Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your partner how much they are loved. This year, why not take them out to explore the county around them? Visit Essex, the county’s tourism organisation, is giving you the lowdown on the top things to do this Valentine’s Day.
Afternoon tea is the food of love
There’s nothing like an afternoon tea to seduce your appetite, and where better to go than the home of Wilkin & Sons jam? The Tiptree tearooms offer a scrumptious afternoon tea with delicious scones, homemade sandwiches, and the famous jam that has been favoured by royalty and produced in Essex since 1885.
For a romantic feel, try afternoon tea in the Rose Room at Greyfriars. The Rose Room is blessed with beautiful natural light enhanced by bespoke Murano chandeliers, whilst the afternoon tea is served with tasty wafer-thin sandwiches, light and fluffy scones, and a selection of delightful fancies.
Love to relax in style
There’s nothing better than relaxing with the person you love. Down Hall, set in the beautiful Essex/Herts countryside, is home to the Eden Spa, the perfect setting to unwind and be pampered to perfection. Escape daily life and relax with one of their many luxurious treatments for couples. Or settle into their hydrotherapy pool and steam room to feel reinvigorated.
On the Essex/Suffolk border, Talbooth House & Spa also offers a relaxing spa experience for you and your loved one. Designated one of the AA top 200 hotels in the UK, Talbooth House & Spa offers a peaceful, soothing getaway. They have a selection of treatment rooms inside the house and an outdoor heated pool. You can also pair a spa visit with an indulgent afternoon tea or a stay in their luxury hotel.
Everyone loves a hotel getaway.
Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than treating your partner to a Valentine’s luxury hotel break. Wivenhoe House Hotel, an 18th century four-star hotel, offers seductive, contemporary rooms, set in beautiful grounds made for romantic hand-in-hand walks. Set on the Essex/Suffolk border, near the pretty quayside village of Wivenhoe, the hotel is perfectly located to explore stunning surroundings for some relaxing down time with your partner.
Lovers love the seaside so head to Roslin Beach Hotel, set right on the edge of the water in Thorpe Bay. This four-star boutique hotel offers elegant suites for your pleasure, with panoramic views over the sea. It’s set immediately opposite a pristine blue flag beach and
the restaurant serves numerous seafood specialities.
Treat the animal lover in your life to an animal experience they will never forget. Colchester Zoo offers unique up close and personal encounters with a wide range of animals from elephants to penguins as your loved one can become Zoo Keeper for the day.
If underwater animals are more their thing, head to Sealife Adventure in Southend-on-Sea. The UK’s first Zooquariam, Sealife is home to over 40 species of animals. See beautiful tropical fish and sharks in the Deepwater world tank, and you can even see animals swimming overhead.
Back on dry land, you can share the fun at All Things Alpaca, where you can trek around traditional orchards with seven beautiful alpacas. Or, for a real pull of the heart strings, spend some time with the rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, at Redwings Ada Cole Visitor Centre in Nazeing, the UK’s largest horse welfare charity.
If your other half likes trying out new activities, why not take them to an escape room? There are plenty across the county, including the Escape Rooms in Maldon, Witham and Chelmsford, where you can both try and figure out how to escape a submarine, or step into 1940s Hollywood. You can also try to escape the jungle or travel through space and time on a star quest at Escape Live in Southend and Chelmsford. There’s even an escape room at Hedingham Castle, where you have to find the King’s lost jewels.
For some active fun, Go Ape in Chelmsford has some great courses to climb and explore. Set in the beautiful Hylands Park, Go Ape features three high ropes experiences with exhilarating ziplines, free-fall Tarzan swings and tricky tree-to-tree crossings.
It’s beautiful around here
Essex is home to an array of stunning surroundings, from rolling green hills to ancient woodlands. Audley End House is a decadent mansion set among an expanse of breathtaking landscaped gardens, located right next to the pretty market town of Saffron Walden. See the working stables, discover what life was like for Victorian servants in the historic kitchens, or simply explore the spacious grounds.
Very little can compare to the romance of a well-designed garden. Lead your lover on a romantic stroll through RHS Garden Hyde Hall, with its network of beautiful gardens to explore. From the majestic Courtyard Gardens to the Rose Garden and Rope Walk, you’ll have plenty to see and do.
For a woodland walk, head to Epping Forest, a 2,400-hectare ancient woodland. Stretching out for 12 miles, the forest offers a range of activities for all. There are walking and cycling paths, and you can see the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, where royals would have held hunts and hosted elaborate feasts in the 16th century.
Step back in time together
The history lovers will adore stepping back in time to discover some of the county’s most historic places. Colchester Castle is situated in the beautiful Castle Park, adjacent to the city centre, and the largest Norman Keep in Europe. With interactive displays and 2,500 years of history, it’s the perfect date for the culture and heritage lover in your life, and close to great bars and restaurants.
For history set in the countryside, visit Hedingham Castle, near the quaint village of Castle Hedingham. Built 900 years ago, the castle and its grounds are beautiful all year round. February hosts the spectacular snowdrop displays as spring comes alive. Explore the estate with over 1,000 years of defensive ramparts, stroll through the romantic gardens, and you can even stay the night in the Royal Chamber.
For more things to do and places to see on Valentine’s Day, head to visitessex.com