined with its Water Garden and the atmospheric Serpentine Tunnel, are guaranteed to capture the imagination and inspire romance this Valentine's Day. For couples looking for the perfect romantic wedding venue, the Grade 1 listed Great Chamber at Fountains Hall is licensed for civil ceremonies, whilst the abbey ruins provide beautiful photo opportunities.
Have you ever spent Valentine's Day at any of these romantic spots?
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