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'We might not be Paris, but love is in the air'
Love is in the Bradford air – despite a survey dismissing the city as the fifth unromantic destination in the country.
The national poll of about 2,000 people found while the Lake District followed by the Cotwolds were the most romantic destinations in the UK, Slough was the least romantic followed by Birmingham, Scunthorpe, Hull – then Bradford.
According to the poll commissioned by hotels.com, though, romance might be hotting up in Bradford since last year when it was named as the second least romantic get-away spot for love-seekers.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the Council's executive member for tourism, said her heart was with Bradford.
“We are never going to be Paris or Venice but there will still be plenty of couples who will be enjoying Valentine’s Day in Bradford,” she said.
“We’ve got award-winning curry restaurants and there’s the Media Museum putting on an Audrey Hepburn night with food – there’s lots to do.
“The Lake District might be top of the romantic poll according to that survey but it’s very wet there. Given the choice I’d rather celebrate Valentine’s in Bradford!”
Maintenance boss Jonathon Cockroft and his sweetheart Victoria Forsythe, both 31, have chosen Bradford over their native Halifax to get married on Valentine’s Day.
The happy couple found The Barn at Esholt when searching for the best spot to tie the knot and set the date.
Mr Cockroft said: “We looked all over to find the right place and we think we found it in Bradford. So it's always going to have a romantic place in our hearts – if not in other people’s!”
Five couples will be getting hitched at Bradford Register Office in Manor Row on the big day itself including one couple already married who will be renewing their vows.
Deputy Superintendent Registrar Charissa Elvidge said bookings for the day showed romance was very much alive in the city but Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday had probably been a help.
“That’s probably part of an explanation for it,” she said. “A Friday or Saturday is going to be a better bet for most couples planning a wedding – it’s easier than the start or middle of the week.”
Graham Robinson, who has been a florist in Wibsey for 20 years, said he has ordered in 1,000 red roses to help Bradford admirers declare their love.
“We’re hedging our bets a bit but we’re expecting lots of love in the air this year.
“Christmas was good for us and the trend usually follows – unless we get snow then that might be a bit of a passion killer.
"Demand for roses has gone up and down over the years I’ve been in the business with people finding other kinds of gifts like chocolates to send each other but roses are the original love token and are here to stay – I hope!”
Bradford’s Great Victoria Hotel is at the heart of romance in the city, according to its sales manager Megan Tuffs, who says so inspired were they at the increase in weddings there over the past 12 months that they are putting on a Valentine’s Ball.
“Weddings business has been booming for us – we’ve had quite a few last-minute bookings too which shows there’s a bit of impulsiveness of the heart going on too.
“We’ve had quite a few renewal of vows celebrations and a couple of diamond wedding parties so not only is love well and truly alive in Bradford – it’s lasting too!”