If you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with your partner this Valentine’s Day, then why not make the most of it and opt for a short break away?
It needn’t cost the earth and it could be just the thing to rekindle the romance in your relationship. Plus you’ll get the opportunity to discover a new destination – a win-win!
I’ve picked a selection of the best last-minute Valentine’s Day breaks at home and abroad – with prices that won’t break the purse strings. There should be something here that will take your fancy…
The ride of your life
This would possibly be my ideal Valentine’s Day break as it involved adrenaline-fuelled rides! It’s a visit to Efteling theme park in the Netherlands featuring rides, attractions and shows that are largely inspired by the fantastical and romantic stories from Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.
Its location, hidden among woodland and lush forests and cloaked in a magical and nostalgic atmosphere, makes it an enchanting place to spend Valentine’s Day.
Dreamy rides that would suit loved-up couples include Gondoletta – a gentle boat trip on the park’s central lake; Droomvlucht – where unicorns and forest animals come to life in an enchanted forest; and Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy – Efteling’s newest ride that discovers the secret corridors of a magical palace.
If you’re feeling flush you can stay at one of the themed suites at the Efteling Hotel – €481 for The Excellence Suite which features a sitting area, a two-person Jacuzzi, large rain shower and inclusive mini-bar, along with breakfast and two days’ entry to the park.
Alternatively, ebookers offers a range of affordable accommodation a short distance from the theme park, with rates as low as £36 per night.
Return flights with easyJet from London Gatwick to Amsterdam cost around £60.
Up, up and away
What better way to celebrate the most romantic time of year by enjoying the sights from up high – in a hot air balloon!
Just a short hop from the UK, the Balearic Island of Mallorca offers an ideal romantic escape with crystal clear waters, striking landscapes and excellent restaurants.
For a dramatic bird’s eye view, Mallorca Ballooning offers a range of unique hot-air balloon rides from a height of up to 500 metres above sea level from £141 per person.
The capital, Palma, is a great base to explore the island with a selection of boutique hotels, a labyrinthine of narrow lanes and striking architecture in the Old Town, along with a picture perfect harbour.
In terms of accommodation, a stay at the brand new five-star Hotel Summum, located in a former 16th century Mallorcan palace, will set you back £186 for a double room. And return flights with Ryanair from London Stansted to Palma are around £60 per person.
Made In Malta
If you’ve got a few more days to spare, then a week’s stay at the Cavalieri Art Hotel in Malta costs £244, which offers great value for money.
The island offers plenty of romantic settings, from the Upper Barrakka Gardens with one of the greatest views on the island, to the Blue Lagoon and the legendary gardens of Attard where couples can stroll through avenues lined with towering trees.
The holiday can be booked with Alpharooms and the price includes breakfast at the four-star hotel and flights from Gatwick on 13th February.
If you’re really looking for something ‘out of this world’, then how about a spot of star-gazing on the island of La Palma?
As an official UNESCO Starlight Reserve, the island’s natural beauty offers the ideal backdrop for couples to enjoy a unique Valentine’s experience.
Plus La Palma offers a number of observations points across the island; places to enjoy cheese and wine perhaps?
In fact, you can spend your Valentine’s night at the Teneguía wine cellar to learn about the way in which the distinctive Palmerian night sky helped to produce the famed Malvasía wine of the region.
Direct flights to La Palma are available with easyJet from £60 return departing from London Gatwick.
Cosy in Cornwall
Moving on to one of my favourite parts of England – Cornwall! And you’re in luck because the Mawgan Porth Apartments are offering 45% off winter breaks, valid for stays up to 22nd February.
The offer means, for example, that a three-night break in a one-bedroom apartment will cost from £180, based on up to four sharing.
The five apartments offer self-catering apartments, which were extensively refurbished in 2017 and are ideally located for exploring Cornwall's north coast.
They feature spacious, open-plan living in one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments close to the beachfront. All have well-equipped kitchens and the latest comforts including USB points in many of the rooms and free Wi-Fi throughout.
Mawgan Porth is a popular spot for families, walkers and watersports enthusiasts, plus Padstow, Newquay and Watergate Bay are all within a short drive.
The luck of the Irish
If you’re looking for romance and grandeur, then a stay at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa this Valentine’s Day might be the one.
Set in six acres of beautifully kept private grounds, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa overlooks the Mourne Mountains with spectacular views across the Royal County Down Golf Course.
Whether exploring the palatial surroundings or finding sanctuary from the comfort of their room, couples are bound to depart relaxed and romanced this Valentine’s Day.
Couples can enjoy a five-course dinner at the Oak Restaurant, complete with a glass of prosecco on arrival – and later maybe opt for the Ultimate Rose Ritual Spa Experience or a similar relaxing spa treatment.
Prices for Valentine’s Dinner at Slieve Donard Resort & Spa start from £120 per couple and the offer is valid from Friday 9th – Saturday 17th February 2018.
Prices for the Ultimate Rose Ritual Spa Experience start from £105 for Monday-Thursday and £120 from Friday-Sunday and the offer is valid from Friday 9th – Sunday 18th February 2018.
For a Valentine’s break a little closer to home, Guernsey is an ideal hassle-free romantic getaway – the island seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of life on mainland UK, despite being relatively close in both distance and travel time.
One of the most romantic spots on the island is the southern bay of Moulin Huet – a beautifully tranquil piece of coastline that inspired Renoir with some of his finest paintings.
Next to Moulin Huet is Petit Port, an idyllic, sandy and secluded bay which is where two characters from the bestselling novel ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ first met.
The love story is being made into a film, set for release on 20th April 2018, and follows life in Guernsey during the island’s German occupation in World War 2.
Where to stay? The Bella Luce, located in a quaint village among tranquil green lanes, is just a stone’s throw from the island’s southern coast and the romantic spots around Moulin Huet and Petit Port. It is a 12th century manor house that epitomises understated luxury and classic elegance.
Channel Islands Direct offers a three-night break at the Bella Luce from £235 per person by sea from Poole or £299 by air from London Gatwick, Bristol or Southampton.
The offer includes a three-course meal and a gin experience with tastings and is based on two adults sharing, valid for travel from February 1st – March 30th, 2018.
If you’ve already checked out the sights and sounds of Guernsey, then how about a quick getaway to sister island Jersey instead?
Fly Jersey is offering three nights for the price of two on stays at the three-star Apollo Hotel in St Helier, departing before 23rd February.
The offer means that the holiday now costs from £199 per person, based on two sharing on a bed-and-breakfast basis and including return flights from London Gatwick. It also includes 50% off dinners at the hotel. Departures from a choice of regional airports are also available.
Located in the heart of St Helier, the Apollo Hotel is built around a quiet courtyard and offers some great facilities including a choice of restaurants, a separate ‘Boot & Ball' bar, leisure centre with indoor pool, Jacuzzi and gym, as well as quiet lounge areas.
It’s an ideal base for exploring St Helier and the rest of the island, with opportunities to discover Jersey's history and culture as well as to take in the beautiful scenery.
Which one takes your fancy? And what are you up to this Valentine's Day?
This year we’re planning on three short break getaways throughout the year, so a Valentine’s Day Getaway might have to go on the back burner in favour of a fancy three-course meal indoors.
This year however, I’m hoping that the kids will play a part in creating it. Well, we can all dream can’t we…?
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