1. Art Deco glamour in Devon: Burgh Island is tidal and situated on South Devon’s English Riviera, easily accessible by foot except for twice a day when it’s cut off from the mainland. Choppy seas and sandy beaches make this a glorious spot and an atmospheric one due to the decadent 1930s Art Deco hotel on the island. Channel past visitor Agatha Christie by taking tea in the grand hotel or enjoy a pint by the roaring fire in the island’s pub, the Pilchard Inn, one of Devon’s best. If you miss the tides you can still get back to the mainland by sea tractor ferry!
2. Mix with Cornish legends: Perched high on the cliffs on North Cornwall’s wild and rugged coastline, Tintagel Castle is a breath-taking setting. The 13th century ruins are full of mystery and legend as the alleged birthplace of King Arthur, of Excalibur fame. Further south along the coast is the gentler Padstow, an ideal place for some romantic fine dining in one of Rick Stein’s similarly legendary eateries.
3. A bicycle made for two in Norfolk: Visiting Norfolk feels rather like going back in time; ideal for enjoying a gentler pace of life for two. It’s also really quite flat, hence those famous big skies, which makes it ideal for a spot of cycling. The Sandringham Explorer loop is a great ride sweeping round the royal’s much loved Sandringham Estate. Explore rural north Norfolk on two wheels, sample the local Norfolk crab at any one of the numerous country pubs and cafes.
4. Stargazing in Scotland: If cosying up under a blanket of stars sounds romantic, Galloway Forest Park is one of the best places in the UK for it. Galloway was the first national park in the UK, one of only 3 in Europe to be awarded Dark Sky Park status. The combination of wild scenery and limited light pollution make for unrivalled star gazing. The Milky Way and thousands of stars are visible without the use of a telescope but there is an observatory if trying out the gear is your thing! Make sure you download Scotland’s Stellar Spectacular guide for hints and tips.
5. Delightful dining in the Welsh Borders: Central to the Welsh Border area, Ludlow is a foodie paradise and home to a number of excellent restaurants. The atmospheric medieval town also boasts a stunning river side setting, castle and the excellent Ludlow Food Centre (there’s no escaping food in Ludlow!). The Welsh marches and Shropshire countryside offer great walking just what you need after all that eating, whilst nearby Powis Castle and Garden are an awe inspiring day out.
6. Wild walking in Northumberland: The Northumberland Coast is famed for its long sandy sweeps of beach but until you visit you won’t believe how quiet and unspoilt they are. Low Newton by the Sea is 8 miles from lovely Alnwick and considered by many one of the prettiest spots on this coast. The outstanding pub the Ship Inn is surrounded by whitewashed fisherman’s cottages now owned by the National Trust, and sits almost on the beach itself. There is a wonderful circular work from here to the fishing village of Craster, taking in the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. A seaside, windswept walk followed by a cosy pub – bliss.
7. Get cosy in the Cotswolds: Quintessentially English, the green and pleasant land of the Cotswolds is famously dotted with postcard pretty, honey-coloured villages. A few key names capture much of the limelight whilst the lesser known villages are no less charming. What they all have in common is fabulous rural walks, historic landmarks, cosy country pubs, fine dining and antiques. Go armed with the Cotswold tourist board’s Towns and Villages Guide which lists every village in the area and you can find your own favourite!
8. Lose yourself in the Lakes: the Lake District always tops the UK romantic polls and its breath taking scenery easily explains why. Despite the wealth of iconic vistas but there are some relatively unknown spots not far from the big name draws. The Lyth and Winster valleys offer some of the best scenery in the Lakes and are famed for their damsons. In early spring frothy clouds of white blossom are everywhere, culminating in Damson Day in mid-April when the humble fruit is celebrated. The area is a rural idyll, dotted with white washed farmhouses and some really great pubs!