Valentine Special: Top 10 Romantic Rural Places to Visit

Love is in the air, so why not make the most of next weekend -or of any weekend for that matter- to discover some of the most romantic houses, castles and outdoor places to be found in the English and Welsh countryside. Here, the National Trust lists for Chic-Londres its ten idyllic havens of love and romance.
Dinefwr (photo Andrew Butler)

Polesden Lacey (Surrey) This is the place where King George VI and the late Queen Mother spent part of their honeymoon, and still a favourite for new lovers, who will enjoy a walk amidst the beautiful landscape of the North Downs and its stunning rose garden.

Claremont Landscape Garden (Surrey) In 1816, this estate was given as a wedding gift to Princess Charlotte of Wales, the heir to the throne as the only child of George IV. She lived there until she died and the estate was later passed on to Queen Victoria.

Wimpole Hall (Cambridgeshire) Cambridgeshire’s grandest country house was home to the first Earl of Hardwicke, a man who passed the Marriage Act of 1754, thus establishing the legal basis for the conduct and definition of marriages in England and Wales.

Stourhead (Wiltshire) This fairy-tale estate, with its lake, temples, follies and grottos, is so romantic that it was used as the location for Mr Darcy’s declaration of love for Elizabeth in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice featuring Keira Knightley.

Killerton (Devon) The Acland family’s former estate has got its own tales of romance, including the love affair between Conservative MP and Baronet Thomas Acland and Lydia Hoare, whom he met aged 17 in 1804 and consequently married after the teenagers embarked upon a love affair.

Stowe Landscape Gardens (Buckinghamshire) The scale, grandeur and beauty of Stowe has inspired writers, philosophers and artists since the 18th-century, making it the perfect romantic getaway. Sitting by the lake is a must (weather provided).

Gibside (Tyne & Wear) This grand estate is an architectural delight as well as a romantic getaway, with its  ruins of the orangery, bathhouse and hall, and its dramatic Column of Liberty that rises above the treetops at over 40 metres high.

Lyme Park (Cheshire) Situated on the edge of the Peak District, within sweeping moorland, the magnificent Lyme Park offers remoteness and powerful beauty as well as one of the most famous country houses in England, which was used as a backdrop in the TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice– yet again, but this time featuring Colin Firth.

Fountains Abbey (North Yorkshire) The breathtaking ruins of this Cistercian abbey, combined with its Royal Water Garden and the atmospheric Serpentine tunnel, are guaranteed to capture the imagination.

Dinefwr Park and Castle (Carmarthenshire) The magnificent park stretches over 480 acres towards the bank of the Tywri, with water meadows and oak woodland home to more than 100 fallow deer and a herd of rare white park cattle. Don’t miss the view from the castle.

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Below from left to right: Gibside (photo Nick Meers), Stouhead (photo Nick Mears) and Fountains Abbey (photo Andrew Butler)