Five unlikely romantic destinations for Valentine’s Day

Image of Dundee
Dundee: you have Tay pay it a visit
"If you fancy getting really mucky, there’s always the renowned Cwmcarn mountain biking course just a short car journey away"
  • | by Kristian Dando

Smell that? No, it isn’t your gym kit, which has been festering in a bag in the hallway since Thursday. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that that pungent aroma in the air is LURVE.

There are few things more romantic than whisking your beloved off on a steamy getaway on 14 February, but where to go?

Of course, the traditionalists will tell you that far-flung cities like Paris, New York, Rome and Barcelona are the must-do locations for any amorous February jaunt.

And while they are very nice, we think there are some hugely overlooked locations for a sizzling short break right on our very doorstep.

So, slip into something a little more comfortable and peruse this selection of underrated British pearls…


Image of Stoke on Trent

Image: Wikimedia Commons

“But can they do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke?” is the well-worn football pundit’s cliche regarding ‘the jewel of Staffordshire'.

Well, you certainly won’t have any difficulties ‘performing’ on an evening in the Potteries. There are all manner of activities to stir the blood – marvel at some truly astounding jugs at Gladstone Pottery Museum! Gawp at Anglo Saxon helmets in the Staffordshire Hoard! Pull some ‘rad stunts’ at Europe’s largest skate plaza!

After you’ve got your fill of ceramic-based thrills, unwind with a pint of Marston’s Pedigree at one of the city’s innumerable alehouses and let the magic happen…


Image of Newport

Image: Wikimedia Commons

We may be biased, what with being based on the picturesque outskirts of the city and everything, but hear us out. Visiting Newport is a sure-fire way to crank up the heat this Valentine’s Day.

But what delights does the city on the Usk hold for star-crossed lovers? Well, take your pick. Check out the building which used to be legendary rock venue TJs, where Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love first hooked up. You could take a romantic journey over the spectacular Transporter Bridge. And if you fancy getting really mucky, there’s always the renowned Cwmcarn mountain biking course just a short car journey away.

After all that, you’ll have likely built up a mighty thirst, so quench it with a delicious pint of craft beer from local brewery Tiny Rebel – depending on your mood you could opt for a Cwtch (the Welsh word for ‘cuddle’, linguistics fan) or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, a pint of Dirty Stop Out, an intoxicating dark smoked stout.


Image of Swindon

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Located on the M4 corridor and within easy reach of London, Reading, Bristol and south Wales, the Wiltshire city is as convenient as it is romantic.

There’s plenty to get you hot under the collar in Swindon, not least Steam – the museum of the Great Western Railway. You can climb on board an old engine, get underneath and observe its undercarriage and even have a bash at changing a signal. Once you’re done there, you can shop 'til you drop at Swindon Designer Outlet, take in the technological delights of the Museum of Computing or get revved up at the Karting Arena.

Make sure you’ve got some energy left for the evening though, ok?


Image of Hastings

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Merry old Brighton might get the plaudits, but what about its grittier neighbour to the east, Hastings and St Leonards?

Boasting not one but two – yes, TWO – funicular railways, a world-renowned fishing fleet and Britain's first-ever subterranean car park, Hastings really does put the ‘sex’ in Sussex.

The town also has some revolutionary dining options – witness the coffee-shop-cum-optometrist and the bookshop which is also a Thai restaurant, meaning you can opt for a side order of culture with your green curry. Spicy!


Image of Dundee

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Or, as the locals call it, ‘Fundee.’

There’s plenty of stuff to get passions burning in Scotland’s fourth biggest city – enjoy a ‘Bridie pie’ with your beloved, followed up by a rich portion of Dundee cake. Then, check out the ship of famous polar explorer Captain Scott, the RRS Discovery.

Thinking about ‘getting closer’? Well, how about this: Dundee is also home to Tanardice and Dens Park, the most close-together football grounds in the UK. Woof!

Where are you whisking your Valentine off to this year? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook