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Alternative Valentine’s

Forget sitting in a restaurant and being handed a soggy rose and chocolates. What else could you plan to do? Here's 14 ways to celebrate Valentine’s in style...

Twilight Castle Tour, Southern Segway Tours, Leeds Castle, Fri 14 Feb

Now this is a bit different, isn’t it? Experience Leeds castle up close and personal in a different quirky way on this 90 minute evening tour. Take a Segway right up to the castle gate and follow the magnificent water’s edge around the castle lake, surround yourself with beautiful views of the castle from all angles. After some sunset pictures with the castle as your backdrop you’ll continue the tour up into the golf course and down through the castle maze. £59 pp.

Murder Mystery Night, Port Lympne, Fri 14 Feb

This is most definitely not your average Valentines meal for two! It’s the 1920s and you are cordially invited to celebrate the engagement of the vicar, The Rev E. Coe to the verger, Miss Ruby Red at Port Lympne Hotel. The local doctor, Siegfried Black has invited you and a selected group of guests to enjoy an evening of parlour games around the drawing room fire. With the evening in full swing events take a dastardly turn for the worst. The lights flicker, then fade…A scream is heard! The lights return to reveal that someone is dead, but who, how and why? With character actors setting the scene, you’ll meet a variety of suspects, as you journey with them through the story, unravelling clues over a delicious three course meal, served in the spacious Aspinall Suite adjoining the main hotel. Starting at 7pm, the evening promises plenty of mystery and just a splatter of murder (suitable for adults and children over 12 years old). Please note parties under 10, will share with other guests. Just £52.50 pp. Book your space call 01303 234111 or email their Events Team:

Falconry at The Hawking Centre, Eastwell Manor

A fantastic opportunity to spread your wings (sorry!) and try something new as a couple. Learn the captivating art of falconry in the spectacular grounds at Eastwell Manor. The day is completely hands-on, and the emphasis is on you handling and flying as many Birds of Prey as time allows.

After a coffee and a VIP tour it’s glove on and across the estate with a professional falconer for a full day of hands on flying, with a vast range of birds of prey. You will begin with flying a small Owl through the woodland, an Eagle Owl or Wood Owl through the meadow, and as your experience continues you progress to flying a Vulture across the formal lawns, the Hawks through the woodland and for the ultimate experience you fly one of the Eagles within the beautiful hedged gardens. Prices start at £150 per couple for a half day, £260 for a full day including lunch.

The Noise Next Door: In Charge, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, Fri 14 Feb

How about some belly laughs at The Marlowe this Valentines? The Noise Next Door are twelve time sell-out veterans of The Edinburgh Fringe and have appeared on BBC One, ITV1, BBC Three and BBC Radio 4. They have also appeared alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre, Katherine Ryan, Romesh Ranganathan and Harry Hill. The charismatic quartet have always astonished with their ability to spin audience suggestions into comedy gold, but for this show they’re putting you, the audience, in charge in brilliant and bombastic new ways. Join comedy’s unstoppable force for an evening like no other… Hilarious scenes! Mind-blowing songs! Finely tuned anarchy!

Samphire Shepherd’s hut, Elmley Nature Reserve

Hunker down and escape from it all at Elmley, a 3,200 acre estate on the Isle of Sheppey. Enjoy a spectacular landscape full of wildlife and pretty little shepherd huts like this one for you to hide away in. Complete with a full sized double bed, ensuite bathroom, wood burning stove, blankets and fairylights – snuggle up, pour the brandy in your hot chocolate and enjoy the sweeping vistas across the marsh, Swale Estuary and the mainland beyond. On a clear day you can see Whitstable. In winter spy rafts of wildfowl sheltering on Swale, and short-eared owls gliding over the ponds. Peeeeeeace and quiet.

Valentine’s Getaway, One Warwick Park,  Mon 10 Feb – Sun 16 Feb

Make the most of One Warwick Park’s offer this February! Plan a romantic escape from £139 per couple per night. Including a complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability), a bottle of Prosecco in the room, as well as breakfast and late checkout the next morning. Why not stay for dinner in their Restaurant Seventeen? Or have Afternoon Tea? Go all out and book a treatment at their Beauty Salon Coco Blush – what will it be a facial, body scrub or massage? Go on you deserve it. Book it now: 

Couples Cooking, Kent Cookery School, Nr Ashford, all year round

What about learning something new together? This hidden gem is based deep in the heart of picturesque Kent, in the stunning setting of the Mersham-le-Hatch Estate and its 190-acre deer park, near Ashford. The cookery school is located in the country house’s old listed barn (which has been spruced up inside) and offers a huge range of workshops and courses – from European to Indian and Asian Cookery and Weber Grill Academy to Street Food Courses.
German Cornejo’s Tango Fire, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 14 Feb

Re-light my fire?! What about some passion of the Tango variety at the Assembly Hall this VD? International Tango superstar German Cornejo’s dance troupe The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires is a true global phenomenon and the world’s leading Tango company. The art of Tango has never been so superb and dynamic, with multiple sell out performances across the globe over the past 12 years and a YouTube audience in excess of 20 million people worldwide, German Cornejo’s extraordinary choreography and vision has captured the world’s imagination. We’re ready to grab a rose and strut our stuff! 

The Power of Self Love, retreat at Samsara Yoga, Fri 14 – Sun 16 Feb

Invest in some quality time away together on an amazing retreat with Samsara Yoga. This is a soul nourishing weekend of yoga, meditation, treatments, delicious food, a healing gong bath and a two night stay at this unique luxury location. The Samsara monthly retreats are held when the moon is at its fullest, to correspond with the point in the lunar cycle when people most desire some much-needed calm in their busy lives. Sounds perfect! This two night retreat experience will leave you feeling transformed both physically and mentally. Prices start at £490 per person for the full package. Day / evening passes also available, prices start at £35.

Anti-Valentine’s, Saint John’s Yard, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 14 Feb

Photo: @goodfood_tw

Escape the soppy stuff and head to Saint John’s Yard who are hosting their famous ‘Anti-Valentines’ instead! They’ll be showing Joker on the big screen and their legendary hot dogs ‘Love Javelin’, ‘Pork Sword’ and even a vegan one ‘Scissor Sister’ (ahem!) will be available throughout the night! Warning! This gets booked up very quickly so don’t miss out: #nosoppystuff 

Super Hero or Super Villain challenge run, Betteshanger Park, Sat 15 Feb

This is one for energetic couples (or for those who like to don a costume?!). Sign up for this Super Hero or Super Villain challenge run at Betteshanger Country Park on Saturday 15 Feb. You will run as part of two competing groups using a new “hybrid loop” at Betteshanger, partly on the trails, partly on the tarmac track, on the trails you’ll all run the same way, but on the tarmac loop, one group run clockwise, and the other anti clockwise to generally taunt, abuse, cajole or support the runners going around the in opposite direction! Sounds complicated but get running and just follow those caped crusaders! Perfect for all running abilities you will follow a 3.28 mile loop. You may run the loop as many times you wish in the six hour time limit. The event starts at 0930 and is £39.95 entry. Not necessarily romantic, but a lot of fun!

Chocolate Making Intro and Chocolate Truffles & Praline Masterclass, Cocoa & Heart, Bexleyheath, 14 & 15 Feb

Bit of a chocolate lover? These fun Chocolate Making and Truffle and Praline masterclasses teach you ‘hands on’ techniques while you also get to see a professional chocolatier at work. You will have the opportunity to taste different chocolates and take home all your chocolate creations, beautifully wrapped. Courses start at £85 per person. Why buy chocolates for your partner when you can make them together?

The Wine Cellar in collaboration with Groupie Chocolates, Tunbridge Wells, Thurs 13 & Fri 14 Feb and Sun 16 Feb

Be decadent, drink chocolate and wine this Valentine’s. In collaboration with Goupie chocolates The Wine Cellar is hosting wine and chocolate tasting nights and a Galentines Sunday event for those who want the booze over the boo! Try an Australian dolcetto paired with a Cherry & Almond chocolate or our White Malbec with Goupie’s White Lavender chocolate. So many great wines and chocolates that this is sure to wow you and your partner this Valentines day. At both events, guests will try a total 6 different wines all with specific pairings. Only £15 a ticket which can purchase online or in store.


Valentine’s night, Pizza workshop for two, Bread Ahead, Borough Market, London, Fri 14 Feb

A cheesy night for sure – but in the best possible way! Learn to create, bake and share a delicious Bread Ahead pizza at Bread Ahead cookery school in buzzy Borough Market. They will give you and your partner the expert guidance needed to create a stunning pizza. When its fresh out the oven, they will dim the lights, put some romantic music on, and you and your loved one can dine together! Bring your own bottle, limited to one per couple and £5 corkage will be payable on the night. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and runs for 3 hours (£170 per couple).

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