What makes a great romantic break? For me, it’s adventure – to discover somewhere new with my partner and to spend time alone with him.
So on the weekend before Valentine’s Day we headed off to Ribblesdale Lodges. Here, in one of the most beautiful corners of the UK, we had a countryside lodge waiting for us – complete with hot tub.
Our lodge retreat
Finding the time and space to be with your partner is not always easy. Work, friends, life generally, often seem more urgent priorities. So taking yourselves away from all those distractions gives you some space for romance.
A lodge break is perfect for that. Once you’ve checked in and parked your car, you can shut the door to your private haven and not be bothered by anyone else for as long as you want.
And the lodges at Ribblesdale Park, on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, don’t leave anything to chance to guarantee you a relaxing, romantic time.
The spacious kitchen and living room meant we could hang out together even when one of us was cooking. The kitchen area has all the mod cons, including a dishwasher – after all, washing up is no way to re-kindle your love.
If cooking is not your way of expressing love, don’t worry. The Hindelinis restaurant on site is excellent. The menu is reasonably priced and you definitely need to check out the ice creams and the cooked breakfasts.
Back at the lodge, the dining table is just right for a meal for two. And the big corner sofa is perfect for a night in, cuddling up in front of the TV. Ribblesdale also offers DVDs for hire, so you can find your favorite rom-com to add to the mood.
The bedroom is even better. Naturally there is a big, four-poster bed. But the bedroom also has an open-plan bathroom area. A big glass shower cubicle and a whirlpool bath give a real wow factor. You’ll probably be pleased to know the toilet is separate.
But the best bit is still to come. Your lodge’s private terrace comes with a two-person hot tub. It’s easily accessed by sliding doors from the lounge or bedroom. And it’s completely secluded.
Once you have hopped in, you are away from everyone. Imagine a clear night, with you and your partner lying back enjoying the bubbles together and looking out at stars.
If it’s cold outside, as it certainly is on Valentine’s Day in the UK, it doesn’t matter. Once you are in the 40C water, the chill outside is no problem.
And if the bubbles in the hot tub aren’t enough, Ribblesdale Park has you covered. They had left a bottle of Champagne in our fridge.
What is romance? It’s such a cliché, particularly at this time of year, the answer isn’t obvious.
Overpriced red roses and chocolates are nice enough. I’m not going to be a killjoy about them. But when you think about the word romance – its real definition – it’s about something quite different.
Romance is the mystery, the excitement of love. It implies remoteness from every day life – after all, we talk about the romance of the sea. That’s why relationships can sometimes feel less romantic as you get to know each other better.
So to find true romance you need to do the unexpected. Roses aren’t in season in February in Britain. But take a walk in the countryside right now and you’ll see the first snowdrops breaking through the ground, heralding spring. Not long after, fields and parks will be spotted by clumps of daffodils and woodlands transformed by great carpets of bluebells.
What could be more romantic than walking hand-in-hand as you see this natural beauty come alive? That’s exactly what we did in the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just a short drive from Ribblesdale.
And to top it off, we followed our walk by an intimate meal and a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire at The Inn at Whitewell – undoubtedly one of Britain’s best pubs.
Discovering the Dales
Ribblesdale Lodges is the perfect location for any number of romantic adventures.
And you don’t have to go far. When you walk around the 1,000 acres of countryside that make up Ribblesdale Park, you are seeing the country that inspired JRR Tolkein to write Lord of the Rings.
You are also on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A short drive away you can explore two amazing cave complexes – White Scar Cave and Ingleborough. Or perhaps discover the stunning Ingleton Waterfalls Trail.
If the golden age of steam train is your idea of romantic travel, try the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Or stroll around the ruins of Bolton Abbey itself.
If you have longer in the area, you can head further into the Dales, or even head to the Lake District and Peak District National Parks.
Make your adventure happen
Why not book your very own romantic hot tub break?
- We stayed in the Wentworth lodge at Ribblesdale Lodges located in the grounds of Ribblesdale Park, in Gisburn, Lancashire.
- There are different size lodges available, which means it’s the perfect destination for just couples or large groups.
- You can book a range of romantic extras including a bouquet of flowers or strawberries and Champagne. You can also organize a range of spa treatments in your lodge.
- Ribblesdale Lodges is part of the Autograph lodge holiday collection from LGBTI-friendly lodge experts Hoseasons.