Need inspiration for Valentine’s Day? Somerset is a county of great rural beauty which offers ample opportunities for memorable moments. Rekindle the romance by exploring the countryside together, dining in fantastic farm-to-fork restaurants or by being pampered in some of the UK’s most luxurious spas.
Fans of grand, peachy sunsets might want to climb Glastonbury Tor with their partner, in time to see the sun dip below the horizon. Thanks to the 360 degree views afforded from the top of the hill, there is a good chance of seeing glorious colours stretching for miles above the surrounding countryside.
Another breathtaking spectacle to enjoy together at sunset is the sight of starling murmurations swirling and swooping across the sky. The Ham Wall nature reserve on the Somerset Levels is a popular place to watch the birds gather before they fly home to roost. Be sure to arrive well before sunset and choose a path that takes you away from any crowds, so that you can feel as if you have the show all to yourself.
Couples wanting to immerse themselves in nature could climb to enjoy the views across moorland from Cothelstone Hill in the Quantock Hills, which is a short drive from Taunton. Or they could lose themselves in Ebbor Gorge, which is in the Mendips, near Wells, and is arguably as dramatic as Cheddar Gorge, just much quieter, so better suited to two.
Another romantic walking option is to climb Hurlstone Point from Bossington on Exmoor’s coast and look out across the wildly-beautiful bay. Treat yourself to fine Italian cooking at Locanda on the Weir afterwards, a small and chic hotel beside the sea in Porlock Weir.
Another special spot for a romantic dinner in Exmoor is at the Luttrell Arms, as long as you can bag either a table beside the fire at this historic inn or in a twinkly dining dome set out in the garden, with a view towards Dunster Castle.
Near Wincanton, Number One Bruton is a charming boutique hotel, with period features, stylishly-dressed rooms and a relaxed, Michelin-star restaurant. Osip serves technically-brilliant food that squeezes every drop of flavour out of locally-produced ingredients. It’s well worth the splurge for couples who enjoy their food.
Alternatively, book a table-for-two at another of Somerset’s top tables, at Holm, in South Petherton. Here, amid contemporary art, prettily-presented dishes come from the chef’s tasting menu, or smaller set menus. The setting was a former bank but the chef here moved from London with the intention of building strong relationships with local producers, gamekeepers and farmers.
Back in Bruton, couples who enjoy a luxurious bathroom might want to consider checking into At The Chapel. This design-led hotel has minimal, marble-clad bathrooms with vast freestanding bathtubs for an opulent soak.
Somerset’s spas are also an inspired choice for an intimate break. Just outside of Wincanton, The Newt is a country house hotel with an indoor-outdoor swimming pool in a golden-brick barn, a hamam, saunas and spa treatments available in a medieval herb garden. There is even a private steam chamber, in which couples can get stuck in and apply their own Rasul mud treatment – an Arabic cleansing ritual.
There are special mud treatments offered for couples also at the Cowshed spa at Babington House, the original country outpost of Soho House, not far from Frome. Guests will need to be paid-up “friends” of Babington House in order to stay there, however, but once inside, the rooms are sumptuous, with luxurious in-room amenities to make cosying up indoors – after a lavish dinner at the Orangery – feel like a treat.
A rooftop soak in the Thermae Spa in Bath, with its views across the heritage city’s church spires, is also one of the more romantic things to do in Somerset. Try and be one of the first people to arrive in the morning and you might have the whole pool to yourself. There is a wide range of spa treatments available inside. Afterwards, simply strolling along Bath’s cobbled streets can be considered romantic, as can exploring the country lanes of Somerset’s pretty villages, which include Mells, Castle Cary and Axbridge just for starters.
Visitors to the attractive small city of Wells might want to stop for a sharing platter and some wine tasting at the Bishop’s Eye, which has tables set out in a scenic spot on the city’s market square. The Grade-II listed building also has a handsome interior if the weather isn’t playing ball.
There are a great many country cottages to be hired all over the county by anyone wanting a romantic break. Lots of them have their own hot-tubs, such as those at Mill Meadow, near Taunton or those available in Somerset through Exeter-based Luxury Coastal.
Wherever you lay your head, Somerset is an appealing destination for couples. Or just anyone, in fact, who loves good food, the great outdoors, stylish spas and quaint villages.