Although it has slipped into the predictable convention of chocolates, flowers and dinner, Valentines used to be associated with lots of weird and wonderful traditions across the world. These included the custom of women pinning the name of their love interest on their shirtsleeve in South Africa, a Valentines Santa called Jack Valentine delivering small gifts to children in Norfolk and "Friend's Day" in Finland and Estonia. Let's face it though, Valentines is now a pretty cringey day by all accounts. There'll be rows and rows of pink cards in every supermarket, boxes of chocolates on display and pink hearts stuck on to every restaurant window. The mawkish tradition of chocolates, flowers and dinner that we feel compelled to take part in just doesn't change from year to year. So, if you're stuck for Valentines ideas and want to do something different this Valentine's day, we've put together a list of ideas to surprise your sweetheart with.
"Woo at the Zoo" Belfast Zoo Giraffe Feeding
There's not many who can say they've fed giraffes before, yet this Valentine's Day Belfast Zoo are hosting an exclusive, VIP giraffe feeding experience for you and your other half. If your significant other is an animal lover why not surprise him/her with this unique event?
Finn Lough is the perfect way to have a quiet, relaxing Valentines weekend. Situated in Muckross Wood, Enniskillen, on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, Finn Lough has much to boast of. With a spa and hot tub, fitness centre, tennis court and nature trails you can have a great deal of choice on how to spend your Valentine's weekend. Accommodation choices include tranquil lakeside lodges or if you really want an alternative Valentine's there are Stargazing Bubble Domes to really get the most out of the breathtaking surroundings.
National Trust Cottages
With over a whopping 400 cottages across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you won't be short of cottage choices with the option of staying in your homeland or going further afield. The cottages are situated in picturesque locations with a lot of history behind them for you to discover.
With a dress code of "glamourous" be prepared to get your glad rags on for a 1920's-esque night of cabaret classiness! The Cabaret Supper Club is a decadent venue with vintage Parisian decor that transports you into another time. It is an excellent way to treat you and your significant other to an alternative night out. With Valentines Packages available including a 2 course dinner, Burlesque performances, theatrical fire eating and a live band, you will be sure to have a lively evening to say the least.
Definitely not an option for the faint hearted, camping in February can only be tackled by the most avid outdoor enthusiasts. If embracing nature and then snuggling up in a sleeping back together sounds like your idea of a romantic getaway then make sure to wrap up warm and prepare for any rain with ladies waterproof coats, overtrousers and wellies during the day and waterproof camping gear by night. This will help ease the effects of any weather induced dampners that might occur on your weekend away.