IT may not have provided the setting for one of British TV’s most unforgettable romantic moments - but Lincolnshire has provided locations for bringing Jane Austen’s romance Pride and Prejudice to the big and small screen.
Colin Firth’s interpretation of Mr Darcy and his appearance in a wet shirt when Mr Darcy unexpectedly met Lizzie Bennet at Pemberley in the BBC’s 1995 television series created a scene never to be forgotten.
It was a series which used a host of British locations including Belton House in Grantham which became Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s estate, Rosings, with Lady Catherine played by Barbara Leigh-Hunt.
Meanwhile in 2005 for the film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, Lady Catherine’s home was a transformed Burghley House in Stamford and this time Lady Catherine was played by Dame Judi Dench.
In this film, St George’s Square in Stamford became the village of Meryton for Jane Austen’s story still loved by romantics today.
The love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was also dramatised in recent years with Lincoln Cathedral being the backdrop for the young queen’s coronation
And of course there are many literary connections to Lincoln and St Valentine’s Day. Alfred Tennyson, who was poet laureate after William Wordsworth, was born in Somersby and his statue sits outside the city's cathedral.
Don’t forget too Lincoln Green and its association with Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest – the dyers of Lincoln produced the colour by dyeing it with woad and then dyeing it with weld.
The first recorded association of St Valentine’s Day with romantic love was in Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules in 1382.
Nowadays, of course, instead of handwritten love notes, greeting cards are sent featuring hearts and cupid’s arrow among other illustrations.
With Lincolnshire boasting literally something for everyone’s dreams from life in a city to rolling countryside to beaches, history and heritage, we’ve picked out 10 places to enjoy a romantic meal with a loved one....
1. Café Zoot
A privately owned business opened in 2000 in the heart of historic Lincoln. Extended upstairs in 2005 and refurbished in 2009. Open daily from 9am catering for a range of functions from Champagne breakfast to business meeting.
2. Pomodoro E Basilico
A sumptuous name for this Italian restaurant which replaced Chillies on Guildhall Street in 2007. It describes itself: "Serving Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere makes this restaurant ideal for Romantic meals, Parties or a business lunch."
3. The Old Bakery Restaurant
A multi-award winning eatery with 4 star Silver and 2 AA Rosettes. Close to Lincoln Cathedral and Castle in the historic Cathedral Quarter. It has recently opened a deli with daily made breads and pastas along with stocking fresh fish and Lincolnshire vegetables.
4. The Jews House Restaurant
Thought to be the oldest dwelling house in Europe dating back to 1150 and its history is full of rumours and legends. But it states online: “What is known is that by 1150 Lincoln was not merely one of the wealthiest towns in England, it was the third most important city, after London and York, and home to one of the five most important Jewish communities in England. At the time the Jews House would have been one of the largest and most luxurious dwellings in the area”. And today it houses a restaurant and promises: “our aim is quite simple: To give you an experience you remember for its remarkable flavours and polished, attentive service.”
5. Browns Restaurant & Pie Shop
Featured in Hardens UK Restaurant Guide in 2006, this is a family run business owned by Allan Gill and his wife Chris. Using quality local produced food, it promises something for every taste.
Part of a chain promising it will ‘bring the heart of Mexico to your table’. The emphasis is on traditional Mexican food plus beer and cocktail lists. And don’t you just love the name?
7. Gabby's Greek Restaurant
An authentic Greek restaurant owned and run by Greeks offering Greek and Cypriot food. They say: “We don’t believe in tinned or preserved food, all our dishes are freshly prepared using the finest ingredients and cooked to perfection using the recipes and methods of the regions they originate from. We don’t sell any food that we wouldn’t be completely happy to serve at home and would never expect our customers to eat anything that was less than genuine home-style food.”
8. The Barge on the Brayford
All aboard this floating restaurant to dine in the sunshine or under the stars. Enjoy the marina views and tuck in to the fish, shellfish, chicken, steak and game specialities.
9. Alexanders, Lincoln
Describes itself as ‘an independently owned restaurant, café bar with a big city look. Thoroughly modern in its chic appearance with, lots of glass, steel and comfy red settees’. Emphasis on local fresh and seasonal produce. Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire Restaurant of the Year 2010/11.
10. Castlegate Indian Restaurant
Can be found in the historic Uphill area of Lincoln and directly beneath the West gate of Lincoln Hill. It provides vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to suit all tastes using fresh produce, meats and freshly ground spices.