Take Me Out: Unusual Valentines Activities
Who says your Valentine’s Day has to be soppy, smelling of roses and Hallmarked? There are plenty of interesting adventures you and your adored can enjoy on February 14th that don’t involve an evening of overpriced food or a bad romantic film. Here are a few ideas..
I’d love a Romantic Valentine but…
The other day, I almost accidentally booked a night out with friends on Feb 14th. But then I realised what day it was. The national day of happy lovers. And bored waiters. And rich florists. And sad lonely hearts. When did Valentine’s day become such a cliché? It certainly wasn’t a romantic time for poor old Saint Valentine, who went under the guillotine on this auspicious day around 278AD. Although technically, yes, he did fall head over heels…
In honour of all those who want to do something a little different on Feb 14th, but do it together, here are some ideas for outdoor adventures that will test your mettle as a couple and maybe bring you closer together…
Test your relationship to see if it will survive
How can you tell if your relationship will survive? Take it on a survival course. Of course. The mean and moody Bear Grylls runs a few (or a few million) all over the UK and further afield. Last weekend we put our own relationship to the test at the Snowdonia version. But if Wales or Scotland in the winter is likely to freeze the butterflies in your tummy then take yourself off to his Survival Academy in Dubai or the USA where sand in your mealworm sandwiches will be the only barrier to romance. Apart from the crust on your partner’s socks when they have to use them to filter the water. Oh, and the guy shouting at you to Ruuuuuuuun! But on the plus side, you will find out if your loved one is a keeper when it comes to getting you both out of the wilderness after your plane crashes on your second honeymoon. What second honeymoon? Have a word!
Enjoy their rear of the year
If you enjoy a view of your partner’s backside then this is a good one for you. Because you will be seeing it rather a lot on the way up the cliff side. But then you’ll also be able to admire their strength and determination as they haul themselves over the climbing ladders and swing bridges. Via Ferrata, or ‘Iron Way’ was first invented in The Dolomites, and we all know how passionate the Italians are about romance! If you are in the UK then we recommend you head up to Honister Slate Mine in the Lake District National Park, where a classic and Xtreme course provide easy and harder challenges. If you’re feeling really romantic you can even do it in the dark on a subterranean climb. Not by candlelight but head torch light. WHAT?? You don’t think head torch light is sexy? Try it when you next have oysters and then tell me that!
BBQ like it is summer
Who wants to pack into a restaurant with an overpriced meal and surly waiters? Instead make the big wide world your restaurant. For free. Pack some dry kindle and/or firepit into a rucksack and head for the beach. Check that there are no fire restrictions and light a barbie. Cook the best beef burgers you can get your hands on and enjoy a bottle of wine together. When we had one recently there was an accompanying sunset pinker than any Valentine candy. It’s a pretty intimate experience being on your own on a beach. (Who else does barbies in February?) You could even take a dip if you really want to impress them?
Swing like lovebirds
Staying in Wales, over at Betws y coed there is a giant swing that hoiks you up 80 foot into the air over the beautiful valley of Conwy. SkyRide, at Tree Top Adventures, is Europe’s largest swing, powered by hydraulics not Mum, and you can fit up to five of you on there if you want to take the family on your Valentines date. Or it could be just the two of you and a picnic. A word of warning though, perhaps serve up dinner after the swing has stopped. You don’t want to be wearing your casserole along with your little black dress and dinner suit.
I spy with my naked eye
I know, it can be a cliché, the old star gazing date. But who amongst us has actually done it? Apart from when you were waiting for the bus at the end of a long shift with the drippy guy from accounts? This one is easy and cheap. You just head off somewhere where there’s no street lighting, huddle up together and see what you can see. There are apps to tell you what that might be by pointing your phone at the stars (assuming you have a signal). Or you can bring a telescope if you really want to impress. Or just watch out for shooting stars with the naked eye, and get a little shiver down your spine if one of you utters the word ‘naked.’ Like I just did. Did you shiver? If you want to do this activity in an organised way then the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is organising an Astronomical Romance evening.
Try a bicycle made for two
A partnership is all about putting yourself in the hands of your desired and trusting their decisions. And frankly, if you can relax while they are wobbling you around in the traffic then you are made for each other. Plenty of people and bikes shops have tandems; ask to borrow or hire one and take off for the day. Choose a quiet cycle path or take off on the open road. No arguing over who goes stoker or who forgot the puncture repair kit though or the whole exercise will lose its romance. For the ultimate Valentine’s tandem ride, whip out your Strava (it’s an app), call up your heart shaped route and pedal it until you fall into each others arms exhausted at the end. We did it recently in The Lake District and our pulse rate has still not returned to normal.
Get into the zorb zone
Do not try this at home. You will ruin the kids’ footballs. Instead skip along to one of the many activity centres that offer wet or dry zorbing in giant inflatable balls. There is even one within the M25 (not on it!) offering winter deals. Some allow you to go tandem, so strap yourself in and whisper, or shout, into each others ears as you bowl down the slope. You could even try it on snow for a padded landing. We had a go at Dubai’s Snow Dome last year. So romantic that a penguin gave us a clap. Warning though- do not try it if you and your partner are prone to wind. There’s nothing like being stuck in a Zorb with a bad smell.
Forget the tent, go bivvying
Wild camping in the mountains is the ultimate adventure for two. Check first for restrictions and then take off with a flask (or a hip flask). You could perhaps light a fire and cook some pink marshmallows, thus delivering on at least one Valentines cliché. (Don’t get mixed up and toast kittens or hearts though.) Unlike camping with a tent you won’t have to spending ages fiddling with tarp and pegs, you just lay out your sleeping bag (make it four seasons, this is February after all!) cover it with your bivvy bag, climb in, cosy up and drift off together while the owls hoot a soundtrack. For the ultimate romance you could both squeeze into one bag?