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Leafy woodlands, shimmering coastlines, picture-perfect pastoral scenery… romance is a much a part of the Dorset landscape as the hills and fields themselves.

We’ve brought together five of the most unique and romantic things to do in this glorious county to treat your special someone. We can already feel l’amour!

1. Gaze at the stars above in Cranbourne Chase

This stunning AONB stretches for hundreds of square miles across four counties and is a location that exudes natural romance. Made up of chalk grasslands, ancient woods, hills and river valleys, it is an enchanted place where the quintessential peace and beauty of Dorset has existed uninterrupted for centuries.

Recent satellite mapping of light pollution in England has revealed Cranbourne Chase as one of the darkest places in the whole of the country, making it an ideal spot to stargaze together (if you can take your eyes off each other, that is).

For a dreamy, starlit adventure, lay a blanket down beside the ancient ruins of Knowlton Church, which sits amid a ring of Neolithic ritual earthworks in the midst of the Chase, and cuddle up to gaze at the wonders of the cosmos glittering far above.

2. While away the hours in the Gardens of Athelhampton House

Athelhampton House is a superb 15th-century manor just a few miles outside the city of Dorchester. As well as offering guests a glimpse of the past with its majestic interiors, the house’s grounds are home to an array of beautiful gardens brimming with beauty and tranquil charm.

The father of renowned local author, Thomas Hardy, worked on the house as a stonemason and Thomas himself spent much time here throughout his life. This wonderful location even inspired several poems, and the gardens and river actually feature in his short story, ‘The Waiting Supper’.

Wander through the elegant and leafy gardens together and you’ll soon feel as though you’ve been transported into the pages of a romance novel.

3. Watch the sunset from Hambledon Hill

One of Dorset’s most iconic locations, the Iron Age fort of Hambledon Hill rises up over the timeless landscape of the leafy Blackmore Vale. This dramatic landmark is home to nearly 30 species of butterfly and offers up some truly spectacular views across the vale to neighbouring counties. A sunset seen from here is really something to behold.

Spend a sunny afternoon admiring the views over a romantic picnic for two, before watching the sun sink in the red-streaked western sky.  You’d need to have a few cupids flitting about, to make this scene any more romantic than it already is.

4. Drift through the clouds on a champagne balloon ride

They say love knows no bounds – and neither should you. Why stay earthbound, when you can take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride you’ll remember forever?

Choosing either dusk or dawn, you rise upwards through the shimmering twilight to admire the magnificence of the Devon landscape and celebrate the occasion with a champagne toast.

5. Let love grow, over a romantic meal at Arbor

Tucked away on an unassuming side street close to the seafront in Bournemouth, Arbor is an exceptional dining experience that ticks every box. As well as a stylish, modern décor and reputation for phenomenal service, this superb restaurant boasts two AA Rosettes and has a committed approach to sustainability and sourcing organic, local produce from passionate artisan suppliers.

Sip a delicious cocktail in the stylish Green House bar (how many other bars do you know that have honey-producing beehives on the roof?), before moving into the restaurant that centres around the gargantuan tree sculpture that gives the venue its name to tuck into a mouth-watering à la carte meal.

The food here has received deservedly rave reviews – we’d particularly recommend the Roast Lamb Rump and Slow-Cooked Breast with Confit Onion Mash and Pea Purée, though we certainly wouldn’t say no to the Chef’s Seafood Plate either… or anything else on the menu for that matter!

A romantic meal here will earn you plenty of brownie points.

Looking for a romantic cottage getaway in this beautiful part of the world? Our cottages in Dorset are perfect for feeling all that love in the air.

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