Unusual Valentine’s events that you are sure to fall in love with

In the realm of the senses - a Valentine's event at Colchester Castle Museum. Picture: Colchester Bo

In the realm of the senses - a Valentine's event at Colchester Castle Museum. Picture: Colchester Borough Council - Credit: Archant

Looking for something a little different from run of the mill romantic nights out? Here’s a few ideas for you and that special someone.

Ensemble the Locrian will be in period costume for Vivaldi By Candlelight at the Mercury Theatre. Pi

Ensemble the Locrian will be in period costume for Vivaldi By Candlelight at the Mercury Theatre. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Every year there are complaints from some quarters that Valentine’s Day is losing its lustre as a celebration of love and relationships and with this year marking the first time Greggs will be putting on a four-course £15 Valentine’s meal for two the naysayers seem to have a stronger case than ever. North Essex lovers can, however, take heart that none of the region’s branches of the bakery chain are taking part in the offer and that there are instead a host of events as creative as they are romantic available on their doorstep. So if you are one of those die-hard romantics who think their loved one deserves more than four pasties of varying fillings washed down with a bottle of Lucozade Sport, here are some interesting Valentine’s events near you to savour.

Candlelit Valentine’s dinner

Stoke By Nayland Hotel

Keeper’s Lane, Leavenheath

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Wednesday, February 14, 7pm to 9.30pm

Enjoy a romantic retreat amid the idyllic Constable Country setting of the Stoke By Nayland Hotel. You can treat your loved one with a romantic candlelit dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, overlooking the picturesque setting of the floodlit lake. The hotel’s chefs have come up with a special Valentine’s Day three-course menu and there will be a glass of Champagne each on arrival and a red rose for your Valentine. It’s £39 per person. Call 01206 262 836 or visit here

Valentine’s Murder Mystery

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Colchester Town Hall

Friday, February 16, 7pm to 10.30pm

Here’s an event to die for. Be a part of a romantic meal at the Town Hall where murder is on the menu. The interactive event, with performers from the renowned Moneypenny Productions among the staff, offers a delicious two-course dinner as well as a murder plot that unfolds and has to be solved as the meal progresses. Supects include the French maitre d’ with something to hide, the waitress from hell, and the date with a grudge. The event is suitable for couples, singletons and groups. Come in black tie or fancy dress. Call 01206 506905 for tickets.

Valentines at the Castle: Sense and Sensuality Colchester Castle Museum

February 16, 6pm-9pm.

Get your senses working overtime at an exclusive adults-only after-hours event. The Castle’s curators have come up with new ways to get a feel for the exhibits with a revealing trail. Representatives from the University of Essex will also be there to explore the nature of arousal. Visitors can design and create their own mask to wear on the evening and can then dance in disguise in the chapel space complete with bar and DJ. Tickets are £15 each and include a glass of ‘Love Potion’. To book, call 01206 282941.

Vivaldi by Candlelight

The Mercury Theatre, Colchester

February 14. 7.30pm.

If you think modern life is over commercialising Valentine’s Day then an evening which offers a step back in time may be just the escapist tonic you need. Add in heart-soaring music and a candle-lit setting and you have a very romantic evening. Classical touring ensemble the Locrian, who will be dressed in lavish 17th century costume for the concert, will be performing a tribute to Baroque genius Antonio Vivaldi, including his Four Seasons.

Other works include the virtuoso Concerto for Two Violins, the Rustic Symphony, and classics such as Pachelbel’s Canon, and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

The Mercury is giving you a chance to make the evening even more romantic for you and that special someone with Valentine’s Day packages of a bottle of prosecco and four luxury handmade chocolates to enjoy at the interval for an extra £25 on top of the tickets or two 20cl bottles of premium prosecco and two luxury hand-made chocolates for £12. Tickets are £24. Add the package to your ticket purchase on the website here

Compassion - An Alternative Valentine’s Party

Colchester Arts Centre

February 13, 7pm to 11.30pm

Bring your vegan valentine to a night of moves and music at the Arts Centre. Getting everyone on the dancefloor will be DJ Fizzy Gillespie, celebrated for creating a party vibe with vintage and soul sounds given jungle and drum ‘n’ bass beats. Fellow guests include didgeridoo extraordinaire Didge Tall Paul and hula hoop dancer Meelyhoops. Fancy dress is encouraged and there will be vegan sweets and drinks available. Tickets £25. Must be booked in advance. Call 01206 500900 or visit here for more details.

Syrian Pop-Up Valentine’s Restaurant

Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, Colchester

February 14. From 6pm.

Treat your loved one to a meal of Syrian delicacies and support a worthy cause into the bargain. Refugee Action – Colchester, a voluntary organisation working with refugees and asylum seekers, brings the Syrian Pop-Up Valentine’s Restaurant, which was such a hit last year, back to Firstsite. The evening promises a three-course meal cooked with love by Syrian families. There are two sittings: 6pm to 8pm and 8pm to 10pm. The price is £24 for two people. All profits go to the Syrian families and to other refugees living in Colchester. Call 01206 577067 for details.

Rip Up Valentine’s Day

Three Wise Monkeys

High Street, Colchester

February 14. 8.30pm

If music is your first love, even on Valentine’s Day, then Colchester High Street Venue offers a triple bill of local band talent. Headliners are trio RAZ, who mix jazz, funk, surf, pop, rock and fusion, while support comes from singer-songwriter Beth Marie and Wolf Sunday. Entry is £5 (Students £4 with ID). For more details, visit here

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