Be prepared. As mottos go, it is a wise one to follow, if perhaps a little boring. Whilst it’s all very well planning every detail of upcoming life events, occasionally a little spontaneity goes a long way.
Nowhere is this more true than in the mysterious land of love, where it may be the thought that counts, but it is also the predictability that kills. So, with Valentine’s Day on its way, those that haven’t advance-booked a romantic getaway or pre-planned a lavish surprise needn’t fret. We believe you haven’t simply forgotten, and instead are bravely stepping into the unknown to keep the love alive.
In Leeds, there are plenty of late Valentine’s offerings to lend a hand in your last-minute quest. From thoughtful gifts and personal presents to new experiences and time together, this blog hopes to help you on your way with a look at some of the city’s unique Valentine’s options still available.
Despite the thrill of thinking outside of the commercial box, the holy trinity of romance remains universally loved for good reason. It’s hard to go wrong with flowers, chocolate and fizz, and even latecomers needn’t ruin it with petrol station pick-ups that cannot be disguised. Instead, there are some Leeds independents providing these special gifts with minimal fuss and maximum impact.
It is possible to swerve the order deadlines and hiked prices of popular national flower companies by checking out stunning local florists such as The Perfumed Garden in Chapel Allerton, Daisy Chain in Roundhay, or Alan Brown Flowers at Kirkgate Market. Each is a wonderful visit for the senses, and between them happy to deliver the rose or bouquet of your dreams, leaving no excuses for the late Valentine shopper.
There’s nothing like a bottle of champers to get the party for two going, in which case a quick trip to Latitude in the city centre will do the trick. Amongst over a thousand wines are a range of champagnes chosen by the knowledgeable guys who run this place and who will gladly help you leave with your best bouteille d’amour.
For sweet treats, Leeds has a modern selection that would make the Milk Tray man blush. No longer are supermarket staples the only choice, as local bakers and chocolatiers provide sweet alternatives. Lauden Chocolate are a duo who have been making fine collections in Kirkstall for over a decade; from intense truffles to passion fruit, these are made for melting hearts. Ethical lovers will surely appreciate the effort of a Valentine’s treat from That Old Chestnut, an exclusively vegan bakery with irresistible cakes for special occasions, or Sift in Otley, a great coffee shop which also bakes beautiful celebration cakes to order, including gluten-free. And for truly late gifters, Porterhouse Cake Co. can help you gain forgiveness for forgetfulness through their pretty patisseries at their day-after pop-up.
n recent years, it has become increasingly popular to gift experiences rather than physical presents. This is a thoughtful way of giving something personal which can feel more special. How about learning a new skill together, like pottery classes at Sunken Studios? Or, on the same subject, paint your partner a gift at Honey Pottery? Whatever your joint interests, be it dancing at The Dance Studio, cooking at Leeds Cookery School, or anything your heart desires, there are an array of adventures waiting to be peaked by a clever Valentine’s buy.
Finally, for those wanting to make a memorable gesture, Leeds has jewellery shops to suit all budgets. Berry’s is the one for that giant statement of love, whether popping the question or just feeling generous. Simcha Gallery in the Corn Exchange make handcrafted alternative designs for that really unique piece. And Aladdin’s Cave is a family run Leeds institution where you can find that vintage stunner within a minute’s rummage.
Whatever and whenever you choose to display your affection for your Valentine, remember the rhyme: roses are red / this poem heeds / it’s never too late / for love in Leeds.