Ah, V-Day is approaching. Will it be a table for two in your fave restaurant – again? Or a quiet night in with a box set and a bicker or a snooze? Me? I’ll probably still be opening cards from the huge sack that will arrive on the doorstep on Tuesday morning (what a fag) but I’ve had a nose around for some, hopefully not too cheesy, ideas for the rest of you …
Sunday in the park with George (or someone not called George)
Take a stroll in the ultra romantic 18th century Prior Park Landscape Gardens, set in a sweeping valley with views over Bath. The gardens were created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen with the help of Capability Brown – and poet Alexander Pope had a hand in it too. They’ve got everything you’d expect: an iconic Palladian bridge, a lake, waterfall, a clutch of follies and of course, those views over Bath, especially good at this time of year when the trees are bare. Warm up by the brazier near the tea shed. If you want to get a little bit cheesy, on Sunday 12 Feb from 10m-4.30pm, you can stick your own message of lurve onto the Palladian Bridge.
Mud, mud, glorious mud
This one involves covering each other in mud which sounds sort of fun. The mud is remineralising mud and algae, and there’s rose water and exfoliating salts in the waters too, in a tranquillity suite for two at the elegant Gainsborough Bath Spa. After you’ve made a complete mess, use your loofahs and shower gels and get ready for a side-by-side massage with organic essences. Stay over in either a Junior Suite or Suite and take your time getting ready for dinner. You’ve got all of Bath’s best restaurants to choose from and of course, there’s always room service…
Caravanning but not as we know it
For weekend away in the city: a caravan that comes without the field and the communal showers. This aluminium retro rocket is perched on a Bristol rooftop and has all the mod cons – flat screen TV, luxury plump goose down pillows and duvets, state of the art shower, designer furnishings, fluffy robes and wifi (yes, you’ll get actual coverage, you’re in a city). There are three ‘vans, atop Brooks Guesthouse in St Nicholas Market in the centre of the old town, so all the cool shops, bars, galleries and restaurants are literally at your feet. Choose the 16 or 18 foot caravans and there’s no room for kids (sorreeeeeee).
London calling? Capital art
Tate Britain’s major summer show is well worth hopping on the train for. The most comprehensive exhibition of David Hockney’s work ever encompasses sixty years of painting, drawing, photography and video, from his LA swimming pools and Yorkshire landscapes to previously unseen latest works. Who wouldn’t want to gaze on a sunny Californian sky in grey February? The exhibition runs from 9 Feb to 29 May, with late opening until 10pm every Friday and 8pm every Saturday except 3 March.
The food of love
This one is a bit fromagey or rather, fishy. Did you know here in Somerset we’re now growing (or perhaps I mean rearing) our own aphrodisiac? Apparently Casanova ate 50 oysters for breakfast every day and scientists have now proved that rare amino acids in oysters do actually produce a surge in sex hormones – though do you have to knock ’em back raw to get the full effect. Carry out your own unscientific experiment: they’re produced all year round by Porlock Bay Oysters and award-winning chef Andrew Dixon is serving them up at the Café Porlock Weir, which overlooks the harbour. Inland, oysters are on the menu for Valentine’s Day at the Salt & Malt on Chew Valley Lake. Can’t be fagged to leave home? Do an online shop: Tesco are selling them for 75p and Waitrose at 79p a pop.
Fly me to moon (or Weston-Super-Mare)
Have a quick whizz over to the coast and back in a chopper based at the Helicopter Museum. The pilot will explain how the controls work as you fly 1000 feet above the ground. This is the Valentine’s gift that keeps on giving: tickets include entry to the museum and its 100 helicopters (this may be too much excitement in one day). There are flights Sun 12 Feb and throughout the year.