Alternative Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

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Couple in art gallery

For those that don’t find cupid cute, or who object to anatomically incorrect hearts being plastered everywhere, Valentine’s Day can be a little sick-making. Never fear however – there are plenty of other ways to celebrate romance without it becoming a soppy cliché. Here are some of the choicest upcoming events.

Bacchanalian Romp

Join a private tour of the National Gallery at night and learn about its sauciest paintings. Organised by Art History UK, the evening is composed of drinks, a guided tour of the raunchier works of Rubens, Botticelli and Velazquez, and dinner at Blacks Club. The tour takes place on Friday 13th February, and starts at 6.45pm outside the National Gallery in London.

Look to the stars

In our tech-obsessed world, we still find natural wonders like shooting stars both meaningful and beautiful. With this in mind, why not take your partner to one of the UK’s dark sky reserves for some gently romantic star-gazing?

The Brecon Beacons and Exmoor National Park are both internationally recognised for being relatively free of light pollution. That’s not to say you can’t see stars anywhere else however – use this handy map to find somewhere suitable in your vicinity.

Comedy Cabaret

Make sure your date doesn’t take Valentine’s Day too seriously by taking them to watch some live comedy. Brighton’s Komedia is as funky a venue as they come, and will be playing host to the Krater Comedy Club’s Valentine’s Day special. A ticket will get you a bottle of Prosecco, a meal and, of course, the evening’s entertainment.

Apple Grafting

Learn how to graft apple trees at the picturesque Cotehele orchard in Cornwall, and take your finished specimen home as a Valentine’s memento. There are more than 20 local apple varieties to choose from and a dedicated National Trust team to show couples how it’s done. Afterwards, warm up with a cream tea and a tour of the lovingly maintained manor house.

Night Safari

The Natural History Museum is running a special Valentine’s-themed night exploring ‘love’ in the natural world. Scientists will discuss the weird and wonderful sex lives of everything from insects to sea creatures, and visitors will get the chance to see and handle some of the museum’s best behind-the-scenes specimens. The Safari takes place on the 16th February and begins at 18.30.

Playing games

Computer games have a long and varied history, but are united in their quest to provide fun. The Game Masters touring event beings together more than 125 playable games ranging from physical dancing games to classic arcade fodder. The exhibition will be held in Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland, and also features interactive displays and concept art.

Dinner in a castle

If you have to take your partner out for a meal on Valentine’s, you may as well do it properly. How about a three-course candlelit dinner in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall of Kent’s Leeds Castle? If you’re feeling rich, there’s also the option of staying overnight in a turret.


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