All the best ways to spend Valentine’s or Galentine’s in Notts

Have no plans for the 14th? Now you do


We’ve all walked into Sainsbury’s Local and been met with a bombardment of red roses and heart-shaped cards and realised “shit… it’s almost the 14th.” Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching which means two things: January is finally over, and your FYP is suddenly flooded with sappy loved-up couples.

You might be sat there wondering WTF am I supposed to do? Perhaps you and your partner have spent the last two Valentine’s at the back of Pepper Rocks and have run out of ideas. Or, maybe it’s your first Valentine’s single and you’re wondering if people actually do Galentine’s? If this is you, you’re in luck, here’s a quick how-to-guide on how to spend Valentine’s, regardless of your romantic situation. So whether you LOVE love or are absolutely dreading the day, listen up and take notes because now you have plans.

Wine and dine

Let’s start with the classic dinner and drinks. Whether it’s with your partner, your friends or even on your own, you can’t go wrong with good food and wine. The real dilemma is where, but lucky for you as a self-certified foodie I’m well versed in what Nottingham offers on this front. If you’re a lover of Italian cuisine, the perfect place to be wined and dined this Valentine’s Day is Gusto.

It’s mid-priced so won’t take you over budget and it offers a wide variety of delicious pasta and pizza. It’s also the perfect middle ground between casual and dressy meaning YOU can decide the vibe – thank me later girlies. If Asian cuisine is more up your street, a hidden gem is the family-run Sanchans in Beeston for authentic and fresh Thai. Zaap in the city centre is also good for this. Mowgli in Hockley provides a fusion of Indian cuisine at an affordable price, plus you get to snap a photo on the infamous swings.

Now let’s move post-dinner and onto my favourite area – the drinks! 31k hidden at the back of Hockley is an intimate and casual bar which delivers hand-crafted, exceptional cocktails… I might be slightly biased because I’m one of their bartenders but seriously guys our cocktails are 10/10 and incredible quality. Other chilled and intimate date night spots include Pogo and Tier, both perfect if you love your cocktails but aren’t as busy or student-heavy as Pepper Rocks.

First date

So, what if you’re single on Valentine’s Day? Does that mean you can’t have fun? Obviously not. Instead of eating your body weight in mini eggs in an act of defiance, hate swiping through Valentine’s Insta stories, finding out that one boy has a girlfriend and crying over the Snapchat memories of your ex – let’s stop. Who’s to say you can’t be wined and dined as well? I’m actually a firm (and controversial) believer that Valentine’s Day is perfect for a first date. Everything is done for you. It is quite literally the day of love; the service and the food will be top-notch, plus you’re able to enjoy the traditions of the day without any commitment. So, get yourself on Hinge, secure a date and get dressed up. See it as an excuse to look good and feel good, your date is likely to put in more effort because of the day, so you might end up with a free dinner.

Tip: If you’re not looking to be love-bombed avoid boys who attend Crisis every week and boys who do anything relating to finance, management and economics at all costs. I said what I said.

Have a boogie

Who said you can’t party on Valentine’s Day? If you and your friend are looking for a dance or to subliminally say fuck you to anyone and everyone on Valentine’s, head over to Lemonade Bangs’ Valentine’s Day rave. The perfect place to have a boogie and celebrate Galentines, plus you can brag to everyone that you discovered a new “underground” DJ somewhere that isn’t the Cell.

Alternatively, if you’re partial to singing your heart out, the Blind Rabbit does karaoke.

Reach out to nature

Onto the wholesome stuff, I’m pretty sure you’ve all been to Wollaton Park, the Arboretum or the Downs, saw some leaves and trees and called it a day. We’ve all been there and done that, so I’m not going to tell you to do your hot girl walk there. However, if you feel the desire to reach out to nature – perhaps you’re going through a difficult breakup, your situationship doesn’t want to see you on Valentine’s or simply because your superiority complex requires it – a hot girl walk can be supplemented. In the case of Valentine’s, I recommend walking around Park estate, staring at the big houses and manifesting marrying rich.

Note – listening to Rihanna or Nelly Furtado really helps the ambience. Additionally, seeing as it snowed last week taking a hot choc or chai latte with you is such a vibe.

Tap into your creative side

Pottery: If you’re a creative soul like me and would rather do an activity on Valentine’s Day, I’ve got some great ideas for you. I know it’s been circling TikTok and it’s a bit basic, but pottery painting at Pot ‘N’ Kettle is so fun!! You could even make them Valentines themed by popping a few love hearts on there or decidedly not and create an abstract mug to represent your artistic soul (or so you tell people).

Mixology classes: As a bartender, I can confidently tell you making cocktails is super fun and fulfilling (because you can drink them afterwards). It’s creative and tipsy fun, perfect for date night or can act as a fun pre-club activity for you and your friends. After you can even tell your housemates you’ve done bartender training and make a disastrous version of a mojito at the next pres.

Journaling: If you’re down in the dumps this Valentine’s, I’m a big advocate for journaling your feelings away. I know it can feel a bit like your year six diary but even scribbling down your feelings and binning it (or burning it) is super cathartic and takes away some of the weight of your emotions.

Spa day: If you and your partner are on a boujee budget or you’re just looking to get away from Lenton for a few hours (and who can blame you), a spa day is a relaxing and calm way to spend Valentine’s. Gorgeous venues such as Aqua Sana in the Sherwood Forest or Eden Hall host a variety of spa packages for you and your partner/friends to enjoy.

Treat yourself

As Valentine’s is the day of love, I encourage you all, relationship or not, to take the opportunity to show yourself some love! Take yourself out to brunch – Toast, Avocafe or Pudding Pantry are all good options to start the day off right. Buy yourself some flowers – always a shout anyway because you can get ones you actually like that aren’t bought last minute from Lidl.

Have a pamper day (Boys this applies to you too, good hygiene goes a long way). Girls, take a trip over to Goose Beauty to get your nails, lashes, brows or even hair done. Boys, please just wash your crusty sheets…please for the love of God. An inexpensive option is to take an everything shower, put on a face mask, paint your nails, and give your hair a blowout. Even stick on a candle and watch your favourite film. If all else fails, retail therapy. Go on, buy those new Sambas, it doesn’t matter that you already have three pairs.

Related articles recommended by this author:

10 things that scream you’re a Notts student without screaming you’re a Notts student

Talk to Tabitha volume four: Cheaters, choices and chicken

Every Nottingham restaurant you need to take your parents when they visit