Every year Contrary Life likes to bring you some alternative ways to spend Valentine’s Day and this year is no exception. Below we bring you a selection of quirky and fun things to do on or around Valentine’s Day that avoid you taking an unimaginative trip to the florist…
Sleep with Sherlock at the Museum of London
When: 13th – 15th February 2015
Where: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
£: Tickets for the Late event cost £12 – £15 and tickets for the sleepover cost £175 – £220
What is it?
This Valentine’s there are not one but two great options at the Museum of London. The first is their Late London: Bohemian City event on 13th February (7pm – 10pm). The evening promises some after-dark fun, held in honour of Mr Holmes and embracing London’s bohemian soul. The event will include installations, performances, discussions and workshops plus late night bars and the chance to see the exhibition after hours.
The following evening there will be the chance to Sleep with Sherlock as the museum holds its first all-nighter. This adults-only nocturnal experience will include a talk by Angela Buckley, author of The Real Sherlock Holmes, comedy performances and improvised storytelling. There will be a sleuthing workshop with Forensic Outreach, where guests can discover the secrets of fingerprinting and psychological profiling. Experts from Think Forensic will reveal all about one of the newer methods of forensic science, blood spatter analysis.
Guests can look forward to a three-course dinner and the chance to explore the whole museum after dark with a drink in hand, including the Sherlock Holmes exhibition. Ghost story recitals will continue until the early hours, and there will be a Sherlock movie marathon in the theatre. When the night is over, a full English breakfast will sate the appetite of the newly trained super sleuths.
More info: www.museumoflondon.org.uk
Alternative storytelling at the Story Museum
When: 6th & 12th February 2015
Where: Story Museum, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP
£: Tickets cost £12 for the singles evening (adults only) and £10 for the storytelling evening (Suitable for 16+ years)
What is it?
The Story Museum in Oxford is holding a range of events in honour of Valentine’s Day. These include a special literature lovers’ Singles Evening on 6th February. This relaxed evening will include the exhibition opening of 26 Characters, wine and snacks. Guests should bring along their favourite book to get the conversation flowing.
On 12th February The Four Chambers of the Heart will provide an alternative storytelling evening. Expect fiery lovers and polyamorous marriages as international storytellers Tim Ralphs and Clare Muireann Murphy will perform their strange, flirtatious and beautiful love stories from around the world, in this alternative Valentine’s Day celebration.
More info: www.storymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/browse/valentines
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the past or learn bushcraft with the National Trust
When: 14th February 2015
Where: Tranmer House in Suffolk, Lyme Park in Cheshire and Gibside in Tyne & Wear
£: Normal admission charges apply
What is it?
The National Trust have a whole array of quirky Valentine’s Day events running at their properties this year. The first to catch our eye is a living history event at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo. Here visitors can step back in time and experience St Valentine’s Day in 1937. Visitors to Lyme Park can step further back in time to the roaring twenties for their special Valentine’s Day event where dance experts will teach you some 1920s moves. Head along in 1920s dress for free entry to their exhibition, plus a glass of bubbly and a chocolate heart.
If that is all too conventional for you, then try some Bushcraft Bonding at Gibside, Tyne and Wear (costs £10). This event should provide an antidote to Valentine’s Day. Here you can meet new people and discover how to live lightly in the outdoors with skills, like making campfires and building shelters.
More info: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
A Fudge Making Experience for Two
When: Experiences can be booked for the day of your choice
Where: At Fudge Kitchen shops in Bath, York, Cambridge, Windsor, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Oxford and Ripon
£: A fudge making session for two costs £50
What is it?
Ditch the clichés and learn a traditional, gourmet skill together, then enjoy your efforts.
In an hour-long Fudge Making Experience, you and your Valentine will learn about the history of fudge, the science behind the temperatures, and watch a demonstration. You will then be able to try your hand at the traditional “slabbing and loafing” technique on a 5ft marble table. Herein lies the secret of Fudge Kitchen’s supremely creamy fudge.
You may decide to create a personalised flavour for your cherished one; although, with over 20 Fudge Kitchen recipes to choose (and sample), ranging from Lemon Meringue Pie to Sea Salted Caramel, you shouldn’t struggle to find a favourite. At the end you will receive a beautifully packaged box of four slices of your creation to take home too, which should score you some serious (chocolate) brownie points.
More info: www.fudgekitchen.co.uk
Vampire Valentine’s in Somerset
When: 13th February from 7pm
Where: Yeo Valley HQ, Rhodyate, Blagdon, North Somerset BS40 7YE
£: Tickets cost £29 (adults only)
What is it?
Dairy people, Yeo Valley, are hosting an alternative Valentine’s evening with dinner, entertainment, music and dancing at their HQ on 13th February.
Guests to the Vampire Valentine’s should dress deliciously and be ready to sharpen their fangs for a mouth-watering Valentine’s evening feast. Vampire Valentine’s promises four ‘bloody’ good courses, plus music, entertainment and dancing, to create an evening of vamp-ish fun. The event is suitable for all grown-ups; loved up or otherwise.
More info: www.yeovalley.co.uk
Explore the dark side of love at Barts Pathology Museum
When: 11th February 6.30pm – 9pm
Where: Barts Pathology Museum, 3rd Floor Robin Brook Centre, St Barts Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE
£: Tickets cost £8.95
What is it?
Kate Mayfield, author of The Undertaker’s Daughter, will be regaling guests with tales of the dark side of love. This illustrated lecture, Hearts In Darkness, will include devoured hearts, bewitched hearts and heart burials. Mayfield will also be signing copies of her book for guests to purchase (before its general UK release) and there will be a chance to have a Q&A.
More info: www.qmul.ac.uk/bartspathology and www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dead-meet-up
Chocolate tours in Brighton and London
When: Book a day of your choice
Where: Brighton and London
£: From £40
What is it?
If you’re struggling to think of a novel way to win the affections of the one you love this Valentine’s Day, Chocolate Ecstasy Tours may have some options that will surely melt any heart. Chocolate Ecstasy Tours offer indulgent, five-star guided chocolate tours around some of the most exclusive addresses in Brighton and London that will seduce any chocoholic, whether male or female.
You can book a tour and a date to suit you (and your loved one), opting for a three or three-and-a-half hour tour around Mayfair, Chelsea or Brighton. Your expert guide will lead you to exquisite chocolate shops and boutiques at which you can meet top chocolatiers, sample their divine creations and learn a little local history en route. VIP discounts on purchases are also available for those who wish to top-up their Valentine’s treat with extra chocolate gifts.
More info: www.chocolateecstasytours.com