What to do in Manchester this Valentine’s Day
This blogpost is written by Eve Rowley. Eve is a third-year SALC student and in this blogpost, Eve will share a few ideas on what do to this Valentine’s day in Manchester – with your partner, friends, or just yourself.
As the annual holiday of love approaches, you might be dreading the typical story posts from couples showing off their romantic date nights (including those couples nobody actually knew were together), whilst you sit at home alone thinking if only you had someone to spend it with. Rather than feeling resentful, I encourage you to organise something with friends, or if you fancy some peaceful alone time, plan something for yourself. I think we can all agree that in 2023, Valentine’s day can be celebrated in whatever way you want to, so here are eight ideas for how you can have fun with your partner, friends, or on your own this February 14th!
1. A pottery class/ pottery painting
Recently, I’ve been seeing these everywhere on social media, and they look so fun! There are endless options for these in Manchester, including ClassBento offering a ‘Sculpt and Sip Class’ where you can sculpt your own clay whilst enjoying drinks from the venue’s bar for £29 (although the drinks aren’t included in this price). Not only is pottery a great activity for relieving stress (ClassBento actually donates to the UK Mental Health charity with every booking), but you also get to keep whatever you make as an ornament or decorative piece! Alternatively, you could try a paint-a-pot class at Chorlton’s Pottery Corner, an independent business where you can buy the ceramics they offer and paint them however you like using the advice and expertise of the staff. A good idea could be to look up some design patterns before you going to give yourself some inspiration, or if you’re more of the creative type, just go with the flow!
2. Spoken poetry/ spoken words event
If you’re into poetry or are just looking to see something new and refreshing, spoken word events are a great and unique way to meet new, like-minded people! Me and my friends have recently been to an event at ‘On The Rag’, a female-led Manchester-based art collective and venue, where they put on monthly poetry and spoken word evenings (usually titled Evidence with a theme) with tickets for only £3. If you’re interested in performing yourself, they have recently announced a constant open call for applications and encourage femme, POC, and/or queer artists to apply! They also host several other amazing and creative art and music events, so there’s something for everyone!
3. Cocktail making
As a student, the standard drink for a night out tends to be what me and my housemates like to call squadka, referring to a mix of vodka, squash, and water. I think we can all admit this is hardly the most enjoyable drink to have before a night out. Whilst it is more expensive, for a special night in with your friends or partner, why not make some cocktails? When I did this in a group of four, it actually cost us only around ten pounds each for a few different cocktails, working out at around the same price as an average cocktail in Manchester city centre. If you’re feeling fancy, you could even try each making a cocktail based on a theme, such as what degree you do, what job etc. And if you’re feeling even fancier, you can hire a mixologist to come to your house and make the cocktails for you! (Tipsy Parties is a company I’ve heard of being used before).
4. Going to watch a student performance
If you’re a fan of theatre and acting or know someone who’s got a role in one of society’s drama performances, buying tickets to an event is a great way to spend the evening and show support for your friends! The university’s Drama Society are always running shows, and particularly towards the end of the semester when they begin to announce performance dates, there are plenty of options to choose from. Often these tickets cost as little as £4-5 too, much cheaper than what you’d pay for a show in the city centre, and from personal experience still just as good!
5. Painting on scrap card
Living in a student house with quite a few people there is often an ongoing stream of parcels being delivered, meaning there is always a fair amount of cardboard lying about before someone decides to finally put it in the bin. With all this lying about, me and my housemates decided to get creative and paint on the scrap pieces of card and use it as a sustainable and unique way of decorating our living room. There not quite Picasso, but we had fun doing them and it is a good way to spend time with your flatmates whilst doing something creative and different!
6. Go Karting/ Lazer Tag/ Total Ninja
If you’re someone who enjoys a bit more of an energetic activity or has a large group of friends, this kind of day out is great fun! They’re especially good in big groups but are also a great alternative to the classic dinner date night.
7. Cookie decorating/ baking
Another viral trend I’ve seen circulating recently is decorating cookies and other Valentines-themed baked goods. This can be a very cute and simple idea, with most supermarkets selling the kits for these, but if you can’t be bothered to go to the shops, you could even just have a go at some baking with ingredients you (or your housemates) have at home! This is also practical if you’re on a student budget.
8. Going on a nature walk
Whilst the weather in Manchester is not always ideal walking conditions, sometimes getting out into the fresh air is a great way to clear your mind. One route I particularly enjoyed is the Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens in Didsbury. With lots of pubs and restaurants around the area, it’s ideal to finish a long walk with a pint and maybe some food. The nature here is just beautiful and there’s so much to see, including Parsonage Gardens, the Nature Reserve of Stenner Woods, Millgate Fields, and the River Mersey, and all this with free entry.
If you’re struggling to decide what to do on Valentine’s day, or feeling down about spending it feeling lonely, I hope these suggestions have given some inspiration on the endless, and affordable, possibilities for this month in Manchester. Valentine’s day is about spending it with the people you love, whether that means your friends, your partner, or if you feel like spending the day alone (self-love is key!) then get involved in the celebrations! If you’re thinking of buying someone a gift, it’s also a good idea to consider how you can be environmentally conscious and sustainable, since the holidays tend to see a sharp increase in our wastage and consequently, our impact on the planet. This could be simple things like buying from local businesses, making your own gifts, or wrapping the gifts in wrapping paper you already have. Another cute alternative is buying crochet flowers, or the LEGO Botanical Collection is particularly cool (but evidently more expensive), and lasts forever!
Thank you Eve for taking the time to write about all these amazing suggestions. If you’re a student interested in contributing to the SALC Student Blog, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.