Move aside flowers and chocolates, because, although you’re rather lovely, actual experiences have swept in and stole the crown for most thoughtful of Valentines gifts to show your other half just how much you love them. From trips into the skies above, to trips to the romantic underworld below, we’ve rustled up a shortlist of the best ways to treat your partner this Valentines Day. Go on, get inspired!
Sleep in a treehouse!
This one, in fact! Yep, that’s right – our Cosy Wootton Bridge Lodge in the northern reaches of the Isle of Wight is a gorgeous getaway for two, with wifi and hot tub included. And is there anything more romantic than a twilight dip a hot tub, joined by two glasses of champers? We’d wager not. It gets better – ascend the stairs and venture inside to find a wood burner, perfect for cosy’ing up in the warm glow after a day exploring the island, and a large flat screen TV for when the night comes to a close.
Sleep in a lakeside yurt!
A magical half-camping, half-glamping experience deep in nature, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel more connected than ever to your partner and the beautiful surroundings with a stay in one of these quirky huts. We’ve got a selection of yurts on the site, but this one, the Attractive Tewkesbury Yurt on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border, is a real gem. Pet friendly (yep, bring the pup along!) it sleeps two people with hot tub access. There’s even underfloor heating to keep you both toasty, and – if you arrange with owner before hand – a ‘The Notebook’ style rowing boat across the lake can be on the cards!
Dine in a Michelin Star restaurant!
For all the foodies out there, and all the relationships based on a love of food (our favourite kind!), there is no bigger treat than a glam-up, sit-down meal at a Michelin Star restaurant. Named the best in the country for their ambience, cutting-edge cuisine and trademarked by the stellar presentation of their impeccable food, these restaurants are more than worth the money. Add in some countryside romance (…also our favourite kind!) and you’ve got L’Enclume – the Cumbrian superstar – Gidleigh Park – the Tudoresque mansion – and Le Champignon Sauvage – the roadside legend on the Cotswold border.
Take a ride in a helicopter!
Is there a bigger gesture than a ride into the skies?! This one could be reserved for all the ‘about-to-propose’ boyfriends and girlfriends out there, but whatever stage you’re at, a helicopter ride will certainly sweep them off their feet. A helicopter ride is particularly precious when combined with our great and green countryside, the formations of rolling hills and patchwork of farmland is quite the marvel to behold. Check out this romantic flight over the beautiful Devon countryside, or maybe this one over the quaint splendour of the Cotswolds, or even fly over the lush pastures where TV show Emmerdale is filmed with this special Yorkshire flight!
Have a drink in a speakeasy!
Because there’s something very prohibition-era seductive about descending into the underworld for a world-class cocktail or two, making it a rather brilliant date-night location! Speakeasys’ – illicit, and usually disguised, boozy establishments brought about during the Prohibition era – are fortunately alive and well, but unfortunately not so countryside friendly. So head to the city and get your drink on! How about Dusk til Pawn, in Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter, disguised like an old-school pawn shop? Or maybe The Maven Bar in Leeds, hidden behind a plain, unsuspecting doorway? And for those venturing further up north, you’ll find Panda and Sons of Edinburgh down the staircase of an old barbers shop through a secret bookcase – yep, you heard us right!
Take a ride in a hot air balloon!
Lastly, not a helicopter ride, but something far more whimsical. A hot air balloon ride. Colourful, fiery and infinitely romantic – Virgin offer amazing balloon flight experience days for you and your loved one to share in a region near you. You can get a champagne toast (just for a squeeze of extra glamour) and a personalised flight certificate so you have a souvenir of the day – besides all the piccies you’re likely to take! These 3-4 hour experiences are a unique and inspiring way to treat your Valentines, just make sure they’re not too afraid of heights!