You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth for a romantic day out. A bike ride or a walk on the National Cycle Network can provide the perfect backdrop for romance and adventure.
Whether you're after some first date inspiration or looking to spend some quality time with a loved one, we've rounded up some of the most romantic places on the National Cycle Network.
Please note that some of the routes in this guide include visits to areas which may be closed during lockdown. Please remember to follow Government guidelines and Covid restrictions wherever you are. Read our advice relating to Covid-19.
1. Watching the sunset - Burgh by Sands to the Solway Coast
Sunsets are synonymous with romance and the Burgh by Sands to the Solway Coast route is a picture-perfect setting to watch the sun go down.
The route travels through 24 miles of beautiful saltmarsh and farmland before arriving at beaches that have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Take a trip to Campfield Marsh, an RSPB nature reserve with 360-degree views of the Solway Plain, and soak in the scenery. Your hearts will be soaring with the birds.
2. Winter picnic - Ely to Wicken Fen
Starting in the historic city of Ely, the Ely to Wicken Fen route takes you from one of the UK's most impressive cathedrals to one of Europe's most important wetlands.
You'll travel across the gorgeous landscapes of the Cambridgeshire fens to Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, losing yourselves in the uncluttered setting and flowering meadows.
With a few spots to stop off along the way, this is the perfect route for a secluded - and romantic - picnic.
3. Explore your own secluded beach - Alnmouth to Druridge Bay
We tend to associate private and secluded beaches with the rich and famous, but our Alnmouth to Druridge Bay route is for everyone.
The route hugs the beautiful Northumberland coastline and ends up at the picturesque Druridge Bay. With seven miles of pristine dunes and sandy beaches to explore, you should be able to find a private spot to rest and relax in.
Druridge Bay plays host to the North East Skinny Dip each year. Held at dawn on the Sunday nearest the Autumnal Equinox, this would make a rather unique date idea - although perhaps a little too chilly for a Valentine’s Day dip.
4. Visiting a romantic castle - Cardiff to Castell Coch
We all dream of a fairytale romance, but did you know that you can find it in Wales?
Our Cardiff to Castell Coch route takes you to a 19th-century castle built on medieval remains.
Situated on a hillside surrounded by beech woodland, its conical turrets rising above the trees give it a beautifully romantic fairytale appearance.
With the majority of the route being on a traffic-free path from Bute Park in Cardiff, this is the perfect easy-going date.
5. Hiring a tandem for two - Worthing to Brighton
They say that teamwork makes the dream work, and hiring a tandem together is certainly a good way to test your relationship.
You can hire a tandem for two in Lancing on the South Coast before cycling from Worthing to Brighton.
The route takes you along the gorgeous Sussex coastline before arriving in the cultural melting pot that is Brighton.
Once in the city, you can join National Route 20 which takes you past the beautiful and ornate Royal Pavilion. And if it's open, you can enjoy arcade classics like two pence machines and dance mats on the Brighton Palace Pier.
6. A romantic weekend away - Devon Coast to Coast
How about a romantic break with stunning scenery and epic views?
The Devon Coast to Coast is the perfect weekend escape, combining the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with lush green valleys.
The route skirts around the western flank of Dartmoor, offering superb views of Cornwall and the surrounding area.
Largely tracing the course of former railway lines, you will be taken through tunnels and across breathtaking Victorian viaducts and bridges.
7. A romantic meal for two - Harby to Lincoln
This traffic-free route takes you from the village of Harby into the ancient city of Lincoln. It was first designed as a direct commuter route for local people, but it’s now regularly used by people wanting to walk and cycle away from traffic.
The route follows a dismantled railway line through the countryside to Skellingthorpe and on to Lincoln.
Be sure to stop off at the delightful Doddington Hall estate and garden during your travels.
The hall's restaurant is a firm favourite with locals as well as visitors from further afield. Offering delicious food in an atmospheric setting, it's the perfect place for a romantic meal for two.
National Route 7 takes you through mountains and past waterfalls, lochs and glens.
8. Adventurous couple day out - Callander to Killin
Are you a pair of thrill-seekers who love a challenge? Then the Callander to Killin route is the one for you.
Taking in some of the most stunning landscapes in Scotland, this route will take you past waterfalls, lochs, glens and heather-clad mountains.
The Falls of Leny is a particular highlight, with the crashing water sure to set your pulses racing.
This route is certainly not a frolic. With plenty of steep climbs and descents to conquer, it is not for the faint-hearted, but the results are worth it.
9. A romantic stroll or ride along the Thames - Route 4
The hustle and bustle of London may not be everyone's idea of romance, but the city does have its tranquil corners.
To the South West of the capital lies the borough of Kingston upon Thames. A quaint, leafy suburb, Kingston upon Thames is the perfect place to begin your lazy stroll along the River Thames to Hampton Court Palace using Route 4.
Join the route at Kingston Station and cross Horse Fair bridge. From here you can access a traffic-free path that will take you along the Thames to the jaw-dropping beauty of Hampton Court Palace.
The Palace was the home of Henry the VIII and is a fascinating insight into Tudor England. Explore the inside of this building, tour the beautiful gardens and get lost in the maze - or each other's eyes, if you'd prefer.