Love locks have a history that goes back to the First World War but the craze really started to take off in or around 2000. What is a love lock? A couple will purchase a padlock – normally of the common or garden variety – they scratch their initials on the surface of the lock and attach it to a public structure, bridges are very popular.
The key is then thrown away, symbolising that the lovers are forever locked together in their romance. What a lovely idea. The problem is though that this became so popular that many landmarks were defaced or in danger or structural damage. So today the practice is outlawed in many places. But for lovers who live in, or are visiting, the UK, love locks can still be used in one of England’s most magnificent stately homes, Beaulieu Palace House.
There are many reasons for visiting the house and the local area (including the National Motor Museum but that’s another story) but lovers will surely appreciate the Love Lock Tree the most.
In 2014 the heir presumptive to the Beaulieu estate, Jonathan Montagu, married photographer Nathalie Daoust in the gardens of the house. The couple commissioned the giant bonsai sculpture for their wedding day. They, and their guests, attached love locks to the tree to commemorate their day.
Three years later, the couple decided that other people should have the opportunity of joining in and now all visitors to the Beaulieu estate can do so – legally.
HOW TO FIND BEAULIEU
Beaulieu Palace House
New Forest National Park Hampshire,
Brockenhurst SO42 7ZN,
See how the love locks caused a problem for the Pont des Arts in Paris.