Britain’s Michelin Star Awards revealed for 2020

7 October saw the announcement of 2020’s prestigious Michelin Star Awards, with 28 new British additions added to the list. Names such as Condita in Edinburgh, Artichoke in Buckinghamshire and The Angel at Hetton in Yorkshire all received their first star, while new two and three star restaurants emerged, as venerable venues such as London’s Sketch adding to their coveted collections. Celebrating Britain as a culinary destination with clout, discover our roundup of some of the standout stars and new Michelin additions below.

Standout awards

Manchester

One of the biggest success stories from the evening was Manchester’s Mana. Under former Noma chef Simon Martin, the bustling Ancoats restaurant was awarded the city’s first star in more than 40 years. Having opened last year, this artistic eatery’s focus on seasonality saw it rise to the top of Manchester’s food scene.

London

Sketch in Mayfair has added another star to its collection, with its Lecture Room & Library achieving an incredible three stars – the highest Michelin award. Upstairs from the instantly recognisable pink room, Sketch’s reputation continues to grow as the ultimate spot for diners wanting a unique and ‘haute couture’ experience, from French chef Pierre Gagnaire.

Also elevated by another star was La Dame De Pic, located in the capital’s Four Seasons Hotel. Chef Anne-Sophie Pic constantly evolves her French menu to deliver the ultimate dining experience, a strategy that saw it go from a one to two stars this week.

Wiltshire

Joining an elite group of just 23 restaurants in the UK, The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Wiltshire was also promoted from one to two Michelin Stars. Headed up by executive chef Niall Keating – European Chef of the Year 2018 – the seasonal modern British menu cemented the restaurant as one of Britain’s brightest new culinary highlights.

First time stars

London shines as the culinary capital

London saw numerous new establishments awarded their first Michelin accolade, namely Nuno Mendes’s Mãos in Shoreditch, Dysart Petersham in Richmond, Endo at The Rotunda in Shepherd’s Bush, and Da Terra in Bethnal Green, with the city showing once more why it’s one of the world’s hottest destinations for foodies.

The Lake District doubles its stars

One of Britain’s most beautiful regions proved that it’s also one of its best for gourmands, with The Cottage in the Wood in Braithwaite, Old Stamp House at Ambleside and Allium at Askham Hall in Askham all awarded one star, taking the area’s total to eight stars plus a coveted Bib Gourmand for The Dog and Gun Inn at Skelton.  

Culinary creativity in the Midlands

The Midlands also saw new stars awarded to two restaurants with creativity at their culinary hearts - Opheem, an innovative Indian restaurant in Birmingham headed up by Aktar Islam, and the stylish plant based Alchemilla, in Nottingham.

Five reasons to visit Britain’s National Parks

July heralds Britain’s National Parks Week (22-29), where an eclectic range of events, from seaside safaris, forest walks, family fun days and treasure trails, take place across our 15 National Parks. All boast diverse and ancient landscapes, communities with rich cultural roots going back thousands of years and are must-visit destinations of natural beauty and tranquillity. Each is unique and special in its own way; here’s why a visit to Britain’s National Parks should be on your itinerary.

 

Cool ways to explore the countryside

Outdoor pursuits are ubiquitous throughout the National Parks, with a huge variety to experience. Enjoy boating? Head to the Broads National Park, where pleasure boating, especially on board a barge, has been part of life through its myriad of inland waterways since the early 19th century. Looking for an activity to get that adrenaline pumping? The Lake District National Park boasts the highest concentration of outdoor activity centres in the UK – check out Honister, an innovative adventure attraction (and also England’s last working slate mine) for a brilliant buzz. Neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park is famed for its limestone geology, making it one of the best places in the UK for caving and potholing. And the only coastal national park, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in west Wales, is perfect for watersports from coasteering and surfing to sailing and kayaking. 

 

The chance to spot rare wildlife
Bring those binoculars…because the National Parks are home to rare and endangered species of wildlife. Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park – the largest of all the parks – is home to high plateaux with the rarest habitats and is the most southerly site in Europe for snow buntings. In fact, one in four of the UK’s endangered species have their home in this park, such as the golden eagle. Down on England’s east coast, in the Broads National Park, a quarter of Britain’s rarest species have their home here, while around 20 per cent of Wales’ Snowdonia National Park is specially designated by UK and European law to protect its distinctive wildlife. That includes the Snowdon Lily and the Snowdon beetle (both unique to Snowdon). And native wildlife often gives a National Park real character; check out the Dartmoor Ponies, a part of the Dartmoor National Park’s cultural heritage, and the iconic New Forest Ponies roaming free in the woods of the New Forest National Park.

 

Be inspired by contrasting landscapes
There are such varied landscapes within each National Park that depending on which area of each park you’re in you’ll find a wealth of distinctive environments. The Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales, for example, is a mix of caves, gorges and waterfalls, hilltops, cliffs and broad valleys, as well as farmed landscapes, lakes and rivers. While down in the south-west of England, Exmoor National Park is one of heather and grass moors, wooded valleys, wonderful coastal views and upland farms. Exmoor is an International Dark Sky Park, as is Northumberland National Park in the north east of England; plus, the latter’s landscape is so geographically important, there are five Sites of Special Scientific Interest here, such as its volcanic and glacial features.

 

You’ll be stepping onto a film set
You might just recognise some of our National Parks’ landscapes and features from the silver screen, and from the pages of legendary novels and poems. The Peak District National Park in central England, for example, has been used many times as a film location, thanks to its multitude of magnificent stately homes – Chatsworth has starred in Pride & Prejudice, as has Lyme Hall; Haddon Hall was the background setting to Jane Eyre, Elizabeth and Moll Flanders while North Lees Hall, as well as appearing in Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice, starred in The Other Boleyn Girl. Elsewhere, Dartmoor’s landscape appeared in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, while the Lake District is famously the inspiration for Romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge and children’s authors Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome.

 

Stay in unique accommodation
You’ll find everything from campsites to charming B&Bs, cosy inns and luxury hotels throughout National Parks, as well as accommodation that’s rather extraordinary. In Scotland’s Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park wild camping is permitted in certain sections, an incredible way to experience the true beauty of the nature. Experience a glamping site with a difference at the North York Moors National Park at La Rosa campsite and stay in gypsy caravans with décor ranging from circus-themed, fairy tale themed, ‘psycho candy’ (all pink) and 1970s funky Africa! At the opposite end of Britain, on the edge of the beautiful South Downs National Park in south England – the country’s youngest national park – you can even stay on a 1964 Routemaster London double decker bus in Blackberry Wood, kitted out with sleeping, kitchen and dining areas!

 

Spotlight on: Peak District National Park

  • The Peak District was the first designated National Park in Britain, in 1951.
  • The park stretches into five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, meaning it’s accessible from the cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham.
  • With 1,600 miles of public rights of way across footpaths, bridleways and tracks, this is great walking country. Love cycling? Hit the park’s 65 miles of off-road dedicated cycling and walking trails, with cycle-hire centres at Ashbourne, Parsley Hay, Derwent Valley and Middleton Top. It also boasts a treasure trove of disused railways to explore – the park owns 34 miles of them at High Peak Trail, Tissington Trail and Monsal Trail.
  • Head to the medieval market town of Bakewell, home to one of the UK’s most important agricultural markets. Make sure you try its famous Bakewell puddings (flaky pastry base, moist almond and jam filling, said to be invented by lucky mistake by an 18th-century kitchen maid).
  • The National Park has 2,900 listed buildings, including the world-renowned stately homes of Chatsworth, the medieval Haddon Hall, the Norman Peveril Castle, Bakewell’s medieval bridge as well as centuries-old farm-buildings and cottages.
  • There are plenty of interesting villages to explore. Castleton is famous for its caverns, and the “shivering mountain” of Mam Tor, Winnats Pass and Peveril Castle. Then there’s Eyam (“plague village”), Hathersage (reputed grave-site of Robin Hood’s friend Little John), Tideswell (14th century “cathedral of the Peak”), Ilam (Swiss-style architecture), Ashford-in-the-Water (classic English riverside village), and Tissington (Tissington Hall and close to Tissington Trail).
  • The Peak District has a distinctive custom to look out for: well dressing! Originally a pagan ceremony to honour water gods, it’s now a summer tradition in dozens of villages. Different villages decorate their wells or springs with natural, ephemeral pictures made of flowers, petals, seeds, twigs, nuts and berries, pressed into soft clay held in wooden frames. Well dressing weeks also include carnivals and streets decorated with bunting.

Accommodation Update - July 2018

Recently opened

London

Kettner’s Townhouse, London

Located in the very heart of Soho, Kettner’s Townhouse reopened earlier this year and now has 33 bedrooms upstairs, a revamped champagne bar and a piano bar. The hotel started more than 150 years ago, and it still retains many features of a traditional building. Famous figures such as Oscar Wilde and Edward VII are said to have stayed in this hotel.

White City House, London

A hotel and private members’ club, White City House – located in the famous landmark of the BBC’s former headquarters and part of the Soho House & Co group – offers 45 bedrooms, ranging in size from ‘tiny to medium’. Guests will also find a restaurant, games room, gym, cinema, a club area and rooftop pool. There are two bars available, both of which have space for live bands and DJs.

 

England

Ginger Peanut restaurant-with-rooms, Devon

A new restaurant-with-rooms opened in the Devon town of Bampton. Christopher Badham and Damian Llambias (the duo behind the nearby exclusive hire baronial mansion, Huntsham Court) have restored a Grade II-listed building in the heart of Bampton’s conservation area to create a stylish restaurant-with-rooms. There are five individually decorated and very comfortable en-suite bedrooms, but the emphasis is firmly on the bar and restaurant, with menus designed by award-winning chef Peter Mundy; they make no secret about wanting to become the best place to eat in Devon.

 

Scotland

Edinburgh Grand, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Grand opened its doors to guests on 1 June in the heart of the city’s vibrant St Andrew Square, bringing 50 individually designed, fully equipped apartments housed in an historic city landmark that also includes a selection of restaurants and bars as well as a champagne & cocktail Lounge.

 

Wales

Rivercatcher Log Cabins, near Snowdonia

New Scandi-style log cabins opened in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains in north Wales on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Each self-catering cabin has its own theme and feature wood burners, fully equipped kitchens, king-size beds and glass-fronted apex windows to make the most of the green landscape. Guests can also cook alfresco on the wood-fired outdoor kitchen or soak under the stars in the hot tub within the sanctuary of the private deck.

 

Refurbishments

England

Linthwaite House, Lake District

Following a one-year closure and £10million renovation project, the luxurious, four-star Linthwaite House overlooking Lake Windermere has reopened. Guests can choose from five categories of room – classic, luxury, view, deluxe and suite – and two restaurants are available, the fine-dining Stella and The Bar and Conservatory serving all-day dining and cocktails. Pathways wind their way through well-maintained private gardens and woodlands and drinks or light meals can be enjoyed on its newly created raised wooden Windermere Deck, located next to the hotel’s own private small lake, with views to Lake Windermere and the surrounding mountains.

Lodore Falls, Lake District

A new spa is set to open this summer at Lodore Falls, nestled in Borrowdale Valley on the shores of Derwentwater. The Lake District Spa will boast 18 new luxury spa bedrooms, the new pan-Asian restaurant Mizu and a champagne & deli bar. The spa’s thermal suite will comprise a laconium, aroma steam room, herbal sauna and salt steam room, while outside will be a 16-metre hydro pool with volcano fountain, neck jets, underwater loungers and overflow hot tub with spectacular views to Derwentwater and the Catbells Mountain Range.

The Bradley B&B, Cheltenham

The Bradley, an elegant B&B in a listed Regency townhouse in Cheltenham’s exclusive Montpellier district, has completed a sympathetic refurbishment and launched two new Garden rooms. Set in the hotel’s serene courtyard garden, the new bedrooms have large private terraces and are a contemporary but complementary alternative to the traditional rooms in the main building, which have been redecorated and recarpeted. The Bradley has welcomed guests since 1912, and remains one of Cheltenham’s most important complete historical house. With its working fireplace, honesty bar, antiques and artwork, the B&B is a characterful and convenient place to stay in Cheltenham. It’s dog friendly too.

 

Scotland

Nira Caledonia, Edinburgh

After an unfortunate fire, the unique boutique hotel announced its grand re-opening following a period of extensive refurbishment to one of the beautiful townhouses. The hotel also re-opened its refurbished Blackwood’s Bar & Grill.

St Davids Hotel, Cardiff

This five-star hotel in Wales’ capital has refurbished its lobby and spa, following the refurbishment of its new Australasian restaurant. The Admiral St David is an entirely new restaurant concept for Wales and the south west of England, serving up an exotic melting pot of fresh Australasian flavours.

 

Opening soon

London

Belmont Cadogan Gardens, London

The Belmont Cadogan Gardens hotel – a hotel at the heart of fashionable Chelsea that has been running since 1887 – will reopen towards the end of 2018. Once open, guests will have access to 54 chic rooms. The first two floors will have modern rooms while the other three storeys feature traditional British designs with an Edwardian splendor. Its piece de resistance is access to Cadogan Place Gardens, gorgeous private gardens, with picnic lawn and tennis courts, that are usually only open to local residents. Opening Winter 2018.

Yotel Clerkenwell, London

Yotel will open its third property in the UK with a 212-cabin hotel in central London’s creative quarter of Clerkenwell. The cabins will be equipped with Yotel’s revolutionary technology-driven hospitality offering, its signature space-saving adjustable SmartBed™, monsoon rain shower, techno-wall features, which includes mood lighting and entertainment options, with smart TVs. Additional facilities include a gym, bar, an independently operated dining outlet and Yotel’s Club Lounge concept. Opening late 2018.

Z Hotel Covent Garden, London

The eighth Z Hotel in London will open this month, bringing 112 rooms to a central Covent Garden location. Similar to its sister hotels, the hotel will offer ‘affordable compact luxury’ with ensuite shower rooms in its guestrooms and free WiFi. Opening July 2018.

 

England

Shankly Hotel, Liverpool’s first urban glamping site,

One of Britain’s first urban glamping sites will open on the rooftop of Liverpool’s iconic Shankly Hotel. Instead of the countryside scenes typically associated with glamping, Signature Living’s latest venture offers a panorama of the Liverpool skyline that’s best lapped up from one of the Jacuzzis or infinity pools kitted out with 32-inch TVs and pop-up speakers. The luxury tipis sleep up to six people each and have hotel-style trimmings, designer bedding and plush beds. There’s a bar and personal waiter service too. With those views and the summer festival x cosmopolitan city vibe, it’s the perfect venue for an unforgettable party well away from the hustle and bustle of Liverpool below. From £120 per person for two nights. Opening July 2018.

Weston Park, Staffordshire/Shropshire

Weston Park will be giving guests the ultimate summer staycation with a brand new Glamping Village on the estate, including this August Bank Holiday weekend. Fully luxury bell tents will be available for two-night stays for guests to enjoy a stay under the stars on a country estate. Set in a beautiful glade surrounded by ancient oak trees, nestled in the depths of the estate at Weston Park, the luxury glamping village will be the perfect summer getaway for friends and family alike. Tents will be decked out with comfy blankets, air beds, bedding and festoon lighting. Luxury toilet blocks with power showers will ensure guests feel right at home. Each tent sleeps 5 people and are available for two night stays. Prices start from £249 per tent for a two-night stay. Opening August 2018.

Dixie Dean Hotel, Liverpool

Football mad? Check out what is fast becoming known as a Football Quarter in Liverpool’s Victoria Street, as a new hotel – named after local football legend Dixie Dean – is set to open. The hotel will commemorate the life of Dixie both on and off the pitch with a luxury hotel, and is located directly opposite The Shankly Hotel, a tribute to Liverpool coach Bill Shankly. Opening summer 2018.

The London Warehouse, Manchester

Based in the bohemian Northern Quarter of Manchester, The London Warehouse will house an aparthotel with 166 rooms, as well as a cocktail bar, co-working venue, cocktail bar and restaurant as well as a florist and a barber shop. Opening summer 2018.

Queen Square – Supercity Aparthotels, Brighton

In its first development outside of London, Supercity Aparthotels are coming to the coastal city of Brighton later this year on the former site of Brighton’s ice-skating rink. The new aparthotel will house 59 stylish apartments, a gym, full-service restaurant, car and bicycle parking facilities and complimentary WiFi. Opening Autumn 2018.

 

Scotland

Fingal, Edinburgh

This major investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia will provide the ultimate luxury experience: a floating hotel berthed at The Shore, Edinburgh. The 23 beautifully styled cabins, all named after Stevenson lighthouses, are inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage. Guests will be able to choose from cabins with their own private balcony, a duplex cabin or the presidential suite. Opening Autumn 2018.

Hotel Indigo, Dundee

A former jute mill situated between the city’s waterfront and it shopping district will be transformed into a 102-bedroom Hotel Indigo with 12 junior suites. As a nod to Dundee’s position as a world leader in the computer gaming industry, the hotel also has created a special games area. There will also be a fully equipped gym, bar and restaurant. Opening scheduled for August 2018.

Sleeperz, Dundee

Dundee’s new train station is due to open this summer following a £14m renovation, with a 120-bed Sleeperz hotel above. The hotel will overlook the new V&A Museum, due to open in September, and the new Waterfront Plaza and will offer free WiFi and comfortable, bespoke, handmade Sleepeezee mattresses in all its rooms. Opening scheduled summer 2018.

 

Wales

Milford Waterfront Floatel Cabins, Pembrokeshire

The rather unusual addition of four-star floating suites (Milford Waterfront Floatel Cabins) will form part of Milford Waterfront development, comprising shops, cafés, restaurants and accommodation. It is intended to offer a unique experience for anyone wanting to soak up the tranquil marina atmosphere without necessarily owning a boat. Scheduled to open later in 2018.

 

Long lead

London

Hard Rock Hotel, London

the Hard Rock Hotel, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, will open its doors next year. Designed by award-winning architectural and interior design practice, Scott Brownrigg, Hard Rock Hotel London will boast around 1,000 stylish rooms and suites, together with two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Cafe®. In the lobby, the world-famous Rock Shop® will feature Hard Rock’s iconic merchandise. Guests seeking the ultimate experience will have the opportunity to elevate their status and become Rock Royalty®. Taking the London experience to another level, luxurious Rock Royalty rooms and suites offer extra perks including a personal concierge and access to a lavish lounge. Hard Rock Hotel London will pay tribute in its memorabilia collection to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. Scheduled to open Spring 2019.

art'otel Hoxton, London

PPHE Hotel Group will develop its first art’otel in London in the neighborhood of Hoxton, with plans to develop an 18-storey, 350-bedroom contemporary new hotel. In addition, a modern top-floor restaurant and bar as well as a relaxing spa open to guests and the public will form part of the hotel’s offering. There will also be a publicly accessible arts centre, which will include an art gallery, space for video artists and photographic studios. The brand focuses on original art displayed from one artist throughout the hotel’s guest rooms and public areas. Scheduled to open 2019.

*art’otel is also planning to develop a property in the Battersea Power Development in south London.

 

Central London

The Grand, Birmingham

One of Birmingham’s most iconic Grade II-listed buildings, The Grand, set on the 19th-century streetscape of Colmore Row, is currently undergoing redevelopment and is scheduled to open in early 2019 with a 180-bedroom hotel, complete with restaurant and bar, a spa and the city’s first rooftop infinity pool. Scheduled to open early 2019.

The Crescent, Buxton, Derbyshire

Buxton, renowned as a historic spa town and peppered with architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, will see its Grade I-listed Crescent transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel. The hotel is set to take over the majority of the Crescent and will incorporate the Assembly Rooms and a thermal natural mineral water spa in the Natural Baths. Scheduled to open 2019.  

 

Scotland

Yotel, Edinburgh

Yotel is to open its first hotel in Scotland featuring 280 cabins and situated in the famous Queen Street, in Erskine house. This central location means the hotel will boast easy access to top city attractions and have nearby transport links with both Waverley and Haymarket railway stations within walking distance. Integrating the elements of luxury hotels into cleverly designed spaces, the hotel will offer approximately 280 rooms known as ‘cabins’ ranging in style from a Premium Cabin to a VIP Suite. Scheduled to open first quarter of 2019.

Six Lake District locations to visit this autumn

Since being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2017, the popularity of the Lake District National Park in north-west England has continued to soar. While the summer is, undoubtedly, a lovely time to visit, savvy travellers will find the Lakes and their towns and villages an equally beautiful destination in the autumn. The scenery is ablaze with colour, the summer crowds have thinned out and there’s plenty to see and do, no matter the weather.

Windermere and Bowness

Right at the heart of the Lake District, the towns of Windermere and Bowness boast picturesque scenery wherever you turn. Catch those bright autumn colours from the water itself and climb aboard Windermere Lake Cruises steamers. This cruise can also take you to the neo-gothic Wray Castle; looming over the shores of Windermere, it’s not your typical castle displaying family heirlooms and portraits… There’s something here for everyone, including the little ones – they’ll love the dressing up, castle building and adventure play area available. For a different class of architecture, head to Blackwell House, a brilliant example of the Arts & Crafts movement from the early 20th century, which retains many of its original features and holds fantastic permanent and visiting exhibitions. 

Children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was one of the Lakes’ most famous residents and all ages can enjoy the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction – you’ll feel as if you’re stepping into one of her books.

 

Kendal

A smart, handsome market town, Kendal is the Lakes’ arts and culture centre and is packed with independent cafés and pubs. Catch a play, exhibition, comedy or music event at the town’s thriving cultural hub, the Brewery Arts Centre or get your fix of art at the hidden gem that is the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, set in the Grade I-listed 18th-century building of Abbot Hall. Alternatively, you can experience a dose of history at Kendal Castle, once the family home ofKatherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII. Book onto a walking tour to hear more of its dynamic history and admire the excellent views from its hilltop vantage point.

Kendal is also a festival hotspot; in November it welcomes the Kendal Mountain Festival, an award-winning adventure film and speaker festival and a must-visit gathering for outdoor enthusiasts. This September will also see the return of Lakes Alive, which will bring contemporary art, activities and performances to Kendal and the wider Lake District National Park. Also in September is the Kendal Torchlight Carnival, followed by the only comic art festival in the UK, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which takes over the whole of the town in October. Another way to experience the rich heritage and culture in the Lakes are the Lakes Culture Signature Experiences; four different routes that celebrate the region's art, music and literature in a variety of ways.

 

Keswick and Ullswater

Keswick is close to the lakes of Ullswater, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, as well as the mountains of Grizedale Pike, Skiddaw and Catbells, yet it’s not just a walkers’ paradise. Head out onto Ullswater Lake on board Ullswater Steamers for a relaxed view of the beautiful scenery or, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, check out Honister, an innovative adventure attraction (and also England’s last working slate mine). Climb the original miners’ route (the Via Ferrata Classic), an exposed adventure climbing course created from cargo nets and wire bridges strung 366 metres above the valley floor. If you’re feeling particularly brave, take the bigger challenge by climbing the Via Ferrata Extreme!

Keswick is also one of the Lakes’ cultural highlights. Professional producing theatre, Theatre on the Lake, close to Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, is in one of the prettiest theatre settings imaginable and you can catch a play here throughout the year. Travel a little further out to The Lakes Distillery and join an interactive tour to see how its whisky, gin, and vodka are made, which also make an excellent gift to take home. And we mustn’t forget the most niche of museums; the Pencil Museum! It’s more than just pencils (although the collection does include gems such as secret Second World War pencils complete with hidden maps); it also runs art workshops.

 

Coniston

Coniston, nestled between Coniston Water and the Coniston Fells, has a copper mining and slate quarrying history and the village’s proximity to dramatic landscapes – lakes, mountains, waterfalls, tarns and woods – means walking, sightseeing, water sports, mountaineering and horse riding are all prevalent here.

The most notable feature of Coniston Village is The Old Man of Coniston, an 803-metre-high fell. For a slightly easier walk with incredible views, head to Tarn Hows, set more than 183 metres up in the hills above Coniston. A lovely, easy, 1.5-mile pathway shows off the best of the gorgeous Langdale Pikes.

Another lovely way to see Coniston Water and the Fells is by the steam yacht gondola; the trip takes you past Coniston Hall and then on to Brantwood, the home of celebrated Victorian art critic and artist John Ruskin. You can alight here to explore the house, which is filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal treasures. 

 

Ambleside

Ambleside is surrounded by magnificent Lakeland fells and is a town with an energetic vibe. Yet it’s also home to one of the oldest standing buildings in the Lakes, the quirky, picturesque Bridge House, which dates back to the 17th century.

A visit to Ambleside also means you’re very close to Hill Top House, the 17th-century farmhouse where Beatrix Potter lived, wrote and based many of her much-loved stories. When she left the house to the National Trust she left instructions about how it should be shown, so it stands exactly as she knew it and lived in it.

Some of Potter’s works can also be viewed at the Armitt Museum, Gallery and Library – she was one of its earliest supporters – which features the history of life, photography and the fine art of the Lake District. Or for a slice of contemporary art, head to the Old Courthouse Gallery, showcasing glassworks, jewellery, wall art and ceramics, which you can also buy. A great way to spend an evening in Ambleside is at the Jazz Bar of Zeffirellis, which hosts modern jazz and world music performances throughout the week. Want to sample local ale? Try the wares created by Ambleside’s Barngates Brewery, served in the Drunken Duck Inn and Restaurant – although the brewery isn’t open for tours, visitors to the Drunken Duck can request to see inside the adjacent brewery buildings.

 

Ravenglass

Ravenglass is the Lake District’s only coastal village and history emanates from every corner, from its Bronze Age settlements, Roman forts and Anglian crosses to its Viking remains, Norman churches and medieval mills. You can even go back to the Victorian era of steam and experience the Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway, which takes you on a stunning seven-mile journey through the National Park.

A must-visit in the area is Muncaster Castle. Still lived in by the same family after nine centuries, Muncaster is said to be haunted and, this November, will hold a Scientific Ghost Vigil. If that doesn’t sound quite your thing, the castle itself is fascinating to explore and you can enjoy bird of prey displays at its Hawk and Owl Centre throughout the year.

60 minutes from… Manchester

A city of culture, sport, music, history, creativity and diversity, Manchester in north-west England  should be on the must-visit list of any traveller to Britain; plus it’s one of the key gateways into the destination. It’s also in an enviable location, which means that journeying just an hour by train or car outside the city will lead you to a realm of ancient cities and spa towns, beautiful beach resorts, stately homes, unique countryside and bohemian heartlands – all perfect to visit on a day trip from Manchester.

 

Buxton, Derbyshire
Renowned as a historic spa town and peppered with architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, the stately Crescent, which is being transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel, due to open in 2019, is a must-see. Buxton also boasts an impressive repertoire of festivals. This summer stop by for the open-access arts festival, the Buxton Fringe Festival, plus the Buxton Military Tattoo, and the Buxton International Festival of Opera, Music and Literature.

 

Liverpool, Merseyside
2018 is a huge year for Liverpool as it celebrates ten years since it was named European City of Culture 2008 and welcomes Britain’s largest celebration of contemporary art during the Liverpool Biennial, when artworks by 40 artists from 22 countries will be showcased for free across the city…all just 30 minutes by train direct from Manchester. There are a myriad of attractions to enjoy, from The Beatles Story and The Cavern (why not visit during the International Beatle Week Festival in August?) to contemporary art gallery Tate Liverpool and maybe cheer your football heroes on at a Premiere League football match at either Liverpool FC or Everton FC.

 

Southport, Merseyside
Miles of magnificent beaches greet you at Southport, a pretty coastal resort where you can kite surf, climb sand dunes, stroll along its historic pier or follow one of the town’s historic trails. Take a trip to Crosby Beach, which is home to Anthony Gormley’s art installation Another Place, 100 iron men standing looking out to sea. The area is also part of the UK’s ‘golfing capital’ – tee off at the prestigious Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport or travel 15 minutes’ from town to several more championship courses.

 

Chester, Cheshire
Wherever you walk in Chester, you can feel its rich history pulsating through its buildings, its city walls – the most complete city walls remaining in the UK – and its attractions. Here you can visit Britain’s largest Roman amphitheatre, walk through 700 years of history while shopping in the Rows galleries, enjoy race days at Britain’s oldest racecourse and visit one of Britain’s largest zoos, Chester Zoo, where you can meet 21,000 animals and experience its passion for conservation.

 

Peak District, Derbyshire

The nearest part of the picturesque Peak District National Park to Manchester is packed with dramatic landscapes of high moorland plateaus – travel further south in the park to discover a diverse landscape of hills and dales – which makes for great walking territory. The Peak District is also home to charming villages and attractive market towns and, if you travel just 90 minutes from Manchester, you can visit some of the loveliest stately homes in the country, such as the grand Tudor Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House; when the house reopened in March the wraps came off a major long-term, £32.7 million restoration programme.

 

You might also like:

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, for its creative vibe generated from the influence of writers and artists, cute galleries and independent shops, all set near valleys and heather moorland. Come for the summer’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

Tatton Park, Cheshire, for its neo-classical mansion, 1,000 acres of deer park, collection of fine art, as well as walks through the huge gardens, plus the many events held here every year. Come in July for its Food Festival and RHS Flower Show. 

Blackpool, Lancashire, for its traditional English seaside resort attractions, the stunning Blackpool Illuminations and the iconic Blackpool Tower. Come this summer as the town celebrates the 250th anniversary of the circus with a series of special events.

Lake District National Park, Cumbria, for the sheer beauty of its landscapes. Parts are reachable from Manchester within 60-90 minutes so is still manageable for a day trip. Explore the lovely town of Kendal in the south of the Lake District National Park, before heading for a walk on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England and just nine miles from Kendal.

Best Spring Breaks For English Tourism Week

The spring equinox (Tuesday 20 March) marks a time to celebrate woodlands bursting with daffodils, fields filled with adorable animals and long, warm, country walks. To celebrate, take advantage of the offerings for English Tourism Week (17-25 March), where a wide variety of local and national events, discounts and special offers are being made available. See below for a round-up of new season openings and offers across the country, for the perfect spring break in England.

 

FLOURISHING FLOWERS

Take in Wordsworth’s Daffodils with Sharrow Bay’s spring offer, Lake District

Walk in the footsteps of Romantic poet William Wordsworth this spring and gaze out across the ‘host of golden daffodils,’ adorning the banks of the very lake which inspired Daffodils - one of Britain’s best-loved poems. The original country house hotel and the inventor of sticky toffee pudding, Sharrow Bay sits right on the shores of Ullswater in an unrivalled lakeside setting and offers some of the Lake District’s most spectacular views of the famed spring landscapes. Situated within the newly-appointed World Heritage site, the hotel is the ideal starting point for a range of walks to admire the awakening Lake District scenery. 

 

New event: See Dazzling Daffodils at Hever Castle, Kent

21-25 March

See 14,000 daffodils bloom in the grounds at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home at this new event. Master grower Johnny Walkers of Walkers’ Bulbs, and winner of 35 RHS gold medals, will be onsite giving talks and tours and sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of bulbs accrued over a lifetime growing daffodils.

STAY AT: One Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells

From its origins as a brewery and school house, this harmonious and unified building brings a luxury guest experience to the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. 

 

REJUVINATING BREAKS

Stay on England's most northerly commercial vineyard Farfield Farm, York

17-25 March

Relax and stay at this small family run business producing award winning wines in a farmhouse on an idyllic six-acre vineyard. Set on south facing slopes at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, the setting is rural and peaceful yet only six miles from the market town of Malton with regular food markets and food festivals. Castle Howard is nearby, as is the North York Moors Railway, plus for some city life it’s also a short drive from York. 

 

Enjoy 2 nights for the price of 1 in March at Chewton Glen, Hampshire

1-28 March (subject to availability)

With only 50 rooms available at this rate, celebrate spring with 130 acres to explore including a nine-hole golf course, a plush croquet lawn and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Subject to availability until 28th March 2018, only 50 rooms available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Langdale Hotel offers a Brimstone Spa Break from 23 March, Lake District

23 March – 4 November

Set quietly on the Langdale Estate in the secluded Langdale Valley, Langdale Hotel offers chic rooms, nature walks right from the doorstep and an ultra-stylish dining experience, as well as Brimstone Spa, which includes a Himalayan Salt Steam, Finnish Sauna, Ice Fountain, Herbal Sauna, Mineral Salt Steam and Laconium as well as a relaxation pool which spans from indoors to outdoors. The Spa Break is available from the 23rd of March until the 4th of November and includes a night’s stay in a Lakeland Signature Roomy Room complete with lavish breakfast, a 55-minute treatment for each guest and a Spa Deli Lunch, as well as spa access throughout the stay.

 

ADORABLE ANIMALS
Spot wildlife at Chatsworth House during their season opening, Bakewell, Derbyshire

24 March

2018 will see Chatsworth House and Garden presented in its full glory following the culmination of the 10-year long restoration project. Come to the season opening on 24 March, and view the exhibition of the largest restoration and conservation project ever undertaken at Chatsworth. 
The park is home to red and fallow deer, sheep, cattle and many wild animals. The grass you walk on is a crop grazed by sheep, cattle and deer; the river provides fish and the woods game and timber. 

STAY AT: The Devonshire Arms, Beeley

This traditional country Inn is located on the Chatsworth Estate and has fourteen hotel bedrooms owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It’s a short walk from Chatsworth House and blends its idyllic village setting with contemporary comfort.

 

Beautiful British gardens open for lambs and spring bulbs at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

17-29 March

Standing within the most extensive moat in the county and over 25 acres of gardens and ground, Kentwell Hall is Suffolk’s hidden gem and one of England’s finest Tudor houses. Kentwell’s gardens will be beautiful with the grounds covered in daffodils and the spring bulbs and fruit blossom all flowering, with new-born lambs in the Tudor Stables. Kentwell has extended the Story Book Adventure Trail to encourage more children to get outdoors and now includes 19 stories and characters; from the enormous ‘Crunching Munching Caterpillar’ to the magnificent ‘Gorilla who wanted to Grow Up’. 

STAY AT: The Black Lion, Long Melford

The Black Lion has 10 bedrooms including snug, luxury, grand luxury and family rooms. Chestnuts interior design team has cleverly combined The Black Lion’s traditional and antique style with a luxurious and warm feel. 

 

SPRING WALKS

Book onto a walking holiday, Somerset

18-25 March

Choose from five night guided walking holidays in Bath, the Cotswolds, Exmoor, Somerset and Wiltshire, with Bath West Walks. Each holiday will enable you to come into contact with nature, wildlife and local heritage. Among the places you can visit are Avebury, Bourton on the Water, Lorna Doone Valley and the National Trust's Stourhead. Mention English Tourism Week to obtain your 10% discount.

 

Freshen up with a Spring Nature Trail, Blickling Estate, Norfolk

29 March – 15 April

Help the kids let off some steam by taking them to a 55-acre playground in the heart of the Norfolk countryside. The team at the Blickling Estate have organised a series trails so that families can brush away the cobwebs and get active during the Easter holidays. Learn about nature, marvel at the first buds of spring and see if you can spot any birds building their nests. You can also enjoy sow-and-grow sessions in the walled garden and a family-friendly cycle trail. 

STAY AT: Bucks Arms, Blickling

This traditional 17th century pub and former coaching inn offers fantastic views of the surrounding Blickling Hall Estate. 

 

For more information on English Tourism Week, go to:

www.visitengland.com/english-tourism-week 

Britain’s most romantic destinations

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.

Start at Dove Cottage in Grasmere to discover the poet’s home before venturing next door to the Wordsworth Museum, with the largest collection of his poems, letters and journals.

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.

Looking for love in The Lake District, Cumbria?

Frequently voted as the UK’s most romantic destination, The Lake District, Cumbria is renowned for its wild and emotive scenery, providing the perfect place to spend Valentine's Day or a romantic break away any time of year. Choose from luxurious hotels with state of the art spas to centrally located city chic apartments or remote retreats tucked away to relax, unwind, and enjoy some extra special time together.

 

1. Fulton’s Lakes Jewellery Works (Keswick): Choose the most important diamond of your life at Cumbria’s first Jewellery Works - If you are looking for a diamond ring in time to pop the question this Valentine’s Day,  then look no further than Fulton’s Lakes Jewellery Works, who opened its doors in October 2017 and is looking forward to their first Valentines season and welcome customers to not only buy a ring of their dreams - but to help design it, see how it is made and meet the skilled craftsman behind the scenes himself - Brain Fulton. The brand-new attraction is headed up by husband and wife team Brian and Zoe Fulton. Brian has been designing, making and selling exquisite bespoke jewellery to both the trade and public for 35 years since his training began at Openshaw College in Manchester.

2. The Leathes Head Hotel (Borrowdale): For an Edwardian Country House Hotel - This magnificent award winning 11-bedroom Country House Hotel situated in the unspoilt Borrowdale Valley, just four miles South of Keswick is set amongst three acres of private grounds and is surrounded by stunning scenery and meandering rivers. This February enjoy a two-night Valentines break including a 7 course tasting menu by award winning Head Chef Noel Breaks - with matching wines whilst listening to beautiful harp music. Valentines break start from £500 for 2 nights from the 16 to 18 February. 

3. The Boathouse, Pullwood (from Heart of the Lakes): For a romantic room with a view - There can be few more idyllic locations in the Lake District than this stunning boathouse right on the shores of Lake Windermere in the heart of the Pullwood Bay Estate. Built in the 19thC this charming detached boathouse was once used by the owners of the original mansion house, now it has been beautifully renovated with all modern facilities and everything you need for a unique break away. Perfect for that special occasion or even just for a treat - this is truly a place to relax, unwind and take in the beautiful surroundings. If you are looking to get away to somewhere truly special this Valentines, then we are sure you will love The Boathouse.

4. The Wordsworth Hotel & Spa (Grasmere): Nestled in the enchanting village of Grasmere and surrounded by some of the region’s most iconic scenery this hotel is simply made for romance with all the necessary elements to celebrate the most romantic time of the year. Stay in a luxurious superior room where you’ll find a chilled bottle of Champagne and locally handmade chocolates waiting on your arrival. Head out for a walk taking in some of England’s finest scenery before enjoying a phenomenal 4 course dinner with canapes in the award-winning Signature Restaurant. A Bucks Fizz breakfast will be delivered to your bedroom the following morning making it the perfect start to the day. Valentine’s breaks start from £229 Sundays to Thursday and £249 Saturdays and Sundays.

5. Askham Hall (Askham): A rural retreat fit for royalty - Dating back to the late 1200s, this Grade I listed hideaway was previously home to the Earls of Lonsdale and has open roaring fires, comfy sofas and intimate areas to create a warm, relaxing and luxurious feel. Couples can stroll hand-in-hand in the 12 acre gardens and enjoy a candlelit meal in the award-winning restaurant - menus are prepared using an abundance of fresh produce from the hall’s extensive kitchen garden, vegetable gardens and orchards.  Room rates start from £150 per night for 2, including breakfast.

6. The Belsfield, Laura Ashley Hotel - Overlooking England’s longest lake and with beautiful Laura Ashley interiors The Belsfield oozes romance inside and out and with flowers, chocolates and fizz ready in the room on arrival the fuss is taken away and couples can encapsulate themselves in each other’s company. With perfectly designed bedrooms, lake-view restaurant and idyllic gardens The Belsfield has romance in the Lake District to a tee. Valentines Weekend Packages start from £237 per night or for Valentine’s Day itself from £299 per night, but on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.

7. The Lodges at Artlegarth - In the peaceful Yorkshire Dales, Artlegarth’s brand-new log cabins are perfectly designed and styled to provide modern and original valentines get away. Each with their own private hot-tub and a concealed cocktail bar the three lodges also have extensive glazing to ensure the spectacular views, of open countryside and fells, can be enjoyed inside as well as out, with a log burning stove to snuggle up in front of too. Guests can also choose for a range of exclusive extras including fresh flowers, hampers of local and artisan foods and spa and beauty treatments to be enjoyed from the privacy of the lodge.

8. The Halston - Experience the best of a serviced hotel with the privacy of your own apartment at The Halston Aparthotel in Carlisle. Cumbria’s only five-star apartments are the perfect city/country get away this valentine’s day. Only a short distance from the Lake District and from Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Sites whilst having original bars and restaurants within walking distance The Halston offers the best of both worlds. The Ultimate Romance overnight stay for two in a one bedroom luxury apartment, complete with a pair of mini Bottega bottles and rose petals is £225, including a 3 course set menu for both in brand-new tapas and lounge bar Penny Blue, and breakfast in Bartons Yard.

9. The Cottage in the Wood - Cottage in the Wood is a 17th century restaurant and inn located in the heart of Whinlatter Forest and provides a secluded get-away for the foodies. The three AA Rosette, Inspectors Choice, restaurant provides breath-taking views of the mighty Skiddaw mountain range and the surrounding forest and offers a daily changing menu using local and seasonal ingredients. With Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater, Buttermere, and Crummock Water all near-by 'The Cottage' provides a tranquil and relaxing ambience and is the perfect base for exploring the magic of the Lakes. Rooms are from £110 a night with three course meals starting from £45 per person and with their January Sale, guests can save up to £60.

 

For more ideas and inspiration on romantic escapes to the Lake District, Cumbria, visit: www.golakes.co.uk

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

 

Images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hnin2op357vxn5s/AADAAlVmDGPITmGPyDq70wxJa?dl=0 

 

1. Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county and is at the heart of the Cumbria Visitor Economy. It is also the largest membership organisation in Cumbria with more than 2,400 members. In 2015, more than 43 million people visited Cumbria, contributing more than £2.62 billion to the local economy and support around 61,000 jobs. 

 

2. For more information about visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, visit: www.golakes.co.uk.

5 unique places to propose in Britain

Since the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, some couples may be thinking of making their own romantic proposal.

Here’s a round-up of five unique places in the UK perfect for popping the question – from a fairy-tale treehouse to hidden forests that inspired the greatest legendary lovers.

 

1. A fairy-tale treehouse overlooking the shores of Loch Goil 

For a magical moment you want a truly memorable location, and you certainly won't forget The Lodge's enchanting treehouse overlooking a Scottish lake as the backdrop of your proposal. Enjoy a private candlelit dinner for two before the main event and then retreat to The Lodge itself – an intimate five-star venue popular with weddings and fashion shoots, located about an hour and 30 minutes' drive from Glasgow. The treehouse even has a marriage licence, so you can come back and get married in the place where you proposed!

 

2. A bespoke proposal looking over London

Twice the height of any other vantage point in the city, The Shard offers breath-taking views of London and is fast becoming known as one of the capital's most romantic destinations, especially when you add a spectacular sunset and a glass of champagne into the mix. The View from the Shard has a dedicated concierge service to help make your proposal unforgettable, with everything from exclusive use of the viewing gallery after hours and personalized music, to candles, petals and champagne - or, if you're thinking of something really different, they also work closely with dedicated romantic event planners, The Proposers.

 

3. On the beach at sunset

If you're ready to ask for your beloved's hand in marriage, the British coast makes an ideal backdrop. The sand at Bamburgh Beach turns a pinky hue at sunset, so pack a champagne picnic, pick a sand dune for privacy and ask the question that's been burning a hole in your pocket all day. Or you could opt for Rhossili Bay in south Wales, which is regularly voted as one of the world's top beaches and best picnic spots. And it's little wonder – the water is refreshing and clean and there's a cute property you can stay in, The Old Rectory, located right on the beach with uninterrupted views of the sea; it is one of the National Trust's most popular holiday cottages.

 

4. At the foot of a waterfall in the Lake District

With its mountain peaks and glistenng lakes, there is nowhere else quite like the Lake District. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most popular places to propose in the UK, but you can still find an isolated part of this idyllic landscape for your own romantic moment. Derwent Water is a stunning body of shimmering tranquillity, perfect for a private little boat trip proposal, or how about going down on one knee at the foot of a waterfall? Sitting in the 40-acre grounds of Lodore Falls Hotel, overlooking Derwent Water, are the Lodore Falls. The hotel takes real enjoyment in helping guests make their proposals as special as possible, followed by an overnight stay in the romantic Lake View bedroom.

 

5. Live out your own great literary love  

Follow in the footsteps of great lovers in history and literature and head into Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire if you're a budding Robin Hood or Maid Marian; the pair are said to have been married in Edwinstowe Church, and there's a statue marking the site of the event. Fans of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves should make a pilgrimage to Hadrian's Wall (the section of wall in Northumberland), where they'll see the solitary tree immortalised in the film, which also makes a nice proposal spot.