England's romantic icons

by Katie Rowe

Category: Romantic Ideas
February 14 2014

Here’s our round up of loved-up places to visit throughout the year, because romance isn’t just for Valentine’s Day.

Be more Byron and make a grand gesture by whisking your loved one away to one of these romantic icons...

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, North East England

Snuggling up together to watch one of your favourite films is even more romantic in the grand art deco surroundings of Tyneside Cinema. The cinema was built by Ridley Scott’s great uncle in the 1930s and has recently held its first wedding! Not ready to tie the knot? You can hire the cinema’s smallest screen, the Digital Lounge, for an intimate cinema treat for two instead.

Hadrian’s Wall, various locations, North West and North East England

Although it was built with romance in mind, Hadrian’s Wall, snaking across the North of England, is an incredible piece of Roman history and one of the best places for a romantic ramble. Designed to partition Roman-occupied England from Scotland, the wall’s route stretches for 73 miles from Cumbria to Northumberland, with many areas still largely intact. Look out for the Popping Stone in Gilsland, it’s where romantic poet, Sir Walter Scott proposed to Margaret Charlotte Charpentier.

Carnforth Station, Lancashire, North West England

Often find yourself shedding a tear while watching old black and white films? Then make a pilgrimage to Carnforth Station in Lancashire to have your own Brief Encounter moment. The refurbished refreshment room – where Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard first drank tea together in the 1946 film – is visited by romantics from around the world who want to soak up wartime nostalgia over a cuppa.

York Minster, Yorkshire, North East England

With sky-piercing spires towering above York's narrow streets or ‘Snickelways’, York Minster is one of the most romantic landmarks in the country. Get here early to bask in ruby, sapphire and emerald-hued sunlight seeping through a tennis court-sized stain glassed windows, and admire heavenly limestone arches like two awestruck ants. Continue your romantic escapade by treating each other to a few fine things from the likes of Vivienne Westwood on Blake Street and Cath Kidston on Stonegate.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Central England

With lavish fountain-laden gardens, the Baroque-style Painted Hall and golden fixtures glimmering from every angle, this 15th-century stately home is a real indulgent treat for the eyes. A film location for the Duchess and Pride & Prejudice, all you need is a little imagination and you’re that Jane Austin heroine soaking up the grandeur of Mr Darcy’s Pemberley.

Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, Central England

A visit to here is a must for romantics everywhere. Home to the infamous poet and lover Lord Byron from 1808 – 1814, Newstead Abbey is an elegant medieval house set in landscape of gardens and parkland which covers more than 300 acres with paths that meander past lakes, ponds and waterfalls. This 12th Century monastery is best viewed from the far side of the lake in its extensive grounds. Check out the International Byron Festival. Taking place from 28 June to 6 July 2014, you can indulge in the romanticism movement to your heart's content.  

River Cam, Cambridge, East of England

The honey-hued buildings of Cambridge’s world-famous historic colleges are beguiling enough from the city’s winding cobbled streets, but hop on board a punt to view The Backs in time-honoured tradition from the River Cam and it will be even more romantic. You’ll drift past King’s College Chapel, the Wren Library at Trinity College, the wooden Mathematical Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs at St John’s. Just remember to duck for the bridges!

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon, Central England

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is the most romantic of all the Shakespeare houses and where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride. With colourful blooms, peaceful orchards and a woodland walk, the cottage gardens offer the perfect place to declare love or even propose...

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, South East England

It's said that Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine Hozier in the Temple of Diana in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, one of the grandest stately homes in the UK and also the birthplace of the wartime prime minster. Once you’ve soaked up the jaw-dropping baroque design, the precious antiques and the overall grandeur, head outside to explore Italianate gardens, a vast lake and a butterfly house together.

Brighton Pier, East Sussex, South East England

England’s much-loved bohemian beach town is one of the best places for a loved-up weekend away. Since the 1960s mod invasion, starry-eyed couples across the land have made a dash to ‘London-on-Sea’ for fun and frolics on the pebble beach and the thrill of the rollercoaster rides towering over the glittering Victorian pier.

Osbourne House, Isle of Wight, South East England

For royally approved romance, jump on a boat to the Isle of Wight. The island was a favourite of both Prince Albert and Queen Victoria: “It’s impossible to imagine a prettier spot,” said the queen. The couple spent lots of quality time at Osborne House in East Cowes – now an English Heritage property open throughout the year to all. Admire the elegant decors and each other, before heading to the Terrace Restaurant for afternoon tea and great views of the gardens.

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, South West England

Bath is synonymous with wellbeing and relaxation, and the  Thermae Bath Spa is one of its therapeutic icons. Take a dip in the UK’s only natural thermal waters overlooking the Bath Skyline adorned with the majestic Bath Abbey. The natural thermal springs were first discovered around 863BC by Prince Bladud, who was ‘cured’ from his skin disease after bathing in the waters. The waters have since washed away the cares of Celts, Romans, Saxons and Georgians and now 21st-century spa lovers can, unlike Celts or Saxons, indulge in an exfoliating facial or a Moroccan body wrap.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, South West England

Some 5,000 years old, and partially constructed from rare bluestones found 160 miles away, the theories surrounding this mysterious prehistoric stone circle continue to abound. Was it a temple, a solar calendar, a site for fairs, ritual feasting or sacrifices, an observatory, a burial ground or a centre for healing? Whatever is was back then, today it is an awe-inspiring sight that draws in visitors from across the globe. Come on the winter or summer solstice, a time held sacred by New Age believers, for an ethereal experience like no other with your other half.

Knightwood Oak, New Forest, South West England

You don’t need to do much to feel romantic in the New Forest. This 900-year-old ancient woodland in Hampshire is teeming with wild ponies and studded with postcard-perfect villages to explore hand-in hand, on horseback or on even on a tandem, but it’s Knightwood Oak that’s the most romantic spot of all. Dating back 1,000 year, when the sun’s out, it makes for an idyllic picnic spot for two.

Cerne Abbas, Dorset, South West England

Dorset’s past is visible everywhere you look and the most striking and talked-about historical site of all has to be the 180ft tall Cerne Giant, which dominates a quiet village in Bridport with its giant club and, ahem, another prominent feature. Sculpted into a chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas, there has been much speculation of its origin. Some think it’s Greco-Roman hero Hercules, others a mockery of Oliver Cromwell, but local folklore has long thought it to be an aid to fertility and after seeing if for yourself, you’ll probably agree with them.

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, South West England

Nothing spells romance like an island escape so when the tide’s out, stroll across the causeway hand in hand to St Michael’s Mount, legendary home of the Cornish giant Cormoran. This charming little island is topped by a fairy-turreted castle and adjoining medieval priory, built after the island was bequeathed to Benedictine monks by William the Conqueror. Together with the village and its bustling harbour, they make an idyllic place to wander, whatever the season, but head down in the summer months for a dip in the glistening azure waters surrounding the island at high tide.

For more romantic holidays check out VisitEngland.com/moreromance

Katie Rowe

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