Valentine’s Day should be a time of love and happiness; a reason to express your affection to one another. But for some it can feel more like a commercial stress than a sharing of tenderness.

Whilst an upmarket date or an extravagant gift has its merits, there are equally amazing ways to spend Valentine’s Day without splashing too much cash. Here are some great affordable options in Leeds.

Visit Leeds museums and galleries

There is an abundance of amazing culture in Leeds that can be experienced for free. At two of the city’s major museums and galleries, couples can spend hours exploring the floors of exhibitions. Leeds City Museum has incredible informative displays, covering history, science, animals and more. They are often fun and interactive, which also makes it an ideal Valentine’s visit for couples with children. And Leeds Art Gallery has an impressive permanent collection of 20th century artwork as well as regularly changing showcases of modern artists. A no-brainer of a date for art-loving lovers.

Great value meals out

Leeds is blessed with a food scene that caters for all tastes and budgets. So, there are plenty of places you can go for a romantic meal of your favourite cuisine without breaking the bank. Amongst those providing something special and affordable for your Valentine are Indian street food and craft beer hero Bundobust, Neapolitan pizza masters Pizza Fella, Bangkok market dining at Zaap Thai, and daytime local treats at OWT. All prove that the way to the heart is through the belly.

Get creative

Get those juices flowing by trying a new activity together this Valentine’s Day. Leeds has many creative and generous people who are sharing their skills at courses and classes, for one-off fun or to seriously learn. Fabrication is a hub for such things, with craft workshops including jewellery making, perfect for a handmade Valentine’s gift. And we’ve all seen that scene in Ghost to know that the most erotic activity is, somehow, pottery. Sunken Studio can’t promise that, but with their expert pottery classes, they will certainly show you a good time.

Go listen to live music

There is live music to be found in Leeds every night, and it doesn’t stop for Valentine’s Day. At independent venues are an array of shows which cost a minimal amount to go to. So, take your Valentine partner dancing, or at least listening, at great gig places like Brudenell Social Club and Belgrave Music Hall. Or for some sultry jazz vibes, head down to The Domino Club. If music be the food of love, play on.

Romantic walk around Leeds landmarks

A romantic walk is the classic. Depicted in movies, art, literature and life, a couple strolling hand in hand, wrapped up together, is an evocative sign of timeless romance. Do this in Leeds at some of the cities scenic sites: there’s the glorious expanse of Roundhay Park, where you can also take in the unique animals and plants at Tropical World; the handsome grounds of Harewood House, where you can also tour the elegant country house; and the acres of land at Temple Newsam, where you can also explore the magnificent historic estate. It’s the way to walk together through life.

Play games in Leeds bars

For a lively and entertaining Valentine’s date, Leeds has a selection of bars with a playful twist. Rather than drinking your cocktails seated and still, you can enjoy them during some fun activities. At Junkyard Golf Club, your date will be a hole in one; at Flight Club, it will hit the bullseye; and at Roxy Ball Room, you’ll strike it lucky. Because, after all, a couple that play together, stay together.

Images: Junkyard Golf Club, Leeds Art Gallery, Zaap Thai, Harewood House