York, with its cobbled streets and the smell of chocolate-making in the air is the ultimate city of romance. W.H. Auden, who was born in York on 21 February 1907 wrote “O’ Tell Me the Truth about Love” and here is where one can hear all about it. Novelists, past and present, have taken York and its evocative surroundings as inspiration for their work. Within a short drive of the city lie the romantic North York Moors where Emily Brontë penned her novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, the story of unrivalled love between Cathy and Heathcliff.
Majestic and imposing, York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. Did any building in Britain ever inspire such feelings from the heart as this architectural masterpiece? The Duke of Kent married Miss Katherine Worsley here in June 1961; this was the first Royal wedding in York Minster since King Edward III married Philippa of Hainault there in 1328.
Almost half of all wedding ceremonies that take place in York are for couples who do not live here. This could be due to the fact that York has previously appeared in The Independent newspaper’s 50 Best Places in the World to be Married. Civil weddings and partnerships in York take place in arguably some of the most romantic venues in the country – medieval guildhalls, unique attractions and stately homes. Nearly 1,000 civil weddings take place in York every year.
Railways are an important part of York’s heritage. The city boasts a beautiful, Victorian railway station – could there be a more slushy setting for farewells or reunions? York is also home to the world’s greatest Railway Museum. Here one can marry on the platform alongside beautifully restored royal carriages.
Two Love Lanes can be found in York, double the quota in most cities. One is behind The Mount, the other alongside the Ouse in Fulford. While idyllic gardens not only provide the perfect setting for one’s wedding pictures but be a perfect first date romantic walk location.
York is the home of chocolate, and what better way to say ‘I love you’ than with a handmade box of chocolates? One of the biggest collections of Valentine cards in the UK can also be found in the York Castle Museum. A thousand or more messages of love are in the archives – including possibly the oldest printed Valentine’s card in the world. This was published on 12 January 1797 by John Fairburn of 146 Minories, London.
Finally, according to the local superstition, kissing your partner below the West Window of York Minster will make you stay together forever. Beloved can look up at the window to see the heart-shape worked into the tracery, known as the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’.