This Valentine’s Day, why not escape to one of Britain’s most romantic and spectacular locations. Here is our guide to some of Britain’s most romantic places to explore…
1. Cairngorms, Scotland
Never mind the white wedding, what about a white proposal? Pop the question on top of a snow-capped Scottish mountain in the midst of the Cairngorms.
No, it’s not Austria! It’s the ski slopes of Glenshee in Scotland. Image: Getty
Walk through Scotland’s stunning landscape or take tumble as you learn to ski and snowboard together.
– Walk: Falls of Bruar, Perth and Kinross
– Walk: Glenmore Forest Park, Cairngorms
– Scotland’s best walks
Castle Combe, Cotswolds/Credit: Getty
Broadway, Worcestershire, is a picturesque village in the heart of the Cotswolds, evoking visions of Georgian England. If you squint you can almost see Jane Austen’s characters walking the streets. Explore the 40 miles of Cotswold countryside together, maybe fall in a lake wearing an ill-fitting white shirt, get out of the lake and propose? There’s no way she could resist that.
This region typifies southern England’s countryside: gentle hills roll into the distance, punctuated only by chocolate-box villages, country houses and coppices. While the other places on this list offer more dramatics scenery, the Cotswolds are endearing in their own understated way, illustrating the great variety in the British landscape.
– Guide to the best country houses in the Cotswolds
– Walk: Marshfield, South Gloucestershire
3. Dartmoor, Devon
With its rolling countryside, the county of Devon offer country escapes with the added bonus of roaming across wild moorland or romantic beachside walks along the coast. However, we think Dartmoor is the place to head for a romantic day – walk across the moors and then get cosy by the fire in one of its historic inns.
– Walk: Iddesleigh and Dartmoor, Devon
– How to explore Dartmoor by horse
For those wanting more hustle and bustle to their romantic break, Scotland’s capital offers great variety for any elopement. From distillery tours, to castle walls, from fabulous shopping and the seat of government to impressive sporting stadia and rich architecture.
A world heritage site, the city has many great places to eat, sleep and enjoy the huge range of entertainment. Woo your loved one with a taste of the luxurious as you stay in the heart of the city and dine at great restaurants.
5. Lake District
Few things in these islands can match the natural beauty of the Lake District. These stunning English fells stand tall, hiding lengthy lakes amongst their sumptuous valleys. There are countless little villages worth staying in to get away from it all. It’s easy to see why the region inspired poets and writers like Wordsworth and Wainwright.
Almost everywhere in Lakeland offers relaxing isolation and hill walking of all varieties, from gentle strolls along winding rivers, to tackling Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak from which you can see Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man on a clear day. The Brown Horse Inn in Winster, just east of Windermere, offers five cottages to hide away in, including this one overlooking one of the areas many tarns.
6. New Forest
The New Forest in Hampshire is, to some, deceptively named. Far from a thick green blanket of trees covering he majority of this country, it is a balance of woods and open countryside. While there are wooded areas of varying sizes and densities, it is largely made up of heathland, smattered with heather and horses.
It is area brimming with wildlife as well as livestock and domestic animals that you will encounter at regular intervals as you amble along the attractive, level landscape that stretches out from the coast at Lymington, up towards Salisbury.
Take a walk along the Beaulieu river together at Longwater Lawn, or enjoy the scenic journeys along the Rhinefield and Bolderwood ornamental drives, stopping for a romantic picnic in the woods along the way. Stay at the Treehouses at Chewton Glen, voted the most romantic hotel by Conde Nast Johansens.
If your budget won’t quite stretch to the luxury of such lavish hotels, perhaps try one of the many B&Bs, caravan parks of campsites in the area. You might even want to pop to the village of Lover during your visit.
In the north west of Wales, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, the village of Port Meirion is an enchanting place. Its vibrantly coloured cottages look quite continental in their design, while Victorian castellated mansion Castell Deudraeth looks as British a building as they come. Port Meirion offers a quaint base from which to explore this stunning region.
Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed/Credit: Getty
Swallow Falls in Snowdonia National Park is regarded as one of the country’s most beautiful natural locations.
Elsewhere, the beautiful Cwm Pennant valley provides a little more seclusion for the romantics who want to forget the outside world for a while. Hunker down in some of the valley’s comfy cottages on your return from conquering Mount Snowdon. Men, show your partner your inner explorer, impress them with your natural navigational skills as you lead your intrepid soulmate to the summit. Just don’t tell them about the train to the top.
8. Wye Valley
For a quaint country escape you can’t go far wrong with a trip to a cottage in the Wye Valley, an area of outstanding beauty that straddles the English and Welsh border. With meandering river valleys, forests and not too far from the Black Mountains on the Welsh side, this is where British tourism was, apparently, born in the 18th century. With the nearby attractions of the Forest of Dean, Tintern Abbey and the Vale of Usk it’s no wonder people have been exploring this are for centuries.
9. Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales offer glorious hills, stunning waterfalls (Hardraw Force, Janet’s Foss and Aysgarth Falls in particular) and pretty farm villages populated with many a pleasant pub. Again, it’s an area of northern England that is perfect for hill walking, although here the peaks are considerably less high than those in Lakeland.
However, the Dales boast their own gorgeous geological features with Malham Cove – as seen in the Harry Potter films and the BBC’s comedy The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon – and the nearby Gordale Scar among them. The Gordale Campsite just outside Malham is a lovely little spot at the mouth of the scar, run by a friendly and relaxed farmer.
10. Lyme Regis, Dorset
The Cobb, Lyme Regis, Dorset/Credit: Getty
The harbour in Lyme Regis, better known as The Cobb, plays host to an unparalleled panoramic view of the dramatic coastline. At sunset, choppy waters reflect light to create the perfect stage for an enviably Hollywood proposal.
There are pretty fishing villages like Mousehole – once described by Dylan Thomas as the loveliest village in the country – hidden huts tucked away in the Cornish coves, causeway walks to temporary islands, impressive hills running all the way to the coast in the North and the granite tors of Dartmoor, filled with wildlife in the south of Devon.
St Michaels Mount resides off the coast of Marazion, Cornwall, and is frequently remarked as a truly unique little island. Known for its cobbled causeway to the island, it becomes only accessible during low tide, and so a trip via the ancient harbour to hop aboard a local vessel is needed to explore the area. A castle is set upon the isle and is still inhabited. The St Aubyns came to St Michaels Mount in 1647 and in 1954 Francis St Aubyn gave the site to the National Trust under a 999-year lease for the family to live in the castle.
Main image: Loch Morlich in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland/Credit: Getty