As much as I love getting dressed up and heading somewhere special for dinner/drinks, sometimes it's nice to think outside the box when it comes to date night. My boyfriend and I have never really been huge celebrators of Valentine's Day but this year we decided to make an effort to do something other than our usual meal out.
I came up with a number of ideas to share with you - these fit a variety of tastes and budgets and are great for both new couples as well as those of you who've been together for a number of years. Even if you don't celebrate Valentine's, these are all things you can do with a friend or family member. They're not just restricted to February 14th, either - date nights can of course be enjoyed all year round!
001. Spend the afternoon at your local National Trust site. This makes for such a romantic day out, whatever the weather. Take a walk around a lavish stately home, through manicured gardens or along the coast before heading to a tea room for lots of cake.
002. Choose a book you both enjoy and read to each other.
003. Order a takeaway and spend the evening playing old-school board games.
004. Bake together.
005. Spend the day at a theme park. This is a great one for new couples as you can chat and get to know each other whilst queuing for the rides. Not to mention a hair-raising roller coaster is the perfect excuse to cling on to your date!
006. Visit a fortune teller or palm reader together.
007. Spend the afternoon at your local farmer's market and gather fresh ingredients to prepare dinner with later on.
008. Wrap up warm, pack a breakfast picnic and head out to watch the sun rise one morning.
009. If it's particularly cold and/or wet, organise an indoor picnic. You could even build a blanket fort - complete with fairy lights and bunting - for an extra special date night.
010. Visit a haunted house (stay overnight if you're really brave!) or attend a ghost walk. Again, another excuse to grab your date's hand...
011. DIY together. Search Pinterest for a project you both like the sound of, then head to your local craft store for supplies.
012. Spend the day at your local seaside town. My boyfriend and I love visiting the beach in winter as there's still so much to do and it doesn't tend to be anywhere near as busy! Go for lunch, visit the arcades and take a long walk across the sea front.
013. Offer to walk a friend's dog.
014. Visit your local art gallery or museum.
015. Go for afternoon tea.
016. Volunteer for a cause you're both passionate about.
017. Attend a class together - you could try flower arranging, cookery, pottery, cocktail-making, calligraphy - anything!
018. See a burlesque/cabaret show.
019. Create a photo album or scrapbook depicting your time together. Add receipts, cinema tickets and maps/leaflets from places you've visited for a real sentimental touch.
020. If you live together, head to a pretty garden centre and pick up plants for your house/garden. Stop for lunch on the way back.
What's your idea of a perfect Valentine's date?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Kate is the author of Under Blue Lights, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog. You can also find Kate over on Twitter @KateBlueLights as well as Instagram @KatieLeanne91.
Kate is one of my lovely guest bloggers whilst I settle into life as a new mum. I hope you enjoyed Kate's post on date ideas that differ from the standard dinner and drinks, I have definitely added a few to my list of things I want to do with my other half this year! I love that so many of them would be absolutely free to do, too! Do you have any unusual date ideas?