Whisk your loved one away on one of these British escapes with a literary twist, including fairytale castles, quaint cottages & glorious landscapes
Lovers of Shakespeare will adore a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, a stunning setting for Valentine’s Day. Visit Hall’s Croft, the home of William Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna Shakespeare and her husband, Dr John Hall, and take a romantic stroll through the beautiful gardens; transform into Shakespeare’s romantic heroes with costumes and supporting in-house actors at Shakespeare’s Birthplace; and visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the 500-year-old thatched cottage, where Shakespeare courted his bride-to-be. On 14 February, hide away in Knight’s Village, set in a tranquil woodland grove, a truly evocative setting for a lovers’ escape. A romantic ‘knight’ to remember includes prosecco upon arrival; a candle-lit dinner accompanied by a string quartet; breakfast and car parking and two days’ entrance to the Castle. Costs from £77 per person per night.
Be Lord of the Manor
Part of the renowned Relais & Châteaux hotel group, the beautifully restored Cotswold 19th century Whatley Manor hotel and spa has breath-taking views over the Wiltshire countryside. Nearby explore the ancient town of Malmesbury, home to the historic Malmesbury Abbey dating back to the 12th century, and the national Westonbirt Arboretum with 600 acres of amazing flora and fauna. Feeling peckish? The Cotswolds is home to numerous restaurants and pubs serving up local fare. Book in for the Romance & Stay package and you’re be treated to flowers and Champagne on arrival, a 60-minute spa treatment and dinner for two.
Regal & royal
Why not be king and queen for the weekend with a stay at 16th century Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire. This authentic Tudor castle with vineyards, gardens and 27 regal bedchambers complete with plush four-poster beds and period furnishings is the ultimate escape for lovers. The Tower room, reached by a 77-step stone spiral staircase, boasts a huge bed (said to be the largest four-poster bed in the UK), silk drapings and stunning views over the district. A special night’s Valentines Break inclusive of a five-course dinner, Champagne, chocolates and breakfast starts at £440.
London’s hidden romantic gem can be found in the city’s north in Hampstead. Head to the stunning Rengency-era villa Keats House, where the Romantic poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne and wrote some of his finest poetry including ‘Ode to a Nightingale’. The house serves as a memorial to the poet, featuring Fanny’s engagement ring, locks of their hair, paintings and original books in which his poems were penned, as well as letters exchanged between the lovers. Couples can spend time reading the love letters and poems from Keats to Brawne and enjoy different special events throughout the year, which may include poetry readings of Keats, Byron and others, live music and special tours.
Jane Austen fans will adore a visit to Hampshire, the author’s birthplace and final resting place, and where she penned the gorgeous classic Sense and Sensibility. Explore the love affair of Marianne and Willoughby and Elizabeth and Darcy at Jane Austen House Museum in the quiet village of Chawton where you can see the table at which she revised her manuscripts for Sense and Sensibility, as well as Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, and wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and many events are planned across the county in celebration. Lainston House Hotel, located in 63 acres of gorgeous Hampshire countryside, makes the perfect spot for an evening stroll and spot to rest your head. The Valentine’s package costs £175 for two and includes: a bottle sparkling wine; a heart shaped box of chocolates; a sumptuous suite of your choice; 3-course a la carte dinner; full English breakfast the next morning.
For more romantic literary holiday inspiration, check out: Visit England.
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