Why do I still recall a romantic stroll back from a school dance when I was 17? I remember the balmy night; my blond and blue-eyed companion; chaste kisses and walking hand in hand along the road. I have to confess that I remember little about the walk itself but the event was magical.
Walking with a loved one (new or old) is a perfect opportunity to chat, to learn about each other, to discuss, to plan and to dream and if the right ingredients are there, you may just remember it forever.
Romantic walks don’t tend to be fast paced, they’re more leisurely to encourage discussion and the chance to explore what’s around you or in some cases, just to gaze at each other.
I have been blessed to walk along frozen canals in the winter in Sweden and go sightseeing in the beauty of Budapest. I love to walk when it’s cold and frosty with blue skies and sunshine and I can see my breath in the air.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Valentine’s Day falls in winter and winter weather provides us with a great excuse, if you needed one, to cuddle up together as we walk and to find somewhere warm and cosy to stop for a drink or something to eat. And don’t forget that most walking costs very little or nothing at all. Think of all that lovely cosy gear too, all those soft fleecy tops and scarves; wonderful knitwear especially cashmere. Something for every budget so you can wrap yourself up from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.
However, romantic walks don’t have to happen just around Valentines or in winter. Get inventive and bring romantic gestures into your walks no matter where or when.
Some of my favourite walking is in and around London and there’s very little of it that doesn’t qualify for being romantic too. I find that true of so many cities, so much to see and to charm.
I walk in all seasons in Epping Forest where the forest is always beautiful. Sometimes the magical ingredient is there when it’s draped in it’s mantle of white – just think how much fun you can have sledging and having snowball fights with your loved one. There are the tea huts for that warming drink and numerous pubs around for a hearty lunch – well when we are not in a pandemic that is.
In a month or two, the same forest will be carpeted with bluebells and that scent will permeate throughout. Then in summer go for a walk and take a picnic. You can feed each other grapes in the shade of the large beech trees, hardly daring to believe you are so close to hustle and bustle of a city. Then when it’s my favourite walking time, enjoy the stunning colours of autumn and kick around in the leaves.
In many cities don’t forget the parks where you can walk together and enjoy the flowers and lakes, where you can people watch or just have eyes for each other. Canals, rivers and the more you explore the more favourite shared spots you will find.
For me the best way to get to know a city is to walk, so perhaps you want to plan one of these;
In Amsterdam, go walking hand in hand by the canals and enjoy the incredible old houses and many house boats. Explore Monaco with a stroll through the narrow streets of the Old City and walk above the harbour on either side of Palais Princier. You can stroll up the Via Sacra in Rome, perfect on a warm summer’s night, as you walk up this large stoned road just off the Coliseum, and continue as it twirls up the Palatinum hill. There’s hardly anyone else about and yet you are in the middle of ancient Rome, now that’s romantic.
And further a field what about Twin Peaks in San Francisco on a very warm day with no fog so you can share the views. If not so good, I’m told a walk up and down Belden Lane and a stop in the outdoor cafes for a glass of wine is to be recommended. Again when you can, plans for the future.
In Sydney, I’ve enjoyed a walk from Bondi beach to Coogee where you pass 4 beaches and the food and drink stops are plentiful and I’ve also sampled walks in Central Park in NYC and along the High Line or what about Vancouver’s Stanley park or along the waterfront.
Treks can be romantic too although not so leisurely but just imagine how romantic it would be to catch that first view of Macchu Picchu with the one you love or to walk along the Great Wall of China.
Choose long golden beaches, rocky coves, forests, canal tow paths and river banks, city streets, undulating hills and get out there. Have fun and be open to learning and loving.
And finally back to London and to the Thames. Another of my favourite walks, so many routes along the entire length of it from mouth to sea. A walk here offers lots of romance and much more whatever time of the day (or night).
Wordsworth captures it in his sonnet ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge’
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
What could be more romantic?
Let me know what your most favourite romantic walk is.
If you are feeling short on Inspiration as you plan for the future get yourself a copy of our Walking Toolkit, that will keep you busy planning not only for your loved ones but various groups and combinations.