Flowers shmowers, ring shming, why waste February 14th glaring at loved-up couples and mourning your, let’s face it, ultimately doomed past relationships, when you could be out in London living it up at anti-valentines day parties, snapping selfies in Instagrammable settings or prepping your stomach for pancake day. There’s much more fun to be had in this fine city, with lots of fabulous events and things to do where you won’t stumble across a sickening scattering of rose petals or hear a chorus of clinking champagne glasses mocking your every single step.
1. Round up your friends for an otherworldly cocktail at Avora
What better way to escape heart-filled shop windows and PDAs than stepping into another world altogether? Valentine’s day doesn’t exist at Avora, but bioluminescent cocktails and psychedelic woodland settings do, and I know which one I’d prefer. At Avora: A New World Cocktail Experience you’ll be transported to a magical place without stepping foot outside of London, inside you will embark on an adventure with three tantalising tipples – think colour-changing cocktails, an intriguing immersive storyline, live actors and stunning sets. Who has time for love when you’re busy saving a world from human destruction?
2. Let your hair down at the Flat Iron Square Anti-Valentines party
Put your middle finger up at love with like-minded revellers at Flat Iron Square on February 14. Forget cupid and his crossbow, this party will have you celebrating the single life as a DJ plays an infectiously fun set with love-free pop songs. In between dancing the night away you’ll have the satisfaction of tearing into heart-shaped pizza and sipping double-pour cocktails such as the ‘It’s Not Me It’s You”, “Not Yours”, and “F*** Them!”. It kicks off at 6.30 pm and you’ll find Flat Iron Square a two-minute walk from Borough Market.
3. Find your joy in other ways at Dopamine Land
It says it all in the name, Dopamine Land is a happiness-inducing world which will put a smile on your face, whether you’re there alone or with friends. Located on Old Brompton Road in South Kensington, the multisensory museum invites you to explore a series of interactive rooms, including a mouthwateringly aromatic popcorn room (don’t worry the crunchy snack will also be available to satisfy any sudden cravings), a soothing digital forest and, if you need to burn off some post-breakup bitterness, a pillow fight room.
4. Indulge in some film nostalgia at the Back In Time Exhibition
Back To The Future fan? A perk of being single is you can do exactly what you want with your spare time and if that means rediscovering your love for this cinematic classic then you go right ahead. Whether you’re fresh off a recent comfort-watch binge or have framed posters of the DeLorean and its fiery tracks on your wall, The Back In Time Exhibition invites you into the world of Marty McFly and Doc Brown with the largest collection of Back To The Future memorabilia in Europe. You can take in costumes, hoverboards, set pieces and concept drawings before busting a guitar solo in front of an interactive display and grabbing the golden opportunity to have a picture in front of an uncanny DeLorean replica.
5. Take yourself off to the cinema to watch whatever the hell you want
There’s nothing quite like a solo cinema trip. You can have your pick of whatever takes your fancy – with no compromising – scoff popcorn til your heart’s content (with no risk of battling with another hand when you go to grab a handful) and completely lose yourself in the wonderful world of film without anyone whispering where they know that actor from in your ear. The cherry on top? Vue has rolled out the red carpet for Fever customers, offering some fantastic value-added tickets so you can save the pennies when you catch the latest blockbuster.
6. Dig in at an Anti-Valentines Brunch
What better excuse for a brunch with your similarly-single friends (partnered-up friends who aren’t a fan of commercialised romance are welcome too) than to celebrate the single life with delicious food and bottomless booze? Delete your tinder, don your favourite garms and get yourselves down to Phoenix Arts Club on February 11th and you’ll be treated to 90 minutes of burlesque, drag and cirque with superstar host Karla Bear. To soak up the bottomless prosecco you can tuck into a tasty Italian menu with courses such as tender braised British beef and heart-shaped chocolate mousse with strawberries – who says couples get all the romantic desserts?
7. Take your dog out for an afternoon tea date instead
If you really fancy spoiling a special someone with a four-course meal then why not your four-legged friend? Jack and Beyond know there’s nothing better than spending quality time with your pup, and their dog afternoon tea is sure to get tails wagging. If you’re a self-confessed pawrent then clip on the lead, grab the treat bag and take you and your furry companion on down to Battersea High Street where they can wolf down banana wooffins and carrot pupcakes, then lap up a puppuccino and – if you’re feeling extra generous – scarf some dog ice cream. Shudder at the thought of the inevitable zoomies to follow? Battersea Park is nearby to burn off some energy (once everything is properly digested of course).
8. Dance the dating worries away at Duo London’s Anti-Valentines Club Night
Leave behind the sickly-sweet, couple-filled streets of London and descend into Camden’s basement nightclub, Duo London, to dance until the early hours without a care in the world. You and your friends can dress up, drink up and dazzle on the dance floor as you bust a move to top tunes from RnB, House, Hip-Hop and more. To keep your spirits up (and your voice in prime condition for belting out your favourite hits) there will also be some amazing drink deals so you can sip and sing all night long.
9. Discover a hidden talent for golf at Swingers
We know, mini golf is normally a dating classic for anyone looking to break the ice or show off their skills to a special someone, but it is equally as fun unleashing your competitive side with friends. Plus, they’ll all be used to your fits of frustration when the ball goes rogue. There are two Swingers venues to choose from in London, one near Oxford Circus and the other by Bank, each with food, drink and two exciting courses. Once you’ve warmed up with a cocktail or beer you can channel your singleton energy into a round of golf, hitting and tapping your way around a course filled with unexpected obstacles. Who knows, whacking a ball or two may be just what you need.
10. Demolish a stack of pancakes from ‘Where The Pancakes Are’
Ok, it might be a little bit early, but if you want to be prepared for the biggest day of the year (why, Shrove Tuesday of course) you better scrub up on your pancake-eating skills. What better place to go than Where The Pancakes Are. As well as the lovely warm rush of childhood nostalgia the name incites, the mouthwatering restaurant serves up flipping delicious dishes, with the option for sweet or savoury pancakes to tuck into. The drool-inducing stacks will come with a cascade of toppings, such as pulled beef pastrami or banana marshmallow. Plus there are even Dutch babies, a 17th-century German over-baked pancake which are lighter than your average pancake.
11. Breathe in floral fragrances at the orchid festival at Kew Gardens
Who needs a bouquet of flowers when you can immerse yourself in the floral wonderland of Kew Gardens? This February, listen to the wise words of Miley Cyrus and buy yourself flowers, or more specifically buy yourself tickets to the stunning Orchid Festival and soak in the colourful array of flowers blooming from every corner. As is tradition, Kew takes inspiration from overseas and this year Cameroon is getting the Kew Gardens treatment. It is home to some of the rarest orchids in the world, so you know it’s going to be extra special.
12. Celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day the carnivorous way with temper
If you’re sick of romantic set menus for two you’ll want to swing by temper this Valentine’s. The restaurant will be serving up two sizzling new dishes from Monday, February 13 to Saturday, February 18. Choose from the ‘Eat Your Heart Out’; a hearty dish comprising ox hearts marinated in mild and fruity aji panca chilli which is then cooked over an open fire as a Peruvian-style anticucho skewer, or the ‘Get Tongued’ which features tender cubes of ox tongue, pepped up with a sweet and smoky and punchy green sauce. It might go without saying, but this isn’t one for any veggies or vegans.