Last year’s Valentine’s Day was a washout, so this time around it’s time to ignore all those Grinch-like cries of “It’s a made-up day!” and treat it as an excuse to do something nice with your partner. Our top choices below aren’t all overtly cupid-themed because let’s face it, most of us Northerners give sharp shrift to mushy Hallmark sentiments, and rightly so.
That said, if you’re a rose petals and Champagne kind of couple, we’ve got some restaurant options in Manchester and Liverpool that’ll be right up your driveway; but if you’re more into the low-key but authentic feel, there’s a host of superb food and drink spaces in and around Ancoats and the Northern Quarter too. And remember, this year, 14 February kicks off on a Monday, so make sure you have a modest Sunday in preparation for the big event.
But it’s not all about eating and drinking (though let’s face it, it’s a great excuse to indulge), we have options for all tastes, whether you want to stimulate your mind or other sensations. See these suggestions as a potential prelude to the boudoir, although UK law precludes us from advising on that side of things. You’ll simply have to play that part by ear.
Of course, cinema is always a winner, and we’ve plucked out a few choice selections dotted across the North. Make sure to practice your yawn and arm-stretch combo in advance. We’ve also got some live performances and exhibitions to attend, and other brain-tingling events on the weekend directly before the big day itself. And do keep checking back as we’ll keep updating this list with all the best Valentine’s Day selections for all you lovestruck lot.
Here are our picks
Nam Manchester, Unit 2, 33 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ - Visit now
This Valentine’s Day, NAM has got a special offer to indulge in: enjoy two small plates, two large plates, and a bottle of house wine for £50. Plus there’s the option to add on two desserts for an extra £10. And if that isn’t enough, The Soul Twins will be providing a slow jams soundtrack from 7pm — 11pm. Expect to be dining to slow and smooth rhythms carefully selected by the pair, to celebrate love day!
Peru Perdu, The Cotton Factory, 74 Princess St, Manchester, M1 6JD, Manchester, M1 6JD - Visit now
Peru Perdu always push the boat out and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Monday the 14th will see PAMPAS, the private dining experience take over the restaurant, serving guests the PAMPAS Bring Me Love menu. PAMPAS serves guests a host of Peruvian & Uruguayan inspired dishes and sharing supercut steaks to enjoy. The PAMPAS Bring Me Love menu is for the adventurous, served family-style, sometimes experimental but always delicious. If you haven’t checked out this wonderful restaurant yet, this is your chance.
Sao Paulo by Caroline Martins at Blossom Street Social, 51 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ - Visit now
One of our favourite new finds, Blossom Street Social is hosting a pop-up by genius Brazilian chef (and Masterchef star) Caroline Martins. Ask the Blossom Street staff to recommend the perfect wine from their vast collection, then order some of the most exciting food this side of Sugarloaf Mountain for an evening you’ll never forget.
The Art School Restaurant, 1 Sugnall Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L7 7DX - Visit now
The Art School in Liverpool is getting ready for Valentine’s Day with Paul Askew and his team crafting two menus for the occasion. Their Prix Fixe and Celebration menus feature some of the finest ingredients sourced from across the region to create an array of stunning dishes at this stunning high-end restaurant. The Prix Fixe menu is an early evening four-course service and the Celebration Menu features six courses and an optional wine flight for an extra level of immersion.
Ducie Street Warehouse, Ground Floor, Warehouse, Ducie St,, Manchester, M1 2TP - Visit now
For Valentine’s Day, Ducie Street Warehouse, the warehouse-chic venue at aparthotel Native Manchester, is offering a curated three-course meal priced at £40 per person, available on Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Monday 14th February. Click through to read our full review.
Ducie’s Love Edition programming also features DJs and cinema screenings, plus community events – perfect for couples to celebrate Valentine’s and groups of friends to celebrate ‘Palentine’s’. The warehouse will be transformed into a romantic getaway with resident DJs in the lounge and games and activities to enjoy, and the ‘Mini Cini’ will be screening romantic classics, Betty Blue (1986) and Jamon Jamon (1992). And if you make a night of it and stop over at Native Manchester, you can enjoy a luxurious chocolate treat from Cocoa Cabana.
Escape to Freight Island, Mayfield Depot, 11 Baring St, Manchester, M1 2PY - Visit now
The always-great Escape To Freight Island is going big in terms of V-Day 2022, hosting their Valentine celebrations over the weekend of the 12th and 13th, promising something for everyone. This includes cocktails and canapes at The Jane Eyre Cocktail Bar (Saturday 2pm to 1am), the Cork and Canvas “Paint Your Partner” workshop hosted by the fabulous Manchester’s Queen Banksie (Sunday 13th, 630pm to 9pm) and an unmissable Valentines Special dinner Baratxuri and dance with Perfectly Frank (two sittings, from 630pm onwards). Check the website for more details and prices.
Embankment Kitchen Restaurant & Bar, 16 Chapel St, Salford, M3 7NH - Visit now
Embankment Kitchen is offering a candlelit romantic dinner created by chef Marika Healey. The decadent three-course ‘Love is in the Air’ menu will be exclusively available on Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day weekend. You can also choose from an all-new bespoke collection of cocktails to complement this special menu.
The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 2DS - Visit now
Make a night of it and book the romantic Valentine’s Overnight Package at Manchester’s historic Midland Hotel. Available on Sunday 13 Feb, guests will receive a bottle of Prosecco in their room, a Welcome Plate and breakfast the following morning for £155, for two people sharing.
Mount Street Dining Room and Bar, 16 Peter St, Manchester, M60 2DS - Visit now
And if you do opt for a stay at the Midland Hotel, make sure to dine at Mount Street Dining Room & Bar, where guests can share a decadent Valentine’s dessert special strawberry and Champagne Mousse. Strawberry and basil macaroons accompany dessert with a specially created Valentine’s Day Strawberry Daiquiri to go along with all the other delights on offer at this elegant city-centre restaurant.
Moxy Manchester City, 8 Atkinson St, Manchester, M3 3HH - Visit now
Moxy Manchester City, the newly-opened neighbourhood hotel and hangout in Manchester’s Spinningfields, has announced Cocktails, Cake & Love to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with cupcakes in partnership with local independent Hey Little Cupcake. The special package for two includes an overnight stay with breakfast, two sparkling Rossini cocktails on the evening of the stay, a Valentine’s inspired Hey Little Cupcake each, and late checkout at 1pm. Cocktails, Cake & Love is available to book from Friday 11th February to Monday 14th February, with rates starting from £99. Moxy Manchester City is pet friendly, so why not upgrade your package for some pooch treats too?
The Cranleigh Boutique, Kendal Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3EW - Visit now
Like the sound of Baha? Make a night of it and book a stay at the glorious Cranleigh Boutique, just a minute or so around the corner and purveyor of some of the most luxurious and, dare we say…amorous-inducing hotel rooms imaginable.
District Manchester, 60 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LE - Visit now
District is one of our absolute favourite restaurants in Manchester and if you’re lucky enough to book a table for Valentine’s Day not only will you have brownie points for a lifetime, you’ll also be treated to some of the most beautiful and ingenious tasting menu dishes imaginable.
The Refuge, Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 7HA - Visit now
Celebrate the most romantic night of the year at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel with an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s stylish rooms or suites, thanks to their “From Manchester with Love” package. The offer includes breakfast, a gin & tonic and a sweet treat waiting in your room. Plus there’s £50 credit to spend in the destination restaurant The Refuge by Volta, as well as a beautiful flower bouquet by their in-house florist Giraffe.
The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavilion, Byrom Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HG - Visit now
The Ivy has teamed up with Letters of Note to create a special book, which will be gifted to all diners at the restaurant on 14 Feb. This will be complemented by a limited edition cocktail menu and dessert inspired by the book.