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The Candlelit Dinner

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Variety is the Spice of Life

A candlelit dinner at home or at a restaurant is probably the first thing to spring to mind when you think of romance, but there are plenty of other options, depending on exactly what you're after.

Keeping it simple means you can enjoy a romantic event almost anytime.

A romantic twist can easily be added to an evening out.

If money is (almost) no object, here's a few suggestions!

Or you could go for something completely different.

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Keep it Simple

If you're stuck at home with no babysitter, or just fancy a quiet night in, why not buy or hire a romantic video to watch with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates? Turn the lights down low and enjoy the romance.

Here are a few suggestions:

the first film you saw together at the cinema;

Romeo and Juliet - this one stars Leonardo de Caprio and Claire Danes in an unconventional adaptation of Shakespeare. Alternatively, put 'Romeo and Juliet' in the search box on the right to get other versions of the play, the ballet, etc.

Casablanca is the definitive 'love will conquer all' romantic masterpiece, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. A guaranteed winner for a romantic film experience.

 

Westside Story - This 1961 version of the Stephen Sondheim-Leonard Bernstein musical won ten Oscars. A classic translation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, it includes such famous numbers as "Maria", "Tonight", "Something's Coming" and "I Like To Be In America".

Gone with the Wind - Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable take centre stage in this epic tale of plantation life during the American Civil War. This is probably the classic love story of all time.

Sleepless in Seattle is a more light-hearted tale. The story uses the romantic notion that if two people are made for each other, destiny will draw them together ... eventually. A Christmas-based tale, so perhaps not one for the summer...

The Bodyguard - Famous celebrity falls for hunky bodyguard, with some great music (including "I WIll Always Love You" and "I Have Nothing"). The Bodyguard has it all: suspense, thrills, romance, peril, passion. Not forgetting Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

Or if they are all too sentimental for you, don the DJ/evening gown, mix the martinis and watch a Bond film - how about From Russia with Love or The Spy Who Loved Me?

Romeo and JulietCasablancaGone With the Wind West Side Story From Russia With Love The Spy Who Loved Me Sleepless in SeattleThe Bodyguard

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Be Entertained

Around Valentine's Day there are plenty of opportunities for going out as a couple. Local restaurants and hotels lay on all manner of events - check your local press to see what's on.

How about theatre tickets? Romeo and Juliet is the classic example (and if you can see it at the RSC Stratford during a romantic weekend away, then all the better!), but there are plenty of other plays and shows with a romantic twist.

Alternatively, bring back all those memories by going to the cinema. You're sure to find a romantic film on, especially around Valentine's Day. A bit of research might turn up a local cinema that still has the couples' seating at the back. If you know of one, let me know, and I'll start a directory on the site.

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Money No Object

If money is no object, there are a huge number of experiences available which are perfect for the romantic. I've tried to stick with the realistic - not many of us can afford a weekend in Hawaii, but hey, why not look at travel agents' last-minute deals anyway?

A champagne balloon flight is a marvellous experience (though not for those with a fear of heights!). The winter is in many ways the best time for this, as you can fly during the day, whereas in summer flights are either very early in the morning or late in the evening. Offset that against the temperature (but of course you won't feel much wind, as you're moving with it). And to end with champagne, well...

Alternatively, how about lunch on the Orient Express for the ultimate in indulgent luxury and style? Or a weekend in Paris, the perfect romantic destination, especially in the Spring?

Many hotels offer weekend Champagne breaks, or at the very least champagne and flowers in your room for an extra charge. Why not pick a room with a four-poster bed?

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Something Different

If candlelit dinners, films, theatres and weekends away aren't original enough, here are some other ideas:

  • walk along the beach - even in winter this can be romantic, especially on a west coast when the sun is setting.
  • boat trip - on a river, canal or the sea, either hire a boat for an hour or take a guided trip somewhere.
  • the London Eye - fantastic views over London, and nothing to do but admire them for half an hour or so. If you met in London, can you see the place?
  • breakfast picnic - why not get up early and go and watch the sun rise?
  • fair or theme park - remember the waltzer? The Tunnel of Love? Go on, have a go!
  • wildlife park or zoo - make sure they have your partner's favourite animal there.
  • museum or art gallery - have a gentle stroll around, just enjoying each other's company in the quiet atmosphere, then share a pudding in the shop.
  • go racing (horse or dogs!) - you have the full range to choose from, dog track on a Thursday to Royal Ascot!

The most important thing is that you spend quality time together, having fun!

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