RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Romance is alive in Shakespeare’s England

17th January 2014 Print
hand fasting

Treat your loved one to a romantic break in Shakespeare’s England. Book into a luxury country house hotel, enjoy champagne teas, sonnets and love scenes, wander around snowdrop gardens, row along the River Avon with your own private gondola, explore museums, art galleries and country parks, stroll arm-in-arm in the picturesque streets or simply relax over a romantic dinner in one of the areas beautiful and historic buildings.

Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the most romantic of all the Shakespeare houses and where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride. With beautiful blooms, peaceful orchards and a woodland walk, the stunning cottage gardens offer the perfect place to declare love or even propose! Visitors can take part in a hand-fasting ceremony on Saturday 15 January. Couples are invited to take part in the Tudor version of the ancient rite of betrothal, which involves binding their clasped hands together with cord to signify their commitment, then loosening the ties, as love alone binds them. Couples tying the knot will receive a pot of snowdrops, symbolic of love with their heart shaped markings.

Shakespeare Aloud, the resident acting troupe, are delighted to perform special scenes or sonnets on request and regularly help set the scene for many a proposal in Shakespeare’s Birthplace gardens. Visitors to the Birthplace over Valentine’s weekend will be invited to perform an extract from Romeo and Juliet, either as a pair or alongside one of the in-house actors. The performance will be videoed and a selection will be uploaded to the blog, ‘Living Shakespeare’. The public will then vote for their favourite and the star/s with the most votes will receive a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets!

Kenilworth Castle is the setting of one of history's most enduring love stories, that of Queen Elizabeth I and Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester who has claimed his place in history as the only man to win her heart. Explore the fairytale setting of the ruins, stroll around the re-created Elizabethan Garden as Elizabeth would have done 400 years ago. The Castle is open from the 15 – 23 February and then from the 1 April through to the summer. From the summer, the Castle is opening viewing platforms within the ruins so visitors can walk up into the building where Elizabeth would have stayed. From 3 - 5 May, enjoy an Elizabethan weekend to recreate the Queen’s arrival at Kenilworth with song, theatre, entertainment and the chance to witness the clash of swords as soldiers compete to impress their Queen.

One of the most romantic experiences of a visit to Shakespeare’s England is the chance to take a leisurely boat trip down the River Avon. The area is blessed by its connection with some of the most enchanting river and canal side countryside in the country. Hire your own boat to cruise down the River or let someone else take the strain and guide you down the rivers and canals with Bancroft cruisers, Avon Boating and the Countess of Evesham.

Another romantic place to visit is Hill Close Gardens and its Victorian summerhouses looking over Warwick racecourse. The gardens are open every weekday from 11am - 4pm and there are special snowdrop weekends from 15 - 16 February and 22 February when visitors can see over 80 different varieties plus enjoy light refreshments and plant sales.

Wanting somewhere romantic to pop the question, then visit the UKs largest butterfly paradise at the Stratford Butterfly Farm. Walk with your loved one through a tropical paradise with hundreds of stunning butterflies flying around. As the days get longer, butterflies start to feel amorous and mate once again. They practice a courtship routine before mating to discover the suitability of the potential mate, similar to humans! The gift shop also boasts a stunning selection of jewellery, perfect for that special Valentines gift.

Visit Ragley Hall, the family home of the 9th Marquess and Marchioness of Hertford, for a ‘Snowdrops & Winter Garden’ open day on the 26 & 27 February. Meet the Head Gardener and admire large swathes of Galanthus nivalis which frame the Winter Garden featuring over 70 varieties of snowdrops. The event costs just £5 per person including access to the Gardens and Café or an additional £2 per person for a guided tour of the state rooms.

The 2014 season opens on the 15 February at Compton Verney, the perfect place for couples to visit over Valentines. Visit the Henry Moore/Auguste Rodin exhibition which includes 11 monumental sculptures in the grounds, one of which is a beautiful arch by Henry Moore overlooking the lake and a great location for a proposal. Enjoy a romantic lunch or afternoon tea in the waitress serviced café. Anyone that proposes can book their wedding at Compton Verney. Couples visiting that are already married can have a blessing in the rare Capability Brown chapel or the splendour of the Adam Hall.

Spend the day at Mill Dene Gardens at Blockley and enjoy cream teas by the millpond, plant sales and an unusual garden created over the years by the owner. In the 2.5-acre garden there’s a stream with a grotto, a cricket lawn with tiny pavilion and a herb garden which has the Church as a backdrop.

Enjoy a delicious Valentine’s dinner in the Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which boasts stunning panoramic views of Shakespeare's home town. The meal includes 3 courses with coffee/tea, petit fours and a glass of award-winning Berry’s United Kingdom Cuvee, Grand Cru on arrival for £60 per couple. Available on the 13, 14 and 15 February from 7:30pm – 8pm.

Take part in a unique evening of entertainment and hearty food in Warwick Castle's Great Hall. Enjoy a 3 course supper with a spell-binding story of romance and intrigue set in the 18th Century. Cost is £78 per person and includes a drink in the Georgian Coach House, supper, unlimited lager, wine and soft drinks and live Georgian entertainment. From 8 - 23 February, become part of 1000 years of history by proposing to your partner. The exquisite Blue Boudoir is the perfect setting to propose. The package, based on 2 guests, costs £125 per couple and includes a reserved area for popping the question, bottle of champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries, red rose and two daytime admission tickets.

“Afternoon tea” was invented by Anna Maria, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. Sample this traditional cream tea at the Hathaway Tea Rooms with home-made scones served with ‘Tiptree’ Strawberry Conserve, Jersey Clotted Cream & Tea or Coffee for £6.25.

Experience a special romantic break at the Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club on the 13 February for £137.50 per person or on the 14 or 15 February for £149.50 per person. The package includes a 4-course dinner in the award winning restaurant, glass of champagne, overnight stay, a red rose for the lady, full English breakfast and use of the luxury Spa (treatments are an extra charge). Upgraded rooms available from £20.

Enjoy a one or two night special romantic break at the Stratford Manor. The one night break costs from £165 per room and includes breakfast in bed, bottle of Champagne, box of chocolates, 3-course evening meal, fluffy bathrobes and a £10 spa voucher to redeem on pre-booked spa treatments worth over £30. The two night break costs from £280 per room.

Experience a ‘Celebration Spa Break’ at the Macdonald Alveston Manor in Stratford-upon-Avon. The break includes overnight accommodation, full English breakfast, use of robes & slippers, a bottle of bubbly on arrival, 3-course dinner and 2 x 30 minute Spa treatments per guest. Price costs from £125 per person, per night sharing.

Dine at the Mallory Court Hotel from Friday 14 February - Saturday 15 February. Share a romantic 4-course meal in the chic Brasserie with coffee and a glass of Prosecco. Cost is £29.50 per person for lunch and £45 per person for dinner. Alternatively treat someone special to a 4-course fine dining experience with a glass of Champagne to remember at the main house on Valentine’s Day. Cost is £45 per person for lunch or £75 per person for dinner.

Enjoy a romantic getaway at The Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden with an overnight stay, flowers and chocolates on arrival, a bottle of bubbly, 3-course dinner and breakfast the following morning. From £199 for a standard room. Available Sunday - Friday. subject to availability. Or enjoy an indulgent St Valentines Dinner including a candle lit 4-course dinner, Champagne cocktail and gift for £37.50 per person

Visit The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon on Friday 14 February for a special Valentine’s dinner with options of sharing dishes. Includes a glass of pink fizz on arrival. Cost is £37.50 per person. Or stay overnight from £300 per room including Champagne, flowers and chocolates and a special Valentine Day menu and complimentary upgrade.

Enjoy a romantic break at the Ettington Park Hotel on the 14 & 15 February at Ettington Park with a glass of Champagne followed by a 5-course gourmet dinner. Arrive from 3pm, relax and unwind by the pool or take a stroll in the grounds together, before a romantic candle-lit dinner. Spend the night in a luxurious bedroom and depart the following morning after a full, traditional breakfast. The cost is £249 per couple per night.

Or a one night party Valentine break at the Ardencote Manor Hotel for £149 per couple which includes pre-dinner drinks available to purchase in the Cocktail Bar from 7pm, a 3-course dinner, entertainment during dinner, disco until 1am, accommodation in a twin/double room, full English breakfast, full use of the leisure facilities and a 10% discount on pre-booked Spa treatments.

For more information and holiday ideas in Shakespeare’s England, visit the official website at

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

hand fasting