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As a student, striking the balance between romance and affordability is often a bit of a struggle. Funds are certainly not ample enough to whisk your partner off for a Parisian weekend break, but equally, it’d be nice to indulge in something slightly more romantic than Netflix and Tesco ready meals. As a result, dating seems to be a thing that people just don’t really bother with anymore. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seems like due time to bin casual hookups and relaxed “seeing each other” to revive the age-old tradition of enduring painstakingly awkward encounters with someone you fancy in a completley unnatural and contrived setting. It doesn’t even have to be that much more expensive – SCAN is here to show you how you can have triple the awkwardness at about the same cost!
Get Active – ££
If you’re determined to make 2015 the year that dating ceases to centre around meal times and movies, the answer is definitely to get a bit more active. The climbing wall on campus is a solid venue for a date that’s a little bit different. If you’re courting someone you’ve not known for very long, it’ll act as a brilliant ice breaker and, in the event that you’re courting a male, those harnesses present the perfect opportunity to size up what he may (or may not) be packing. Equally, if your relationship is no longer in the fledgling stages, it’s always nice to try new things and potentially discover a new shared hobby.
Shit Card Contest – £
For the aggressively unromantic or terrifyingly poor among us, even the thought of a bus journey and a pot of tea can be a little much. In the event that you’re perfectly happy with your low-key relationship style and are simply in search of an equally low-key gift exchange, I have three words for you: shit card contest. The rules are simple: whoever can find the cheapest, tackiest and most crude Valentine’s Day card is the victor and will win a prize of your choosing. It definitely spares the terror of frantically searching Clintons for a card that accurately expresses the “I really like you but I’m totally not ready to say I love you and I can’t give you a smutty card with a straight face” sentiment.
Cocktails – ££
With the hitched-up Valentine’s Day prices in mind, often heading out for a whole meal can be a bit of a stretch. Instead, how about just dressing up a bit and going for drinks? There are tonnes of appropriate venues across Lancaster to go for a sophisticated beverage. In an attempt to feign classiness, The Study Rooms is always a solid option, offering an array of fancy-seeming beverage with a handy 2-4-1 offer throughout the week. If you have a little more cash to blow, Oscars or Revolution are also both good options, each with their own offers on various nights of the week. In the event that you have no interest in being fancy and are just excited to get out of the house in the company of another human that may or may not allow you to have sex with them, you could always plump for Spoons or the Pendle Witch.
Williamson Park – £
The idea of venturing out into the cold, bleak Lancaster winter might make you squirm, but even in February, Williamson Park can be really lovely. Rather conveniently, the story of the Ashton Memorial is actually vaguely romantic; Baron Ashton built it in memory of his late-wife Jessie, who died in 1904. Feel free to regale your loved one with tales of his undying love while gazing into their eyes at the top of the monument – maybe leave out the fact that he was remarried 5 years later, though. If the nice walk and fancy architecture aren’t enough to tempt you out of the house, at least take solace in the fact that there’s a really cute café next to the memorial where you could warm yourself with a pot of tea.
Day Trip – £££
Lancaster is actually remarkably well placed for a nice day out, if you are so inclined. Train tickets to Manchester will set you back less than £20 and takes about an hour. There’s plenty in the city to do for free, so you could easily keep the day as a surprisingly small expenditure – hopping between museums and galleries is a cultural way to do something nice without having to sell a kidney. Equally, the 555 from the Bus Station will take you up into the Lake District where you could enjoy a nice walk and a bit of sightseeing. The pencil museum in Keswick is a sight to behold for anyone with a passionate interest in the history of stationary. The main benefit of leaving Lancaster for a date is obvious: you can interact with them without a 90% chance of someone you know wandering past and giggling at you, or worse, forcing you to make a snap relationship definition. “This is my… uuuh… friend” will never win you any Valentine’s points.