With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, what better way to spend the holiday with your loved one than to explore some of the UK’s most romantic sites. From the iconic streets of London, the beautiful mountains of northern Wales and the dramatic Scottish Highlands, there is no shortage of amazing sites to visit in the UK. However, a particularly stunning place to see is the Lake District near the town of Penrith for some of England’s most fantastic scenery. For more of a cosmopolitan feel, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh exudes a romantic ambiance with its cobblestoned streets and ancient buildings. Whether you’re looking for a romantic outing with your loved one or prefer to travel alone, both sights are well worth a visit.
Travelling Between Penrith and Edinburgh
Bus from Penrith to Edinburgh, National Express, from £22.00
Natural Wonders in Penrith and the Lake District
With a history that many believe goes back as early as 500 BC, Penrith is a charming small town near the northern border of the Lake District National Park. While the town makes the perfect entry point to the park’s northern most lakes, it’s well worth a visit in its own right for its medieval ruins, scenic views and historic buildings. Of course, when it comes to nature, the Lake District itself offers some of the best sights around, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.
Dating back to the end of the 14th century, the Penrith Castle, now in ruins, boasts a fascinating history. Initially built to help defend the town against Scottish raids in the north, the castle also housed royalty, such as King Richard III. A short distance away, are the ruins of Brougham Castle as well as Kirkoswald Castle. For a more intact castle, nearby Lowther Castle was rebuilt back in the 19th century and is surrounded by gardens within a 3000-acre park.
Other nearby sites worth visiting in and around the Lake District, include the Rydal Mount & Gardens, which was once the home of William Wordsworth, also surrounded by well-kept gardens. Levens Hall is a grand stately manner that was built during Elizabethan times and has been carefully conserved over the course of five centuries with authentic furniture and beautiful grounds.
The surrounding area of the Lake District is the perfect backdrop for a range of outdoor activities, whether it be riding a bike on the park’s countless routes, horseback riding or even just going for a walk. Of course bicyclists can bring their own ride, but those who’d prefer not to lug their own bicycle on the trip can also rent one. While walking is one of the most popular ways to spend a day in the park, it’s worth going to the visitor centre beforehand to pick up maps and guides, and take a recommended path to avoid getting lost or even join a guided walk for an informative tour of the area. If your feet are feeling particularly tired after a long day walking, the Lakeside Railway, at the southern end of Windermere, has magnificent views of Leven Valley.
Explore Edinburgh’s Cobbled Streets
While Paris is world renowned as the city of lights and is often seen as one of the world’s most romantic destinations, Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked that “Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be.” Brimming with the charm of a smaller medieval city, complete with enchanting old stone buildings, an impressive castle above the cityscape and frequent festivals.
High atop a hill, Edinburgh Castle is not only an architectural marvel but is an extremely important monument to Scottish history as a major military base during the 14th century wars of independence. Visitors can really travel back in time from the 14th to 17th of February as renaissance music can be heard on the castle grounds during this time. Nearby Holyrood Palace is the British royal family’s official residence in Scotland and features regal grounds to explore as well.
Those feeling particularly adventurous can scale Calton Hill for the best views of the city, and see some of the city’s grandest monuments, such as a partial replica of the Parthenon and the Scott Monument. The Scott Monument, dedicated to author Sir Walter Scott, is actually the largest monument ever constructed to honour a writer and is an important symbol to the city’s literary culture.
The Scottish capital has plenty of fun activities to choose from. See pandas and meercats at the Edinburgh Zoo or hike around the nearby Aruthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano right on the edge of the city’s centre. For rainy days, there’s plenty of fun to be had inside as well, such as the Scottish National Gallery, which houses one of the best fine art collections in the world. With its long and tumultuous history, of course Edinburgh has more than its fair share of ghost stories, and the city’s Ghost Walking Tour is said to be so frightening that children aren’t even allowed!
For a taste of the city’s culinary side, visit the Taste of Scotland experience and enjoy some traditional meals and famous Scottish whisky. For a night out, the Edinburgh Playhouse is a traditional theatre equipped with ornate decorations that are sure to wow anyone on a date and the Dominion Cinema is also a popular venue for moviegoers.
Nearby St. Andrews is also well worth a visit, with a particularly romantic ambiance amidst ancient ruins and the Northern Sea. The city is also the birthplace of golf, and has some of the country’s oldest courses, which visitors can stroll through and stop for a picnic on Sundays. While far too cold for swimming, the Northern Sea provides spectacular views for a stroll along the city’s beaches.