Never mind the flowers and chocolates; Valentine’s Day is a clever excuse to spend some quality time with your partner. If you can get the day to yourselves, then make a great escape without the hassle of long-distance travel.
A London Day Out
Whether you’re a Londoner or not, it’s easy to create your ideal day out in the capital by exploring some romantic hidden gems.
Start by heading to an area of the city often overlooked by visitors- Wapping. Take a step back in time to 1520 and have a drink and some lunch at the historic Prospect of Whitby riverside pub where historical icons Turner, Dickens and Pepys are all thought to have enjoyed a tipple.
Afterwards, stay south-east and head to Greenwich, a stunning part of the capital which is home to the well known measure of time, Greenwich Mean Time. The area also has plenty of green spaces and a rich history to wander around and enjoy some quiet time as a couple. Have a peruse around the stalls in Greenwich Market, where you can sample some of the delicious foods or buy a gift from the best local craft-makers. If you’re wrapped up warm, take a walk through vast Greenwich Park and see the view from the top of the hill.
If you fancy tunnelling through a piece of history- and under the River Thames itself, walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel that was originally built in 1902 from the Cutty Sark to the pretty Island Gardens in Greenwich on the other side of the river. At each end of the footpath, you can walk or take the lift to the top depending on your energy levels.
Once you’re ready to move on, jump on a transport boat along the River Thames to head to London Bridge, where you can visit Borough Market to drink mulled cider and taste fresh tarts, smoky chorizo and more.
Finish the day with an evening drink with a view at Gong, on the 52nd floor of the Shard or have a drink and a meal while gazing out at the London evening skyline at the Sky Garden on Fenchurch Street. You can also visit the Sky Garden for free and take in the wonderful skyline views. You may need to start booking now as the Sky Garden is popular with tourists and tour slots are available to book in advance.
Stay: Travelodge offer several affordable hotels in London
Seaside Delights in Rye
The laidback seaside town of Rye is less than 90 minutes on the train from London (changing at Ashford International) and offers antiques shopping, delicious local seafood and stunning beach views. Rye is easy to get around on foot, so you can leave the car behind and forget parking problems.
Visit the Vintage Stockroom to pick up eccentric antiques from Europe and the US or browse the smaller boutiques by the quay for unique gifts.
For a cosy drink by the fire head to local favourite The Globe Inn Marsh, which serves local fish dishes and hearty pub food if you’re tempted.
Head to West Street to visit Lamb House, a beautiful example of a restored Georgian house and once home to the writer Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady, What Maisie Knew). It’s also where the series Mapp and Lucia was filmed – don’t miss the garden room if you’re a fan.
Rye is an area steeped in history so it’d be a shame to visit without learning more about its historical significance. Take a wander round the cobbled streets yourself, or alternatively there are guided walks available around Rye with a knowledgeable guide so you can have some quality time together while learning all about the local history.
Stay: In one of our Travelodge hotels near Rye
Heading to Edinburgh? Take an evening away from the kids in the atmospheric Scottish capital.
Get in early and indulge yourselves with a pre-theatre meal (5pm-6.30pm) at the adorable and cosy Witchery restaurant for two incredible courses. Expect modern takes on Scottish classics served in lavish surroundings right in the heart of the old town. After your meal, why not head out to catch a show at one of Edinburgh’s many theatres in the city centre.
Alternatively if you like to live on the spookier side of life, cuddle up close and head to the underground city for a scary ghost tour that reveals the darker side of the ancient streets and buildings. When you emerge into the open air, finish the evening with a stroll along the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile, stopping at any one of the numerous local pubs to sample a dram of Scottish whisky.
Stay: In one of our Travelodge Edinburgh hotels
If you find yourself in fun-loving Manchester this Valentine’s, start with something unique (and quiet). Whether you read romantic poems from history to each other, or just love the romantic idea of an old book, visit the Victorian John Ryland’s Library, where medieval manuscripts nestle alongside early European printing in a huge collection of ancient texts.
Afterwards, head for some brunch in the clouds at Cloud 23 on the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower. The cocktails are inventive and add a sprinkle of magic to any romantic date. Book online for a Valentine’s menu that you’ll both love.
Let out your inner child at Junkyard Golf Club where you can putt until your heart’s content around an exciting variety of bizarre. There are 3 main courses on offer; Gary, Pablo and Bozo who each let you explore different environments and exciting game-play. From exploring the wonderful world of the carnival, to winding your way through a car themed course and even putting your way through a jungle, you’re sure to have hours of fun.
After all that excitement, end the day by cosying up at the Cornerhouse Cinema for a classic romantic cinema date night with an independent twist.
There are so many more romantic places to visit all over the UK, discover your perfect romantic break away.
Stay: In one of our Manchester Travelodge hotels