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Ford and Etal

Valentine’s Day: what to do, where to propose!

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  February 1, 2012 | 0 Comments
There are plenty of options for love birds this year in the North East

There are plenty of options for love birds this year in the North East

The most romantic day of the year is almost here and what better way to spend it – or one of the weekend’s either side – than in the North of England’s very own lush playground or enjoying some of the highlights of Newcastle-Gateshead.

In this part of the world enjoy Valentine’s Day with some sophisticated dining, high tea in a historic house, a walk surrounded by stunning scenery, or take a weekend break in a luxury hotel or guest house.

And not forgetting that this year is a leap year when, according to tradition, women can propose. If this is your plan, we can suggest some spectacular locations such as a balloon flight above breathtaking countryside, secret and special locations in Northumberland, or within the walls of ancient abbeys.

Here are suggestions for places to visit or things to do in the region, and some of the best places to propose – either on the 14th or 29th!

Places to go/see

North of England Trike Tour

Forget horse drawn carriages. Instead, sit back and relax, crank up the music and appreciate the best scenery North East England has to offer with a chauffeured trike tour through Northumberland. A North of England Trike tour gives the chance to experience the exhilaration of riding on the back of a three-seater trike whilst taking in breathtaking scenery.

Bessie Surtees House

Explore some romantic spots from Newcastle-Gateshead’s rich history and heritage. Visit Bessie Surtees House, an impressive 17th century building made famous by a famous illicit love story.

Its most famous occupant was Bessie Surtees, the daughter of wealthy parents who disapproved of her choice of lover. In 1772 Bessie escaped from one of the windows and eloped with a humble young man, John Scott, to Scotland where they married under Scottish law. All parties were eventually reconciled and John Scott became a successful lawyer and rose to become Lord Chancellor of England.

Bessie Surtees House was a technological marvel when it was first built because it took into account the steep hill rising immediately behind it. All the windows on each floor extend the full width of the house front.

Also on Newcastle Quayside is  Love Lane (where John Scott was born) as well as Trinity House in Broad Chare, an historic building with close links to the river,which in the 16th century was bought for the price of a single red rose.

Beadnell and Dunstanburgh Castle

This Northumberland village on the coast is off the beaten track and offers a secluded retreat.  The attractive small harbour provides access to one of the most stunning beaches in the North of England. Walk on the beach hand in hand and enjoy the views of the ruins of Dunstanbrough Castle a few miles south. For an overnight stay, search accommodation here.

Breamish Valley

The stunning Breamish Valley in Northumberland National Park runs from Ingram. The Breamish River runs through the valley. Unless you are particularly adventurous, this may not be the best place for a romantic picnic, but keep this spot in mind for the spring.

It is known as a romantic setting with views of rolling hills and valleys in the distance. Ingram is home to a beautiful old church.

Lady’s Well at Holystone 

Located in the Upper Coquet Valley, Lady’s Well at the village of Holystone, west of Rothbury, is the place where Paulinus is said to have baptised the Saxon Northumbrians in the 6th century. It is a quiet, mystical and very romantic spot.

Take a day out and explore the historic village and its impressive history in Northumberland National Park, or consider a self-catering stay at Blacksmith’s Cottage.

The footbridge at Riding Wood

The footbridge at Riding Wood © Pete Saunders

Riding Wood near Charlton in the North Tyne Valley

This is a native woodland overgrowing the stones of a former Roman fort and filled with magical nooks and dells reminiscent of the Celtic myths of Arthur’s Britain.

Take the road north of the river from Bellingham to Lanehead/Tarset and glimpse the romantic Georgian manor house of Hesleyside (the ancestral home of the Charlton Reiver family) on the far bank.

This is where the Charlton family keeps the ancient Spur of the Charlton which was served up on a platter by the lady of the house when the larder was empty, indicating the men must ride forth to raid the cattle and sheep.

Riding Woods is here with a public right of way to crags on the hilltop.

Places to stay
Northumbrian House, Berwick

Northumbrian House, Berwick upon Tweed

Northumbrian House B&B, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Northumbrian House is a beautiful Georgian Grade II listed building in the heart of Berwick-upon-Tweed. The rooms are tastefully furnished and comfort and style are paired discreetly with technology.

Guests have access to wireless broadband, flat screen TVs which work with DVD, audio CDs, MP3 and freeview programmes too. Owners Ian and Diane tend their own garden and love making preserves, bread and sometimes home-made cakes.

Little Haven Hotel, South Shields

Experience amazing coastal views at the Little Haven Hotel in the heart of Catherine Cookson country, one of the 20th century’s most well-known and successful writers.

Indulge your loved one to a night in the hotel’s amazing penthouse suites.

Mounthooley, The College Valley

Located in the Cheviot hills, the College is a remote and beautiful valley with a romantic hideaway in the Mounthooley bunkhouse. It is simple, but with big chairs and open fires. If you’re lucky you’ll get snowed in and keep the world at bay!

George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels and an expert on the history of the Border Reivers, described the Cheviots as the most romantic hills in the world.

Places to propose

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall above Sycamore Gap

Hadrian’s Wall above Sycamore Gap

At Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall there stands a lone tree between two crests, better known as the Robin Hood Tree.

What could be more romantic than a walk from which you will see the tallest remains of the wall and the tree instantly recognisable from the 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.

Why not extend your trip to include a stay at the nearby Langley Castle Hotel?  Built in 1350, during the reign of Edward III, the castle has retained its architectural integrity and is regarded as one of the few medieval fortified Castle Hotels in England.

Set in its own 10 acre woodland estate, the castle’s seven-feet thick walls provide a peaceful and tranquil refuge in which to escape from today’s hustle and bustle to a bygone age, making it perfect for a special romantic break.

The Pinwell of Wooler

The Pinwell is a natural spring that got its name from the tradition amongst the people of Wooler for throwing a bent pin into the well on fair days in the hope their wish would come true.

On May Day, young women in particular would visit the Pinwell to walk around it three times, throw in their pins and wish for a husband!

The Pinwell Valley area, which can also be known as The Kettles or Horsdenside, contains many interesting features including an iron age hillfort and World War Two pillbox.

The Popping Stone, Gilsland, on the River Irthing – Northumberland National Park’s western boundary

This is where Walter Scott (later Sir Walter) proposed to Miss Charpentier or Carpenter in 1797 and married her on December 24 that year at St Mary’s, Carlisle

Blawearie near Alnwick

If you appreciate the Brontes and Haworth you will also like Blawearie, a beautiful place and once a farm but long since abandoned. The views on this high moor are stunning and it makes a perfect place for a romantic walk. It is secluded and unspoilt.

The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is an ideal place for a romantic and secluded getaway. It’s also the perfect place to take in spectacular sunsets and just a few years ago was voted one of the most romantic places in Britain.

The priory and castle on a windswept point add to the sense of drama. The island is cut off from the mainland regularly and offers a tranquil hideaway for romantic couples. Find accommodation here, and check Lindisfarne Castle opening times here.

The Angel of the North, Gateshead

Proposing under one of the UK’s most famous works of art – and an angel no less – will be impressive indeed and certainly memorable. This major visitor attraction is more than 20 meters high and has a wingspan of 54 meters. Standing under this famous work of art is an experience no-one will forget.

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