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Who Said the English Aren’t Romantic?

  • Poet Bridget Minamore writes love poem for the nation, celebrating the buildings and places where England falls in love
  • New YouGov poll shows castles, promenades and piers are considered the most romantic places but we are still most likely to have proposed or been proposed to in the living room
  • Almost half of us have had a first date in a pub
  • 1 in 7 of us had our first kiss in a public park

Historic England is celebrating the everyday places where people find love this Valentine’s Day.

England’s historic environment is the backdrop to all our lives, and places are transformed when they become the site of a first date or declaration of love.

Poet and spoken word artist Bridget Minamore has created an ode to love in England’s historic places for Historic England. From England, With Love celebrates the commonplace and unusual buildings that act as witnesses to first kisses, public commitments and quiet companionship.

Pub dates and park kisses

Polling conducted by YouGov on behalf of Historic England reveals that nearly one in five of us think of castles (18%), seaside piers and promenades (18%) as England’s most romantic places. Yet it is our living rooms that are the most common locations for proposals, with one in seven of us (15%) having proposed or been proposed to there. Sadly, England’s kitchens and living rooms are also the top place for getting dumped (20%).

England’s watering holes are the most selected setting for a first date, with almost half of us (49%) having had a first date in a pub, closely followed by cinemas and theatres (38%). We are also most likely to meet a partner for the first time in the pub (38%) and head outside for a kiss; one in seven of us had our first kiss in a public park (14%).

Two glasses of beer on a pub table
Almost half of us have had a first date in a pub © Historic England

Poet Bridget Minamore said, "The historic environment is precious and very romantic, and it’s out there for us all to enjoy.

Doing this project has really made me consider what it is that makes these places special to me and why others appreciate them too. I'd like to hope that from now on I'll be a lot more aware of the buildings and the spaces around me and the history behind them.”

 

Celia Richardson, Director of Communications at Historic England, said: “From historic pubs to listed seaside shelters, from the club under the railway arches to the Victorian park, our research shows just how closely England’s places are tied to our own personal histories.

It can be no surprise that pubs and public parks are the places England falls in and out of love – they are so central to our lives.

The historic environment is precious and very romantic, and it’s out there for us all to enjoy. We hope this poetry and the film accompanying it will spark memories in people, and get them to go out and visit the places they love and remember, or even inspire them to get out and make new memories."

Grade II listed Peveril of the Peak pub, Chepstow Street, Manchester.
Grade II listed Peveril of the Peak pub, Chepstow Street, Manchester. © Historic England

Across England

People in Yorkshire and the Humber seem to have had the most luck looking for love whilst propping up the bar, with 45% saying they have met a partner for the first time in a pub.

Living rooms and kitchens are where most people in the East Midlands had their first kiss.

People in the East Midlands find seaside heritage more romantic than those in the North West; 24% of people surveyed in the East Midlands consider piers and promenades to be the most romantic type of place as opposed to just 8% of those in the North West.

After castles (18%) and seaside piers and promenades (24%), 12% of people in the East Midlands find hotels the most romantic type of place, whilst only 6% of neighbouring West Midlands residents agreed.

YouGov poll information

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2038 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20 - 23 January 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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