Life & Style

Revealed: Britain's most romantic – and historic – places to visit (virtually, at least)

Treat your Valentine to a getaway – when you can – and discover some of the country’s most romantic spots

Britain's most romantic places to visit
(Image credit: Gravetye Manor)

While you may not be able to get away for Valentine's Day this year, a weekend away once lockdown is over sounds like the perfect gift for your loved one.

If you're searching for inspiration for a romantic spot to visit then look no further as we've rounded up 10 of the most romantic - and historic - spots from across the length and breadth of Britain. From an idyllic Cotswolds town to the enchanting natural pools of the Scottish isles, there's something for everyone.

See: Our favorite National Trust gardens – to put on your wishlist, too

1. Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the gardens at sissinghurst in kent filled with beautiful roses

(Image credit: National Trust/Andrew Butler)

A motif of love as old as time, the sweet-smelling rose cannot fail to delight. The roses at Sissinghurst Castle Garden are internationally renowned, and immortalise the unconventional marriage of writer Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, who, in designing the castle gardens, would define the English style. The project united Harold’s eye for structure and Vita’s passion for flora, filling the gardens with beautiful blooms, including her beloved old roses, a true summer spectacle. 

2. Lyme Park in Cheshire

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the gardens at lyme park

(Image credit: National Trust Images/Alan Novelli)

The sandstone façade of Lyme Park, with rows of sash windows overlooking the expansive lake, will flutter the heart of any period drama lover. Immortalised as Mr Darcy’s Pemberley in the BBC’s 1995 Pride & Prejudice series, Lyme is filled with drama and interest, both inside and out. Follow in the footsteps of literature’s most beloved couple with a stroll by the lakeside, taking the path to the scenic Dutch garden, renowned for its intricate design.

3. Mottisfont in Romsey

Britain's most romantic places to visit: Mottisfont house with luscious gardens

(Image credit: National Trust Images/Neil Jakeman)

Mottisfont has a multitude of features to recommend it, from a parterre by famous garden designer Nora Lindsay, perennial borders by Graham Stuart Thomas, a winter garden and new kitchen garden. But it is the walled garden bursting with roses in summer that really draws people, to witness the scented blooms ramble, climb and drape themselves in luxurious splendor around effervescent summer planting.

4. Staithes in North Yorkshire

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the seaside village of Staithes in North Yorkshire

(Image credit: Getty Images/Loop Images)

Nestled into the hillside, gazing out over the expanse of the sea, Staithes offers a much-needed escape from busy day-to-day life. Its winding cobbled streets dotted with whitewashed fishermen’s cottages create a village full of character, providing the perfect backdrop for a weekend of exploration and relaxation. Walk across the hilltops and fall in love with the views across the port, or perhaps head to the sandy beach for a sunset stroll along the peaceful shore.

5. Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the elizbethan garden at kenilworth castle with the castle in the background

(Image credit: English Heritage)

The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle has been painstakingly recreated from eyewitness accounts of a visit by Queen Elizabeth I 400 years ago. A last-ditch attempt by Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, to impress the Queen and win her hand and heart, the garden features a marble fountain, obelisks, bowers and an intricate aviary. Split into four sections, with two geometric parterres in each, the planting comprises plants typical to Tudor gardens including scented plants, herbs and gillyflowers. 

6. Tintern Abbey in Wales

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the ruins of tintern abbey in wales

(Image credit: Getty Images/Education Images)

There is something romantic about a ruin, standing as a relic of time gone by, filled with the stories of lives lived, loves lost and a great past returned to nature. The ruin of Tintern Abbey has captured the imagination of poets and painters, including Keats and Turner, for centuries. Be captivated by its beauty and perhaps be inspired to create your own masterpiece as you explore the ruins of the ivy-clad structure, built nearly 900 years ago. 

7. Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye

Britain's most romantic places to visit: fairy pools in the isle of skye

(Image credit: Getty Images/Prisma by Dukas)

With its rugged landscape and dramatic coastline, every inch of the Isle of Skye is steeped in natural beauty. Resting at the foot of the Cuillin Mountains, the Fairy Pools epitomise the island’s beauty. A popular location for walkers and wildlife lovers, the crystal clear rock pools, fed by a series of waterfalls, are uniquely atmospheric. The serene waters are also famed for wild swimming, although wild swimming is probably best avoided during Scotland’s chilly winters.

8. Keswick in the Lake District

Britain's most romantic places to visit: bench overlooking Derwentwater in keswick in the lake district

(Image credit: National Trust Images/Roy Henderson)

On the bank of Friar’s Crag there is a perfectly placed bench. This picturesque spot illustrates all the magnificence of the lakeland landscape in one eyeful, from the serene expanse of Derwentwater sparkling in the sunlight, to the rising grandeur
of the iconic Cat Bells in the distance. Heralded as one of the best views in Keswick, it is an ideal spot to stop and rest on a longer hike, or just a short wander to sit and soak up the atmosphere.

9. Bibury village in the Cotswolds

row of cotswold houses by a lake and green lawn

(Image credit: Getty Images/Prisma By Dukas)

With pockets of honey-colored cottages interspersed with the rippling tributaries of the River Coln, it is easy to see why William Morris crowned Bibury ‘the most beautiful village in England’. One of the most photographed Cotswold scenes, Arlington Row was built in 1380 and converted from a monastic wool store to weavers’ cottages in the late 17th century. Stay a while and enjoy a Cotswold holiday in Number 9

10. Gravetye Manor in Sussex

Britain's most romantic places to visit: the beautiful gardens at gravetye manor with pink tulips and seating area

(Image credit: Gravetye Manor)

Treat your other half to a special weekend break at Gravetye Manor, best known as the former home of William Robinson, who pioneered the English gardening style in the late 1800s with his visionary book The Wild Garden. Come for the tulips in spring, and the dynamic flower garden in summer, when vibrant perennials mix with tender exotics and annuals in the stunning borders. Take a walk in the meadows and orchards, and enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn.

11. Star gazing at Northumberland National Park

Britain's most romantic places to visit: shooting star in the night sky in northumberland

(Image credit: Getty Images/John Finney photography)

Love stories have been played out under the stars for millennia. However, light pollution means that the beauty of the night sky is often lost to us. Thankfully, up and down the country there are protected skies, such as in Northumberland National Park, which lets the stars be observed in their full splendor. The Kielder observatory lets you see the cosmos up close, but the stars are equally stunning from a picnic blanket while enjoying a flask of hot chocolate.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.