Caroline MillsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Caroline Mills
Love is in the air. And as this year St Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, it is the perfect excuse for a loved-up mini-break in your 'van. So we’ve put together a list of 10 different and, we hope, exciting ideas, so you can cuddle up on a great British motorhome weekend getaway with your loved one. Cue Cupid…
1 – Bewitched in Belfast
Clasp hands and lean beyond the ship’s bow just like Kate and Leonardo as you ‘sail’ out on the Titanic. It’s quite possible to replicate the endorphin-charged moment at Titanic Belfast.
Afterwards, enjoy an elegant Sunday Afternoon Tea in the opulent surroundings of the Titanic Suite, featuring a replica of Titanic’s famous staircase. You’ll comfortably fill a day at the attraction, but Belfast will easily keep you occupied for a long weekend.
Need somewhere to stay? Try Dundonald Touring Caravan Park. At this time of year, the campsite in general is shut, however the owners operate a reduced price aire de service solely for motorhomes between November and March, so you're in luck!
2 – Be seduced by Shakespeare
Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Gardens in Stratford-upon-Avon. The half-timbered house is dreamy enough, but it’s here that William Shakespeare, arguably the world’s greatest writer of love poetry, whispered sweet somethings into the ear of his future bride. If you can’t bring yourself to do the same, no worries; cosy up under the Willow Arbour and listen to famous actors reciting the sonnets for you.
Walks along the banks of the Avon, a trip to the theatre and post-performance nibbles in restaurants like The Oppo or The Vintner will bring out the romantic in you.
And if you're looking for somewhere to pitch your motorhome, how about Dodwell Park.
3 – Take to the waters
The world (though hopefully not their dog) will be making the most of public spas over the Valentine weekend. Not so seductive. To ensure you’ve got the pool to yourself, book in to Queensberry Bay Holiday Park, in Dumfriesshire. There you can private hire the intimate on-site Powfoot Spa Annan to wallow in the warm waters of your own hot tub and spa pool, and get steamy in the sauna. Just remember, things shrivel like prunes after a lengthy dip in the water.
If you're pitched at Queensberry, select between a pitch on the shores of the Solway Firth or the adults only quarter with views to the Queensberry hills.
4 – Hello, deer
Fall in love … with a reindeer, as you head out on foot into the snowy Cairngorms for a thrilling walk to visit Britain’s only free-range reindeer herd. Guided hill trips with an experienced reindeer herder take place daily. By the time you’ve hand-fed these endearing creatures and stroked their velvety-soft noses, your heart will be all of a flutter. And there’s plenty else to do in the area, including gentle strolls along the shores of Loch Morlich.
The Glenmore Campsite in Aviemore could be the perfect place to pitch for your Valentine's getaway.
5 – In the footsteps of Mr Darcy
Who can forget romance’s golden TV moment of Colin Firth, aka Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, taking a dip in a lake and appearing handsomely dishevelled just as love interest Elizabeth Bennett wanders by? It didn’t actually happen in Jane Austen’s original ‘script’, but if you wish to create a similar scene (probably not, it’s mid-February after all), Lyme Park in Cheshire was the BBC’s film location for Mr Darcy’s grand estate of Pemberley.
The house is closed over the Valentine’s weekend, but the 1300-acre park and garden are open for crisp winter walks, and the tearoom open for soothing hot chocolate.
Need somewhere to stay? How about Spray House Farm CL, Little Hayfield (postcode: SK22 2NR).
6 – Chocolate heaven
Never mind presenting your loved one with the same old box of Milk Tray. Indulge your joint passion for chocolates by learning to make your own.
You’ll find courses all over the UK, but a great one for beginners and enthusiasts is run by Chocolate Tree near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. What’s more, you’ll come away with 32 truffles each. No need to fight over the last strawberry cream, then.
Pitch your motorhome at nearby Mill Avon Holiday Park.
7 – A bicycle made for two
You'll have no chance of losing your other half (by cycling on ahead) with a tandem bike ride. They’ll always be right behind – or in front of – you! Hire a tandem bike from J.D. Tandems in Gargrave and spend a weekend exploring the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales together. The company will provide you with all the techniques for tandem cycling before you pedal off along the Dales’ quiet country lanes around Malhamdale, Wharfedale and Ribblesdale.
And after a long day pedalling, you'll be able to relax back at your motorhome. How about trying Eshton Road Caravan Park.
8 – Stars in your eyes
Get starry-eyed in the UK’s most recently-awarded International Dark Sky Reserve, Snowdonia, North Wales. One of only 10 locations worldwide to be designated as such, the national park is deemed one of the best places to see the stars – and planet Venus is up bright and early in the pre-dawn sky over Valentine’s Day.
Though it’s not a ‘first’ for Wales as the Brecon Beacons has also been granted the same status. There you can take part in an evening of stargazing at the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre on Friday 12 February – followed by a curry!
9 – Lovely bubbly
If you’re planning a night in, don’t forget to stock up on Kentish bubbles from Chapel Down, Hush Heath or Biddenden vineyards, and why not take a tour while you’re there? Biddenden even has an extra special romantic offering for non-drinkers – the limited edition Red Love apple juice is the UK’s first commercially available naturally red apple juice. You can wander around the 23 acres of vines, see the presses and bottling line and take free tastings in the shop.
Sound your tipple? Why not pitch at Tanner Farm Park.
10 – Walk on the wild side
Everyone is seduced by Cornwall’s charms, so take a romantic hike along a section of the South West Coast Path on the Roseland Peninsula, declare your love for surfing in Polzeath, or be one of the last to watch the sun set on the most romantic day of the year at Land’s End.
If you really want things to hot up, head to the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project where there’s an intimate Tropical Dining Experience (pre-booking essential) on both Saturday and Sunday evening of Valentine’s weekend.
And if you need somewhere to stay, how about Treloan Coastal Holidays (on the Roseland Peninsula).