Four stays for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is here once again. Chris Carter looks at some of the best places in Britain to spark up a little romance.


Barnsley House: a dreamily romantic country retreat with a magnificent garden

Barnsley House Hotel & Spa, Gloucestershire

Golden stone, gables and mullion windows make for a "dreamily romantic house", says The Daily Telegraph. Even so, the Barnsley House is "magnificently upstaged" by its garden. Some of the large attic bedrooms in the main house have "fabulous views" over the greenery, but it's the bathrooms that are the big thing at Barnsley House. One room in the stable yard has a glass-sided bathroom up spiral stairs, while another features a sunken Turkish tub. For "complete seclusion", opt for the Secret Garden Suite and the "rustic-chic" Potting Shed.

Rooms from £200 a night,01285-740000,

Monachyle Mhor, Perthshire

This 14-room boutique hotel located just four miles from Rob Roy's grave, down a lochside track from the braes of Balquhidder is perfect for a Highland fling, says Jeremy Lazell in The Sunday Times. Most Scottish house hotels would overegg the "tired Tartan".

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Not the Monachyle. The quirky dcor brings an "eccentric energy to every corner", while up in the bedroom the "come-hither king-size bed" is "just begging for trouble". The hotel exudes a "house party" feel that "coaxes us back into the bar for one too many giggly malts". But you will find yourself in good company. The Monachyle Mhor "is the country hotel of choice for local foodies".

Doubles from £185 for bed and breakfast, 01877-384622,

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

For a "fairy-tale experience", retreat to Warwick Castle, says Anne Gorringein the Daily Express. The "magnificent" Tower Suites allow you and your loved one to play king and queen for a nightin the medieval castle, with the "ancient" Caesar's Tower and its four-poster beds providing the ambiance for you to stirup your own courtly romance.A round-the-clock concierge service is on hand to attend to your every whim and your stay even includes a private tour led by an expert to help you soak up the history behind your romantic surroundings.

From £400 a night, including breakfast, 01926-406660,


The Crazy Bear, Buckinghamshire

"Conservative Beaconsfield has a saucy secret," says The Sunday Times'sSue Bryant. It's called the Crazy Bear (pictured above). Here "the bedroom ceilings are gold velvet, the floors are black leather and the bathrooms lined with mock croc". Stuffed bears' heads and antelopes "draped in bling" gaze down on the ladies drinking afternoon tea in the chandelier-lit bar.

As for the bedrooms, they only have one purpose: "seduction". One even has a mirrored ceiling, while most come with a "vast" copper roll-top bath by the bed, filled by a cascade tap. So mix some "strong G&Ts" and sink into "great clouds of steam and foam".

Doubles from £99, including breakfast, 01494-673086,

A romantic meal for two in South Wales

There's nothing like a romantic meal to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day. So head down to South Wales, near Carmarthen, and book a table for two at Y Polyn, says Daily Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay. Y Polyn is a "proper pub" with "roaring fires and great Champagne". The food is "superb". Choose from such treats as locally caught sewin (Welsh sea trout), ham hock "bonbons", homemade gnocchi and an "epic" chocolate brownie with salted caramel. Then bed down for the night at the "gloriously bling" marble floor Llwyn Helyg Country House, located a short drive away.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.