IT’S the most romantic day of the year and couples across Hampshire are pushing the Valentine’s Day boat out.

From flowers to romantic dinners for two, couples are splashing the cash on their loved ones.

And while that’s good news for romance it also plucks on the heartstrings of the county’s economy.

Florists, restaurants and hotels all say that business this Valentine’s Day is well and truly blooming.

The traditional luxuries of sweets and jewels are still popular – Southampton’s Hotel Chocolat is running low on stock and Ernest Jones Jewellers sold its Valentine’sthemed Hero line in one day.

Men are treating their loved ones to a pamper day, and Chilworth Manor is fully booked.

The Grand Cafe in Southampton will see 200 people come through its doors this evening and staff are hoping to see at least one spontaneous proposal.

But for five couples February 14 will be memorable for more than one reason – the register office will have four weddings and one civil partnership in Southampton.

Jane Bidwell Florist in Hythe has experienced the love rush and staff were frantically running around after hundreds of boyfriends and husbands went in yesterday.

Owner Jane Bidwell said: “The favourite this year has been a 24 red rose bouquet with other decoration inside and hand-tied, and lots of young men have been spending up to £150 on their loved ones.

“Everyone is feeling very romantic this year and it feels busier. Lots of women will be very spoilt.

“We’ve helped one man to recreate his wife’s wedding bouquet, and a chap who comes in every day for a chat bought me a single red rose – but that’s a secret of course.”