Best Valentine hideaways in the North East
PUBLISHED: 00:16 26 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:33 20 February 2013
The setting of some of the most epic love stories of all time from King Arthur to Lord Byron, the North East is full of romantic hideaways. Here are10 special places to take your loved one this Valentine's Day
1 Bamburgh Castle
Believed to have been the backdrop of one of the greatest love stories ever told - the legend of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, Bamburgh Castle has become one of the most popular wedding venues in the north.
According to legend, when King Arthur discovered the love affair between Guinevere and his chief knight Lancelot, he condemned her to burn at the stake. Lancelot fled, but later returned to rescue Guinevere from the pyre and they escaped to Joyous Garde, believed to be Bamburgh Castle.
The castle is also said to have given refuge to Tristan, a noble knight and his lover, Isolde, the daughter of the king of Ireland. Discover more
about the legends and take a long stroll along Bamburgh Beach.
2 Bright lights of Newcastle
Famous for its nightlife, Newcastle was once a place of forbidden love. Look out for Bessie Surtees House (41-44 Sandhill), an impressive 17th Century building that was once home to the citys most illicit love story.
When Bessie Surtees, daughter of a wealthy Newcastle banker, fell in love with the son of a coal fitter, John Scott, her family did everything they could to prevent the match. But on November 18, 1772, with the aid of a ladder and an old friend, Scott whisked Bessie away from her parents house in Sandhill, across the border to Scotland where they married. Scott went on to become a successful lawyer and Lord Chancellor of England - finally winning the approval of Bessies father.
Why not take your partner ice skating at the open air rink at the Centre for Life (until Feb 27) followed by an exhibition and romantic meal at The Baltic.
3 Alnmouth and Alnwick Garden
The picturesque coastal village of Alnmouth is a perfect escape. In the heart of the Northumberland coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its an ideal stop off for walkers and cyclists with a variety of restaurants, pubs, gift shops and coffee shops.
Just a few miles away, Alnwick Garden inspires further romance with beautifully landscaped gardens and exotic and unusual plants. Escape the crowds in The Bamboo Labyrinth, pose for a picture beside the Grand Cascade and, if alls going well, you could even pop the question in the Rose Garden. Whatever the outcome, The Treehouse Restaurant offers a fun alternative for dinner and live music.
4 Dinner at Seaham Hall
One sure way to impress a loved one is treat them to dinner at Seaham Hall - a known haunt of the romantic poet Lord Byron. Byron gained notoriety for his love affairs and was described as mad, bad and dangerous to know.
One thing Byron did know was how to woo the ladies and it was in the drawing room of Seaham Hall that he married Anne Isabella Milbanke in January, 1815. Why not book in for the Valentines Treat and Dine package which includes a Serenity Well Being Massage in the spa followed by a three-course lunch or dinner in the Ozone restaurant?
Known for its stunning sunsets, scenic beauty and rare wildlife, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne has to be one of the most romantic places in Britain. The island can only be reached by crossing the causeway at low tide, providing a perfect hideaway for couples.
Visit the 14th Century castle (a popular wedding venue), tour the priory and explore the village. Then spend the night in a cosy wooden Wig Wam at the Wig Wam Village near Scremerston, complete with champagne on ice, red roses on the pillow, chocolates and a delicious local breakfast.
6 Sycamore Gap on Hadrians Wall
Whether you cycle or go on foot, Hadrians Wall is the ultimate escape for any couple looking for a romantic getaway. Officially the most tranquil place in Britain (so much so, it even has a tranquillity map), the Northumberland National Park has stunning views, dramatic landscape and fantastic opportunities for wildlife spotting, rambling and romancing.
Keep an eye out for red squirrels and visit the famous Robin Hood tree at Sycamore Gap, the lone tree which stands between two crests, featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.
7 Stargazing in Kielder Water and Forest Park
Its famous for having the darkest night skies in England, so what could be more romantic than spending the night getting up close to Venus, gazing at the stars in Kielder.
Thanks to minimal light pollution, the Observatory at Kielder Water and Forest Park gives amateur astronomers and professional star gazers the chance to explore the night sky.
If youre still full of energy the next day, hire a mountain bike, try kayaking or hire a pleasure boat and explore Europes largest man made lake.
8 Historic Durham
Cobbled streets bursting with character, a castle commissioned by King William the Conqueror and a famous cathedral which Bill Bryson branded the best on planet Earth - the city of Durham is a dream come true for history lovers.
The castle dates back to 1066, The Great Hall was built in 1284 and the kitchens date back to 1499. One of the most beautiful features is the tiny Norman Chapel which has some of
the most fascinating Norman sculpture in history.
Check out the citys boutiques, coffee shops, markets and museums then treat your loved one to a trip on a rowing boat down the River Wear.
9 Climbing Boulby Cliffs
Theres nothing like a cliff top walk with your loved one to lift the spirits and the view from Boulby - the highest cliffs in England - is spectacular and unsurpassed.
Stop off for a picnic, then make your way towards the tiny fishing harbour of Staithes. With its fairytale setting, cobbled alleyways and fascinating history dating back to the Doomsday Book in 1086, Staithes has a timeless charm few places can match. Check out Staithes Gallery, discover Cooks Cottage and treat your partner to afternoon tea by the quaint harbour.
10 Bowes Museum
Housed in a French-style chateau, in Barnard Castle, Bowes Museum is steeped in romantic history. It was founded in the 19th Century by John Bowes, the love child of John, the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Mary Millner, a girl from the village of Stainton near Barnard Castle.
Despite his illegitimacy, John Bowes was fully acknowledged by his father and became Liberal MP for South Durham and a successful racehorse owner. He founded Bowes Museum with his wife Josephine who also had a love of art and they sold their lavish chateau in France to finance it. Sadly, neither lived to see its completion.
The museum has since undergone a 12m refurbishment - the Fashion and Textile Gallery is well worth a visit.
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