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3 alternative things to do in Manchester this February

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Celebrate the centuries with some different entertainment in the city.

Tired of conventional ‘couples’ activities? Here are three very different activities on this February in Manchester, great to take your date – but equally good on your own!

Starting at the 19th Century – Visit the historic The Portico Library and Victoria Baths

For a free trip into the grandeur of Victorian Manchester, visit the Portico Library on Mosley Street – very close to Manchester Art Gallery and just a short walk from Piccadilly Gardens. It is a subscription library built at the height of civic pride between 1802 and 1806, and contains a beautifully domed reading room in the Greek Revival style. Although you need to pay to be a member, you can visit for free and refreshments are also served during the day, for a beautifully old-fashioned experience ideal for couples. For a romantically retro cinema experience in a listed building, you can watch film screenings inside Victoria Baths for a Valentine treat as a cinema takes over the space from 10th to 11th February, screening favourites such as ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and Disney classic ‘Beauty and The Beast’. This is the truly unique opportunity to watch films inside Manchester’s grade II listed bath-house, courtesy of The Village Screen, complete with quality street food traders, retro deckchairs and plenty of style.

The 20th century rocks – Rock n roll bingo

For a romantic experience which is ‘rocky’ in all the right ways, why not try ‘Rock n Roll’ Bingo at Manchester’s traditional boozer The Lass O’Gowrie, just off Oxford Road. It’s ideally close to the university, and puts on a bingo which is far from boring, thanks to host Giles Daniel Bastow. On alternate Wednesdays from 8pm, it’s the chance to chill out, listen to some classic tunes and enjoy up to five games of bingo which are far from conventional. It gets faster and much more furious as time goes on. Remember, ‘The Lass’ has a famous Manchester reputation for its historic name inspired by the poem by Scottish poet Lady Carolina Nairne, real ale and upstairs theatre space. It’s also the chance to win cash prices, sweets and even alcohol! The next bingo is on the 15th February, so an ideal after-Valentine’s treat.

Truly 21st Century – Check out Virtual Reality at Castlefield Gallery

Enjoy a futuristic art experience up until the 12th February (so be sure to go before Valentine’s Day!), in the first Launch Pad of 2017 from Castlefield Gallery (right near Deansgate-Castlefield tram station): ‘Stick or Twist’. This provides artists with the opportunity to use the gallery as a ‘testing ground’ so to speak, and this is one of the most exciting so far – as an original selection of works will be in the closed gallery, alongside 360° videos viewable with Virtual Reality headsets which show the curators’ original vision of the artwork compared to how it actually turned out! Witness virtual reality adding a whole new dimension: Art on display includes alter egos, bronze models and even a girl dressed as a frog – some inventive installations thanks to 9 contemporary artists from across the UK. This is a unique way of viewing new visual art and a fun experience, great for couples and an interactive way to engage with a gallery.

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