Reach for the stars #1
When you wish upon a star… don’t you wish they weren’t hidden by the sodium-orange glow of street-lighting? There are just 21 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world – and two of them are in Wales: Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons) and Eryri (Snowdonia) National Parks, where they strictly control light pollution. There are many Dark Sky Discovery Sites too, so you'll be sure to find a dark sky location. So imagine you and your beloved beneath inky-black skies, and all the stars, planets, galaxies and meteor showers are twinkling in their full glory, just like the diamond ring that’s safely stowed in your inside jacket pocket, next to your thumping heart.
Reach for the stars #2
There are many romantic places to eat including one of the Michelin star restaurants in Wales. All the restaurants with the coveted gong are equally fabulous, in their own unique ways. One thing they have in common is that they all make dazzling use of the best local Welsh ingredients, cooked with panache and love. The final ingredient is you, a table à deux, some candlelight, and perhaps a friendly waiter/waitress who’s been briefed to slip an engagement ring among the petits fours.
The most romantic spot in Wales?
Llanddwyn Island, without a doubt. St Dwynwen is our patron saint of lovers, whose day we celebrate on 25 January. She was a fourth century Welsh princess who set up a nunnery on this little peninsula, which has two lighthouses, a ruined chapel, several magical springs and wells, and amazing views across the Menai Strait to Eryri (Snowdonia). There's plenty to do on a romantic trip to Anglesey, with a good choice of accommodation on this beautiful island. Does it get any more romantic? That’s a rhetorical question. No, is the answer. The answer to your proposal, on the other hand: yes.
Submit your proposal in writing
You will need to do the following:
- Book a cottage close to the coast (there are lots here - the northern coasts of Pembrokeshire or the Llŷn Peninsula are especially suitable)
- Check the tide times
- Get hold of a garden rake
Sneak down to the beach and write marry me in the sand. Wait for a ‘yes’. Spend the next decade basking in glory as all your betrothed’s friends loudly wish that their partners were half as romantic as you are.
From here to eternity
Nothing stirs the heart like a stunning view. So what you’ll need is a quiet hilltop from which the landscape stretches out forever. The Sugarloaf near Abergavenny, Carn Ingli (Angel Mountain) in Pembrokeshire, Yr Eifl on the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula, Picws Du in Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons), Llynnau Cregennen or Moel Siabod in Eryri (Snowdonia)...these aren’t our most famous peaks, and there are hundreds more mountain ranges to choose from. But if you stick to the lesser known ones, there’s a good chance you’ll have the view to yourselves (apart from the odd sheep, so check for poo before you go down on one knee).
A flying start to marriage
What better place to pop the question than the basket of a hot air balloon, soaring above the stunning Wye Valley? Flights regularly take off from Llanarth. Drift over Tintern Abbey, which is the most picturesque of ruins, in the loveliest setting. Come to think of it, Tintern Abbey was ruined as a direct result of Henry VIII’s marital problems, but let’s gloss over that. Instead, let’s celebrate with a glass of post-proposal bubbly at one of Monmouthshire’s many splendid restaurants and gastropubs. You'll feel like to taking to the air when you get a yes.
A band of Welsh gold
The royal family has worn wedding rings of rare Welsh gold since the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s marriage to King George VI in 1923. More recently, William and Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, and Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have all be adorned with Welsh gold wedding rings.
You can try panning for gold at Dolaucothi in Carmarthenshire, where the National Trust has restored mines that were first exploited on a grand scale by the Romans. It’s quite hard to find more than a few specks so, just in case, bring your own Welsh gold ring. Buy one from the Rhiannon Centre or get a wedding ring crafted at the Corris Craft Centre. You can pretend you just found it there, under that rock. We won’t tell anyone.
Book a romantic trip for two
Book a place to stay for just the two of you, or possibly three, if you have a dog. Enjoy a romantic getaway, with romantic breaks on a budget, luxury breaks, stays in a castle and quirky places to stay. Take a romantic summer break in Wales or make that all important occasion special with a couple's spa break.
Get a prenuptial agreement
Okay, it doesn’t sound very romantic, but bear with us. The Laws of Hywel Dda (‘Hywel the Good’, a 10th century Welsh king) were the most enlightened in the medieval world, especially in their equal treatment of women, who were entitled to half of everything. Hywel’s HQ was beautiful Dinefwr Castle, whose ramparts offer stunning sunset views down the Tywi Valley. What better place to begin a union of true equals? There are many other romantic ruins to explore too.
I want to take you on a slow boat
There are a number of trips to float your boat, including to Skomer. Early summer is the perfect time to visit this beautiful island, set in azure seas off the Pembrokeshire coastline. Take a picnic and a blanket, climb to some dreamy clifftop, sit among carpets of wild flowers, watch porpoises and dolphins cavort in the waters below, and be inspired by nature at the peak of the mating season. It’ll just be the two of you and around 20,000 puffins and 240,000 Manx shearwaters.