Love is in the air — or so it would seem, given the number of recent high-profile engagements. But it’s when you gaze back into the past you find some of the greatest love stories so here are a few Great British tales of myth and legend — and romantic places nearby to indulge the heart.
St Dwynwen, Llanddwyn Island, Wales
St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers who fell for local lad Maelon Dafodrill, but was forced to reject him as her father wanted her to marry another. After drinking a potion, she unwittingly turned her lover to ice. God then granted her three wishes: She wished that Maelon be thawed; that God would help all true lovers; and that she should never marry.
And so she became a nun, setting up a convent on Llanddwyn Island in Anglesey, one of Wales’ most romantic spots. Visit Dwynwen’s church ruins, find peace and solitude on the island’s glorious beaches overlooked by Snowdonia’s peaks, and visit Dwynwen’s Well where, according to legend, the movements of the resident eels can predict the long-term success of your own relationship — and if the water boils, you’re guaranteed love and luck!
Place to stay: The Love Nest self-catering cottage in Trefdraeth village, near Llanddwyn Island, has cosy nooks for snuggling together.
Wordsworth, Grasmere, Lake District
Poetry has long won over hearts and minds, especially Wordsworth’s verses which were inspired by the Lake District. He wrote an incredible 70,000 lines of verse in his lifetime —that’s 40,000 more than any other poet.
For hikers, Grasmere’s lake, fells and mountains are prime territory for exploration. Later, take time to browse the town’s independent stores, including Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. Established in 1854, they still use the original recipe for the spicy-sweet treat - purchase a box for a tasty souvenir.
Place to stay: The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa is a country house hotel in Grasmere offering romantic fine-dining and a pampering spa.
Tristan and Isolde, Tintagel, Cornwall
The windswept coast of Tintagel has enchanted many a writer; in fact, the tragic 12th-century fictional love story of Tristan and Isolde was inspired by the region and has been rewritten numerous times since.
Isolde was betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall, but when his nephew Tristan escorted her back to England, the pair fell in love. They married other people, but when Tristan fell ill he sent for Isolde to save him. However, his wife tricked him into believing Isolde had refused to come — and the true lovers died from broken hearts.
Trace their story at Tintagel Castle, built by the King’s brother, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, in homage to the poem. After, relax on the beach below, accessible via a cliff path and one of Tintagel’s best-kept secrets, and order a traditional Cornish cream tea at the Beach Café.
Place to stay: Book one of the grand four-poster bedrooms at Camelot Castle with views over Tintagel Castle and the coast.
Queen Victoria, Osborne House, Isle of Wight
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot," said Queen Victoria about Osborne House, the palatial seaside home on the Isle of Wight, and former haven for the queen and her beloved Prince Albert.
Tour the Italianate state apartments and rooms before exploring the extensive gardens. Reserve a table at the Terrace Restaurant inside Queen Victoria’s private chapel for seasonal dishes, and, naturally, four types of Victoria sponge.
As well as being Lonely Planet’s number one cycling destination, the Isle of Wight is renowned for its nautical adventures including Cowes Week, one of the world’s oldest and largest annual sailing regattas. Charter a boat for a memorable afternoon sailing along the coast.
Place to stay: Reserve the Pavilion Cottage, set in a former cricket pavilion and enjoy after-hours access to Osborne House beach and grounds. The south-facing veranda is perfect for cosying up under the stars.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com