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The Alternative Valentine’s Day Guide

Rip up the romance rule book and get loved up right now with our rebel guide to V-day

It’s that heart-shaped time of year again, and we say it’s time to rip up the romance rule book … no soul-sucking dinner-for-two with a wilting rose here, thank you very much.

We’re here to help you avoid the Hallmark hell of a cliched Valentine’s Day with 10 of the most quirky and cool things to do in Glos and beyond.

Read on for our ultimate how-to guide for a fabulous – and very alternative – Valentine’s Day.

Go, go, go lovebirds!

FOR SAUCY CABARET: Valentine’s A Drag

Where are we going? The Subscription Rooms, Stroud

Persuade me, tiger: Valentine’s A Drag (see what they did there?) is one hot grrrl-friend of a night out, not only is it highly saucy but slightly bonkers and what’s not to love about that. Featuring the fabulous LBGTQ+ DJs Sink the Pink (fresh from their Notting Hill set)  – prepare for one of the most ‘out there’ and quirky nights in the UK.

With sold out shows at Brixton Academy and The Roundhouse they are now into their 10th anniversary. Expect high octane pop, higher octane hair, circus performers, light shows and some very special surprises. It sounds like a riot of fun. Tickets start at £16.50.

It’s a date: Friday 14 February at 8pm



Where are we going? The Cosy Club, Cheltenham

Persuade me, tiger: Ok, first rule, just never repeat the word Galentines in public! (Cringe alert). But pal-power on Valentine’s Day gets our vote every time. Get your friends together and enjoy any six tapas dishes and four cocktails for £48 at Cosy Club Cheltenham – we LOVE that the month of love can be all about girl-mates.

A great excuse to round up those errant friends you’ve not seek for yonks and celebrate your fabulous friendships, with a Passionfruit Mojito or Vanilla Espresso in hand, of course.

It’s a date: Thursday 13 February, from 11am – 10pm


FOR MOVIE NIGHT WITH MATES: Chicks and Flicks at Barnsley House

Where are we going? Barnsley House, Cirencester

Persuade me, tiger: Yes, yes, you could go with your other half but can we just take a minute to gaze upon this hot pink leather private movie palace?? Let’s be honest, it seems criminal not to go with a gaggle of girls. The gorgeous Barnsley House is the setting (it’s tucked away in the pretty grounds) and the state-of-the-art cinema has its own popcorn machine and waiter drinks service.

The seats are all double sofas and so much fun to sprawl out on, especially if you snuggle under one of the fleecy blankets they provide. Take in hit film ‘Alfie’ on the 14th, or head there on the 12th for A Star is Born or 16th for Notting Hill. Because love is about sharing your popcorn right?

It’s a date: 12, 14 and 16 February


FOR GETTING FILTHY: Pottery classes

Where are we going? The Clay Loft, Stroud

Persuade me, tiger: Because can anyone look at this and not hum the entire Ghost soundtrack to themselves? We challenge you. Pottery is so hot at the moment, it’s the craft du jour, so get your hands thoroughly filthy at the brilliant Clay Loft in Amberley, Stroud. Classes are led by master potter Adrian Bates and cover all the techniques you’ll need for throwing your own pots on the wheel as well as hand-building. Classes are limited to 12 people for a fabulously intimate experience.

It’s a date: Throughout Feb, open 6 days a week from 9am to 9pm.


FOR PILLOW TALK: The Porch House

Where are we going? The Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

Persuade me, tiger: Head to one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds, the Porch House in dreamy Stow-on-the-Wold. Why, we hear you ask? This gorgeous getaway has just had a stunning makeover – stay in a Feature Suite with huge sink-into beds and a stand-alone, roll top bath. If you manage to make it out of bed, there’s a special lovers menu (£60 a head) which is an aphrodisiac dream, from grilled asparagus and saffron and lemon risotto to chocolate assiettes. Oh, and did we mention the free glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose? We’re drooling and it’s not attractive.

It’s a date: Friday 14 February


FOR GREAT VIEWS: Valentine’s Tower Tour

Where are we going? Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester

Persuade me, tiger: Take a romantic trip to the top of Gloucester Cathedral, for breathtaking views across this historic city. There are *only* (ehem) 269 steps, and 225 feet to clamber up, so perhaps leave the stilettos at home for this one. Vertigo is no match for the truly in love we say!

Once you’ve staggered – I mean skipped merrily – to the top, hand in hand, you’ll get a glass of prosecco, or a non-alcoholic alternative to enjoy, and you’ll be blown away by the really stunning views that go out for miles. A rare and romantic chance to see Glos from a birds eye perch.

Tickets cost £16.76 per person and can be purchased from the Cathedral gift shop or online.

It’s a date: Friday 14 February



Where are we going? Light Up Cheltenham, The Imperial Gardens

Persuade me, tiger: Because it’s like the London Eye but without the eye-watering price and crowds – win win. The gorgeously scenic Big Wheel is returning to The Imperial Gardens in Feb and as part of V day celebrations on the 14th, it and the entire town will be turned bright red as part of the Light Up Cheltenham show. Walk hand in hand, and ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the spectacular views and colours. You’ll leave rosy-cheeked and all twinkly in your heart, we promise.

It’s a date: From Sat 1 Feb – Sun 23 Feb


And if you’re hot-footing it to London for the day or night (oo you adventurous romantics you) here are 3 of the best to look out for …


FOR ONE-UPPING THAT BOX OF CHOCS: Rococo Chocolate Truffle Workshop

Where are we going? Rococo’s Belgravia Store, London

Persuade me, tiger: Like we really need to, yes? Master the fine art of truffle making at this swanky workshop and guarantee yourself an upgrade on a box of Celebrations this year. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing original about a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day, but being able to put ‘Artisan Chocolatier’ on your LinkedIn is.

Founder of Rococo’s Chantal Coady has an OBE for services to chocolate, so you’re in for a class that’s a cut above the rest. Led by a trained chocolatier you’ll explore all the techniques used by the pros from fashioning the salted caramel itself, to piping it into shells. If there’s any left (unlikely) you also get to take them home with you.

It’s a date: Saturday 15 February, 11.30am – 1.30pm


FOR DITCHING BORING BOUQUETS: Valentine’s Floristry Workshop

Where are we going? Daylesford Pimlico, London, SW1W 8LP

Persuade me, tiger: Being given flowers is soo 2019, why not make your own? Check into this make-your-own bouquet course at Daylesford in London for a day that is guaranteed to be really fun, and god, smell so great. You’ll be guided by local florist and flower designer (we actually want her job) Kat Argent.

Learn how to make a hand-tied set of seasonal blooms like you see in the best florist shops. The class covers colour, tones and structure and at the end of the day take away a pro-looking bouquet for that special someone you (or indeed yourself).

It’s a date: Tuesday 12 February, 6pm-8pm



Where are we going? London Palladium

Persuade me, tiger: This special residency runs for 15 dates in February and we think the promise of spangly corsets is more than enough reason to get yourself down to the London Palladium pronto, non? At 61 (what!?) and still flexing with the best of them, it’s going to be one darn sexy night of a show.

No giant stadiums here, just some up close, intimate warbling from her Madgesty. Never under-theatrical, expect the unexpected with this pop icon, amongst the new songs there’ll be jokes (fairly blue – so very fitting we think) and lots of cheeky banter with some lucky punters.

It’s a date: Thursday 13 February, Saturday 15 February and various dates through Feb

Find more ideas here

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