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.

Valentine's Night with East Lancs Railway | Fri 16 - Sat 17 Feb | 7.30pm | £79pp

For a less conventional yet classically opulent Valentine’s experience, couples can book the romantic roundtrip of a lifetime with East Lancashire Railway on Fri 16 and Sat 17 Feb.

For £79 a head, or £280 for a table of four, passengers receive a welcome prosecco followed by a four-course silver-served meal, accompanied by live classical music, as the immaculately restored Pullman-style steam train rolls through the Irwell Valley on an achingly idyllic voyage which lasts the entire evening.

Bolton Street Station, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0EY
Valentine's with GRUB/Cultplex | Sat 10 - Sun 18 Feb

Whether you’re hopelessly in love, stubbornly single or partying with pals, GRUB covers all bases this February with an eclectic programme of events running throughout the week.

On Valentine’s Day, visitors can head down to Red Bank for Floating Art’s UV Painting and Cocktail Evening in the Main Hall, try out ‘Femigami’, an alternative Valentine’s feminist origami workshop in the Dining Room, or stop in at Cultplex for a special romantic movie edition of Quiz Show.

Kicking off on Sat 10 Feb, Cultplex presents an offbeat romantic cinema series beginning with indie favourite Juno, followed by True Romance (Sun 11 Feb), neo-noir Lesbian love affair classic Bound (Sat 17 Feb) and Richard Linklater’s generational masterpiece, Before Sunrise (Sun 18 Feb).

Check out GRUB’s full schedule below.

50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF
Couples Cooking Classes with Zouk | Sat 17 Feb | £140 per couple

For culinary couples and foodie friends, Zouk offers a one-off Valentine’s cooking class in which their renowned in-house chefs guide guests through their intricate cooking process, creating some of the dishes included in the Valentine’s set menu before inviting all to pull up a chair and dine banquet style for the remainder of the morning.

5, The Quadrangle, Chester St, Manchester M1 5QS
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. Choose your weapon and 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
Candle-making with Ma Lumière | Miles Platting | Thu 15 Feb | 7pm | £49pp

Led by founder and owner Guillaume, Ma Lumiere’s Valentine’s candle-making workshop invites couples to learn the basics of wax-wielding, choosing 2 fragrances from 20 oils and creating their own 200ml soy candles worth £36.

Ma Lumière Workshop, Unit 59, Cariocca Business Park, 2 Sawley Rd, Miles Platting, Manchester M40 8BB
Paint the Kiss | Whitworth Locke | Sat 10 Feb | 7.30pm-10pm | £35.99

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 Austrian symphonies and classic heartbreak anthems.

74 Princess St, Manchester M1 6JD, Tel: 0161 823 0530
Nina Simone Orchestrated | The Blues Kitchen | Wed 14 Feb | 7pm | £16.50

Taking place in their intimate, low-lit concert hall, The Blues Kitchen hosts a Valentine’s celebration of the romantic soul queen with an evening of live orchestral covers spanning all her greatest hits, while the bar and restaurant serves £6 cocktails and sumptuous bbq dishes all night long as part of its weekly Soul Sacrifice party.

13 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HN
Wine Tasting | Harvey Nichols | Wed 14 Feb | 6pm | £25

For just £25 – with £10 redeemable on wine purchases on the night – Harvey Nichols offers an extravagant wine-tasting experience for lovers and friends alike, with light nibbles and a 90-minute session featuring five wines pre-selected by their resident experts.

21 New Cathedral St, Manchester M1 1AD, Tel: 0161 828 8888
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 5 Feb 2024