Valentine’s Day is here again, presenting you with its annual conundrum of how to adequately shun what is evidently a cynical marketing ploy… whilst simultaneously dazzling your beloved with the sort of date night you know they’re actually really hoping for.
So to help you along we’ve sifted through all of the many clichéd and predictable Valentine’s date nights on offer, and are now ready to present you with a hand-picked bouquet of excellent date ideas, including – but not limited to – an intimate concert in a candlelit church, a private sauna on an East London rooftop, burlesque in a 30s cabaret bar, dinner on a floating barge and a silent movie screening.
Your date will be lost for words.
SEE SOMETHING INSPIRING AT THE THEATRE
Claaassic date territory – and we’ve got recommendations for dinner and drinks nearby, too. SEE WHAT’S ON
BOOK A BACK-ROW SOFA AT THE PLUSHEST CINEMA IN TOWN
And flout the PG rating when the lights go down. READ MORE | See more great independent cinemas in London | What to watch
Details: Electric Cinema Portobello & White City | £50 for two
ENJOY A CANDLELIT DINNER TO THE MUSIC OF BARRY WHITE
Because nobody did romance like the Walrus of Love.
Details: 14th & 15th February | Boisdale of Canary Wharf, 15 Cabot Square, London, E14 4QT | £31.86 – 161.22
LISTEN TO YANN TIERSEN PERFORM INSIDE AN OLD TRAM WAREHOUSE
You know him for the soundtrack to Amélie. And now you’re about to know him for the soundtrack to your best Valentine’s Day ever.
Details: 12th February | Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH | £35-40
CELEBRATE LOVE IN ALL ITS FORMS AT DONA
A tequila-soaked boudoir hosting cabaret, live music, storytelling and ‘cheeky cherubs’ for the night.
Details: 14th February | Doña, 92 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7NY | £15
WATCH BURLESQUE IN A 1930s CABARET BAR
And order Champagne cocktails to your table.
Details: 14th February | The Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED | £30
HAVE A HEART TO HEART OVER DINNER
The Montagu Kitchen’s all-in Valentine’s dinner includes wine, Champagne, live music and this rhubarb heart-shaped dessert…
Details: 14th February | 30 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BH | £220 for two
GO ON A CHAMPAGNE BAR CRAWL
And unleash your sparkling wit. READ MORE
GO CURLING IN COAL DROPS YARD
Loser gets the margaritas in at Casa Pastor.
Details: Until 27th February | Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ | £5
GO ON AN EVENING WANDER ROUND BATTERSEA POWER STATION
Take in the light trail, then hole up at Wright Brothers for oysters and Champagne overlooking the river.
Details: Until 27th February | Around Battersea Power Station | Free
LISTEN TO ROMANTIC PIANO MUSIC IN A CANDLELIT CHURCH
From Debussy to Gershwin, with a red rose on arrival.
Details: 14th February | St. Mary Le Strand, Strand, London, WC2R 1ES | £24.30 – 41.55
BOOK INTO ONE OF LONDON’S MOST INTIMATE DATE SPOTS
Candlelight, cosy booths and tucked-away tables… oh, and we’ve sorted your nightcap spot, too. READ MORE
WANDER THROUGH A GLASSHOUSE FULL OF ORCHIDS AFTER HOURS
James Gifford-Mead©RBG Kew
Sip cocktails, snack on street food, and watch Costa Rican live music and performances in a beautiful setting.
Details: 11th & 12th February | Kew Gardens, London, TW9 3AE | £18pp
GO DANCING, 1920s STYLE
The Candlelight Club‘s Valentine’s special will cram live bands, cocktails and dancing into a secret London location…
Details: 11th & 12th February | A Secret Location | £25+
MAKE HAND-TIED BOUQUETS FOR EACH OTHER AT PETERSHAM NURSERIES
It’s only, like, the most famous flower farm in London.
Details: 12th February | The Petersham, 2 Floral Court, London, WC2E 9FB | £85pp
SEE IF YOUR DATE IS THE ‘EASILY EMBARRASSED’ TYPE BY DEDICATING A SONG TO THEM
The band at 100 Wardour St. will come up to your table… and it‘ll be the longest three and a half minutes of your life.
Details: 14th February | 100 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TN | Three courses for £65, inc. welcome cocktail
GO FOR CLASSIC DINNER & A SHOW
A four-course feast, plus live jazz from a band whose actual name is Freddie Benedict & The Romantics.
Details: 14th February | Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, London, SE11 4RN | £49-74pp
EAT OYSTERS AT THE SEAFOOD BAR
You’ll get a special, Champagne-laced V-Day menu, and “You’re my Lobster” t-shirts.
Details: 14th February | 77 Dean Street, W1D 3SH | £45pp
TAKE A TOUR OF AN ABANDONED TUBE STATION
Don’t say we never take you anywhere nice. READ MORE
Details: 13th February | Meet at Athenaeum Hotel, 116 Piccadilly, W1J 7BJ | £85
WATCH A SILENT FILM WITH A WURLITZER ORGAN
It’s one of the earliest rom coms.
Details: 13th February | The Musical Museum, 399 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DU | £8-17.50
TASTE NATURAL WINES MADE BY COUPLES
Feat. oysters and a Champagne cocktail on arrival.
Like this? Book into this natural wine tasting with The Modest Merchant.
Details: 14th February | Silver Lining, 13 Morning Lane, London, E9 6ND | £40
MAKE RINGS FOR EACH OTHER
Probably one for people in really early, or really established relationships…
Details: 12th February | D-Lab Studios, 1 Mirabelle Gardens, London, E20 1BP | £85pp
DISTIL YOUR OWN LOVERS’ GIN
At Half Hitch, you can each bring an ingredient and make your own bespoke spirit.
Details: 10th & 11th February | Unit 53 Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AF | £60pp
SCORE A SIX-COURSE BANQUET AT CRISPIN
We’re talking oysters with rhubarb and ginger, burrata, and chocolate & salted caramel tart…
Details: 14th February | Crispin, Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, London, E1 7NF | £65pp
The ultimate anti-schmaltz V day. READ MORE
Details: Arch 25, Handel Business Centre, 73 Bondway, SW8 1SQ | £70 for two (inc. 2 complimentary drinks each)
LISTEN TO TWO HEAVYWEIGHT COMPOSERS IN A MIDCENTURY HALL
Shostakovich and Beethoven duke it out, with a little help from the London Symphony Orchestra.
Details: 13th February | Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS | £18-60
HOLD YOUR OWN BAR GAME OLYMPICS
At London’s finest activity bars… READ MORE
BOOK FOR THE OPENING NIGHT OF THE NEW BLACKLOCK
Blacklock the fourth brings its sustainable chops, roaming cocktail trolley, and white chocolate cheesecake to Covent Garden. READ MORE
Details: 14th February | Sign up here for booking info
LEARN HOW THEY DO IT ON THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL
At the Natural History Museum’s Valentine’s late, with experts talking about animal courtship, cocktails, and an after-hours tour of their spirit jar collection.
Details: 12th & 14th February | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD | £35
TOAST SMORES AROUND A CAMPFIRE IN A ROOFTOP GARDEN
And wash it down with a little Deluxe Love Hot Toddy… READ MORE
Details: 12th February | The Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London, SE16 4LF | £8-20
ENJOY A FOUR COURSE FEAST ON A 115 YEAR-OLD BARGE
With a little live music from a Latin Jazz guitarist. READ MORE
Details: 14th February | Barge East, River Lee, Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, E9 5EN | £49pp
RELAX IN YOUR OWN PRIVATE ROOFTOP SAUNA
Ridiculous views, plus cocktails and a firepit to wind down with afterwards.
Details: Netil360, 1 Westgate Street, Hackney, E8 3RL | £36 – 120 for two
TUCK INTO A VALENTINE’S ROAST WITH PINK FIZZ
At the Disappearing Dining Club’s candlelit, vinyl-spinning North London pub.
Details: 12th – 14th February | Dartmouth Arms, 35 York Rise, NW5 1SP | £35
HAVE A SPA DAY AT THE RUSSIAN BANYA
Warning: it involves ice cold water and getting whacked with branches. READ MORE
Details: 17 Micawber Street, N1 7TB | From £65pp
Last Updated: 21st January 2022 | Main image: Doña
Looking for more inspiration? Check out London’s most romantic restaurants…