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Regent Arcade

Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade Shopping Centre proves to be a retail winner.

As you browse the shops in Regent Arcade looking for Valentine’s Day gift ideas, have you ever wondered about the origins of this romantic date?

The second most popular card-giving day after Christmas can be traced back to an ancient Roman fertility festival. After the birth of Christ, legend has it that two Christian martyrs called Valentine were put to death on 14th February, about 100 years apart. It is the second Valentine who is believed to have sent the first love note bearing the words ‘From Your Valentine’ to his jailer’s daughter. In those days Roman soldiers were banned from marrying and Valentine was arrested for conducting secret wedding ceremonies.

St Valentine’s Day was formalised by Pope Gelasius circa. 496, but it was almost another thousand years before Chaucer made the first literary reference to the date linking it to romance, followed by Shakespeare in the 1600s.

In England the trend of sending love notes on 14th February gathered momentum, and with the introduction of the new postal service came the fashion of sending anonymous handmade Valentine messages. These were being mass produced by the early 1800s and Hallmark launched its first Valentine card to the world in 1913!

For some Valentine’s Day is a cliché, but for others it’s a golden opportunity to show their appreciation for their partner. Whichever side of the fence you sit, Regent Arcade has the ideal Valentine for everyone – and with a host of special offers available, that love token needn’t break the bank.

A wide choice of cards and gifts are on hand at Clintons and Sugarloaf. Thorntons have a Valentines collection including heart shaped truffle boxes, and for ever-popular scents there’s The Perfume Shop and The Fragrance Shop. The Body Shop has also introduced an exciting
‘Chocomania’ range of chocolate-scented products.

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so if you’re thinking jewellery you’re spoiled for choice here. Pia, David Christopher (a Pandora stockist), Ernest Jones, The Regent Goldsmith and Crystal Chain are all under one roof, each with their own unique pieces and friendly staff happy to help.

Lingerie is an ever-popular gift but getting the right size can be a delicate problem.Why not pick up a gift voucher from Triumph or Ann Summers instead? Pampering vouchers are also available at Hollywood Nails and Appy Feet.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the ladies however. Pia have introduced a new men’s range of classic, high-quality jewellery. Hot new brand Kear & Ku have a wide range of unique menswear and accessories.

And for the partner who loves culture and live events there’s a Cheltenham Festivals gift membership or advance tickets to a whole host of performances, available from the first floor Box Office.

However you choose to celebrate 14th February, spare a thought for the Duke of Orleans who wrote the first recorded Valentine’s note to his wife in 1415, whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London!

For the latest Valentine’s Day offers, visit www.regentarcade.co.uk