Valentine's Day is just around the corner and the big question is... will you be popping the question?
If it's finding the right location for the all-important proposal that's holding you back, Gloucestershire residents have no excuse not to get down on one knee, according to the experts.
Weddings website I Do Cotswolds has listed the perfect places to propose in the area - and couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to scenic spots.
Suggestions include a picnic and the panoramic view from the top of Cleeve Hill, a romantic stroll around the water gardens at Stanway House, Gloucester Cathedral or the backdrop of Cheltenham's Pittville Park.
With the great Gloucestershire outdoors providing such a rich setting for romance, couples can also get out and about over the Valentine's period at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to spot lovebirds of a different kind. Visitors will be asked to spot the centre's bird couples and vote for the most loved-up pair.
The Love Bird Trail runs from February 9 until February 17, with more information available at WWT.org .
A romantic dinner for two is a must for many on February 14, and Gloucestershire's restaurants , pubs and hotels will be helping people mark the occasion with specially created menus and the odd glass of bubbly.
Chris Dee, tourism manager at Cotswolds Tourism, said: "Gloucestershire romantic settings include fine dining restaurants in historic buildings and pubs made of our warm honey-coloured local stone - it’s no coincidence that Gloucestershire has about as many entries in the good pub guide as the whole of Scotland.
"If you plan to pop the question, check out www.idocotswolds.com with suggestions for the most romantic place to propose, from walking on Cleeve Hill to holding hands at Snowshill Lavender."
Here are 10 suggestions to help you find the perfect place in Gloucestershire to enjoy a meal for two with someone special. Keep an eye on the websites for Valentine’s deals and menus:
1) A restaurant whose name was inspired by an ancient Greek tale of love and loss could be the perfect place to celebrate your own love story. Daphne Restaurant in Cheltenham is named after the nymph in Greek mythology who is pursued by Apollo after he is shot by one of Cupid’s arrows. Daphne turns into a tree and Apollo, despite his unrequited love, vows to care for her. If a trip to sunnier climes isn’t on the cards this Valentine’s Day, then enjoy the next best thing with Daphne’s Mediterranean and Turkish fare, including risottos, steaks, salads and seafood. The restaurant’s chefs created a special dessert for last year’s Valentine’s diners called the Lovers’ Dream, featuring cream, strawberries and chocolate.
2) Perennial favourite The Daffodil could be the ideal setting for romance. Opened as a picture palace in 1922, the cinema saw the introduction of the country’s first “kissing seats”, double seats which courting couples could book in advance. A pair of these seats is now preserved in the restaurant’s foyer as a reminder of the glamour and romance of cinema in its Hollywood heyday. Tuck into dishes like fillet steak, monkfish or mushroom and goat’s cheese wellington or choose the perfect meal for two from The Discovery sharing menu, including oysters and a selection of sweet treats. Visit www.thedaffodil.com.
The Daffodil , 18-20 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham.
3) For an intimate dining experience, head to Winchcombe’s 5 North Street , where the Michelin-starred cuisine and cosy setting have won over TripAdvisor reviewers, who have named it among the county’s most romantic eateries. The restaurateurs show their love for local produce with Cotswold lamb, beef, pork and game and Evesham fruit and vegetables taking centre stage on the menu in dishes such as Winchcombe partridge. The restaurant creates an intimate setting, catering for just 28 diners in its rustic timbered restaurant, so book early.
5 North Street, Winchcombe, Cheltenham.
4) If you and your loved one fancy curling up by the fire in a traditional country pub, then head to The Ebrington Arms , where the big open fire will keep the winter chills away. If you have set your heart on a meal to remember the kitchen serves up more than your average pub fare such as pig’s head terrine or loin of Paddock Farm pork with sweet potato with tempting desserts such as lemon filo, Italian meringue and candied orange. If it’s traditional pub grub that takes couples’ fancy, then the pub’s much-loved fish and chips are always available.
The Ebrington Arms, Chipping Campden.
5) Sebz in Gloucester brings the flavours of the Mediterranean to the heart of the city, perhaps the perfect spot for an intimate dinner for two as you raise a glass to romantic holidays you’ve shared. Tapas is made for sharing and Sebz has a wide range of classic dishes, including calamari, Mediterranean chicken and paella, which are bound to transport diners to sunnier climes, even in February. The a la carte menu offers dishes such as sea bass and sirloin steak. Visit http://sebz.co.uk/.
6) The New Inn at Coln St Aldwyn’s is sure to be a popular spot for a Valentine’s outing, with its village setting offering a romantic retreat. The venue’s kitchen team has designed a six-course menu for couples celebrating the occasion at £49.50 per head. For those wanting to make the most of their visit, guests can combine the dinner with an overnight stay, including a bottle of bubbly on arrival and full English breakfast the next morning for £225. The one-night package is available on February 14 and 15.
The New Inn, Coln St Aldwyns, Cirencester.
7) If an indulgent dinner and smooth tunes sounds like your perfect match, book a visit to Gloucester’s Hallmark Hotel on February 16. The venue is hosting a Valentine’s Buble Ball, where a Michael Buble tribute act will provide the soundtrack to the evening. Guests will sit down to a three-course dinner for £19.95 per person. Alternatively, the hotel’s brasserie is cooking up a three-course dinner, served with a bottle of wine, for £49.50 per person on February 14 and 16. To reserve your place at either of these events, call 01452 525 653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/our_hotels/gloucester for more details.
Hallmark Hotel Gloucester, Matson Lane, Robinswood Hill, Gloucester.
8) Raise a toast to your loved one with a glass of Champagne and canapes on arrival at The Greenway Hotel and Spa this Valentine’s. Food lovers will be sharing a gourmet seven-course tasting menu in the venue’s Garden Restaurant for £65 per person. Overnight packages start from £325 and include a bottle of Ayala Rose Champagne waiting for you in your room, a Valentine’s gift and a full English breakfast. To book, call 01242 862352. Visit www.thegreenwayhotelandspa.com for more information.
The Greenway Hotel & Spa , Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
9) A romantic waterside walk, followed by fine food with an equally fine view could be the perfect ingredients for a Valentine’s treat. The Wharf House , on the edge of Gloucester, overlooks the Over Canal Basin where a scenic stroll could help couples work up an appetite for a meal in the acclaimed waterside restaurant. Here you’ll find a modern take on classic dishes such as pork tenderloin stuffed with apricot and orange and pesto chicken, finished off with pineapple and amaretto fool or baked orange and brandy cheesecake. There is also guest accommodation with views of the water for those who don’t want to head straight home. Visit www.thewharfhouse.co.uk.
The Wharf House, Over, Gloucester, GL2 8DB. T: 01452 332 900.
10) Many a visitor has fallen in love with Colleys on a visit to the Lechlade restaurant, based in a 16th-century coaching inn. Diners have taken to TripAdvisor to share their experiences with many returning for more, and Vogue magazine has also included the venue in its Secret Address Book, counting it among the little-known gems it was “reluctant to share” with the rest of the world. Restaurant diners can expect to tuck into dishes such as pan-fried hake with peppered shrimp and chocolate and amaretto tart in the elegant dining rooms. In the relaxed Brasserie Grille, there is hearty fare such as a 9oz burger in a duck fat bun or 10oz rib-eye steak with fried egg.
Colleys, High Street, Lechlade on Thames, Gloucestershire.