15 of the best date ideas for Valentine's Day

That time of the year has come around again: V-Day.

Shops burst at the seams with heart-shaped goodies, teddy bears and chocolates abound, corny rom-coms invade our TV channels, and social media becomes a place for a Valentine's arms race - where people brag about what gifts they received and how much their partner loves them.

But love, and showing you care, is not about what you buy.

Love is the memories you make and showing the other how much you really care. It’s going places, spending time together and trying new things. Portsmouth has some of the best and most romantic things to do in the South of England.

Don’t believe me? Here are 15 things that you can do with your Valentine in Portsmouth that will be sure to sweep them off their feet. Or at least make them remember you!

 

1 - Valentine's High Tea at Emirates Spinnaker Tower

There is perhaps nothing more iconic to Portsmouth than the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, so why not pay it a visit for Valentines’ Day? Watch the sunset from the viewing deck with your special person or, even better, indulge in a Valentine’s High Tea.

For just £35 each (£70 a couple) you can enjoy evening entry to the tower, Prosecco, and a platter of delicious treats. Picture it. Looking out across the harbor, holding one another’s hand, and watching the city lights twinkle like stars - it’s just like a movie.

 

2 - Shopping and dinner in Port Solent

With shops, restaurants, a cinema and free parking, Port Solent marina it is the perfect getaway from the city without actually leaving Portsmouth. Walk along the boardwalk as the sails of the yachts chime out in the wind, or grab some food at the abundance of restaurants on offer from Casa Brasil, Richoux and Friendly Phil’s - to name just a few!

 

3 - Bouldering at Fort Purbrook

Romantic dates don’t always have to be over candle-lit dinners. Why not try something new this year with your partner? At Fort Purbrook, located just off the north of Portsea Island, you can try bouldering. It's similar to rock climbing, but the main difference is that there are no ropes, making a perfect challenge for you and your partner to build confidence and trust - and show each other what you’ve got! With over 700 square feet of walls to climb, it’s a great date idea for those more daring and, with tickets at only £6 each, you’d be silly not to try it.

 

4 - Blue Reef Aquarium

Portsmouth’s only aquarium may seem like a hot spot for days out with the kids (which it is) but it also makes a perfect dreamy backdrop for any romantic moment. Walk through the underwater tunnel and kiss amongst the coral and fishes, or feed some otters and be hooked on their cuteness. Maybe when you are done you could buy your partner a cuddly toy from the gift shop? Or simply walk along the seafront and watch the sun set on your romantic day.

 

5 - Vue at Gunwharf Quays

Cinema may sound cliché but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! We all enjoy watching a film on the big screen and cuddling in the dark, sneakily kissing between adverts, but now we can enjoy it even more with most tickets at Vue costing just £4.99. Going to the cinema is no longer a risk if you don’t end up enjoying the film - because at least you had some money left over to buy a box of popcorn to share...

 

6 - Clarence Pier arcades

Almost everyone in Portsmouth has fond memories of a childhood spent at Clarence Pier, but this seaside destination is more than just a haven for kids. It can be the perfect choice if all you want is a fun, down-to-earth date. Your partner may be apprehensive at first but, once you win them a teddy at the claw machine (or at least try to) and start racing against one another at Mario Kart, the laughter, banter and smiles will soon start coming. Sometimes, all you need is to be a kid again.

 

7 - Museum tour of Portsmouth

Portsmouth is full of museums, so if your Valentines is a fan of art, history and culture why not take them on a Museum tour of Portsmouth? Learn about the history of Sherlock Holmes at Portsmouth Museum, or discover rich maritime heritage at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and The Mary Rose. At Aspex Gallery you can inspect some art and maybe even make some yourself. There’s plenty more so why not check them all out, one by one, and turn your night in into a day out.

 

8 - Take a walk around Victoria Park

For those strapped for cash, why not enjoy the free gifts of nature by talking and walking around Victoria Park? Located north of the Portsmouth Guildhall, the park is a beautiful area for respite where you can leave the city behind and relax for a few minutes in the flora and fauna. But, Victoria Park is more than just greenery. There’s a cafe to grab a tea and a cake, play equipment for the little ones, an aviary full of exotic birds, including peacocks and parrots, and an area with rabbits and guinea pigs which you can even feed. How cute!

 

9 - Southsea Model Village and Canoe Lake

If you said a date at a model village wouldn’t be fun, you’d be wrong! Southsea’s Model Village is a unique experience for everyone, young and old, and is a chance to try something new and quirky this Valentine's Day. Stomp around like giants, marvel at the little men and figures, then grab some food. When you’re done, maybe walk around the nearby rose garden, jump on a swan boat at Canoe Lake or play mini-golf. In just one small area, there are plenty of chances to make your date swoon.

 

10 - Portchester Castle

For a trip back in time, head to Portchester and explore the beauty of one of the South’s oldest fortifications. With spectacular views, a free audio tour and stunning architecture, Portchester castle will wow anyone regardless of their age or interests. Your partner is a history buff? A photographer? A writer? Someone who loves old buildings? There is no one who wouldn’t appreciate Portchester Castle’s beauty, making it a failsafe idea for your Valentine’s date.

 

11 - St Valentine’s Massacre at the Wedgewood Rooms

Maybe you aren’t the kind of person who likes V-Day and you just want to have fun and party. If that’s the case, look no further and book your tickets now for the Eighth Annual St Valentine's Day Massacre Gig at the Wedgewood Rooms. At this event, local musicians come together to sing and cover love songs - but with a twist. It is wild, funny, in your face and completely unique, but most importantly, it’s 100% Portsmouth. Support local artists and flip your 2020 Valentines on its head by joining the musical madness.

 

12 - See a show at the Kings Theatre or New Theatre Royal

Maybe underground Pompey music isn’t your thing and you want something a bit more refined for your Valentines. If so, why not head over to the Kings Theatre or New Theatre Royal for a show or play? Sit down in the plush red seating, relax, and fall in love with one another all over again amongst these iconic backdrops of Portsmouth. There’s plenty on at both venues so check out their websites and treat yourself to culture this Valentine's Day.

 

13 - Game Over gaming cafe

Tucked away in Old Portsmouth is the city's first and only video game cafe. Inside, is an Aladdin's cave of retro gaming with every console you can imagine, from the Nintendo 64 to the PlayStation 1 and Atari, and all the games you remember from your childhood. Crash Bandicoot? Of course. Tekken? Absolutely. Mario Kart? Wahoo! Pong? Yep, even Pong. For just £5 for two hours, and with snacks from just 50p, it is easy to spend an entire day at Game Over without even breaking the bank.

If you are a geek or gamer, or just need that hit of nostalgia, this is the Valentine's date for you!

 

14 - Have a picnic at Baffins Pond

In the heart of Portsmouth is a beautiful pond that's home to a host of wild fowl, ducks and swans. With sleepy willows overlooking the lake and nature all around you, Baffins Pond is a beautiful destination for families and lovers alike. Take a break from the hustle and bustle, walk around the pond and take in the scenery as you enjoy a romantic picnic on the grass. That’s one way to enjoy the true value of Portsmouth without even spending a penny.

 

15 - Take a trip to The Mary Rose and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

You cannot have Portsmouth without the dockyard, and if you want a Valentine’s Day with a true stamp of Pompey approval, why not spend the day immersed in rich maritime heritage? Climb aboard the HMS Warrior, learn the secrets of the Victory, pay homage to the Mary Rose and much, much more. Don’t forget, your ticket lasts a whole year so you can go back as many times as you wish and relive those romantic memories all over again.

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