Valentine’s Day can sometimes feel forced upon us, with the glut of red hearts, limp flowers, over-priced chocolates and the need to squash ourselves into a restaurant with every other couple for that perfect romantic evening. But what if you are tired of the cheesy nature of it all and what if you aren’t with Mr or Mrs perfect? Well here are some ideas for a trouble free, fun and possibly quirky (anti) Valentine’s Day.
Single but willing to mingle
So what’s happening out there for those of us who want to be sociable but don’t have a date? The Central St Giles branch of Zizzi is taking the unusual step of banning all couples, so that’s a good start! For the 14th February Zizzi has teamed up with new online dating and social networking site, Tastebuds, which aim to match people based on their musical tastes. They will be inviting down some of their members to enjoy the evening festivities, including live music, canapés, wine tasting and the chance to meet new people. Any other single Londoners who don’t want to spend the night surrounded by loved-up couples are welcome to attend. Bookings are being taken on 0207 240 8447 (places are limited). The Central St Giles Zizzi event is on from 6.30pm – 9pm. The ticket price is £10 (with £10 to be taken off the price of a meal for guests who decide to stay and dine).
Maybe the idea of a restaurant is too clichéd for you? How about heading to the city for a Night of Magic, Mystery & Masquerade? Over Valentine’s weekend, CitySocialising are hosting a party in London where guests will be treated to a complimentary Bellini, celebrity magician Brendan Patricks will entertain and help to break the ice, and a fortune teller will be predicting what 2011 has in store for guests. Simply book a ticket and pick a mask that will make you stand out from the crowd! Tickets start at £7.50 and should be purchased in advance at CitySocialising. The event will be held at Mary Janes, St Johns House, 124-127 Minories, EC3N 1NT from 7.00pm till late.
After something more relaxed? The Huntarian Museum are celebrating lost love with an evening of suitably anti-Valentine activities. Lost Love at the Huntarian Museum will feature a heart surgeon giving talks on mending broken hearts, a retired surgeon on the topic of Syphilis – ‘One night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury’, the Love Trail with a prize for completion, and the opportunity to write a love-lorn limerick. The highlight is possibly having the chance to make and ‘pickle’ a part (bring your own jam jar). There is a suggested donation of £2 for the event.
Alternatively The Hat and Tun are hosting a singles pub quiz, starting at 7.30pm on 14th February. The love themed event will feature a host of romantic questions and tasks designed for hearts and minds to meet. Arrive as a singleton or as a small group and you will be allocated teams at random letting fate decide who is the true winner. The pubs well-stocked cellars and delicious food such as the pub pie classic will keep you sufficiently feed and watered. Seriously, what is more romantic than a good pie? Quiz winners will receive a £100 bar tab to continue the night in style (or the prize can be swapped for two candlelit meals at the pub).
Or why not grab your mates and have a go at cocktail making? If your interest in drinking goes beyond the bottom of the glass and you’d like to know more about the history of the cocktail, where spirits come from and why some are better than others then this is a great way to spend an evening. The masterclass takes 2-3 hours depending on how much banter you like and groups of 10+ are recommended. The £25 ticket price includes an introductory cocktail at the bar, cocktail sensory testing, a cocktail demonstration unlocking the secrets of great cocktail making and of course cocktail making by you. The MOJO Bartender will judge all the cocktails, so can you make a winner? The materclasses are taking place in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.
For those of you who do like a decent meal with your loved one but fancy doing something a bit more interesting, then why not get out into the fresh air and take a walk? Liverpool’s Isla Gladstone Conservatory is encouraging couples to look beyond the usual flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day and take their loved one for a romantic walk in the picturesque Stanley Park. Stanley Park, which recently won a Green Flag award for its beauty and conservation, has panoramic views extending out from the Mersey coast in the West to the Lancashire Hills in the North and East. You can always warm up after your stroll with some afternoon tea at Kemps Bistro. The Isla Gladstone Conservatory will be handing out maps of the park from Friday 11th February until Monday 14th February. For more information visit www.theislagladstone.co.uk.
Failing that, I have one more idea for singles and couples alike. And if this isn’t enough of an antidote for you, then I don’t know what is! London Paranormal have a Valentine’s themed walk on the 14th February. Valentines Massacre: Spooky Smithfield Special will uncover horrors such as Jack Ketch’s kitchen, violent poltergeists and ancient plague pits. If you want your night to be filled with anything from execution sites to body-snatching then this is the walk for you. Tickets are £10 but if you bring a heart of some description then it’s only a fiver. It starts off at 7.30pm at The Butchers Hook and Clever, Smithfields. Don’t be heartless and have yourself a good evening.