Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in January 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in February 2020.
While your email inbox & nearby shops and restaurants may be telling you the only way to make this one special is by spending a fortune with them, the truth is, it really isn't. You can show someone just how much you love them with a simple, thoughtful romantic gesture.
We've got a selection of super simple, cheap ideas that will make your loved one feel as special as sitting in any cramped, over-priced restaurant this Valentine's day. There's no need to stop there though - these ideas are perfect all year round.
So save the cash for a romantic Summer getaway, and focus on what matters instead: spending quality time together with the one you love with these romantic gestures.
1. Knock-up a beautiful breakfast in bed
There are few things in life better than breakfast in bed.
Whether your partner is an avocado on toast kinda gal or a straight-up, full fry-up guy, there's nothing that will put a smile on their face more than a tray full of their faves on Valentine's morning, especially when it's carried in by their fave person!
Expensive presents are all well and good, but nothing can beat bacon, FACT.
2. Laugh out loud at a comedy night
Romance not really your thing?
If you and your loved one are more about the laughs than the candle-lit baths, a comedy night could be perfect for you.
Laughing is good for the soul, and with your favourite person by your side, you'll both be feeling on top of the world by the time the acts are over.
3. Hike up high & enjoy the view
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of life can get a bit much.
Take it back to basics by going by hiking up high to a breathtaking countryside location. You may have to huff and puff a bit to get there, but anything's achievable with your loved one by your side, right?
Not only is this great for team building, but when you finally reach the top, you'll be bowled over. A beautiful view, your favourite human by your side - what more is there to ask for?
4. Share some culture, thoughts & feelings
Take inspiration from the Parisians, and discover the magic of a museum trip this Valentine's Day.
Step inside your nearest gallery or museum to find glorious culture and history that will keep you chatting all day long.
With all that inspiration around you, you'll be bouncing ideas, opinions and interpretations off of each other, helping you get to know your partner better than ever.
5. Making a CD full of 'your' songs is a simple way to make Valentine's Day a hit
Music is always a good idea, but music with a memory behind it is truly a magical thing.
Take your loved one on a journey through your time together by putting a collection of both your favourite tracks onto a CD.
In the car, doing the cleaning, even post-argument: whenever they play it they'll be reminded of you and all the unforgettable times you've had together - smiles guaranteed.
6. Set-up a classic, candlelit bath
Baths are a rarity for most of us these days. Encourage your partner to take a bit of time out for themselves by running the bath, lighting some candles and pouring some bubbles ready for their return from work.
You'll be surprised at what an impact this small act of kindness has on their day. If you want to make it extra special, check out Collette's ideas on how to have the best bath ever.
7. Post a poem
Gestures don't get more romantic than this! You may not be a published poet, but take the time to capture your feelings on paper and you may be surprised with what you come up with.
For extra impact, post it to your loved one's place of work or to home. That way they'll be taken by surprise when they see your script fall out of the envelope.
Love notes are unique these days, but never cease to be romantic. Your partner is sure to appreciate the time spent more than any over-priced teddy bear.
8. Try a simple treasure hunt with a Valentine's vibe
Does your partner know you better than anyone? Time to put that to the test with this fun Valentine's Day treasure hunt.
Lay clues that involve things about your relationship around the house, such as:
- My favourite CD that you really can't stand!
- The book I bought you for Christmas last year.
- You always moan at me for not cleaning this...
It's a fun, unique and touching way to celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved one. For the treasure? Check out our cheap Valentine's gift ideas.
9. Stay simple this Valentine's Day with a mushy movie night
Busy week? If you're out the door so fast in the morning you barely get time for a kiss on the cheek, then a sofa-night could be just what you need.
It may not sound very special, but the simple things in life are often the best. Get a few of your loved one's absolute favourite films, get some snacks in, light a few candles, pile up the pillows, and spend a chilled and cosy night-in together, just the two of you.
10. Volunteer with your Valentine
Valentine's is all about spreading the love, right? Extend your kindness even further this year, by teaming up with your partner and doing good for those who need it.
Volunteering opportunities are always readily available in the local community.
Far from the excessive spending of the typical Valentine's Day, charity work is not only a great way to help out, but taking part in such a compassionate act as a pair will bring you closer together than ever.
11. Gift them with a scrapbook, stuffed full of memories
Old train tickets; birthday cards from 5 years ago; a crinkled, silly-face photo: these 'scraps' may not look like much, but put them all together and they'll become something pretty special.
Putting a scrapbook together of all the mementoes you've collected since seeing your partner is like creating a visual timeline of your relationship.
When it's completed, it'll bring back hundreds of memories, both big and small that are guaranteed to bring a smile (and maybe even a tear) to your loved one's face - success!
12. Play picnic, indoors this time
Summer picnics are a pretty standard thing, right? What isn't standard, however, is a cosy couple picnic by the fire, inside, on a cold February evening. How romantic!
How can I create a picnic inside you say? Easier than you might think: swap the waterproof blanket for a checked, wool number, the salads and sarnies for a cured meats and cheese platter, and the sunshine for candles and a glowing fire.
Lay everything out nicely, and surprise your loved one with the magical scene set up in the living room when they come home.
13. Stay in step with a dance class
Admit it: you've always wanted to waltz across the dance floor like they do in the movies.
Now's your chance: Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to try something new with your partner, and a dance class is an intimate and romantic way to do just that.
You can find 'couple's dance classes' pretty cheap in most towns and it's sure to be a fun evening. Even if you're both absolutely awful, it'll be worth it for the laughs!
14. Be moved by the music
Listening to live music is one of the best feelings in the world.
Be moved together this Valentine's Day by checking out a local gig, show or book a concert led by an artist you and your partner both adore.
Close your eyes, hold your nearest and dearest close, and enjoy being carried along by the sounds surrounding you for a while - bliss.
15. A simple, super scrummy, packed-lunch will make Valentine's extra special
You may not be able to see much of your partner until Valentine's evening, but you can brighten up their day nevertheless.
Prepare and pack a lovely lunch with a note attached for your partner and pop it by the door before you head off.
There's nothing better than lovingly prepared home-cooked food to eat on a lunch break, and it's sure to make your loved one's Valentine's Day a little more special than canteen food.
16. Watch in wonder as the sun rises
Valentine's on a weekday may take the edge off of proceedings a little, but don't let it get to you.
Find a spot in town with a knock-out view, and plan to go there with your partner before the sun rises on Valentine's morning.
Pack a blanket, a flask of coffee and some biccies, and go on a little early morning adventure to watch the world wake up.
17. Cook up a three-course meal to rival any restaurant
Think you have to pay over the odds to make Valentine's dinner special? Think again.
Open up your laptop, get on the internet and you'll find loads of foodie inspiration to make the perfect Valentine's dinner. Be you a novice in the kitchen or regular party cook, there's something for everyone.
Scared? Don't be. If it does all go wrong last minute, there's always Deliveroo. It's the thought that counts, right?
18. Reenact your first ever date
It probably feels like forever since you met your partner.
That powerful moment when you locked eyes for the first time; a childhood friendship that grew into something more; an internet date that ended up lasting a lifetime - however you met, it's worth celebrating.
Be it in a restaurant, push on a park swing or a music forum, surprise your loved one by taking things back to where it all began.
Check out our alternative Valentine's Day ideas for even more inspiration.
What's the best thing someone's ever organised for you on Valentine's Day? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!
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