Rivoli Ballroom/Peter Dazeley
Hattie Lloyd 17/01/23
Valentine’s Day 2023 | A Chocolate Box of 40 Date Ideas
Remember the heady times of Valentine’s Day just two years ago, when the most romantic gesture you could make for your SO was to do the washing up and take them on a slightly different route round the park…
…well, London’s back to its vibrant, dazzling self again, and so the pressure’s on to put together something a leetle more impressive this Valentine’s. You know, the kind of evening that simultaneously says ‘pshh, we’re so above this cynical annual marketing exercise,’ while also saying, ‘you are my entire universe and I will prove this by planning a legendary evening of romance, the likes of which you’ve never seen before.’
And so we’ve sorted through 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 – a concert in a stunning chapel (where you’ll be lying down); a paired tasting of absinthe and aphrodisiacs in one of London’s most unusual settings; a glasshouse full of flowers; a literal bath of red wine; and smores toasting on a rooftop around your own private campfire.
Just watch the sparks fly…
GO SWING DANCING WITH A LIVE BAND
You’ll be mastering the Valentino Dip in no time.
Details: 14th February | The MildMay Club, 33-34 Newington Green, London, N16 9PR | £15-20
LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC WHILE LYING DOWN IN A GILDED CHAPEL
And look up at over 500 mosaic stars while being serenaded by a lute.
Details: 14th February | Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, Fitzroy Place, London W1T 3BF | £27.80
DIP INTO LOVE CONSTELLATIONS AT AIRE ANCIENT BATHS | Partner Content
Deeply relaxing thermal baths, in a stunning historic building, with a choice of a hot basalt stone massage or a literal bath of red wine for both of you. It’s official, this is what peak romance looks like.
Details: 11th-14th February | Aire Ancient Baths, 2-3 Robert Street, WC2N 6RL | £200pp+ | Book here
SIP JAPANESE COCKTAILS ON A PRIVATE ROOF TERRACE
The (heated) rooftop at Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel is open only to hotel guests – and the occasional pop-up, which in this case happens to be a cocktail bar celebrating Japanese spirits…
Details: 1st February – 6th April | Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, London W1D 7DT | Book here
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 | £19-149
WATCH A GATSBY-INSPIRED CABARET SHOW IN A 1920s BALLROOM
You remember the bit where Gatsby careers around in a Cyr wheel of death, right?
Details: 14th February | Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 4DA | £77.25+
GO ON A CHAMPAGNE BAR CRAWL
And unleash your sparkling wit.
HAVE THE FANCIEST VALENTINE’S DAY MEAL HAD BY ANYONE, EVER
Yeah… this one’s going to take some beating next year.
Details: 14th February | The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10 9NN | £125
LISTEN TO LOVE SONGS FROM THE GREATS IN A FREEMASONS HALL
And enjoy La Vie En Rose, en…candlelight.
Details: 14th February | Freemasons Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ | £20-35
GET AN OMAKASE VALENTINE’S DINNER FROM A 7 MICHELIN STARRED CHEF
Arros QD will be putting on a seven course omakase-style, Spanish tasting experience for just £85pp on V-Day. And the man running the restaurant, Quique Dacosta, has just won his seventh Michelin Star…
Details: 14th February | Arros QD, 64 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8NQ | £85pp
LEARN TO MAKE SWEET, SWEET COCKTAILS TOGETHER
Enjoy a complimentary Champagne spritz on arrival before learning to make four cocktails in TT Liquor‘s dedicated workshop – then create your own signature lovers’ concoction for the grand finale.
Details: 14th February | TT Liquor, 17b Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AA |
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 ADVENTURE TOGETHER IN LONDON
Explore a new neighbourhood with one of our self-guided Nudge Itineraries…
HIT UP BIG MAMMA’S LATEST EXTROVERT RESTAURANT
Because it’s always fun to spend time with your date in a Jacuzzi.
Details: 92 Kensington High Street, W8 4SH
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 | £27.54
ATTEND AN ‘EROTIC DINNER’ AT THE CENTURY CLUB’S ROOFTOP
They’re promising a three-course feast, live music, aphrodisiac oils and ‘erotic cabaret’…
Details: 11th February | The Century Club, 61 – 63 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LQ | £65
LISTEN TO STRANGE TALES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WOODS
For those who prefer their candlelight flickering in lanterns…
Details: 12th February | Secret Outdoor Location | £10
BOOK INTO ONE OF LONDON’S MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS
Candlelight, cosy booths and tucked-away tables… oh, and we’ve sorted your nightcap spot, too.
GO AXE-THROWING AT WHISTLE PUNKS
The ultimate anti-schmaltz V day.
Details: 52-53 Eastcastle Street, Oxford Circus, W1W 8ED | £60-81 for two (inc. 1/2 complimentary drinks each)
GO ON AN EVENING WANDER ROUND BATTERSEA POWER STATION
Take in the light trail, then hole up at Wright Brothers Battersea for oysters and Champagne overlooking the river.
Details: Until 5th March 2023 | Battersea Power Station, Circus Rd W, Nine Elms, SW8 5BN | Free
SEE PERFORMERS GET SWEPT OFF THEIR FEET AT A VALENTINE’S VARIETY SHOW
Comedy from Lou Sanders, close-up magic and daring aerial feats… in an enormous, festoon-lit beer hall.
Details: 14th February | Big Penny Social, 1 Priestley Way,London, E17 6AL | £27.50
WATCH ROMEO + JULIET WITH A LIVE GOSPEL CHOIR
Watch Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 classic, bookended by live performances, and bask in one of the world’s greatest love stories (until about 20 minutes before the end).
Details: 14th February | Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS | £20-42.50
SOAR UP A CHIMNEY TO AN AMAZING PANORAMIC VIEW
Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station is offering private sessions for Valentine’s Day, complete with a butler and live musicians…
Details: 14th February | Battersea Power Station, Circus Rd W, Nine Elms, London SW8 5BN | £350
SEE SOMETHING QUIRKY AT VAULT FESTIVAL
Shows on Valentine’s Day itself include satirical burlesque, a queer sci-fi adventure and a vampire-slaying horror epic with a 90s rave soundtrack.
Details: Until 19th March | The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN
WANDER THROUGH A GLASSHOUSE FULL OF ORCHIDS AFTER HOURS
James Gifford-Mead©RBG Kew
Sip cocktails, snack on street food, and watch live performances after hours at Kew Orchids Festival.
Details: 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th February | Kew Gardens, London, TW9 3AE | £19pp
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 £70, inc. welcome cocktail
GO FOR CLASSIC DINNER & A SHOW
At the same time, that is, at the Toulouse Lautrec – one of London’s best restaurants with live music.
Details: 14th February | Toulouse Lautrec, 140 Newington Butts, London, SE11 4RN | £49-75pp
TAKE A TOUR OF AN ABANDONED TUBE STATION
Don’t say we never take you anywhere nice.
Details: Throughout February | £44
ATTEND A MUSEUM LATE ABOUT EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS
DJs, card-making workshops, cocktails that promise no hangover and experts talking about doping, microdosing, psychedelics, and more. And to be clear, only some of those are interactive…
Details: 9th February | Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ | Free
SIP NATURAL WINES WITH A FOUR-COURSE FEAST
At the low-key, but decidedly romantic, Peckham Cellars.
Details: 14th February | Peckham Cellars, 125 Queens Road, London, SE15 2ND | £60pp
HEAD TO ONE OF LONDON’S BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS
The Seafood Bar, Soho
Time to put the whole ‘oysters are aphrodisiacs’ theory to the test.
DISTIL YOUR OWN LOVERS’ GIN
At Half Hitch, you can each bring an ingredient and make your own bespoke spirit.
Details: Throughout February | Unit 53 Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AF | £60pp
GET REALLY INTO ASMR
At the Design Museum’s interactive exhibition.
Details: Until 10th April | 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | £9.50+
HOLD YOUR OWN BAR GAME OLYMPICS
At London’s top activity bars…
SEE SOMETHING INSPIRING AT THE THEATRE
Claaassic date territory – and we’ve got recommendations for dinner and drinks nearby, too. See What’s On In London’s Theatres Now – and how to get cheap theatre tickets, so you can spend more on dinner.
BOOK TICKETS TO THE PLUSHEST CINEMA IN TOWN
The Electric Cinema has velvet back-row sofas where you can flout the PG rating when the lights go down. Discover more great independent cinemas in London
Details: Electric Cinema Portobello & White City | £50 for two
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 nose around the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.
Details: 14th February | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD | £37
TOAST SMORES AROUND A CAMPFIRE IN A ROOFTOP GARDEN
Valentine’s Day at The Midnight Apothecary involves deluxe hot toddies, botanical cocktails, and a guided tour round Brunel’s Tunnel Shaft (oo-er?).
Details: 14th February | The Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London, SE16 4LF | £8+
HAVE A COUPLES’ SPA DAY AT BANYA NO 1
A typically romantic session involving ice cold water and getting whacked with branches. But if for some reason that doesn’t interest you, you could always hit up one of these other great saunas in London instead.
Details: Hoxton: 17 Micawber Street, N1 7TB | Chiswick: 404-406 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 5TF | From £75pp
WATCH ROMAN HOLIDAY IN A 1950s BALLROOM
This place literally hasn’t changed in almost 70 years.
Details: 13th & 14th February | Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, London, SE4 2BY | £10
ENJOY AN ABSINTHE & APHRODISIAC TASTING IN A WUNDERKABINETT
Taste some of The Last Tuesday Society‘s own absinthe, then explore one of London’s most unusual museums (featuring Victorian sex toys, two-headed taxidermy and shrunken heads).
Details: 13th February | The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, E8 4RP | £32
…AND CAP IT ALL OFF WITH AN OVERNIGHT STAY
The most romantic boutique hotels in London await…
Looking for more inspiration? Here’s 101 London Date Ideas that are winners all year round…
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