Valentines Day is coming and of course you’re going off together for that five star champagne spa break in the most romantic city on the planet. “Yeh, right!” I hear you cry, “Who’s going to have the kids?” Well, either organise ahead or take them with you? Family and romance are not incompatible. In fact going somewhere new together can really help inject something fun, different and memorable into your relationship and family life. A Valentine city break with or without the family is better than a tired bunch of flowers, bottle of wine or box of Dairy Milk. So, here are some ideas for romantic UK family city breaks and great Valentine Getaways this February.
Romantic UK City Breaks and Valentine Getaways
I know. I know! Real life is not like the movies. In the Hollywood Valentine’s script you are carelessly skipping hand in hand through the cobbled streets of a sun drenched city, with lunch stretching out forever and the champagne on ice back at the hotel. In real life you are at home picking porridge off the wall and breaking up fights while making up packed lunches. while emptying the pockets of a snippy teenager who doesn’t want his trousers washed EVER, before an iPod gets caught up in the laundry, falls apart in the washing machine and you turn out to be an even worse parent than you thought.
Mind the gap between that life and yours!
Yes, there’s a gap between the celluloid version of life and actual life. But can’t there be some middle ground? Can’t there? Could you close that gap with a romantic break this February? Here’s a few ideas for romantic weekend breaks in the UK as a gift for Valentine’s Day. Take the kids with you, leave them at home, or even go on your own for the ultimate gift…
Ok, there’s nothing romantic about Liverpool One. But hear me out. It has everything from Apple to Lego. And when you’re tired of shopping, you can head up to Bold Street to find a little café to chill out in. There’s everything from Moroccan food at the atmospheric Kasbah Cafe to english tea at Leaf. Liverpool is great for museums too; what’s more romantic for a music fan than a Magical Mystery Tour of Beatles territory? Or a walk on hallowed ground with a tour of Anfield?
For accommodation Mal Maison is about as dusky pink as you can get, while the Hotel Indigo offers a smart boutique experience. If you fancy the glamour of a ‘yachting’ holiday, then there’s a quirky take on that in the Albert Dock; local limo owner Alfie Bubbles has three apartment boats including Titanic, Yellow Submarine and The Joker Boat. We stayed in the latter.
A home for destitute children doesn’t sound very romantic but its rebrand as the Art School restaurant has it offering modern food by a top chef. Or try Wahaca’s funky rooftop bar for Mexican style love over ice and cocktails. If you love musicals you could stay in the musical rooms at the Signature Living or Arthouse hotels; maybe the Roxy glamour of the Chicago room or you could surround yourself in a love story in the My Fair Lady room. You can also eat at a singing diner; but check first that your partner can hold, or at least appreciate a tune.
From kissing booths to hook a duck with added candy floss, Liverpool’s celebration of carnival ‘Spectaculum’ adds a fairground twist to love. Check out Visit Liverpool for more ideas for your couple’s romantic getaway in the UK or whole family February city break.
Harking back to a romantic past and the charms of Mr Darcy, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath has films and costumes and all the info on Bath’s famous resident. Talking of famous legacies, in the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, you can wish upon a star and see where and how Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. And in its Star Vault a film, narrated by the late Sir Patrick Moore, takes you on a voyage of discovery through the universe and the history of the house.
The city specialises in ancient Roman baths as well as more modern spa treats. You can have an open-air thermal bath in the Cross Bath at Therme Bath Spa. (It is possible to hire it out and have it to yourselves.) One of Bath’s most popular attractions is the original Roman Baths that still flows with natural hot water. You can walk where Romans walked on the ancient stone pavements around the steaming pool, meet Roman costumed characters and hear the stories of those who lived and worked here 2,000 years ago. Audio guides in eight languages, with a special one for children in English are included in the price.
If you are looking for a romantic gift, Mr B’s Emporium bookshop can provide your partner with their own personal book shopper to choose a selection, while they relax and enjoy the atmosphere. I got a subscription one birthday and it was one of the best gifts ever.
Or you could visit Edinburgh. Romance is in this city’s bones. And it has old bones. And an extinct volcano. Climbing to Arthur’s Seat, the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills, is a must. You could always do it while reading relevant extracts from David Nicholls’ romantic comedy novel One Day. An open top bus tour is a fun way to see the city, but really, this city was made for walking. If your idea of valentines romance is on the dark side, take a walking ghost tour with the un-dead. Or if magic for you and your partner and family is Hogwarts then sign up for the free Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh. It’ll take you to the building that inspired the school and to the Balmoral Hotel where J.K Rowling wrote part of the final book. If you are feeling really flush you can book into the suite. But it is eye wateringly expensive.
If like your break a little more floral then try the Royal Botanic Gardens. The nearby seaside town of North Berwick is great for fresh air when you’ve all had enough of city life.
Is there anything more romantic than a cupid with a bow? Or a man in tights? Nottingham has both in Robin Hood or Robyn Hode as he used to be known. And it has a Paul Smith store. It has a Centerparcs in a forest! Nottingham also has some weighty literary figures to lounge around with, including DH Lawrence and Byron, and excellent places to visit connected with their past. Or if you want less high brow, you could spin around holding hands on skates at the National Ice Centre. Then spend an evening in a beach hut in George’s Great British Kitchen; a fish and chip restaurant with its own gin bar.
Food is the way to your partner’s stomach and if you take the family you will have to feed them. So splash out on a Scranchester Food Tour that will introduce you to the taste of this northern city. Or if you are into art try a walking tour of the street art with poetry by local son Lemn Sissay. The northern quarter is great for a stroll and if you happen to wind up in a jazz bar then so be it.