Love is in the air (everywhere I look around)… Yes, Valentine’s Day is here again. And if you want to treat your loved one to something other than flowers and chocolates, you’re in luck.
The UK is packed with passion-filled places to stir up that lovey-dovey feeling, from watching the sunset over the Yorkshire moors to indulging in artisan chocolates in London. So, whether you’re celebrating a diamond wedding anniversary or if it’s your first date, here are 14 of the best places in the UK to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
A romantic stay in the Cairngorms wouldn’t be complete without a delectable dining experience at The Mountain Café in Aviemore. The café has stunning views of the Scottish countryside from the first floor, so its scenic setting might inspire a love poem or two. When you dive into their sumptuous selection of cakes and pastries, it will come as no surprise that the café has numerous awards including “Best Café in Scotland” at the 2014 Scottish Baking Awards. Book a romantic break in Aviemore
If you’re looking for a way to break the ice on a first date or want to impress your other half with something a little different, head to Ten Green Bottles for an evening of wine tasting. Learn about wines from all over the world in a fun and relaxed way while you sip on a fruity merlot or maybe a smooth Sauvignon Blanc. And if you get peckish, why not share a charcuterie plate or a cheese board? Set your taste buds alight with a stay in Brighton
More than half a century ago, revered British architect Sir John Soane built a beautiful townhouse on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. Soane shared his home with his huge collection of antiques, artworks (some by Turner and Canaletto) and over 30,000 architectural drawings. This quiet and unassuming museum is ideal for a romantic evening spent admiring the curiosities. There’s even a special late opening on 12 February where you and yours can wander through the museum while listening to musicians perform classic love songs. There’ll be cocktails on offer too if you’re suffering from a case of first-date jitters. Enjoy a night at the museum with a Valentine’s weekend in London
This next idea takes the classic Valentine’s gift of a box of chocolates to a whole new level. Take a chocolate-themed tour of Mayfair, Chelsea and more as your friendly guide shares their knowledge of the production and history of chocolate in the area. You’ll be able to tuck into all kinds of chocolates en route, from traditional English fondants to some more unusual creations containing beer, spices and even cheese! Walking hand in hand with your sweetheart sipping a hot chocolate is sure to get those endorphins flowing this Valentine’s Day. Treat your other half to a loved up stay in London
The spectacular York Minster cathedral is just too beautiful to miss. It’s the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe so there’s plenty to admire. The diverse collection of historic stained glass is fascinating in itself and the grand architectural feats on show will send shivers down your spine. And for breathtaking views of York and the surrounding Yorkshire countryside, take your date to the top of the central tower. What could be more romantic than gazing out over the horizon together? Valentine’s Day breaks in York
If you enjoyed your date at York Minster, why not keep the conversation flowing over dinner? Situated just two minutes away, Lime House Restaurant’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere will make you both feel at ease. The restaurant has won many awards, such as a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and has been featured in multiple TV shows. So whether you opt for the pan-fried pigeon breast, savoury baked crab or goat’s cheese and Mediterranean vegetables, you’re sure to find a culinary delight that will impress your sweetheart. Romantic holiday rentals in York
A refreshing dip in the mineral-rich waters of the New Royal Bath is an excellent way to treat your significant other this Valentine’s. The rooftop pool has amazing views over the City of Bath and, as last entry is at 7pm, you can enjoy a soak while you watch the sunset together. Although the spa is kitted out with contemporary facilities, the historic spa buildings have been lovingly incorporated so there’s a real sense of history at the heart of this unique spa. Book a romantic break in Bath
If you’re thinking of popping the question, then going down on one knee mid-hot air balloon flight is a pretty good place to do it. With a choice of launch sites, you and your intended could be sailing over the Black Mountains, floating through the air with Cheddar Gorge in sight or hovering over the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s an experience of a lifetime so sharing it with your date will make it all the more memorable. The balloon ride itself takes about an hour, but the anticipation beforehand and the glass of bubbly on landing means that you can make a day of it. Don’t forget your camera! Search for somewhere special in Bath
How does meandering down the river with a chilled glass of Prosecco in your hand and your Valentine by your side sound? If this is what your romantic dreams are made of, visit Chester this February where you can board a luxury showboat and take a trip down the tranquil River Dee. On your way, look out for the pretty Grosvenor Park and the sweeping Earl’s Eye meadows. Spot wildlife on the river, such as swans, kingfishers and cormorants as you take in the relaxing atmosphere. They’ll be plenty to talk about, so this is ideal first-date territory. Cosy up at a holiday home in Chester
If the weather’s not looking too great, your Valentine’s Day plans needn’t be a washout. At the Red Dragon Centre, you’ve got plenty to keep you and your date entertained all under one roof. There’s a bowling alley, a cinema, a casino and a huge range of restaurants and bars to enjoy. And as the Red Dragon Centre is in the middle of Cardiff Bay, you’re just a few minutes away from some of the city’s other main attractions, such as the Millennium Centre and the Doctor Who Experience. Your Valentine’s Day date certainly won’t be dull! Choose a rental in Cardiff for Valentine’s Day
There’s nothing like a cute and cuddly animal to bring out our softer sides, so why not get that warm and fuzzy feeling with a date at the Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park? Meet the friendly Shetland ponies, giant rabbits and some rare breeds such as the Ouessants (the smallest breed of sheep in the world). Take a stroll around the pretty formal gardens, secret garden and sensory garden before finding a quiet corner for a romantic picnic for two. Find a romantic stay in Filey
Sitting at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, the Ben Nevis Distillery has been producing some of the finest whisky in the world for 178 years. Upon arrival, you’ll get to know the mythical giant Hector McDram who’ll reveal the ‘Legend of the Dew of Ben Nevis’. The tour guide will then show you the production areas so you can see how the whisky is made before sampling a ‘wee dram’ yourself. And if you’re feeling peckish, finish off your visit by chowing down on some homemade food in the coffee shop. Book a break in picturesque Fort William
As Shakespeare’s Orsino once observed, “If music be the food of love, play on.” The RNCM college is a leading international conservatoire in the centre of Manchester, and with over 400 concerts to enjoy each year, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Orchestras, ensembles and large-scale opera performances are scheduled regularly throughout the year and the college has been supporting talented musicians since 1893. Why not take in a show before dining out in one of Manchester’s romantic restaurants? Exciting city stays in Manchester
Go traditional this Valentine’s Day with an evening at the pictures. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill cinema though; this intriguing independent shows a huge range of film genres, from popular crowd-pleasers to arthouse gems, and the café bar makes a great rendezvous for pre (and post)-film drinks. The Filmhouse often hosts special guests, Q&As and quizzes – with so much going on, you’ll be planning your next date before you can say “popcorn”. Pick a romantic rental in Edinburgh