Every year Contrary Life likes to bring you some alternative ways to spend Valentine’s and this year is no exception. Below we bring you our pick of things to do on or around Valentine’s Day to avoid the age-old flowers and candle-lit dinner combo…
Feeling fit not fluffy? Then why not try the Valentine’s Day Massacre at Formby Dunes on 16th February? It’s more head torches than candles with 5 miles of dunes and woodland. It costs £25 to enter and is not for the faint hearted. Visit thenightrunner.com/night-runner/valentines-day-massacre for more details.
Spend your money on a different type of love nest with The Wildlife Trust. For just £17.50 you can sponsor a Love Nest and show your passion for wildlife. The money goes towards helping create havens for Cumbria’s bird population.
There’s nothing more romantic than gazing at the stars, so why not head to Kielder Observatory and learn about the night sky? There is a Public Observing Night on the 13th February when Kielder open up the observatory and hand it over to you. Expert staff will be on hand to answer all of your questions, guide you around the night sky and supervise your use of the telescopes. An adult ticket costs £10.
Love tokens from Folk Art at the Museum Collections Centre in Birmingham takes place on 14th February. A chance to explore some of the museum’s folk art collection with a special handling session for Valentine’s Day. With the help of Applied Art Curator Sylvia Crawley have a closer look at some of their love tokens. It costs £10 including tea, coffee and cakes. Visit www.bmag.org.uk for more details.
Watching The Circus of Horrors is probably not the usual way to spend Valentine’s Day but they are on at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on 14th February. A Valentine’s Day Massacre will take you back to the roaring 20s, tickets are priced £15 – £27.
It’s Valentine’s Day with a 1920’s twist at the Museum of London. From 7 – 10pm on the 14th February the museum will take a trip back in time to the age of jazz, cabaret and fabulous flapper fashion. Dress up 1920’s style and learn to dance the Charleston alongside your partner or friend. It costs £7, to book call the box office on 020 7001 9844. For more details see our blog post.
On 15th and 16th February at 8pm John Hegley will be performing Love, Peace and Potatoes at Jacksons Lane. Love, peace and potatoes – all very important Valentine’s themes I think you’ll find. Tickets cost £14.95. See our blog post for more details.
Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight has a Valentine’s Ghost Walk on 14th February at 3pm. Wander the spooky grounds of this ancient site and hear the ghostly goings on that have been witnessed over the years. It should make the heart beat faster, even if it isn’t for the right reasons! It costs £20 with light refreshments included.
The Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park has a Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery on 14th February at 7pm. It’s a murder mystery 1920’s style, with evening of fun and investigation. Fancy dress is encouraged, so why not glam up (in 20s style of course)? The £20 ticket includes a cheeseboard supper and glass of wine. Visit Quex Museum, booking is advised.
Instead of giving your loved one a bunch of roses that will probably last a week or so before they die, go on a Rose pruning course with the experts at RHS Wisley or RHS Rosemoor (both of which are famous for their rose gardens) and learn how to plant, nurture and prune a rose garden. Rose Pruning at Wisley in Surrey takes place on 12th and 13th February and costs £25 for members and £36.50 for non-members.
You can also try a Rose Pruning course at Rosemoor in Devon, it takes place on 6th February and costs £10 for members and £18 for non-members.
Make something special in time for Valentine’s Day and carve out your intentions with a spoon. Visit Seville’s Croft, Hemyock in Devon on 9th February and you can whittle yourself a spoon and personalise it with your own design. It costs £25 for adults and includes lunch. For more details and to book visit www.blackdownhillsaonb.org.uk.
There’s a Quirky Vintage Valentine’s Market taking place at Woodbridge Community Hall in Suffolk on 10th February. Pop along to the indoor market for vintage-style goodies, delicious edibles, stylish clothing and gorgeous crafts. Browse the vintage and vintage-style clothes, jewellery, toys, crockery, kitchenalia, bags, hats, scarves, ornaments, curiosities and treat yourself (or a loved one) to something quirky.
Have a whole day dedicated to chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story on Valentine’s Day. Take a fun-filled, interactive tour of some of the world’s most iconic confectionery brands guided by a Confectioneer. Master the art of chocolate-tasting (who knew it was an art), before some chocolate-making demonstrations where you can try your hand at making heart-shaped chocolates. Then there’s a chocolate lolly making workshop where you can work together to create your own heart-shaped lollies. Afterwards settle down in The Chocolate Bar café for a truly alternative foodie experience. It costs £9.50 for adults.
Go dolphin spotting, the Scottish Dolphin Centre is due to re-open mid February at weekends, which is just in time for a romantic trip to try to see some of our most-loved marine mammals.
Pretend you’re a film star for the evening as the Glasgow Film Festival kicks off on Valentine’s Day with a red carpet for movie-goers to walk down.
Love is in the Air at the Welsh Mountain zoo, find out about rare species and wander along the wooded pathways. It costs adults £9.95 to visit the zoo.
Help stop violence to women on Valentine’s Day. One Billion Rising at Pontardawe Arts Centre is a global call to action for women all over the world to stop what they are doing on 14th February, and come together to say ‘Enough!’ to the atrocities women and girls still endure all over the world.
How about a ‘Canoe-dle’ for Valentine’s? This is a couples retreat with a difference. You’ll get the opportunity to take a romantic and relaxing paddle on the picturesque River Lagan from Shaw’s Bridge. Visit www.outdoorni.com for more details.