If you haven’t already guessed from the heart-shaped chocolate boxes lining supermarket shelves, influx of jewellery adverts clogging your Instagram feed and countless listicles about romantic gift ideas, February 14 is almost upon us. Soon, the florists will be having a field day with a carousel of loved-up customers and restaurants will be filled with besotted couples clinking champagne glasses – whether you’re looking to count yourself among them or after something a little bit different to treat your partner to (think entertaining performances and indulgent afternoon tea), you’re sure to find the perfect Valentine’s Day date ideas below…
1. Tuck into high tea at the Grand Pacific
Admit it: the Bridgerton binge-watches and scrolls through Insta foodie accounts have left you with a craving for some demure dining with perfectly cut sandwiches and jam-smothered scones. If you fancy a spot of delicious luncheon this Valentine’s Day, you could always throw some heavy hints at your partner or just cut some corners and book a date at the Grand Pacific for High Tea. The opulent restaurant sits in Spring Garden, with colonial-inspired interiors that pairs striking golden pineapple chandeliers with dark wood furnishings and tropical wallpaper, you could almost imagine spreading a map across a table and plotting your next adventure, explorer style. This February, you’ll be able to enjoy a selection of exotic savoury treats and sumptuously sweet tarts, mousses and brûlées with their special Valentine’s Day high tea.
2. Lose yourself in the music at these candlelight concerts
If you’re after a unique to say “I love you” then a Candlelight concert is your answer. Throughout the month of February you can feast your eyes and ears on a beautiful candlelit performance by classical musicians, with tributes to ABBA, Queen and more including a special Moonlight Sonata for the occasion. They take place at architectural gems such as Manchester Cathedral, where the intricate Gothic architecture is illuminated by the dancing flames of candles to really set the mood for a romantic evening.
3. Get your hands dirty with clay at this sexy sculpting class at Ducie Street Warehouse
If you’re after unique, hands-on date ideas this Valentine’s Day, then head to Ducie Street Warehuse where Cork&Clay will be hosting an unforgettable ceramic experience and partners are invited to sculpt each other’s privates. This body-positive evening will allow participants to sculpt their very own sexy piece of clay into a penis or vagina. Priced at £25 for Early Bird and £30 for General Admission – the workshop will include all materials, including air dry clay, rolling pins and clay tools, apron, clay slip, and a gift box to take your piece of art home.
4. Shoot your shot at Pong & Puck over the Valentine’s weekend
Calling all the singles and the couples who hate clichés. Why not swap the cringey stuff for some old school fun and cheesy 80s, 90s & 00s hits this Valentine’s weekend? Pong & Puck is closed on Valentine’s Day itself, but why not celebrate the weekend before the big day in style with retro fun and throwback tunes? The games bar is switching love games for shuffleboard, beer pong, prosecco pong, and table tennis. You can also pick your poison, with cocktails including Wanna Puck, 80’s Pornstar, and Naked Pineapple. Plus, visitors to Pong & Puck can enjoy free games on select days when booking in advance, enjoy free flowing booze at their bottomless brunch or pizza and drink combos for £10 on Fridays, as well as happy hour every day between 7pm and 9pm.
5. Find love on the dancefloor at this 360 disco event at Manchester Cathedral
There aren’t many occasions when you can dance the night away in a cathedral with waves of funk rippling through your body. However, at Manchester 360º, this is exactly what you can expect. On February 10, The Shapeshifters will bring disco music magic to Manchester Cathedral, filling the centuries-old venue with joyous melodies that will have you glued to the dancefloor from start to finish. The electric atmosphere, marvellous venue and some pretty impressive moves on the dancefloor are enough to fall in love with. Grab tickets for you and your dancing partner here.
6. Show your creative side with this Valentine’s special Drink n Draw event
Ducie Street Warehouse is hosting not one but two romantic art evenings as on February 16, Overdrawn will be taking over the space to host its signature Drink n Draw activity for a special Valentine’s edition. Lovebirds at the warehouse are invited to join this free event to get creative and spend quality time with their loved ones, to paint and enjoy a pint in the lounge. All drawing materials will be included and free of charge to use at the event.
7. Celebrate female empowerment with this special Valentine’s cabaret performance
Fancy spicing up this year’s Valentine’s Day? Popular female-empowering variety night, ‘Ember & the Vixens’, returns for a Valentine’s cabaret special on February 18 at The King’s Arms on Bloom Street in Salford. The theme of the night is ‘vixen’, drawn from theatre maker Selina’s burlesque alter-ego ‘Ember Travixen’, but the core of the cabaret is feminism and female empowerment. The performances include jazz music, burlesque acts in various sultry styles and spoken word, and this time with themes of romance, anti-romance and broken hearts!
8. Embark on a Private Romantic Tour of Manchester
Explore the most romantic spots in the city with your loved one this February. Who needs the Eiffel Tower or gondola rides around Venice when you’ve got the variety of charming locations to be found just a stroll away. Following a professional guide, you’ll be shown the best places to have a date, the most Insta-worthy settings to take some smitten shots together and learn of some historical love stories that unfolded in the streets and buildings of Manchester. Find tickets here.
9. Escape to the spellbinding nature of Blackley Forest
Sometimes all you need is to get away from the hectic buzz of the city and hunt down some peace and quiet in the wilderness together. If you’re after outdoorsy date ideas this Valentine’s Day then Blackley Forest is just the place to do that. There you can wander along twisting trails dappled with sunlight that shines through the thick canopy, spot kingfishers on the River Irk and keep an eye out for the deer that are often seen roaming through the trees. It’s ideal if you’re after a bit of reconnection – with nature and with one another.
10. Be immersed in a romantic or action-packed storyline at the cinema
Whether you prefer to dive into the plot of the latest blockbuster or fancy reminiscing some of the best romantic movies, watching a great film is possibly one of the best date ideas for Valentine’s Day. Yes, there’s no talking but you can’t go wrong with some popcorn (although we won’t be sharing), good company and riveting storyline to get sucked into. CULTPLEX, Grub’s in-house cinema rebranded from Chapeltown Picture House will be showing some Valentine’s specials including True Romance, as well as a double bill of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge where you can enjoy two tickets and a bottle of fizz for £30.
Or you could opt for a classic trip to Vue or Odeon and get yourself a cheeky discount on us.
Vue Cinema Tickets – valid for any 2D movie, on any day, at any time at participating Vue cinemas in Manchester.
Odeon Cinema Tickets – valid for standard 2D films at ODEON cinemas in Manchester (ODEON LUXE excluded)
11. Head to a gig at the Albert Hall
Music is what brings many people together, so why not bond over your love of music at a gig to celebrate the day? See your favourite artist or band with one of the most important people in your life, as Valentine’s Day date ideas go it’s got to be a real winner and will definitely provide some memories. Albert Hall in Manchester will be hosting performances from Caroline Polachek on February 15 and Irish band The Murder Capital on February 16 that are sure to get you up and dancing.
12. Tuck into a brie-lliant bottomless cheese buffet at Pie & Ale
Calling all cheese lovers! Get ready for Edam Gouda time this Valentine’s Day with an all-you-can-eat deal that’s heard to resist. A bottomless cheese buffet is coming to Pie & Ale in the Northern Quarter on February 16, where you can gorge on Gorgonzola and fill your boots with Fior di latte. Run by Homage2Fromage, the team has selected eight sexy, sultry, sensuous cheeses, alongside a selection of freshly-baked bread, crackers, chutneys and ‘all the trimmings’ for you to enjoy over two and a half hours. Nothing says love quite like cheese so don’t miss this brie-lliant event.