Are you planning to jump into action and pop the big question to your loved one this Leap Year?
Tradition holds that this February ‘normal order’ is reversed with women able to propose to their Prince Charming, and where better than at one of English Heritage’s idyllic properties in the North East?
English Heritage is playing cupid as it encourages people to start their love affair with its North East properties open this Valentine’s Day, including beautiful Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Lindisfarne Priory and Warkworth Castle.
Dotted around each site you will find an assortment of tranquil hideaways – in amongst a carpet of snowdrops at Belsay, serene Priory ruins at Lindisfarne and mystery and intrigue at Warkworth Castle.
During February half-term, English Heritage also has something for little cupids too with Historical Valentine Trails everyday throughout the school holiday. Fascinating facts and love stories from the past at Belsay, Lindisfarne and Warkworth will be placed around the three sites, with children able to join in the fun and win a tasty treat.
Caroline Sinclair, from English Heritage, said: “The sentimental combination of the Leap Year, National Marriage Week and Valentine’s Day make February officially the most romantic month of the year. Thanks to this whimsical fifth century tradition, many women may even be proposing to their man this February.
“Forget red roses and candlelight, snowdrops, spring bulbs and a proposal in the open air are much more original. Who could resist a proposal or romantic day out in stunning surroundings at one of English Heritage’s romantic hotspots?”
Visitors are invited to find their special place with English Heritage. Picturesque gardens and secret hideaways make up enchanting Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, near Morpeth, and it will be rolling out a white carpet of snowdrops to help love blossom this half term.
Meanwhile, a trip to magical coastal property, Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island – widely considered to be one of the most romantic places in Britain – is the ideal way to escape from it all. In the grounds, visitors can see the traditional ‘petting stone’ that all new brides married in the church must leap over to bring fertility and happiness to their marriage.
And at Warkworth Castle you can discover the tragic historical love story of Betram de Bothal and Isobel Widdrington. Betram’s ghost is still said to reside in the castle’s hermitage, but with its charming views and quaint location, who could blame it?
Regularly topping polls for the North East’s most romantic locations, English Heritage’s other coastal properties in the region – awe-inspiring Dunstanburgh Castle and Tynemouth Priory and Castle – offer breathtaking views of the dramatic coastline and spectacular scenery; perfect for a romantic February walk with your loved one. Dunstanburgh and Tynemouth are open every weekend.
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Lindisfarne Priory and Warkworth Castle will be open daily between 10am-4pm this half term (February 11-19). Dunstanburgh Castle, Tynemouth Priory and Castle, Etal Castle, Barnard Castle and Chesters, Corbridge and Birdoswald on Hadrian’s Wall, will be open every winter weekend.
For more information about visiting English Heritage properties this February and for the most up-to-date opening times and prices visit www.english-heritageorg.uk/northeast