Britain's most romantic landscapes
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, here is our pick of Britain’s most romantic landscapes, plus alternative adventures to celebrate.
This Valentine's Day, why not escape to one of these spectacular locations. Here is our guide to some of Britain's most romantic places to explore.
Few things in these islands can match the natural beauty of the Lake District. These stunning English fells stand tall, hiding lengthy lakes amongst 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 Lake District National Park comprises 912 square miles of high mountains, lakes, rivers and coastline, and receives almost 16 million visitors a year. No wonder, then, that it was loved so dearly by Beatrix potter, Alfred Wainwright, Arthur Ransome and William and Dorothy Wordsworth.
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.
The New Forest is anything but new. It was created by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a place where he could hunt deer and wild pigs – the so called ‘beasts of the chase’. Nowadays, the landscape’s use has change dramatically, largely thanks to the designation of the New Forest National Park in 2005.
From vast heathland hills and ancient trees, to butterflies, reptiles, wading birds and wild ponies, the national park is a vital refuge for some of Britain’s most precious species.
In the north west of Wales, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, the village of Portmeirion 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 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.
Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles of north-west Wales and contains the country’s highest peak, Snowdon.
The region, designated as a national park in 1951, was sculpted by glaciers, leaving behind a spectacular landscape of craggy mountains and hills, deep valleys and over 100 lakes.
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.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
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.
The Cairngorms teems with towering trees, shimmering lochs and busy wildlife. Take a hike through this vast, untamed area of Scotland with our list of the area's best walks.
Romantic adventures to celebrate Valentine's Day
Enjoy a play at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Perched high on the cliffs above the bellowing ocean, this incredible stone theatre is one of Cornwall’s most stories – and romantic – spots. Over Valentines weekend, old smuggler’s yarns will be told at storytelling events at the Minack. Learn how to “sow a crop”, how to tell a smuggler your house is safe, and how to use a goose to your advantage, then go exploring the hidden coves of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline. minack.com
Share a campfire dinner
If you can brave the cold, why not cook up an outdoors feast for your beloved? Wrap up warm and head outdoors – you could try roasting potatoes in the embers of a campfire, cooking a stew on a tripod or just toast marshmallows to have with hot cider from a thermos.
Go on a night walk
If it’s a clear night, wrap up, strap on head torches and head somewhere wild to see the starts. Just make sure you’ve got a warm pub in mind to warm up in at the end of the adventure or pack a flask of hot chocolate.
Watch the sunrise at Avebury, Wiltshire
Avebury is Stonehenge’s smaller but much quieter and lovelier brother, consisting of three stone circles you can still ramble around without a gift shop in sight. Get up for sunrise and you’ll see these ancient monuments glow under a pink sky. Sunrise on the 14th February will be at around 7.30am.
Share a cosy camping pod
If cold weather camping isn’t really your thing, why not kip in your own pint-sized house in the great outdoors over the Valentines weekend? Camping pods are small but perfectly formed abodes which are perfect for a couple. Cool Camping have a great list of posh pods to choose from. coolcamping.com/campsites/glamping/pods
Take a ride on the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Scotland
Escape the city in style on the Caledonian Sleeper. Go to sleep in a comfy bunk in the big smoke and wake up amongst the wild hills of Inverness or Fort William. Spend the weekend hiking, biking or just whiskey tasting by a peat fire. sleeper.scot
Spend a night in a bothy
Head to the hills to spend a night in a bothy. Free to use for walkers, the UK's bothies are often in incredible locations, from the remote corners of the Northern Highlands to Wales. Facilities can be basic, but that's part of their charm. Often a multi-stove and fire making facilities will be provided. If you're lucky you could find you have the bothy to yourself for the night, but in the peak months they can get busy, so pack a tent just in case there's no room to be found. mountainbothies.org.uk
Get on your bike!
Bike touring - particularly on a tandem bike, is a fun way to spend time with your partner. Enjoy a day of riding along one of Britain's off road cycle routes, such as the Camel Trail in Cornwall or Tarka Trail in Devon. Or if you have more time on your hands, why not spend a couple of days riding in the beautiful British countryside? Just don't forget to pack a romantic picnic to enjoy on route. cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring