While romance is in the air, find a new love this Valentine’s Day at a beautiful place cared for by the National Trust.
Discover somewhere special with loved ones, fall in love with beautiful views and take a walk through centuries of romantic tradition at some of the most beautiful historic houses and gardens in the country.
From Downton Abbey film sets to honeymoon destinations of the Royal family, here are some of the most romantic places and events for Valentine’s Day:
Basildon Park, Berkshire – have a Downton Abbey romance
Retrace the footsteps of the stars of Downton Abbey this spring at Basildon Park, near Reading. The Georgian mansion was transformed into Grantham House, the Crawleys’ London residence in the recent Downton Abbey Christmas special. The house was at the heart of the story as the family and their servants enjoyed the social whirl of the summer season. Discover the Octagon room, with its red felt walls and gold gilded ceiling, which was used as a drawing room, and imagine being a special guest of the Crawleys in the dining room, which was transformed into a ballroom for the filming. Surrounded by beautiful historic parkland, Basildon is the ultimate romantic location for Downton fans.
Follow your heart, 1-23 February 10am – 4pm
Enjoy a self-led trail through the stunning estate with a chocolate treat at the end.
Normal admission charges apply, plus £2 per trail.
Booking is not required.
For more information please call 0118 984 3040.
Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire – say it with flowers
This amazing Victorian garden was created by James Bateman for his collection of plants from around the world. Enjoy a romantic stroll that will take you on a global journey from the ultimate romance of Italy to the mysterious pyramids of Egypt. There is even a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen.
Valentine lantern walk, 6pm – 8.30pm
Stroll through the lantern lit pinetum, meander through the cherry trees and past the lake on this special Valentine’s evening lantern walk. Then enjoy a cake and warming hot drink in front of the fire place in the garden room.
Adult £12 (including cake and hot drink) or £30 (including meal).
Booking is essential on 01782 517999.
Carrick-a-Rede, Co. Antrim – for adrenalin lovers
There’s nothing more important on Valentine’s Day than spending time together in a memorable setting. Take the exhilarating rope bridge challenge with your loved one and enjoy a truly unique cliff top experience. Set on the North Antrim Coast Road, amid unrivalled coastal scenery, the 30m-deep and 20m-wide chasm is traversed by an amazing rope bridge that was traditionally erected by salmon fishermen. Visitors bold enough to cross to the rocky island are rewarded with fantastic views of Rathlin and the Scottish Islands.
Erddig, Wrexham – for the ultimate romantic walk
Thought to be one of Britain’s finest houses, this 18th-century country house is set in a romantic landscape park. The tales of ‘life below stairs’ is captured beautifully at Erddig, with servants portraits hung on the walls to help visitors imagine Downton-style tales. One such tale belonged to Lucy Hitchman and Ernest Jones, who worked for the Yorke family at Erddig just before the First World War. They fell in love and took strolls on their afternoons off in and around the park and, today, visitors can retrace their favourite walk, known simply as ‘romantic walk’. It’s an easy, one-mile walk – don’t miss the kissing gates for that extra sprinkle of romance.
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire – picture-perfect and ready for a proposal
A memorable day out needs a memorable setting. The breathtaking romantic folly at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, combined with the Studley Royal Water Garden, is guaranteed to capture the imagination. Amble through the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden ofStudley Royal, complete with Neo-classical statues, follies and stunning views. There are miles of walks to make the most of this special day, all rounded-off nicely with a delicious seasonal meal in the Fountains restaurant.
Lyme Park, Cheshire – enjoy a Mr Darcy moment
Take a loved one to the scene of a famous romantic moment in TV history. Lyme Park in Cheshire is the backdrop to where Mr. Darcy, played by Colin Firth, meets Elizabeth in the ever-remembered TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Picture the stars and discover this special place together. Enjoy delicious cakes and warming hot chocolate for a Valentine’s treat.
The Only Way is Pemberley, 15 &16 February, 11am – 3pm
Visit the film locations on a guided walk: 2pm – 3pm.
Immerse yourself in the world of Pride & Prejudice. Discover the travelling exhibition on loan from Jane Austen’s House Museum, see original costumes from the BBC adaptation and visit the lake where Mr Darcy famously swam. There is also contemporary artwork with a Pemberley flavour on display.
Normal admission charges apply.
Love is in the air – wear a romantic red flower to gain free entry.
Booking is not required.
For more information, please call 01663 762023.
Polesden Lacey, Surrey – for a royal romance
Discover Polesden Lacey in Surrey, the honeymoon destination of King George VI and the late Queen Mother, nestled 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 Greville, whose zest for life and vivacious sparkle made for a whirlwind of weekend parties and the odd spot of romance too. Learning about the royal romantic connections and taking in its charming formal gardens, including the stunning rose garden, is the perfect way to spend Valentine’s.
Sheringham Park, Norfolk – it doesn’t have to cost the earth
You don’t have to break the bank for a great day out. With hundreds of coast and countryside places across the country, stunning National Trust outdoor spaces are right on your doorstep. A walk with breathtaking views, like Sheringham Park, can be just as romantic and special. Wide open spaces, beautiful gardens designed by Humphry Repton and uninterrupted views of the north Norfolk coastline all make for an inspiring visit.
Trelissick, Cornwall – perfect for long romantic strolls
There’s nothing more important on Valentine’s Day than spending time together. Enjoy a day exploring the peninsula and watching the ever changing views of the estuary. Take a romantic stroll along the elevated garden and follow the twisting paths alongside ginger lilies and woodland plants. The garden is home to a selection of tender and exotic plants, luxuriant foliage, beautiful flowers and huge towering trees. Finish the day with a visit to Trelissick’s very own renowned art gallery with a wide range of work from local Cornish artists.
Romantic cottage getaways in the best setting
Why settle for an afternoon out? From apartments in stately homes to cosy country cottages, top off a great day out with a stay in a National Trust holiday cottage. Alder Cottage in County Fermanagh, for example, is located in the old farmyard courtyard at the heart of the Crom Estate this cottage has one large, lovely sunlit bedroom and a cosy sitting room with an open log fire. On the doorstep are Crom’s 2,000 acres of waterways, woodland, parkland and historic buildings, all ready to be explored.
To check last minute availability, visit: www.nationaltrustcottages.co.
Treat your loved one to a special gift
Pick up something special at a National Trust shop. With a great selection of handmade delights and fine local produce, shops like the one atWallington in Northumberland are a great place to pick up a memento of a special day. The plant centre at Wallington is also a must-see: take inspiration from the flourishing gardens and buy herbs and plants, many of which are grown by the Wallington gardeners.
For online shopping, visit: www.shop.nationaltrust.org.uk