Whether or not you typically do something for Valentine’s Day, it’s always nice to have plenty of options! And in the sprawling city of London, there’s certainly no shortage of them – it just comes down to selecting the right Valentine’s Day activity for you and your date. This February, we’ve played Cupid by putting […]
Whether or not you typically do something for Valentine’s Day, it’s always nice to have plenty of options! And in the sprawling city of London, there’s certainly no shortage of them – it just comes down to selecting the right Valentine’s Day activity for you and your date.
This February, we’ve played Cupid by putting together 10 of the most unique, romantic ideas for your Valentine’s Day in London. These range from some fairly low-key dates to others that require a bit more planning. No matter which one you choose this year, you’re sure to have a great time!
1. Get moving together at Swingers Crazy Golf
Forget awkward silences in stuffy, overpriced restaurants and head to Swingers, the crazy golf club! Here, you can get to know your date a little better by mixing fun competition with romance on Valentine’s Day. Swingers City provides a charming escape to the 1920s British countryside without any need for a car (or a time machine), while Swingers West End is your ticket to a quintessential British seaside setting, in the heart of London.
Whichever location you visit, you and your date will have an amazing time on the courses – plus, crazy golf makes it easy to scoot up behind your date and “assist” with their swing while stealing a kiss! After breaking down those barriers with a fun round of crazy golf, you can raise a glass to love and sip on Swingers’ signature Valentine’s cocktail, The New Romantic (pictured above): a sweet blend of Chase Rhubarb and Bramley Apple Gin, Grand Marnier, strawberry puree, lemon and grenadine, with a frothy egg-white finish.
If food is your love language, grab a bite from one of the epic street food vendors in each venue, including Patty&Bun, Breddos Tacos and Pizza Pilgrims. From 11th-14th February, you’ll find not only the usual favourites, but also heart-shaped pizzas from Pizza Pilgrims (at Swingers City) and irresistible desserts from Crosstown Doughnuts. Their Valentine’s doughnut flavours include chocolate and passion fruit, lychee and rose, and strawberry liqueur doughnuts with Baileys. Clearly, everyone can have their heart’s desire at Swingers this February… which is exactly what Valentine’s Day is for!
2. Enjoy a bountiful botanical brunch at 14 Hills
Or if you’re not big on Valentine’s Day dinner, why not sample a Valentine’s Day brunch? This could release you from the cutthroat competition of evening reservations, and London is packed with fabulous brunch spots – including the aptly named 14 Hills, which will make you feel immersed in nature even as you’re being served tartare on fine china. The breathtaking restaurant is filled with greenery (potted plants, hanging vines, even a full-sized tree), as well as petal-like lighting fixtures and of course, excellent food. Make sure to book at the weekend for brunch! From flavourful eggs forestiere to rich pear-and-mascarpone French toast, this is one Valentine’s Day you won’t want to miss.
3. Take a tasty chocolate-making workshop with Melange
Fancy chocolates are standard Valentine’s Day fare, but for a fun twist on eating them out of the box, you and your partner could try making them yourselves! South London’s Chocolate Museum and Melange Chocolate Shop (both founded by chocolate expert Isabelle Alaya) have combined to create a tasty truffle-making workshop, hosted each Saturday at the Chocolate Museum. In this 2.5-hour class taught by professional chocolatiers, you’ll learn the ins and outs of chocolate making, from flavours to decoration to tempering – the delicate process by which chocolate is heated and cooled to gain the perfect texture. If you’re in the mood for a delicious and enlightening Valentine’s afternoon, you can’t do better than this class.
4. Buy each other bouquets at Columbia Road Flower Market
Another Valentine’s Day mainstay, flowers can also turn into a memorable day out together if you know where to go! There are a number of flower markets in London, but Columbia Road Flower Market is the peak. Even if you don’t take any flowers home, the market is ideal for dreamy browsing and Instagram snaps. There are also plenty of shops and eateries surrounding the street; if you tire of smelling the roses, stop by Lily Vanilli Bakery or Mason and Painter Gallery for even more sensory treats.
5. Visit species that mate for life at the London Zoo
We’ve covered flora – now onto fauna. Yet another cute, creative Valentine’s Day date could be a visit to the London Zoo, where you can admire animals from all around the world! This expansive zoo is a gem of Regent’s Park, holding everything from the Butterfly Paradise tent to the “Land of the Lions” enclosure to the Komodo Dragon House.If you wanted to get a little mushy with it, you could create a scavenger hunt just for animals that mate for life: penguins, beavers, gibbons, swans, and more! (Not lobsters, sadly, contrary to what Phoebe says on Friends.) At the end of your journey, drop by the gift shop for plushie reminders of your favourite animal friends.
6. Sample the lavish lifestyle at Harrods
Or if you and your date are more indoorsy than outdoorsy, we’ve got a plan for you, too: an elegant afternoon spent browsing Harrods. From fine fashion and jewellery to some of the highest-quality home goods in London, Harrods has everything you need to imagine (and start building!) a more luxurious life. For those looking to cultivate their Instagram grids, be sure to check out any new in-store pop-ups. Small bites and bubbles at the Moët & Chandon Champagne Bar will be a delightful way to cap off your Valentine’s Day, and you can float on a Dior-scented cloud all the way home.
7. Page through romances on London’s Floating Bookbarge
Less opulent but equally novel (no pun intended) could be a date on London’s one-and-only book barge, Word on the Water. This floating bookshop offers an enchanting escape without any need to set sail! And so, rather than actually circumventing the globe, you and your Valentine can lose yourselves in the many fictional and historical worlds found on the barge. With shelves of suggested titles out front and countless treasures inside, there’s enough to keep you reading for hours before continuing on a leisurely stroll down Regent’s Canal. Whether you leaf through a romance is up to you – but for an undeniably swoony time, don’t miss live music on the deck.
8. Take in a dramatic West End Show
Then again, perhaps you prefer your stories not read so much as experienced.Luckily, if you’re having Valentine’s Day in London, there’s no shortage of incredible West End shows! Choose a lesser-known play for a more intimate evening, or go all-out with a musical like Les Misérables or Phantom of the Opera. Have cocktails at one of the many bars in Soho beforehand to make a proper evening of it. And remember, whether you pick a one-woman show or an epic ensemble production, you’ll have a great time discussing it with your date for days to come! If you both find the theatre to be an exciting treat, your West End Valentine’s Day could even become an annual tradition.
9. Escape the urban jungle at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is always a great date spot, but especially around Valentine’s Day: Kew often has themed events or festivals happening during February, and the grounds are large enough that it never feels overcrowded with couples. This year, you and your partner can enjoy Kew’s Orchid Festival featuring stunning yellow and purple flowers native to Cameroon, as well as horticultural sculptures highlighting even more of the country’s natural beauty. Between the Orchid Festival and the dozens of glasshouses (36, to be exact) full of exotic plants and kaleidoscopic blooms, you could easily spend your entire Valentine’s Day at Kew. If you’re a couple of botany nerds, we definitely think you should!
10. Cap things off with cocktails at Bloomsbury Club
We’ll finish strong – in terms of spirits, that is – with a swanky cocktail bar in London, perfect for happy hours and nightcaps alike. The Bloomsbury Club Bar is open from 5pm to 1am, Tuesday through Saturday, and you won’t find a nicer watering hole in London (though these Shoreditch Bars might give give ’em a run for their money).
The Bloomsbury cocktails will make you and your date feel like royalty – especially elaborate specials like the Golden Dawn, a tarot card-themed concoction of Rémy Martin 1738 cognac, Raspberry Eau de Vie and bitters. Even the bar’s “classic” drinks are subtle masterpieces: a French martini with real pineapple, a margarita with agave syrup for extra kick. Whatever you order, you’ll have a glorious Valentine’s Day here – especially if you and your date share sips at the bar, giving you two magical cocktail experiences for the price of one.
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