Valentine’s Day is that night of the year when your favourite local restaurants suddenly swap their usual menus for expensive, set choices that you don’t even like – while entertainment comes in the form of couples who forgot to book, arguing on the street outside. Right?
Right. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Why not do something you’d never usually do? Here are our ideas for a big Valentine’s celebration that actually feels romantic (and remember – it doesn’t HAVE to be restricted to 14 February)...
Watch the stars together
LOCATION: Galloway Forest Park, Scotland
WHY WE LOVE IT: There aren’t many places in the UK to enjoy truly dark skies and stars, due to the prevalence of light pollution from urban areas. But Galloway Forest Park is a real treat. Thanks to its high Sky Quality Meter (SQM) rating, it’s officially classified as a Dark Sky Park – and you can see more than 7,000 stars and planets with only your eyes. Or if you want a closer look, there’s the Dark Sky Observatory, which is set within the beautiful Craigengillan Estate. During the day, the area boasts several fantastic walks and other opportunities to enjoy the natural environment.
MORE ABOUT GALLOWAY FOREST PARK >
Relax with the ultimate Scottish hotel experience
LOCATION: Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
WHAT WE LOVE: The five-star Gleneagles Hotel is well-known for hosting international political and sporting events. But it’s also an amazing destination for anyone who loves stunning food and drink, lovely scenery and SERIOUS pampering. Chef Andrew Fairlie presides over the restaurant, which has two Michelin stars (making it the most highly-awarded in Scotland), serving dishes like whisky-smoked lobster and Perthshire roe deer. There’s also a spa and a championship-level golf course; and it’s only an hour’s drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Nice.
MORE ABOUT GLENEAGLES >
Treat yourself to some London luxury
LOCATION: Various, London
WHAT WE LOVE: The UK capital is bursting with impressive hotels and restaurants – but some really go the extra mile in the romance department. For example, The Rookery in Clerkenwell is filled with Georgian charm, boasting four-poster beds, roll-top baths and real fires. Plus, the surrounding area’s old-fashioned pubs and winding streets make the perfect backdrop for a stroll through old-time London. Meanwhile, the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard (London Bridge) is bang up to date, with a sky-high swimming pool, champagne bar and incredible room extras... and, of course, spectacular views.
MORE ABOUT THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL >
Go chocolate shopping (and eating)
LOCATION: Various, London
WHAT WE LOVE: Chocolates are a Valentine’s Day staple – but instead of hoping for a single box, why not join forces with your sweetheart and gallivant around London’s loveliest chocolate emporiums? Artisan du Chocolat has several outlets – selling only the finest grades of chocolate – and also has a concession in Selfridges. Said in Soho makes amazing hot chocolates and sells a huge variety of treats and accessories, from chocolate saucers to truffles, spreads and biscuits. Or visit Harrods, where five-time winner of Britain’s Best Chocolatier, William Curley, combines classic styles with contemporary flavours. Yummy.
MORE ABOUT ARTISAN DU CHOCOLAT >
Choose travel that won’t let you down
Valentine’s Day is never the cheapest time of year, whether you opt for luxury or not – but great-value transport options are still available, without sacrificing comfort. The MegabusGold sleeper service runs between London and Scotland and offers you an overnight journey, cosy bunks, free wi-fi and friendly staff.
Book your trip now >