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How to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Argyll style

How to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Argyll style
With fairy-tale castles, magical islands, and a dreamy landscape, Argyll is the perfect place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. From the island of Coll with its starry skies to Loch Lomond and its bonnie banks, Argyll is packed with impossibly romantic places to take your Valentine. And there are so many things to experience together in Argyll. Escape the crowds, discover pristine beaches, walk in ancient woodlands, sip on a peaty dram, feast on seafood, watch the sun set over the water and gaze in wonder at the Milky Way. Do something different this year and celebrate Valentine’s Day, Argyll style!

If you and your partner love the great outdoors, then Argyll is for you. Argyll has unique outdoor experiences to offer, many of them within an hour’s drive of Glasgow. Go on a quadbiking trek with Quadmania, discover the Arrochar Alps, go mountain biking in Argyll Forest Park or cycle around Bute – the opportunities for sharing a Valentine adventure together are endless. Or how about discovering one of Argyll’s beautiful beaches? Pack a picnic, build a fire and enjoy a windswept stroll. You’ll probably have the beach all to yourself!

The night sky has been long associated with romance and love. With very little light pollution, Argyll is one of the best places in Scotland to watch the night sky with your Valentine. Walk outside on a clear night anywhere in Argyll and the canopy of stars will take your breath away. Look out for a mind-boggling array of celestial objects. It’s not just the millions of stars plus our own moon and planets that you’ll see, but satellites, shooting stars and – if you’re lucky – maybe even the Northern Lights. The island of Coll is an officially designated Dark Sky area and the Kintyre peninsula is another superb place to take in the night skies. The Argyll Hotel at Bellochantuy on Kintyre is a good choice for romantic star gazers. The hotel’s outdoor viewing area offers uninterrupted panoramic views of the night sky out over the western Atlantic.

Argyll is steeped in history. Along its glorious coastline you’ll find ruined castles and tower houses in wonderfully picturesque places. Step back in time this Valentine’s Day and visit these fascinating places. In Oban & Lorn alone there are six fabulous castles that are well worth a trip with your Valentine, including Castle Stalker, Dunstaffnage Castle, Dunollie Castle and Kilchurn Castle. Or how about exploring Kilmartin Glen? It's one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes and you'll find standing stones, stones circles, cairns and decorated rocks.

If you want to unwind with your partner amid beautiful scenery, then how about treating your Valentine to a spa experience in Argyll? Portavadie is pretty unbeatable. The views from the outdoor infinity pool across Loch Fyne are sublime. For an island spa escape head to the Isle of Eriska, a 300-acre paradise with luxurious spa facilities. There are some wonderfully romantic hotels to choose from too, including Loch Melfort Hotel, a stunning retreat with views to the Sound of Jura and the Inner Hebrides beyond.

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic dining in Argyll. You’ll find excellent eateries in stunning locations. Crinan Hotel is a wonderful place to dine and you can work up an appetite with a romantic pre-dinner stroll along the historic Crinan Canal. Inver on Loch Fyne is another top spot with glorious views to Lachlan Bay and the ruined Lachlan Castle. Argyll is renowned for its seafood, and what could be more romantic than sharing a bottle of wine and some of Scotland’s freshest seafood? Head north to Port Appin on the shores of Loch Linnhe to discover the Pierhouse Hotel and its award-winning seafood restaurant.

For something different, how about enjoying a whisky tasting experience together? Argyll has 14 world-class distilleries dotting its coastline. There’s nothing quite like sampling the product right there in the region’s historic distilleries and most offer guided tours ending with a large dram. Of if gin is your preferred tipple, check out the Argyll gin distillers including Kintyre Gin, Tyree Gin, Lussa Gin and Botanist by Bruichladdich.

Chocolates may be a cliché for Valentine’s Day, but they should put a smile on your Valentine’s face – especially if they’re handmade in Argyll. There is a number of artisan chocolatiers in Argyll including Oban Chocolate Company, Tobermory Chocolates and CocoaMo in Helensburgh. You’ll find some lovely candles that are handmade in Argyll too. Visit the Zing Organics workshop in Tarbert, Loch Fyne to discover eco perfumes, candles and room mists made entirely with organic and natural materials. Isle of Bute Candles are hand-crafted on nearby Bute.

Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day, Argyll style!

Header photo: Loch Melfort Hotel
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