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Alternative, fromage-free ideas for Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re a single pringle, a newly-wed, a seasoned wife or in the throws of a new relationship, there’s plenty going on in Norfolk (and beyond) to mark Valentine’s Day without resorting to the usual commercial cheese-fest. If you’re looking for something a bit less traditional and a bit more fun, here are some alternative Valentine’s ideas that will help you feel the love. Let’s go then, lovers:

Head to the flicks

The bar at Cinema City

When it comes to arthouse, classic or black and white movies, independent and quirky Cinema City is the obvious choice. Start with a drink in the bar, with its beautiful vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows, before settling down to watch cult classic LoveTrue, a stylish masterpiece blending the real-life stories of Blake, an Alaskan stripper, Coconut Willie, a Hawaiian surfer, and Victory, a young black woman in New York. A developing relationship, paternal issues and a struggle between family bonds and faith are tackled in this heart-warming story.

Draw some BUMS

The popular Bird Cage pub on the Norwich Lanes runs some great alternative events, and their life drawing class, BUMS, is no exception. Running each Tuesday, including 14 Feb, established or wannabe artists can sip a glass of wine, listen to some tunes and test their skills with a live model. Some materials provided but feel free to bring your own art supplies. £4. Booking ahead essential. Hungry? The Bird Cage has a brilliant arrangement with the Grosvenor Fish & Chip shop opposite – order fish and chips at the bar and someone will pop them across the road when they are ready.

Be beach bums

While compiling this feature there was still – amazingly – availability at the gorgeous Titchwell Manor for the quirkiest room they have, The Potting Shed. A standalone outhouse at the edge of the garden, The Potting Shed features a wood carved bed, log burner, a veranda for starring out at those wonderful beachy views and a roll top bath. White Company toiletries, a flatscreen and free Wi-Fi complete the offering. The restaurant, with its open fires and London-esq design, is a must, even if just for a pint of local ale or a glass of wine.

See some Capital art

Tate Britain, Hockney Valentine's Day

The Tate Britain’s major spring exhibition is well worth jumping on the train for: a comprehensive retrospective of British art giant David Hockney’s work. He’s now approaching 80, so there’s six decades’ worth of painting, drawing, print, photography and videos to enjoy, some of which have never been publicly exhibited. What better antidote to a grey February than gazing at gorgeously vibrant paintings of sun-dappled LA swimming pools? It runs 9 Feb to 29 May, and if you want to avoid the kiddie and tourist crowds, it’s worth noting the extended opening hours of 10pm on a Friday and 8pm on a Saturday.

Eat cake & drink beer

Brew Dog has teamed up with Pandora’s Kitchen to offer a beer and cake combo for V-day (I’ll have the beer dear, you can eat cake!). Pay £20 per person and enjoy four pairings during the course of the evening, commencing at 7.30pm. Four specially-designed desserts will come out of Pandora’s Kitchen for the event, with Brew Dog’s Vicky choosing four complementary beers from around the globe. Cheers!

Enjoy a takeaway with a difference

Have fresh produce delivered to your door from The Norfolk Deli

Say goodbye to stodgy, lukewarm unhealthy takeaways this Valentine’s Day and treat yourself to a delivery with a difference. The Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton (winner of Best Deli in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016) has designed a special delivery/takeaway menu including frozen cocktails, bottles of locally-produced wine, homemade pies and fresh veg. Check out my review of their delivery service here.



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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Norfolk