It’s that time of year again when we’re bombarded with cards, flowers, teddies and chocolates in celebration of all things lovey-dovey. For those of you who gag at the thought of Valentine’s Day feel free to stop reading now, but if you’re feeling all loved up and want to escape the West End with your other half, here are 5 of the dreamiest escapes close to home that won’t break any hearts or the bank.
A 5-hour train journey from Glasgow Central (or get there for less on the megabus!) Oxford is a romantics paradise. Get lost wandering through quintessentially English streets, along the River Cherwell and through the parks – Christchurch Meadow and Magdalen Deer Park are not to be missed. You will be feeling the love all weekend long at the site of the oldest university in the world.
The Lake District
Although we have some of the best scenery in the world here in Scotland, the Lake District comes a close second. A mere 2-hour train journey away, you’ll be taking boat trips across Lake Windermere before you know. You’ll be spoiled for choice for places to stay with guest houses and Bed & Breakfast’s lining every street. Make sure to pack your walking boots and take you other half on a couple’s retreat style hike up Scafell Pike. The 978m climb will leave you hungry for fish and chips and a pint at the pub.
Voted the No.1 most romantic destination in the UK, the capital city is the perfect place for a couple’s escape. Take in the culture at the Natural History Museum or National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – with fantastic views of the city. Treat yourselves to a musical in the West End, with dinner beforehand at Franco Manca (London’s version of Paesano). For a Sunday activity, grab a Boris bike and cycle together through Hyde Park or go shopping mad at Harrods. Whatever you do, you won’t have a spare minute in the Big Smoke.
Islay & Jura
If the thought of venturing south of the border is too much to handle (understandably) the Scottish Isles are the perfect answer to the romantic weekend away. Islay and Jura are a 5-hour drive from Glasgow but it’ll be worth the wait when you get there. The islands are home to water sports galore; when paddle boarding you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins! For a beachy weekend, you couldn’t find any better – you can even live up to all romantic stereotypes and go horse riding along the beach at sunset!!
A wee hour long flight with Ryanair or Aer Lingus will get you to Ireland’s most romantic city for the weekend. Stroll hand in hand along the River Liffey and head to Temple Bar for a good old Irish singalong and a dance. The Guinness Factory is a fantastic day out, with pint pouring classes and free pints throughout the tour – sláinte!
FYI – Refrain from singing Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl if you want to be well in with the locals.
By Izzi Thornton