12 Travel-Inspired DIY Date Night Ideas

As a weekend away is temporarily off the cards, we’re getting creative this Valentine’s Day. Takeout is not a cop-out with these globally inspired date night plans for frustrated travellers.

A little escapism is in order this Valentine's Day, and while Netflix and Deliveroo might once not have cut the mustard for the most commercialised day of the year...it's all we've got right now. Yet, with a little creativity, the romance of a weekend away can be conjured up at home. From retro LA drive-ins, Icelandic spas and mountain fondues, these travel-inspired date night ideas will jazz up lockdown love lives. Passport, not necessary.

Wine tastings, at-home karaoke and garden stargazing: Valentine's plans for the frustrated traveller

1. An Alpine affair

With ski season seemingly cancelled we're bringing chalet chic to your kitchen. Throw a red and white checkered tablecloth over the dining room table, add some candles and slap a fondue or raclette kit from Provisions London in the centre and voila! The kit comes with charcuterie, bread cubes and an epic cheese selection. Stream a crackling fire on Youtube from your TV and don your most garish ski suit for extra ambience.

2. Kick back at a Californian drive-in

We're thinking retro California vibes. Project a classic movie (ok, Grease will do) onto a white wall or hang a bedsheet to give you a bigger screen. Make some toffee popcorn in striped paper bags for extra effect and call up Bleecker Burger to deliver a DIY cheeseburger kit. For spin-the-bottle style cocktail inspiration, London-based start-up Cartesian Cards will steer you away from your usual G&T.

3. Living la dolce vita...in your living room

A whirlwind weekend in Italy: set the scene with a bespoke virtual walking tour around Venice, then make pasta together while listening to some vintage tunes. Helena Kyriakides runs excellent interactive pasta making classes from her kitchen in Bologna - she'll show you everything from simple hand-rolled pici to dainty stuffed tortellini. While your pasta is drying,it's time for an aperitivo. Treat your amore to a gourmet food box from this Florentine start-up, and take the time to lay out a beautiful tagliere (charcuterie board) of meats and cheeses. A few negronis down, and it won't matter that you're living la dolce vita in your own living room.

4. An Icelandic spa night for two

Plan an icelandic spa night inspired by The Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Slather on mud masks, light candles and project the northern lights onto your bedroom ceiling. Fancy going all out? Take inspiration from ice caving in Lofthellir and give carving your own ice sculpture a go. Be warned, it's pretty tricky.

5. Bring Bordeaux to you

Call your partner's bluff by hosting your very own blind tasting at home: can they taste the difference between a £4.99 supermarket Syrah and a vintage Châteauneuf-du-Pape? If you both fancy yourselves as oenophiles, splash out on a sommelier-led tasting with Berry Bros. The French Bistro in Soho will deliver smoked mackerel rillettes, beef cheek bordelaise with pommes macaire, and prunes in coffee and armagnac.

6. Stargazing in the Outback

Forget that it's February, probably snowing and bloody freezing with an Aussie-style al fresco barbecue. Scurry outside and pretend to know where Orion's belt is, while tuning in to Club Vivanova's virtual "Cool Climate Australian Wine" events on Zoom. They'll taste-talk you through boutique wines from Western Australia and Victoria.

7. Transport yourselves to Tokyo

Start with a virtual tour of Tokyo, then get stuck in making sushi together (or cheat by ordering it from Hot Stone). Post-dinner, it's time to visit the karaoke bar. Sound-proof your living room, add some flashing lights and hire a karaoke machine, or sing along to Youtube with a hairbrush. At least you won't be boo-ed off stage here.

8. A Peruvian party

Call in a Valentine's delivery from COYA to provide a Peruvian party. Complete with a playlist, ready-to-serve coconut, agave and vodka cocktails, and an elaborate sharing menu of Tostada de Atun, lobster carapulcra, wagyu rib-eye and plenty more. Grab an old-school paper map and plan your next trip. A few homemade pisco sours down, and you'll have booked a flight for 2022.

9. Midnight in Paris

Sure, Paris is usually a bit cliché for Valentine's but this year we're making an exception. Rustle up fresh croissants and chocolat chaud on Valentine's morning, followed by a virtual tour of the Musee D'Orsay. In the evening, dim the lights and indulge in Moulin Rouge-esque absinthe cocktails and a dozen oysters from the London Shell Co, while streaming the accordion on Spotify. Naww.

10. A corner of Tel Aviv

Take inspiration from the Israli capital by laying out large cushions on the floor and having an elaborate meze for two. Bubala do excellent delivery kits inspired by the bustling cafes of Tel Aviv, with a mixed vegetarian meze arriving ready to heat and serve. If you prefer DIY, Ottolenghi's online pantry should seal the deal.

11. Escape to the British countryside

Capture the spirit of a weekend away to an English countryside with long hearty walks, afternoon tea from Browns in Mayfair, and a spot of foraging in your nearby park. Inspired by Bridgerton and our renewed love for stately homes, historic English hospitality company Searcys (who have a restaurant in Blenheim Palace) suggest going all out for breakfast in bed, with a silver tray, a pot of tea, a selection of pastries and the Sunday papers (or a copy of SUITCASE's Vol 32: Homegrown).

12. A flatmate friendtine's date

Last but not least, if your Valentine's companion happens to be your long-suffering flatmate(s), channel 90's American houseparty vibes with a games and scary movie night. Order pizza, sticky chicken wings and make a giant bowl of nachos with (squeezy) cheese and guacamole. For dessert? We're treating our friendtine's to a rum-infused cupcake kit from Primrose Bakery.

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