A Valentine's getaway to Portsmouth

What could be more romantic than a stroll beside the sea, or a twilight walk through lamplit cobbled streets? Or how about fireside dinners and views out to the horizon?

All this and more make Portsmouth the ideal place to spend Valentine's Day. Whether you want to take in a leisurely stroll in the fresh air or take part in a special themed event, this little island city provides the best destination for a Valentine's break away.

Love is in the Air

So if you're thinking of darting off to the south coast for a romantic getaway, take a look at some of our suggestions to make it a Valentine's to remember.

Valentine's things to do

The best way to start a Valentine's break is the same way many people kick off a trip to Portsmouth - with a walk along the seafront. The three-mile promenade stretching from Old Portsmouth to Eastney provides views across the Solent and lungfuls of fresh sea air. It's a fully paved route and entirely flat for nearly the whole route - making it an easy walk for everyone, from young to old, couples to families.

If you do need a break along the way, stop off at Southsea Castle, where the Courtyard Café will warm you up with warm tea and coffee, as well as hearty homemade food.

Southsea Castle

Just a short hop off the promenade is Canoe Lake, a favourite spot among visitors and locals alike. If the weather allows you can head out on the lake aboard one of the swan-shaped pedalos, or if not just take a walk around it - which is lovely by day but especially beautiful at night when the fairy lights twinkle in the water's reflection.

For a spot of old fashioned fun, head to Clarence Pier, where classic arcade games and seaside favourites wait. Here you can easily step back into the seaside holidays of your childhood - replete with crazy golf and sticks of rock.

Places to eat

After a bracing walk along the seafront (it's February, after all!) you'll want to warm up with a spot of dinner - and a glass of wine or two for good measure. Thankfully, there are plenty of places just a stone's throw away from the seafront, so you don't need to venture too far or worry about finding your way if you're not familiar with the area.

Old Portsmouth is a perennial favourite - being an area that offers wending cobbled streets, the city's Anglican Cathedral, and a whole host of top-notch gastropubs. If you're looking for high quality British food with a modern twist, this is the place to be. Not only that, there's a whole host of restaurants and gastropubs within less than a mile, so you can be sure to find somewhere that fits the bill.

For something a little more global, head along the Millennium Promenade to Gunwharf Quays. The outlet shopping centre has plenty to offer when the stores close, including restaurants offering French, Italian, Spanish, American, Mexican or Asian food - plus many more. There are some big name brands on show, so it's certain to have a personal favourite or somewhere you've fancied trying for a while.

Couple at Gunwharf Quays

Alternatively, if you'd prefer something a bit more unique and independent, Southsea's Osbourne Road and Castle Road offer a great selection. Here you'll find a host of different restaurant and eateries that won't be found anywhere else. From burgers and ribs to gourmet pies, tapas and curry - there's something for all preferences.

Valentine's events

Of course, Valentine's isn't just about enjoying a meal with your significant other - there are plenty of fun activities to get involved in, offering everything from the traditionally romantic to the decidedly out-of-the-ordinary.

The Emirates Spinnaker Tower is a veritable hub for Valentine's events this year. All throughout February it hosts the Valentine's High Tea - where you can enjoy a very literal high tea, some 100 metres above sea level on View Deck 1. Later in the month there's the ever-popular Valentine's Comedy Nights, where top TV comics head to the intimate surrounds of the downstairs café for three nights. Alternatively, you can dial up the romance with Love is in the Air - where couples can head to the view decks on Valentine's night to watch the twinkling city lights below over a sharing platter and glass of fizz.

Valentine's High Tea

Elsewhere, Aspex Gallery hosts the Darktown Valentine's Cabaret. This creative, cultural gathering will feature music, poetry, readings, films and even a game of Art Bingo! It promises to be a special and unique way to create a Valentine's to remember.

There's a much more family-focused affair over at The Mary Rose, where youngsters can learn all about love and romance in Tudor times. King Henry VIII will be in attendance to speak about 16th century rituals, whilst attendees to the Tudor Court have a chance to make their very own traditional perfumed petal pomander bag.

Finally, it’s a more raucous affair at the iconic Wedgewood Rooms, as it once again hosts the St Valentine's Day Massacre. Here, a swathe of local bands come together to cover some of the greatest love songs ever recorded, in a new and often chaotic fashion. What's more, the event raises money for local charities; the choice this year is Youth Music.

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