Whether your loved one is an an all-out mandolin-plucking romantic or a jaded cynic who peevishly mumbles about a ‘pointless corporate invention’ wherever possible during Valentine’s Day discussions, a variety of venues around Greater Manchester host a selection of reinvigorating wild card events which offer a reprieve from the dim lighting, delayed starters and petal-strewn hotel bed linen.

Here are some of the best alternative Valentine’s activities across Greater Manchester.

RE:TREAT | The Lowry Hotel | Fri 10 Feb - Fri 17 Feb | From £55pp

Featuring massages, wellness teas and optional extras including hot stone treatments (£15), botanical wine (£5) and even a couple’s float session in a sensory deprivation tank (£50), The Lowry’s new tech spa RE:TREAT offers a romantic rejuvenation package throughout Valentine’s week in a blissful celebration of loving both your partner and yourself.

50 Dearmans Pl, Salford M3 5LH, Tel: 0161 827 4000
Paint a Pair | Smithfield Market Hall | Tue 14 Feb | 7.30pm-9.30pm | From £30

Led by their resident artist, Paint A Pic hosts a one-off amorous art session which allows you and a loved one to each paint half of a romantic landscape which forms a whole piece when held together. Canvases, aprons, paints and an easel are included, and no artistic experience is necessary.

1 Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU
Valentine’s Moonlight Sonata by Candlelight | Manchester Cathedral | 7.30pm | From £19

With a setlist featuring some of the most blazingly passionate and achingly romantic music ever composed, renowned concert pianist Jonathan French performs pieces by Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Grieg and Debussy amidst the gothic opulence of Manchester Cathedral while cast in the soft, stirring glow of candlelight.

Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX, Tel: 0161 833 2220
Point Blank Shooting | Deansgate | From £10

Promising frosty steins, happy hour cocktails and ‘exceptional shooting realism’ in a ‘fully loaded night out’, activity bar Point Blank offers a thrilling inventory of laser-based replica guns, from Desert Eagles to AK-47s, with which you can enjoy a unique Valentine’s Day with your loved one or wordlessly exorcise the festering emotional stasis at the core of your relationship with high-resolution targets and bullet-tracking technology accurate to within 0.3 millimetres.

Basement, 78, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW, Tel: 0333 023 0363
Terrarium Masterclass for Two | Northern Monk Refectory | Tue 14 Feb | 7.30pm-9pm | £100 for two

Led by City and Bloom’s in-house experts, the Valentine’s Day Terrarium Masterclass walks couples through layering and planting techniques, design and aftercare, with snacks, a drink and all necessary supplies provided for a memorable romantic celebration in which love sprouts into a living souvenir.

10 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF, Tel: 0330 223 5707
Paint the Kiss | Whitworth Locke | Tue 14 Feb | 7.30pm-10pm | £32.99

With a timeless, well-trodden combination of pop ballad sing-a-longs and the heartrending opus of history’s greatest symbolist painter, Whitworth Locke hosts PopUp Painting’s Valentine’s ‘sip and paint’ event during which guests follow the guidance of a practicing artist to create their own interpretation of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, with all supplies, canvases and drinks provided as well as a themed playlist full of classic heartbreak anthems.

74 Princess St, Manchester M1 6JD, Tel: 0161 823 0530
The Chanteuse on Valentine’s Night | The Portico Library | Tue 14 Feb | 7pm-9pm | £15

Billed as an evening of ‘the very best French chanson written about love and its attendant melancholy’, The Portico Library hosts The Chanteuse (Manchester-based singer Lucy Hope) for a performance of her latest show, L’Amour Fou. Featuring works by Georges Brassens, Edith Piaf, Juliette Gréco, Barbara, Serge Gainsbourg and more alongside her own compositions, the performance brings a heady, exquisite celebration of romance, passion and agony to Manchester’s intimate private library.

57 Mosley St, Manchester M2 3HY, Tel: 0161 236 6785
Wine Tasting | Harvey Nichols | Fri 10 Feb | 6pm | £25

For just £25 – with £20 redeemable on wine purchases – Harvey Nichols offers a weekend wine-tasting experience for lovers and friends alike, with light nibbles and a 90-minute session featuring five sparkling wines pre-selected by their resident experts.

21 New Cathedral St, Manchester M1 1AD, Tel: 0161 828 8888
Couples’ Glass Blowing with Luxury Night Away | E&M Glass | Malpas | Tue 14 Feb | £485

Just over an hour’s drive south and a whisker beyond the Welsh border, E&M Glass present a wondrously unique Valentine’s glassblowing package with an overnight stay in one of the newly renovated rooms in The Lion at Malpas. During the half-day session, couples learn how to create their own blown glass love heart with no prior experience necessary.

E&M Glass, Sam Glass Studio, Tallarn Green, Malpas, SY14 7LN, Tel: 01948 770464
Ember & The Valentine's Vixens | The King's Arms | Fri 18 Feb | £15

A special adults-only variety night comes to The King’s Arms this month, courtesy of Ember & The Valentine’s Vixens.

The brainchild of multi-award-winning theatre-maker Selina Helliwell, the audience can expect a sparkling evening of burlesque, music and spoken word performances, all tied together by themes of romance, anti-romance and broken hearts.

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 6 Feb 2023