Photo: The Jungleni

Alternative Valentine’s Day Dates

Ever taken a romantic ghost tour of St Andrews?

Most people would claim that exam season is the most stressful time of the year. I’d argue, however, that this is actually Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re happily single, in a long-term relationship, or planning a first date, there’s an undeniable societal pressure to happily embrace your singleness, buy the best present, or plan the perfect date. Here at The Stand, we’ve made your life easier by finding the best date ideas, which we think are marginally more interesting than dinner and a movie.

EDEN MILL

If you don’t love Eden Mill gin, do you really live in St Andrews? The distillery runs tours and tasting sessions for just £10 per person, and they still have spaces left on Valentine’s Day. Students and alcohol go hand in hand, but if gin isn’t your thing, they also sell whiskey and beer. So there should be something for everyone!

THE BOTANIC GARDENS

Yes, it’s February. Yes, it’s still freezing outside. However, if sitting in a crowded restaurant, or following the crowds of couples taking a clichéd walk along the beach doesn’t appeal to you this Valentine’s Day, the Botanic Gardens could be a good alternative. Entrance is £5, making it ideal for those on a tighter budget, and you can warm yourself up with a hot drink when you’re done.

Photo: Small + Friendly

ST ANDREWS GHOST TOURS

Halloween may have been 3 months ago, but for those of you looking to get your fix of scary, taking a ghost tour could be a unique way to see a different side of St Andrews, and makes for an interesting and memorable first (or fiftieth) date. Bookings can be made online or at Visit Scotland on Market Street. Added bonus is the inclusion of a “meal deal” which gets you 20% off a pre or post tour meal at various restaurants, including Forgan’s, The Criterion, and The Doll’s House.

THE AQUARIUM

I personally don’t know anyone who doesn’t love aquariums. There’s something oddly calming and therapeutic about watching the silent, hypnotic swimming of fish who remain indifferent to your presence. The St Andrews aquarium is the sort of thing that every student plans on visiting, but never quite manages. So why not bite the bullet and go for Valentine’s Day? It’s relatively affordable, with student tickets at £9 each, but if you’re willing to splash the cash a little more, you can buy penguin, seal, or meerkat feeding experiences for £37.50 – that’s £54.00 for two people. I’m not quite sure how meerkats qualify as marine animals, but it’s likely to be a good day out.

THE SHOOTING RANGE

Ask yourself, is there anything more quintessentially St Andrean than going to a clay pigeon shooting range on a date? The Scottish Clay Shooting Centre is only 10 minutes away, with a standard lesson costing £47 for an hour. Perfect for couples aiming to give each other the gift of becoming a cliché this Valentine’s Day, but likely to be quite good fun.

Photo: Your Experience Days

LEAVE ST ANDREWS

Realistically, everyone who lives in St. Andrews has done everything there is to do here. Why not make a day trip of it and get out of Fife, to do something a little more interesting this Valentine’s Day? Trains to Edinburgh cost as little as £7.80. The experience will give you the chance to get to know each other without bumping into at least seven people you drunkenly befriended at the Vic.

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