London in winter vs. London in summer + romantic places in England

It is freezing in Seoul. I definitely miss the weather in Istanbul and have been thinking about something I wrote (that I was glad I was in Istanbul during the winter, rather than the summer) and something I said (that we should only visit Europe in the winter to avoid summer crowds). The cold may change my mind though. I was in London for New Year’s and it was pretty cold (though not as bad as Seoul has been).

One other thing I remember is the expense of visiting London, which has to be worse in summer since that’s tourism season. Hotels in London were so expensive I ended up at a Korean B&B which I would later learn was operating illegally. But the site I link to above has some cheap options so I might just go legal next time. One of them is 33 GBP/night. Gotta wonder if they keep the place clean and the location but at that price…

Visit England.com suggests a few romantic getaways this winter, specifically how Prince William and Kate Middleton may choose to spend Valentine’s Day as they head closer to their royal wedding date. From hotels to horse-drawn carriage rides, it’s not only the royal couple that can enjoy their most romantic Valentine’s Day yet, as travelers to England can also benefit from an abundance of inspiring Valentine’s vacation ideas.

“Love is in the air as England prepares to host the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011” said James Berresford, CEO of VisitEngland. “William and Kate are sure to enjoy their first Valentine’s Day together as an engaged couple and we invite visitors to join in the excitement and to trace the footsteps of royalty this Valentine’s Day as romantic offerings span the length and breadth of the country.”

Derby, East Midlands

Possibly recommended by Her Majesty the Queen, since she dined at the property last year while attending the Royal Maundy Money Service at Derby Cathedral, the Cathedral Quarter Hotel blends the old character of a 19th century building with elegant contemporary features. Couples traveling to Derby should also make a point to visit the home of Royal Crown Derby where royal wedding commemorative items may be reserved.

Shropshire, Heart of England

Located in the historic town of Shropshire with a main manor house dating back to the 18th century, Hadley Park House Hotel and Restaurant may be an ideal choice for the Prince and his bride-to-be, who might wish to view the cozy venue before their wedding. To celebrate the occasion, the hotel is offering a free wedding reception to any couple with their namesake on April 29, 2011.

The Cotswolds, South West England

For a truly regal romantic stay, Lower Slaughter Manor stands aside a historic church in the heart of the fairytale Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter. A two-night stay at the country house offers a luxury suite complete with its own private garden, al fresco hot tub, a bottle of vintage Pink Champagne, bouquet of roses, handmade heart champagne truffles, his and hers luxurious personally monogrammed bathrobes, a Chauffeur driven tour of the Cotswolds and Valentine Lovers Tasting Menu, as well a bespoke diamond ring from Beards of Cheltenham. All of this is offered for the very “royal” price of £9,999 (approximately $15,569.)

Surrey and Windsor, South East England

In tribute to the romance between the late Queen Mother and King George VI and their chosen honeymoon destination, William and Kate may be inclined to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Polesden Lacey, a country estate designed to entice high society, with a notably stunning exterior and art collection, inviting gardens, and superb views across the rolling Surrey hills. A short drive away, at The Savill Garden, Windsor, romantic couples can enjoy a Valentine’s Day Horsedrawn Carriage Ride through Windsor Great Park in a cardinal red wedding carriage complete with weatherproof hood.

Norfolk, East of England

A visit to Norfolk would be a fitting choice for the happy couple, who are already very familiar with the area which is home to the Sandringham Estate, a much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty the Queen, and is where Prince William and Kate Middleton made their first public engagement together in December at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. The Victoria at Holkham offers romantic accommodation just steps away from the golden stretches of sand on the beach at Holkham, featured in the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

London, England

At The Halkin hotel in London, a sanctuary of discretion located in central London, the ‘Love at First Sight’ package available from February 11-14, includes a private appointment to view the ‘Love at First Sight’ collection by Mayfair-based fine jeweler Pomellato, plus Champagne, a dozen red roses and breakfast in bed. Romantic dining options are plentiful, such as Bluebird restaurant, noted as one of Kate’s favorite dining destinations, and Dans Le Noir – a place where the royal couple is rumored to enjoy romantic dinners since they are served in complete darkness, allowing the couple to dine anonymously. For after dinner cocktails, Mahiki, where drinks are made fresh from juices freshly squeezed on site, is popular among the rich and famous.

Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire

Located on the 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel & Spa offers some of the finest luxury accommodation in Yorkshire. Perfect for an unforgettable romantic getaway, the property’s two-night Valentine’s Day package includes half a bottle of Champagne in-bedroom on arrival, six red roses, hand-made chocolates and a full ‘Yorkshire breakfast’ as well as close proximity to the charming riverside, ideal for enjoying a romantic walk.

Lindisfarne North East England

Offering couples the chance to truly retreat on their own, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne provides a magical setting perfect for Valentine’s Day since the island is cut off from the Northumberland mainland twice a day by the tide and is accessible only by a causeway. Visitors can wander around the island, which has a population of just over 160, snuggle up in front of a warm fire in one of the island’s pubs, or take an evening stroll along the deserted beach, which looks across to the mainland and Bamburgh Castle. The Crown & Anchor is tucked away in a corner of the Market Square on the holy island of Lindisfarne and is the only locally run pub and hotel on the island, providing delicious home cooked meals and a relaxing and peaceful environment.

Lancashire, Northwest England

Renowned for its links with The Royal Family, from Her Majesty the Queen to Princess Diana, The Inn at Whitewall sits proudly above the River Hodder with breathtakingly beautiful views over some of Lancashire’s finest countryside, as if designed to be shared with someone special. The rural idyll is part of the Duchy of Lancaster owned by the Queen, who also holds the title Duke of Lancaster, and Her Majesty has voiced her love of the Trough of Bowland and desire to live there. Spending Valentine’s Day here would be simply enchanting, allowing the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of many notable guests who have been bewitched by the Inn and its history. Bedrooms at the property have recently been refurbished to an impeccable standard and the Inn is also well known for its tempting food and drink. With weak or non-existent cell phone reception, couples can enjoy complete peace and seclusion while focusing on each other.

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  1. Victorian says:

    If scenery doesn’t do it for you, then you have great cities near Manchester – York is wonderful, if slightly too full of tourists. Durham is gorgeous, although you may have to stay outside it for the most romantic hotel. Chester and Shrewsbury are also attractive.

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