Like it or loathe it, Valentine's Day isn't far away and for all those loved up Nottinghamshire couples out there, it's a good excuse to do something special on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday in February.
If you want to celebrate with food and drink there's options for all pockets across Nottinghamshire, stretching from February 10 to the most romantic day of the year, February 14, right up to February 18. There's budget friendly set menus at your local pub - or, if money is no object, couples can push the boat out with a posh meal at a swanky restaurant.
But it doesn't have to revolve around eating. How about a romantic stroll or murder mystery? And if you're single and ready to mingle, you might be able to find the man or woman of your dreams at a speed dating event.
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You could cook a romantic meal or order a takeaway. For something different, and a bit more special than the usual curry or pizza, sushi lovers can indulge in a home delivery of a 38-piece box of exquisite handmade pieces from Nottingham-based Uramaki Sushi.
The company, founded by husband and wife team Paul and Rachel Thacker, just gets better and better. This year's Valentine's special has six different luxurious varieties including swordfish and asparagus, crayfish, samphire, pomegranate and mango and blow-torched beef steak with wasabi pea rice and chilli miso. A selection of nigiri completes the box, which also contains soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.
The price is £60 and delivery is available Wednesday to Saturday. As well as local doorstep drop-offs, it's also available nationwide. For more information go to uramaki.co.uk
For meat eaters one of the most popular options on Valentine's Day is a big juicy steak. Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse, in Wollaton Street, Nottingham, has a sizzling menu if you're on a hot date. There's four courses for £55 per person, including Beef Wellington for two and a trio of desserts - hot chocolate brownie, Box Tree mess with fresh berries, and a classic cheesecake. Find out more at mpwrestaurants.co.uk/offers/valentines
Bar + Block, beneath the Premier Inn Hotel, in Chapel Bar, has a set menu with two course for £24.95 and three for £27.95 for Valentine's Day, which it says is not just for lovers. Best mates, work mates and soul mates can take advantage of the deal which includes king scallops, and its Steak Sampler with three different cuts. The menu is available from February 14 to 18. Book at barandblock.co.uk/en-gb/valentines-day
Cheap and cheerful
If money is tight you don't have to spend a fortune on a fancy dinner. Couples who are strapped for cash can spend Valentine's Day their local Wetherspoon's pub.
The ever-popular 'two dine for £22' is back on February 14. Customers can get two mains, two desserts and two drinks from the Valentine’s menu. There is also the option to upgrade to a 750ml bottle of Prosecco or Zana pinot noir to share for £6 extra.
Greene King pubs serving food across, including the Nottingham Knight in Ruddington and the Nurseryman in Beeston, have a three-course set menu for £19.99 from February 10 to 14. Choices include starters of creamy garlic mushrooms and crispy squid and mains of salmon with chargrilled black tiger prawn and gourmet steak burgers. Finish with triple chocolate brownie or Bramley apple pie.
Pubs in the Chef & Brewer chain, such as the Ferry Inn at Wilford, The Hutt in Ravenshead, and the Travellers Rest in Mapperley, have a £25-a-head three-course menu. You and that special someone can enjoy gooey camembert to share, seared scallops and 28-day aged rump steak and gold chocolate cheesecake, washed down by Prosecco spritzes. It's available February 10 to 14.
If sitting in a restaurant with loved up couples is not your idea of fun, an alternative way to do something romantic, and less commercialised, is a snowdrop walk. You can catch snowdrops at Holme Pierrepont Hall, West Bridgford between Sunday February 5 and Sunday March 12.
The gardens of the ancestral home are renowned for glorious displays, not just of snowdrops but other winter flowering plants including hellebores, aconites, cyclamen, cornus and winter flowering irises.
Buy tickets on the door and it's cash only. The gardens are open 11am till 4pm (last entry at 3pm). Admission £5.
Swap a dinner date for a tea date. Afternoon tea is a lovely way to while away the time with that special person. And what better setting that somewhere with a compelling story behind it like Woodborough Hall which has links to the intelligence agency MI6.
With a twist on the usual fare, a special sweetheart afternoon tea is on offer from February 11 to 18, priced £25 per person, or £35 with a glass of Champagne. Sandwiches, scones and sweet treats themed around Valentine's will be served. For more information go to woodborough-hall.co.uk
A new themed tea is being launched at Colwick Hall in February, called 'Tea as old as time.' The banquet includes delicate finger sandwiches with confit of salmon and roast chicken, warm savouries, homemade scones and desserts such as Fallen Rose elderberry jelly and Cogsworth apple tart. Served from noon until 2.30pm it's £50 for two on February 14. Head to colwickhallhotel.com for the full menu.
Many restaurants have special menus for the most romantic day of the year. One of them is Bar Gigi in Nottingham, a charming, contemporary Italian restaurant at Flying Horse Walk.
The San Valentino menu is served from 5.30pm. "We picked our most loved ingredients and brought you a one of a kind menu for this day only which we know you’re going to love," say the owners.
The night starts with a glass of Prosecco, followed by a five-course menu, priced £55. Couples can gaze into each others eyes over tomato tartare, scallop, silk handkerchief pasta, duck and 'Gigimisu'. There's also the option of adding oysters Check out the full menu at bargigi.co.uk/menu
Romantics can celebrate in style at Langar Hall, the grand country house in the Vale of Belvoir. A £99-per-head tasting menu features seven courses including Cornish crab Waldorf, lamb rogan josh, and bitter chocolate and bay leaf cake. It's served for one night only, Saturday February 11, and a few tables remain. Reservations can be made by calling reception on 01949 860559.
If you're young(ish), free and single and ready to mingle, check out a Valentine's speed dating event at Revolution at the Cornerhouse on February 14. The event starts at 7pm until 9.30pm, with ten to 12 mini dates lasting about four minutes each.
The event is for anyone aged 24-38. It seems men are the keenest as all the gents' tickets have sold out but women's tickets for £24.45 are still available via Skiddle.com. The evening comes with a guarantee - if you don't meet someone you like the first time, the next singles event is free.
For something different the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wollaton Street, Nottingham, is hosting a St Valentine's Day Massacre. The murder mystery event includes a three-course meal in one of the four-star hotel's function rooms, while the story plays out.
Choose from including Cupid's Arrow on February 10 or St Valentine's Day Massacre on February 17. The cost is £55 per person, with the option of upgrading to include an overnight stay. Find out more at murder57.com
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