Our greatest love stories

Is there anything better than a dramatic love story? Many of the places we care for are brimming over with tales of romance and heartbreak, from medieval legends up to more recent decades. Which is your favourite?

View across the lake towards the turf amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden in Surrey

Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey 

Viewers of ITV's Victoria will have heard of Princess Charlotte, who was heir to the throne of England but whose tragic death meant that Victoria became queen instead. Claremont was given to Charlotte as a wedding present in 1816, and is where she spent some of her happiest days, walking hand in hand with her husband Prince Leopold.

Hughenden Manor

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire 

Disraeli’s wife, Mary Anne, trapped her finger in the carriage door on her way to accompany the Victorian Prime Minister on his way to an important speech. So as not to worry him or distract him from the job at hand, she kept quiet. Later, when Disraeli found out what she’d done, he had the carriage door removed and displayed on the wall as a sign of the strength of their love. You can see the door today in the servants' corridor when you visit the house at Hughenden.

The White Garden in summer at Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent 

Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson bought Sissinghurst in 1930 and dedicated the following years to making it their home. Although their open marriage meant that both embarked on various same-sex relationships over the years (including in Vita's case, Virginia Woolf), their letters to each other show the genuine and loving partnership that still existed between them.

Waddesdon Manor in the autumn

Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire 

You may not be able to escape to Paris this Valentine’s Day, but there’s still plenty of romance to be found at Waddesdon - a French Renaissance-style château set amid the scenic Buckinghamshire countryside. In 2016 a stash of papers was discovered during the refurbishment of the Five Arrows Hotel on the estate. These turned out to be a collection of 100 letters, sent by teenage First World War soldier to the landlord’s daughter, which had lain undisturbed for almost 100 years.

View of the east front of Avebury Manor, Wiltshire.

Avebury, Wiltshire 

The presentation of the Tudor bedroom in the Manor celebrates the marriage in the late 1590s of widowed Deborah Dunch and Sir James Mervyn, the High Sherriff of Wiltshire. The couple's initials are also present above the front porch.

Sir Henry and Lady Alda Hoare with their son, Henry on 4th October 1912 at Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead, Wiltshire 

Sir Henry Hoare was just 29 when he inherited Stourhead. He and his wife Alda devoted themselves to the care and repair of the house for just over 50 years, tragically dying within six hours of one another. Their only child was Harry, who was himself killed during the First World War.

Spectacular early morning rising sun across the parkland

Ickworth, Suffolk 

The Hervey family of Ickworth had a strong romantic streak. Many of the books in the library contain inscriptions of Sir Thomas and Isabella Hervey’s devotion to each other, and after she passed away he continued to write many poems in her honour. 200 years later Frederick Hervey and Theodora Wythes defied their family’s wishes to be together – the story goes that they fell in love whilst sharing a plate of macaroons.

View of the Hall shrouded by thick fog. Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk.

Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate 

If you look closely at one of the windows in the butler's pantry at Felbrigg, you might be able to make out the love poem etched into one of the panes of glass. Dating back to around 1735, it was authored by Benjamin Stillingfleet, William Windham II's tutor, in praise of Anne Barnes - a local beauty whom he was in love with.

The Studio with equipment at The Hardmans' House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool.

The Hardmans' House, Liverpool 

Renowned portrait and landscape photographer, Edward Chambré Hardman lived and worked at 59 Rodney Street for 40 years. Although Edward was the better-known half of the couple, his wife Margaret was a gifted photographer in her own right. Acknowledged as the brains behind the business, he often said that he 'could not have done it without her'. They made the perfect match. She was sparky; he was quiet. Their shared passion for photography drove the business and gave them many happy years together.

Hill Top house with woods and fells in the background, Cumbria

Hill Top, Lake District 

Probably the most iconic of all places associated with Beatrix Potter, Hill Top was one of the first places she bought in the Lake District, and it became her writing retreat. The purchase inspired her to acquire more local farms to protect them from development – which led her to the offices of local solicitor William Heelis. This initial meeting eventually led to their marriage in 1913, and they lived together at nearby Castle Cottage for 30 happy years.

Gelert's stone monument in Beddgelert

Craflwyn and Beddgelert, Gwynedd 

Not quite a traditional love story - more of a tragedy that occurred because of love. Llywelyn the Great killed his favourite hound Gelert because he mistakenly thought the dog had harmed his baby, which had in fact been killed by a wolf.

Visitors sat outside the cafe

Erddig, Wrexham  

Thought to be one of Britain’s finest houses, this 18th-century country house is set in a romantic landscape park. The tale of ‘life below stairs’ is captured beautifully at Erddig, with the story of Lucy Hitchman and Ernest Jones, who worked there just before the First World War. They fell in love and took strolls around the park on their afternoons off. Today you can retrace their footsteps on the ‘romantic walk’; an easy, one-mile walk with plenty of kissing gates for that extra sprinkle of romance.