A weekend away or a romantic dinner out are off the cards this year. But there are other ways to show your love.
From food and drink gifts to jewellery and tech, there’s bound to be a gift that’s just right.
And even better, you can support some special local businesses, too.
Food and drink
Perfect steak from The Cherry Tree
Award-winning, family-run Bolton restaurant The Cherry Tree has created a seductive three-course menu so you can dine in style at home.
The succulent aged ribeye or fillet steaks come with garlic and thyme fondant potato, tenderstem broccoli, heritage carrots and peppercorn sauce, and just need finishing off at home by following a few simple steps.
If you don’t fancy steak, there’s luxurious lobster mac and cheese and more on the menu, with desserts including a chocolate platter to share.
The Valentine’s menu is available for collection from The Cherry Tree at Blackrod, BL6 5LA, on Saturday 13th February from 12pm – 4pm (it can all be refrigerated overnight to eat on 14th), and costs £30pp for three courses with a £2 supplement for fillet steak. Last orders are 8pm on Tuesday 9th February.
Manchester beers from Hip Flask
Local company Hip Flask offers a selection of beers that captures the spirit of the city and makes the perfect gift.
The new HIP_2 box includes 12 craft beers born and bred in Manchester sourced from 12 different independent breweries.
From pale ales to stouts, you’ll find brews from the likes of Alphabet, Beatnikz Republic, Brightside, First Chop, Seven Bro7hers and Shindigger, Cloudwater, Track, Pomona Island, Blackjack, Thirst Class Ale, Marble and Manchester Union.
Hip Flask’s Manchester Boxes are priced from £35, with nationwide delivery available.
A fondue burger kit from Honest
What’s better than making and eating burgers together? Making and eating fondue burgers together, that’s what.
In collaboration with Mons Cheesemongers, Honest’s kit includes their signature beef patties, plus ingredients for the toppings: five-cheese fondue, crispy pancetta, white wine onions and pickles.
You’ll need to buy your own rocket (it doesn’t travel well), but you also get rosemary salt to add to your own homemade chips – plus a stylish tote bag, too.
£20 for a pack of two, with £6 nationwide any day delivery.
Classy cocktails from Hawksmoor
If you missed getting your hands on a Valentine’s meal kit from this superb steak restaurant, you could always go for a selection of top cocktails from their bar instead.
Leave the mixology to the experts with the ready-to-drink bottles, which include the ultimate dry martini, a hepple gimlet and a sour cherry negroni.
Our favourite is the fuller fat old fashioned, made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, tonka bean and brown butter – and it’s available in a larger size bottle, too.
A bottled cocktail set with four drinks to share costs £48.
Luxury dinner from The Lowry Hotel
A night out isn’t possible, but @HOME by The Lowry offers customers two AA Rosette restaurant quality food at home via collection or delivery.
The menu includes cream of cauliflower and smoked bacon soup, lobster macaroni cheese, truffled chicken breast and dark chocolate and caramel delice, plus a bottle of champagne.
Some assembly and cooking are required, but the package is 80% prepared for you and ready to go.
Valentine’s Day @HOME is priced from £60 for two people and is available for collection between 12pm and 2pm on Saturday 13th February and Sunday 14th February (available to order online or the through the hotel until 11am on 11th February). Delivery is £8.95 on Saturday 13th February and Sunday 14th February.
An award-winning vegan takeaway from Bhaji Pala
Inventive vegan restaurant Bhaji Pala in Gatley has become known for doing some of the best Indian food in the region.
The restaurant was recently awarded the title of Best Vegetarian Restaurant in the whole of the north at the Asian Restaurant Awards, and the chefs maintain authenticity while adapting the southern Indian dishes for vegan palates.
Hearty mains include dry beetroot curry tempered with green chillies, curry leaves and whole spices, egg plant stuffed with peanuts and spices, and delicious stuffed potatoes cooked in rich Goan sauce, as well as the Bhaji Pala special: fresh mixed vegetables cooked in a smooth creamy spinach gravy.
Bhaji Pala is open for delivery and takeaway from 4pm – 9pm every day at 2 Old Hall Rd, Gatley, Cheadle SK8 4BE.
Jewellery, clothing and accessories
Bee inspired pendants from Manuka
Manuka’s beautiful bee inspired pendants feature the symbol of Manchester – and also raise money to help save beloved bumblebees.
The striking jewellery has already won hearts across the city, with celebrity fans including Jenny Powell and brand ambassador Faye Brookes, who has been spotted wearing her necklace during her training for TV show Dancing on Ice.
Available in silver, gold and rose gold, they’re guaranteed to attract compliments – the perfect gift for any queen bee out there, and the must-have accessory for 2021.
I Love MCR readers can get 20% off, plus standard free UK delivery, using the promo code ILOVEMCR20.
Manchester scarves from Ollie & Fred
Ollie & Fred’s designs are connected to music or Manchester, or both, and make great unique gifts.
The Manchester worker bee scarf has a lovely mosaic pattern inspired by the tiling in Manchester Town Hall, while the Whitworth scarf is influenced by the sound wave image Joy Division used on the cover of their first album, Unknown Pleasures.
Or show your love for strong Manchester women with the beautiful Suffragette inspired scarf.
Clothing to show you love Manchester
Show your other half – and the world – how much you love our great city with our very own iconic I Love MCR t-shirt or hoodie, made from the softest organic cotton.
Other designs include the famous Glamour of Manchester image, or the Stone Roses lemon for music fans.
Or go for a tote bag or reusable bottle for the ultimate Manc accessory.
Romeo & Juliet theatre stream
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the world’s most famous love story as you’ve never seen it before.
Olivier Award winning Sam Tutty, Emily Redpath and Derek Jacobi star in a new filmed theatre production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet directed by Nick Evans.
The stream starts just in time for Valentine’s weekend – perfect for culture vultures who’re missing live theatre.
Streaming from Saturday 13th February – Saturday 27th Feb, tickets from £15.
A Manchester book
We love reading Manchester books, whether they’re set in our city or written by a local author – and there’s been a great selection published over the past few months.
A biography of The Piccadilly Rats, Bard of Salford John Cooper Clarke’s first ever memoir or a history of Coronation Street will delight non-fiction fans.
Or if your partner loves to curl up with a novel, how about David Nolan’s page-turning new Manc Noir thriller The Mermaid’s Pool?
Live wine tasting with Grape to Grain
If you’re looking for a wine tasting experience that’s fun as well as informative, check out local specialist wine, beer and spirits merchants Grape to Grain.
Book onto the 14th February tasting for fizzy wine with choccies from Slattery in Whitefield, a white and a red with a lovey-dovey theme each paired with a superb cheese, then a delicious cocktail to finish with chocolate dipped strawberries, all delivered to your door.
Choose how much wine you want, from ‘super sad singleton’ (100ml) and ‘couples carafe’ (500ml) to ‘getting lucky tonight’ (a full bottle) – then get stuck into the live virtual tasting for giggles galore with the Grape to Grain gang.
Use code ILOVEMCR20 to get an exclusive 20% off any and all of the live tastings.
Virtual play at home experience with Escape Hunt
Enjoy a date night like no other with one of Escape Hunt’s Lockdown & Thrill Valentine’s packages, the perfect way to spend February 14th with your Valentine – even if it’s virtually.
You might not be able to get to The Corn Exchange to play in person, but you can travel (from your sofa) to new worlds with a play-at-home game whilst sipping cocktails and snacking on hand decorated Oreos.
Games can be played together in person, or via video chat if you’re taking romance virtual this year.
The cocktails and Oreos will be delivered first class in time for 14th February provided you order before 8th February.
Get fit together with Great Manchester Run
Active – or just competitive – couples might want to take part in Great Manchester Run’s February challenge.
You’ll need to complete 14 runs of any distance in February – and to spice things up, the challenge also includes an optional distance element.
Running Head Over Heels is for those who cover 35 miles in the month; It’s A Love Hate Thing is for 70 miles; and distance fans might want to aim for Love Bitten By The Running Bug, if you think you can manage 125 miles.
The challenge ends on 28th February. You can join anytime from now up to Monday 8th February at 10am, when entries close.
Apple gifts from Sync
Push the boat out with some new Apple tech if you want to seriously impress.
Nothing says I love you myself like buying a brand new pair of AirPods from Sync.
Free delivery on all Apple products and you can pay in three interest free instalments with Klarna, what’s not to like?
Whether you’re looking for an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or more…they’ve got you covered.
A five bedroom house and Ferrari
Yes, we are serious. Especially when you could win this jaw-dropping new home and car for just £2.
Set in its own grounds, behind a drystone wall with electric gates, the stunning detached house is worth half a million – plus you could get your hands on a 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider, too.
Jennifer Matthews and her husband David are raffling their £590,000 five bedroom family home and Ferrari for just £2 per ticket, with a lucky winner chosen at random.
Which would make it the most impressive Valentine’s present imaginable, frankly.
Feeling lucky? Click below to buy a £2 ticket and find out more.