These Durham Valentine's Day ideas might dig you out of a hole if you're struggling to think of an idea. After all, whether you love it or hate it, in a relationship or single: when you walk through the city or the rest of the county there'll be no escaping the usual sights of February 14.

From restaurants packed with loving couples, to shops filled with red heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and cards printed with pictures of teddy bears being nauseatingly affectionate, Durham won't escape this national day.

Are you looking for somewhere to take a prospective date, hoping to keep on your other half's good side by planning a nice day out, or simply looking for somewhere to go to avoid it all? We've looked through what's on and got some simple Durham Valentine's Day ideas to give you a head start for planning a relaxing day. For specific meal deals, you can also check out our story on Durham Valentine's Day meal offers.

Things going well? Then check out our guide to Durham places to propose

Durham Valentine's Day idea #1: Riverside walk and a meal at 9 Altars Cafe

For an easy, peaceful stroll through some beautiful scenery, without having to go a great distance from Durham city centre, a Durham riverside walk is hard to beat.

The path could be muddy in places after rain, so it's probably best to put on some walking shoes rather than your best dress or finest suit.

Meet your date in Durham Market Place, then walk down Silver Street to Framwellgate Bridge. Just before you reach the bridge, steps down to your left will take you on to the Durham riverside path. As you go down the stairs you'll pass 9 Altars Cafe on your left, which is where you'll head to afterwards.

Choose the right hand fork (downhill to the river rather than up to Palace Green), and follow the path as it takes you on the inside of the Durham peninsula bend. Most of this section is tarmac.

On the way you'll pass the University College boathouse and the attractive Prebends Bridge. Depending on how far you want to go, the Kingsgate Bridge (the tall thin concrete footbridge that links the Durham University Student Union building with Bow Lane) offers your first opportunity to circle back. Walk up the slope just before you get to the bridge and there's a path that takes you up on to the bridge. Alternatively, you can carry on to Elvet Bridge, New Elvet Bridge or even as far as the bridge near the Durham University boatclub at Maiden Castle if you find yourselves getting on well.

The route back is fairly self-explanatory, so you're more likely to get lost in each other's eyes than on the path. If you've gone to Elvet Bridge or beyond, the only part you'll need to keep an eye out for is when you have to leave the path and walk up New Elvet. When the road divides, take the right hand road (Church Street) and when you reach St Oswalds Church on your right, go into the grounds and you can rejoin the riverside path there.

Once you get back to Framwellgate Bridge, cross over and head down to 9 Altars, perhaps for an afternoon tea.

Durham Valentine's Day idea #2: Be the first to see Durham Cathedral Open Treasure's new exhibition - then refreshments at the Undercroft Restaurant

If you haven't visited Durham Cathedral Open Treasure, then it's well worth a wander. It occupies the former Monks' Dormitory, which has been restored to a high standard with plush wooden and brass display stands. It is an opportunity for Durham Cathedral to display some of its treasures previously in storage, and the first part of Open Treasure shows off some grave markers and uses them to tell the story of early Christianity. From here, a nifty airlock-style double door takes you through to the temporary exhibition. The new exhibition - Feasting and Fasting: The Great Kitchen at Durham Cathedral - tells the story of food at Durham Cathedral. It only starts on February 11, so you'll be among the first visitors to see it.

The next part of Durham Cathedral Open Treasure is amazing: the Treasures of St Cuthbert. From his pectoral cross to the original 7th Century wooden coffin, the exhibits are mind-blowing.

As you leave Open Treasure into the cloisters, walk around to the Undercroft Cafe for coffee and cake. Durham Cathedral Open Treasure tickets are £7.50 for adults, or £15 for an annual pass.

Durham Valentine's Day idea #3: A Doll's House at the Gala, and fish and chips at Bells

Okay, the plot of a married couple having to face secrets from their past isn't exactly the perfect theme for Valentine's Day, but one of the most successful plays of all time must surely make the grade as a suitably impressive Durham Valentine's Day activity.

Henrik Ibsen's classic play is being performed on February 14 itself - but other romantic couples have got there before you and it's sold out. However, there are tickets available for the next performance on Friday February 15.

How about combining it with fish and chips at Bells in the Durham Market Square, either with a sit down meal beforehand or a romantically shared bag of chips after; Bells takeaway is open until midnight on Fridays.

Durham Valentine's Day idea #4: Stargazing in County Durham and food at the Duke of York

What could be more romantic than gazing at the stars together? While our neighbouring county Northumberland has Kielder as a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park, County Durham has more nationally recognised Dark Sky Discovery Sites than any other part of the UK. You don't even need to travel too far to get there; if you live in Durham city, then in an hour and a quarter you can get down to the Hamsterley Forest dark sky site, with the hope of seeing the Milky Way or even a shooting star or two.

If you travel via Crook, then you could drop into the Duke of York on the A68, which is rated 4.5 stars out of 5 on tripadvisor.

Durham Valentine's Day idea #5: Skating at Beamish Hall ice rink then a meal at the Stables restaurant

Another classic romantic activity - gliding across the ice with your beloved. During the week of Valentine's Day, the Beamish Hall ice rink is only open at the weekends, so how about buying a skating session for Saturday February 16, with at least 20 minutes on the ice? Then when you've worked up an appetite with graceful gliding - or your ego is as bruised as your backside - head over to nearby Beamish Hall for some food at the Stables restaurant, which is guaranteed to impress your date. The beers brewed at their own microbrewery are nice to try too.

Beamish Hall skating rink costs £5 including skate hire. You can buy your tickets from the Fairground and they go on sale at 10am each day on a first come first served basis.

Durham Valentine's Day idea #6: Breakfast at Tiffany's then dinner at Valentine's Restaurant

We're on fire with our classic Valentine's Day activity ideas. How about going to see the 1960s iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany's? This romantic comedy is on at the Witham in Barnard Castle, on February 14 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5.

Then afterwards, what about a meal at the aptly named Valentine's Restaurant in Barnard Castle? It's got 4.5 stars out of 5 on tripadvisor. If you fancy something a bit hotter, then the Bengal Merchant has got the same rating.