London - Romantics the world over have fallen out of love with Britain, a survey has revealed.

Nearly eight out of ten people questioned believe the UK is “too safe”, “too cerebral” and “too stuffy” to host a romantic visit.

The findings in the run-up to Valentine’s Day reveal tourists would rather spend time with the “alluring French” and the “passionate Italians”.

Researchers for Visit Britain – the public body meant to be boosting tourism to the UK – asked 20,000 people in 20 countries to choose one or more words they thought would best describe a trip to Britain.

The list of choices included “romantic”, “depressing”, “exciting” and “spiritual”. The findings showed that many considered a trip to the UK was all about the sights rather than emotional experiences.

Researchers said: “Sometimes Britain is referred to as being like a museum rather than a place that really provides the emotional connection visitors are looking for.”

It added: “Italy is seen to be passionate and exciting with good food and welcoming people. France is seen as sophisticated and romantic with a wealth of sensory experiences.”

The majority of the French polled (29 percent) chose “educational” as the best term to describe Britain, while only eight percent of Spanish respondents described Britain as romantic.

The Belgians put Germany narrowly ahead of the UK as a romantic destination. From countries further afield, we fared slightly better – with one in three Indians and 22 percent of Japanese considering us a romantic destination.

Romantic writers leapt to Britain’s defence. Kathy Lette, the Australian chick-lit writer, said: “There’s only one place where size does count – the brain. My British male friends are cultured and clever which makes them pretty damn attractive.” - Mail On Sunday