February is the month for courting – of course. So what better way to woo your loved one than with a romantic outing to one of these luxury court hotels and houses (see what we did there?). All three are within walking distance of the GWR network.
Stonehouse Court Hotel
This stately 17th century manor house hotel is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Cotswolds. A secluded stretch of the Stroudwater Canal, which links the nearby town of Stroud to the Severn Estuary, runs through the hotel grounds. It was once used to transport cargo from the prosperous, local cloth trade, but now carries courting couples on romantic boat trips.
After a watery jaunt, return to the hotel for a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea (available from 14–16 February) with Prosecco, cakes and ‘love-inspired sandwiches’ (whatever they are) or, on the evening of Valentine’s Day, enjoy a three-course, candlelit dinner for two. Why not complete your treat by staying over in one of the deluxe manor house rooms?
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Stonehouse station
Queens Court Hotel
A converted, Grade II-listed townhouse, Queens Court combines Georgian charm with boutique chic. This hotel is hidden away in a leafy square, but close to the city centre and within an easy walk of Exeter’s main stations. Its award-winning restaurant, The Olive Tree, serves up a locally-sourced and modern take on classic British cuisine – there’s a tempting, one-off menu for Valentines (complete with complementary gift).
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Exeter Central or Exeter St. David’s
Court Garden House
Nestling at the foot of the Chiltern Hills and bordering the Thames, the historic market town of Marlow is little more than an hour by train from London Paddington. This handsome 18th century house, which sits alongside the river in central Higginson Park, plays host to ‘The Jazz Experience’ – an exciting new venue on the Marlovian music scene.
A special Valentine’s Day event offers an evening of Stevie Wonder – with classic hits performed by a band that features sax player, Derek Nash, from Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and acclaimed vocalist, Noel McCalla – plus dinner and drinks. Just make sure you lip-sync along to I Just Called to Say I Love You.
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Marlow