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8 quirky Valentine’s jaunts for lovers (and pals)

Avoid the annual cheese fest of hearts and flowers, Muddy to the rescue with 8 quirky Valentine's dates for lovers (and pals).

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (eek) and it conjures up a certain dread. Part of me doesn’t want to be told to go doe-eyed on demand, the other longs for him to lavish me with gifts and whisk me off my feet. It’s a fine line between fabulous and forced. So if, like me, you want to have a little cheese-free fun this Valentine’ Day here are a few alternative date ideas to help you feel the love.

GET CREATIVE

Art. Alchemy: Creative Mezze & Mixer, MadeBy Tamalia Art Sanctuary Caversham, 14 Feb

MADEBY TAMALIA MATISSE CUTTINGS

Grab your partner or pals and discover the art of fun and food. These guys don’t need an excuse to organise a shindig – and Valentine’s Day is as good as any. MadeBy Tamalia will be laying on a delicious mezze, drinks and a mystery creative activity which will get your arty juices flowing and, in my case, a lot of laughs. Tickets £25pp or £45 for two.

GET YOUR GROOVE ON

colorful roller-skates

Get your skates on! The roller skating is huge and the roller disco is making a comeback. On Saturdays that how we roll… at Braywick Leisure Centre in Maidenhead. Expect a live DJ, disco lights, and there’s skate hire if you can’t find that pair you last wore in the 80s… Not exactly glam but definitely up their in the quirky/hilarious/nostalgia stakes.

GET LOCKED UP

There’s nothing like the bonding that comes from solving a puzzle to escape a locked room (ok, probs not for the claustrophobes among you). With Escape Rooms in Reading, Windsor, Maidenhead and Newbury among our local options, there’s plenty of choice. Experience different room themes at Escape Hunt Reading, such as Pirates, Alice in Puzzleland and Doctor Who. Escape The Chop in Burghfield is a rather sinister sounding Sweeney Todd theme in a real barbers shop. Head to Maidenhead for a Jungle escape and in Newbury you’ll find yourself stranded on a Caribbean Island. Sounds idyllic, but if your don’t escape in 60 minutes, the local cannibals will eat you. You’d expect some royal in Windsor and Escape Experience doesn’t disappoint with a Crown Jewel Heist.

GET KNEADY

Restaurant worker slamming dough on table causing white powdery flour to spray into the air in long streaks

Carb loading has never been so much fun. Romilla Arber, writer and founder of The Honesty Group, will teach you the art of baking quality bread. The deal is that you’ll get interactive baking demonstrations, the chance to make a variety of loaves, followed by a two-course lunch with wine. Once you’ve popped your bread-making cherry, you’ll never look back.

GET OUTDOORS

Cliveden House is beautiful, romantic and has a history of wild parties, scandal and debauchery. My kinda casual stroll. It was here that Government minister John Profumo and showgirl Christine Keeler got all flirty girty while attending one of Bill Astor’s infamous parties. If your budget doesn’t stretch to an overnight stay, follow in the footsteps of royalty, writers, actors, rock stars and politicians and explore the stunning 365 acres of gardens and riverside woodland walks.

GET STICKY

Fudge Making Workshop, Fudge Kitchen Windsor

Valentine’s Day is a sticky business, but keep each other sweet with a Fudge Making Experience at the Fudge Kitchen in Windsor for £95. *Groan* I’m sorry (te he not sorry). In all seriousness, if you have a sweet tooth, why not give this a go? At the Fudge Kitchen you get to sample the goods to check out the flavours, natch (not because you’re greedy. Just me?) before popping on your pinny to try your hand at making it yourself. It’s harder than you might think. At the end of your tuition, you’ll take home a ton of fudge, plus your own batch to show off your new skills to friends and family. Sweet!

GET COSY

The Dolphin Pub Newbury Berkshire House of fun wall sticker, vintage pub games open fire place and picture gallery on the wall
The Dolphin Newbury

Being cosy doesn’t just mean sofa slumming – swap that old sweatshirt for chunky knits and the remote for a warming rioja, and bring on the cosy pub night – or afternoon (hey, it gets dark early). Berkshire’s got country pubs aplenty, snuggle up at The Greene Oak, The Halfway Inn or The Greyhound Finchampstead. If negroni is more your winter warmer, kick up yer heels and head to the cosy upstairs bar at The Hind’s Head in Bray. The cute games room at The Dolphin in Newbury or sit under the Love chandelier in the intimate bar at Coworth Park where the cocktails often come with musical entertainment. If cosy pubs are your thang, here’s our guide to the open fire/ale on tap/dog warming your feet type pubs in Berkshire.

GET SENSUAL

Dans Le Noir London Clerkenwell dining in the dark

Don’t bother staring longingly into each other’s eyes. The chances are you’ll be sat so close to the next table, you’ll be practically lap dancing your neighbour every time you get out of your chair. Avoid this awks predicament, head to London and dine at Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell, a quirky dining experience in the dark. Just make sure you find your way back to the right table or that innocent leg rub could get weird.

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