The best alternative Valentine’s Day outings
The pressure to get fancy dinner reservations, expensive gifts, and have the most magical night ever can kind of be a buzzkill on Valentine’s Day.
All that traditional lovey-dovey stuff is fine, if that’s what you want to do. Me though, I’m not massively keen on sitting in a restaurant with a million other couples playing romance-by-rote while trying not to get too piddled. So if you’re like me, don’t let the V-Day bullies push you around. Here are some Muddy suggestions for celebrating your love your own way.
See a (naughty) show
If you’re looking for a raucous lead up to V-Day, The Hundred Watt Club brings its naughty but also nice burlesque and cabaret show to the Electric Theatre in Guildford on Fri 10 Feb. You’ll see fierce and fiery burlesque from Cleopantha, comedy from Tina T’urner Tea Lady, award winning clowning from Pi the Mime, and neo-striptease from Lena Mae. Tickets are £15 each. But we love a quickie here at Muddy so we’ve got a flash competition and a pair of tickets to give away. It’s easy to enter… just go to the Muddy Stilettos (Surrey) Facebook page, LIKE the PAGE and leave a comment in the Valentine’s Day post. We’ll draw out a winner on Mon 6 Feb.
The Electric Theatre, Onslow St, Guildford GU1 4SZ. Tel: 01483 444789. guildford.gov.uk
Climb a tree
If it’s been a while since your other half really got your heart pounding and your sweat glands working (oh, you dirty lot… I don’t mean that), then a flit among the treetops at Go Ape in Alice Holt Woods is certain to do the trick. Strap on a harness and enjoy two or three hours in the trees taking on zip wires, Tarzan swings, rope ladders and other obstacles and crossings. Alice Holt Woods is part of the South Downs National Park, so there’s no shortage of gorgeous scenery to feast your eyes on. You might even recognise it as the backdrop to some of Hollywood big-hitters, Gladiator, James Bond’s Skyfall and Captain America, to name just a few. And for the whole of February Go Ape is offering 20 per cent off all midweek adventures.
See a (classic) film in style
I’m not talking about popping along to your local multiplex for a bit of Fifty Shades Darker. Nopety, nope, I’m not. This is timeless cinema in style – Dirty Dancing 30th Anniversary – snuggled up on a seat for two (or a sofa) with a large glass of Sauv and an antipasti sharing platter. There’s also a selection of craft beers and ales, and perfectly acceptable cocktail list that includes the Everyman G&T (Langley’s, Fever Tree, basil and grapefruit). Don’t mind if I do! It’s on at Everyman Reigate, Walton and Esher.
Culture fix in Surrey
If your jaunts around Surrey tend to revolve around kids’ cinema or football matches, take the time to do something a little more grown-up with your significant other this Valentine’s day. Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is a unique Arts and Crafts gem, nestled in the small village of Compton. Wander to the nearby Grade I listed Watts Chapel, taking in the gorgeous grounds, or find out more about the lives of G F and Mary Watts at Watts Studios before taking a tour of the artists’ home, Limnerslease. It’s also your last chance to catch the exhibition, Mary Wondrausch: A Return to Painting, which ends on Feb 19. The exhibition brings together new paintings and collages by Mary Wondrausch OBE, who died on Dec 26 last year, and who is recognised as one of Britain’s leading ceramic artists.
London calling? Capital art
The Tate Britain’s major spring exhibition is well worth jumping on the train for: a comprehensive retrospective of British art giant David Hockney’s work. He’s now approaching 80, so there’s six decades’ worth of painting, drawing, print, photography and videos to enjoy, some of which have never been publicly exhibited. What better antidote to a grey February than gazing at gorgeously vibrant paintings of sun-dappled LA swimming pools? It runs 9 Feb to 29 May, and if you want to avoid the kiddie and tourist crowds, it’s worth noting the extended opening hours of 10pm on a Friday and 8pm on a Saturday.
Go to a masquerade ball
This is a great one for those who want to err on the traditional side with great food and wine, but mix in a little spice. Get your masks out folks, because Denbies Wine Estate is hosting a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball on Sat 18 Feb. There will be a sparkling canape reception followed by a 3-course meal with wine. Live music and dancing provided by the popular 15 piece band, Perfidia. It’s £55 each. Click here to book.
Grown-up glamping (involving neither tents nor kids)
Can’t say I tend to find camping trips particularly romantic (trudging across fields to the loo at 5am with children, arguing about who was supposed to pack the teabags… need I go on?) but I’ll make an exception for the dreamy Badger’s Bower. This chic tabernacle-style retreat in Wendover, Bucks is camping but certainly not as I know it. For a start, it has a gorgeous freestanding bath, big enough for two. There’s hot water, electricity, a kitchen (with basics provided) and a decent bed, and it’s tucked away in a peaceful woody glade at Chiltern Yurt Retreat, a bijou glamping site. Just don’t accidentally put the children in the car.