Hidden hideaways and alternative days out for a romantic Valentine’s with a twist.

We are officially in the month of love, as gift shops roll out their cute keepsakes, supermarkets stock up on heart shaped chocolates and romantic messages stare out from crimson cards.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon many of us will be busy planning a romantic surprise for our loved ones, and living in such a stunning corner of the country means there is no shortage of restaurants, hotels and pubs perfect for a cosy evening for two.

Away from the normal candlelit dinner, however, there are many alternative options for Romeos to consider to give their other halves a Valentine’s to remember.

As residents of the communities we serve, we at Roger Coupe pride ourselves on our local knowledge and have compiled our list of hidden hideaways and alternative days out, to give you some inspiration when planning your Valentine’s celebrations.

·         The Surrey Hills provide a stunning backdrop to our part of the world and is the ideal spot for a romantic stroll. But rather than heading to the obvious walking routes, pick a trail that’s off the beaten track so you can enjoy the beautiful countryside together. We recommend a hand in hand stroll through Winterfold Forest or up Leith Hill.

·         Tickle your taste buds during a wine tasting at Denbies vineyard in Dorking. This family-owned vineyard offers indoor and outdoor tours and a variety of tasting options, including sparkling tipples. It also has two restaurants, a farm shop and brewery so you can make a real day of it.

·         Indulge yourselves with a spa treatment at The Retreat at Cranleigh’s Golf and Country Club. This wonderfully relaxing hideaway offers a huge range of treatments, including plenty specially tailored for men, and extra special packages, as well as cream teas and tasty lunches.

·         Try your hand at cocktail making among the historic Art Deco surroundings of the Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge. Under the expert tutelage of one of the hotel’s mixologists you can learn how to whip up a range of tipples, with four masterclasses to choose from. Book one of its swish rooms for an overnight stay and you can happily indulge in your liquid creations.

·          If you’d like to stick to the traditional meal for two consider heading to the Richard Onslow in Cranleigh for a really cosy night. Enjoy a drink by the open fireplace in the snug before settling down for a scrumptious dinner in one of the tucked away corners within this historic pub.

Top teachers wanted!

We’re on the lookout for the top teachers in Surrey and Sussex as we launch the next round of our Star Awards. At the end of last year we handed out our first award, that of community star, and now we’re keen to find the area’s top teachers, who go above and beyond for their pupils.

Anyone can make a nomination – pupils, parents, governors or fellow staff – with the winner being presented with a prize and the honour of scooping the star teacher title.

To make a nomination email starawards@pmwcom.co.uk with a short description of your nominee, why they deserve to win, their contact details and where they live. Please also include your own contact details.

Nominations can be made until midnight on 28 February 2017.