Contrary Life brings you our second alternative guide to Valentine’s Day. This time with a selection of events taking place across the UK this year. We bring you grottos, blindfold driving, illicit gambling, high teas on steam trains, plus some mystery and adventure…
Valentine’s Grotto Experience
When: 14th February 2016, 11.30am, 1pm or 2.30pm
Where: Painshill, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1JE
£: Tickets cost £25 per person and £22.50 per person for members (booking is essential). Adults only.
What is it?
For a different Valentine’s Day treat, why not take your loved one to see the unique and beautiful Crystal Grotto? On arrival you will be welcomed with a glass of Painshill Sparkling Wine, a chocolate heart and a red rose.
Visitors can choose from one of three time slots, at 11.30am, 1pm or 2.30pm. Within each hourly time slot there are just 26 tickets available, which means whilst you will be joined by others, you will have plenty of space and time to enjoy this stunning folly. Expert guides will tell you all about the Crystal Grotto and answer your questions. If you would like total exclusivity of this romantic folly for a proposal, then contact Painshill, who will try to arrange this for you.
The ticket price includes entry to the beautiful landscape garden.
More info: www.painshill.co.uk/valentines-day
The Gatsby Speakeasy ‘Valentine’s Special’
When: 12th February 2016, from 7.30pm
Where: The Rum Shack, 657 – 659 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow South Side G41 2AB
£: Tickets cost £8
What is it?
Scotland’s largest 1920s themed cabaret and club night, The Gatsby Speakeasy, will be hosting a Valentine’s Special featuring cabaret chanteur Tom Harlow, and international burlesque performer Ginger La Rouge.
The Gatsby Speakeasy is a liquor establishment, hidden away underground, and invites people to soak up the atmosphere this Valentine’s with singers, dancers, burlesque acts and a suitably retro DJ. There will also be special speakeasy cocktails available on the night.
Visitors will need the secret password, and to add to the fun, there may be a police raid, so make sure you hide your drinks when you hear the siren go off. Expect illicit gambling, flappers drinking cocktails, and gangsters playing blackjack. Guests will be given special Gatsby dollar bills, in order to join in the fun. The winner will be awarded with a bottle of champagne, so good luck!
More info: thegatsbyclub.co.uk
High Tea with Prosecco on Gwili Steam Railway
When: 14th February 2016
Where: Gwili Steam Railway, Carmarthen SA33 6HT
£: Costs £25 for adults
What is it?
Looking for something relaxing and refined for Valentine’s Day but don’t want to settle for a meal in a restaurant?
Then why not try a Special High Tea with a continental twist to celebrate the day? Visitors to Gwili Steam Railway can enjoy a relaxed, leisurely high tea in the specially adapted Bar Coach, which features large picture windows.
Greeted with a glass of Prosecco, guests are invited to sit back and soak up the nostalgia of a steam train ride. You will be able to enjoy table service as your high tea is brought to you by the on board waiting staff. The high tea will consist of a selection of freshly made sandwiches, a slice of Bara Brith with Welsh butter, a cake or two scones with Welsh Butter, locally-sourced jam, and clotted cream. There will be unlimited Welsh Brew loose leaf tea or freshly made coffee to accompany the food.
The steam train ride takes about an hour and a half, and there will be bar drinks available for the duration of the trip.
More info: www.gwili-railway.co.uk
Alternative Valentine’s Day Dates with Adrenalin Jungle
When: Book a date via the Adrenalin Jungle website
Where: Adrenalin Jungle Activity Centre, Deerdale Lane off A614, Bilsthorpe, Nottingham NG22 8SY
£: Prices vary depending on the activity but most are around £25 per person
What is it?
Have a go at exciting activities such as Segway driving, quad biking, 4×4 driving and archery, in the heart of Sherwood Forest. Adrenalin Jungle is giving couples a chance to step away from the stereotypical date by offering events in the great outdoors as an alternative romantic gift.
If you want to truly break form the norm and do a group valentines experience, and you can get five or six couples together, then Nottingham’s largest outdoor activity centre is offering a 25% discount on a selection of activities. This Winter Warmer offer allows groups to try out exciting activities including laser tag, axe throwing and bubble football.
The Adrenalin Jungle, set in the heart of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, offers outdoor entertainment including paintballing, quad biking, 4×4 off-roading, archery, assault courses, clay pigeon shooting, blindfold driving and off-road karting. The Adrenalin Jungle is spread over 150 acres of woodlands and clearings; the largest paintballing and outdoor activity centre in the East Midlands.
More info: www.adrenalinjungle.com
A Challenging Game of Mystery and Adventure
When: Pick a date from the website
Where: South London (The Four Thieves), East London (People’s Park Tavern) and Brighton (Black Lion pub)
£: Tickets cost from £15.50 to £19 per person
What is it?
Try A Challenging Game of Mystery and Adventure for an alternative Valentine’s Day date in London and Brighton. Adventurous couples who wish to prove how well they work together can take on the new team game. Lady Chastity’s Reserve is a night out like no other, and is described as ‘The Crystal Maze on crystal meth’. The game takes place in premium drinking venues, and combines theatre, clues, spooky thrills and comedy.
Your host Gabriel, will guide you into the hidden room where you’ll attempt to pit your wits against the deranged Lady Chastity as you search through her old belongings and strange mechanical contraptions. Those who prove themselves worthy will whoop and holler their way through an hour of surreal gaming, leaving with Chastity’s fabled bottle of aphrodisiac wine. Succeed and wet your whistle. Fail and wet your pants.
More info: www.handmademysteries.com