It may not ooze pink hearts and red roses like the far-flung cities of love that dominate our social media feeds, but the UK has its own allure with an old-world countryside, blissful coastline and sexy capitals to boot.
Whether revelling in the natural beauty of constellations, waterfalls and botanical gardens or trying your hand at the art of chocolate making, you don’t have to travel far to find some seriously ‘ooh la la’ activities.
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Stroll the gardens at Stourhead
Lovebirds visiting the National Trust gardens at Stourhead can meander lakeside past classical temples, grottos and lush flora arm and arm. The enchanting 2,650 acres of Wiltshire countryside is home to landscaped lawns, Iron Age hillforts, a second-hand bookshop and an ice cream parlour, making it a dreamy date destination for spring.
Adult day tickets are £20 for non-National Trust members.
Turn up the heat with a couples cooking class
For a saucy evening mastering the art of nodi d’amore tortellini ‘love knots’, Pasta Evangelists London Pasta Academy allows you to enjoy all things pasta with your partner. There’s complimentary antipasti, unlimited champagne and aprons to channel your inner chef before you plate up and savour the delicate flavours of Valeggio sul Mincio, Verona.
Pasta Academy Bonhill Street San Valentino ‘Love Knot’ Masterclass costs £100pp
Taste the wines of Tillingham vineyard
Nestled in the Rye countryside, tours of Tillingham’s 70-acre vineyard and winery wows from its hilltop panoramas to its natural cult wines. This Valentine’s Day there are tastings and temptation tenfold at Tillingham, with an aphrodisiac-centric seven-course menu of oysters and salted truffles, glasses of fizz and double rooms with vineyard views.
Valentine’s Day Dinner for £70pp.
Go punting in Cambridge
Forget king of the canal and city of love Venice, private punts of the River Cam complete with a someone to propel you along the water, bottles of bubbly and picnic hampers rival the gondola for romantic river glides. Whether punting with a proposal in mind, cruising by candlelight or snuggling up to take in a historic tour of the waterways, this is one of the most coveted seats in Cambridge.
Private punting from £79 with Traditional Punting Company.
Spend the night in a fairy tale castle
Hidden in acres of Ayrshire woodland, Glenapp Castle offers a cosy castle stay punctuated with crystal chandeliers, bold four-poster beds in rich reds, and sprawling sea views. Start the day dining on full Scottish breakfasts and depart the oak-panelled halls for a Hebridean ‘sea safari’ hopping the headlands on romantic Glenapp weekends straight from a storybook.
Doubles from £323 per night.
Soak in the spas of Bath
Without a doubt, Bath’s spas are the city’s stars – and not just the Roman tepidariums drawing in the tourists. At Thermae Bath Spa – a natural thermal spa looking towards the city’s skyline – aroma steam rooms, hot stone massage treatments and an open-air rooftop pool for soaking in sure know how to host canoodling couples ready for some R&R.
Twilight spa package for two for £100.
Road trip the Cotswolds Romantic Road
This two-day round trip from Cheltenham through cobbled Cotswolds heavyweights from Broadway to Chipping Camden and Bourton-on-the-Water is dubbed the Romantic Road and iconic stops on and off the beaten track are built into the itinerary. Recruit your favourite passenger to take charge of directions and a playlist of love songs, and press down the pedal for chocolate-box communities built in honeyed stone, dreamy gardens, and afternoon teas made by the professionals.
Chase waterfalls in the Lake District
One of the UK’s most loved-up destinations, the Lake District is a haven for natural beauty, peerless views and boutique hotels that host honeymoon-quality long weekends. Pair that with trailing the dramatic waterfalls of Cumbria from Aira Force to Scale Force and Lodore Falls and you have a getaway that cascades bliss.
Roll through the Highlands on the Caledonian Sleeper
Scotland’s mythical Highlands have no shortage of breathtaking natural landscapes – and what better way to take them all in than on an overnight journey from London Euston? Undeniably, the Caledonian Sleeper train is a far cry from the opulence of the Orient Express, but with ensuite double berths, tumblers of whisky in the train’s Club Car and local cuisine from haggis and tatties to cheeseboards and shortbread – this isn’t a train ride you’ll be quick to forget.
Caledonian en-suite doubles from £410 shared.
Float over Bristol in a hot air balloon
Couples looking to rise above the ground in a propane-propelled wicker basket need not travel to Cappadocia to take part in the bucket list experience. Virgin, First Flight and Bailey Balloons float above the Clifton Suspension Bridge complete with flutes of fizz to celebrate once you land.
Scared of heights? Bristol’s August International Balloon Fiesta sees over 50 of the vibrant balloons ascend at dawn and dusk illuminating the sky to a radio soundtrack – it’s well worth the watch from below.
Virgin Balloon Flights from £169 per person.
Cosy up for a film at Electric Cinema
Evenings spent afront the silver screen are back and in Electric Cinema’s London screens, comfort is king. As new flicks edge towards the three or even four-hour mark, you’ll be grateful to recline on sofa-style seats, cradle a cocktail and wrap up in a cashmere blanket. Expect elegance, footstalls and traditional pick-n-mix on this elevated version of a retro date night.
Tickets from £15pp for non-members.
Stargaze in the Bannau Brycheiniog
Clear skies in Bannau Brycheiniog – Wales’s first international dark sky reserve – promise to put on a dazzling performance of otherworldly constellations and dancing meteor showers far from the glare of Cardiff ’s city lights. Check in to one of the fire-fueled cabins that dot the national park and train your telescope up to enjoy the familiar glow of the Plough and North Star with your partner.
Curb your chocolate cravings in York
What could be sweeter than a chocolate-centric date in the heart of York? Amid the city’s charming cobbles York’s Chocolate Story beckons with bespoke Valentine’s masterclasses to test your truffle rolling and chocolate tempering skills in intimate sessions, of course punctuated with delectable toppings and a generous dose of cocoa.
Tickets from £22.50pp.
Savour the sunset on a Cornish beach
Setting up on the sand oozes romance year-round and Cornwall’s golden swathes from Kynance Cove to Porthcurno Beach are built for hand-in-hand, salt-splashed strolls, finished off with a steaming pair of pasties and a thermos of gin. Watch the sun dip below the horizon in hues to orange and listen to the lull of the waves for the ultimate British beach picnic with your beloved.
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