Whether you’re a reluctant participant, a hopeless romantic, or just looking for an excuse to have a couple of cocktails, we’ve found some pretty cracking things to do in London this Valentine’s Day (and on the weekends around it). From good, old fashioned dinner dates to lively, competitive games, there’s plenty for a first date, 100th date, and a great time with pals. Get inspired, and fall in love with the capital again…
1–2. Stroll around an enchanting exhibition with your other half
Step away from the side-by-side scrolling, and head to see art IRL.
🎨 The capital’s much loved Van Gogh experience, located near Spitalfields Market, beckons with floor-to-ceiling projections of the iconic artist’s work, immersive sound tech and interactive activities. Kick back under a romantic starry night without freezing your butt off outdoors. If you visit on Valentine’s Day itself (February 14), you can expect a themed evening with live music, little gifts and more…
🎨 If mind-bending works are more your thing, make your way to the Dali : Cybernetics exhibition on Brick Lane instead. Plenty of immersive elements are used here too, but the jewel in the exhibition’s crown is most definitely the futuristic metaverse. Here, you can move freely in a totally computer-generated world, engaging with other guests like it’s real life, using highly progressive virtual reality technology. It’s mind blowing.
3–4. Indulge in a night of love songs
❤️ Make your way to Glazier’s Hall near London Bridge on Valentine’s Day to enjoy a romantic evening of love songs by candlelight. Over the course of an hour, a live string quartet will perform scores from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Titanic, and Romeo + Juliet, interspersed with classical compositions. Shrouded in flickering candlelight, it’ll be a heart-stopping evening of music.
❤️ Enjoy an evening of Endless Love at an event dedicated to the hits of Luther Vandross. Grammy-winning artist Clayton Bryant will take to the stage at West End’s Wonderville cabaret club, performing live renditions of Vandross’ famous hits, plus a few other soul and R&B hits we know and love.
Compete against other couples in a four-hour scavenger hunt that’ll take you all over London in the hope of winning a three-course meal for two at the Paternoster Chop House, featured on Channel 4’s First Dates. The funny and fabulous tasks you must complete will be split into two categories: location, for example, find a taxi serving coffee in Shoreditch; and miscellaneous, for example, serenade a stranger. If you’re single and ready to mingle, you can still join in the fun. Individual entrants will be put in a team on arrival; maybe the chance to meet the partner of your dreams? The scavenger hunt will take place on Saturday, February 11.
London’s happiness-inducing museum, Dopamine Land, will be open on Valentine’s Day from 10.30am to spread even more love and cheer in the capital. What’s more, for one day only, there’ll be a special discount at their Bubble bar! Nab 30% off the delicious dark chocolate orange bubble tea; the perfect end to your trip through the museum’s various bold and beautiful multi-sensory rooms.
On Saturday, February 11, get dressed up to the nines… or is that ‘to the 30s’? Wonderville cabaret club (who we mentioned earlier) will be hosting a 1930s and 40s themed party, where you can dance all night long to swing, jazz, and blues music, performed live by Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm. Guests will get a complimentary glass of prosecco or cocktail on arrival, and after the event, there’ll be an after party.
8. Get a little heated with some healthy competition
There’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition to get the conversation flowing and laughter going on a first date – or reignite your competitive streak with your long established partner. London is full of gaming bars, from darts to computer games, board games to footie. A newly opened spot this Valentine’s Day is Clays in Canary Wharf; a virtual target shooting spot, where you can hone your aim, and enjoy cocktails and small plates.
9. Treat your lover to something sweet
A sweet treat always goes down, well, a treat, and there’s no shortage of Valentine’s Day themed cakes and desserts in London. Hummingbird Bakery are offering a wonderful selection of cakes specifically designed for the occasion. Between February 1–14, you can snap up their six specials, which include a Mile High Heart Cake (heart-shaped sponge, covered in chocolate frosting, with salted caramel in the centre), Valentine’s Love Birds Cake (four layers of red velvet sponge and cream cheese frosting), and a Valentine’s Day Selection Box of cupcakes. What’s more, head to their in-store customisation stations during this time to personalise any cake or cupcakes.
10–14. Taste the Valentine’s specials of some of the capital’s eateries
Our dear capital is full to the brim with restaurants – you’re sure to be able to find something to suit your budget, tastes and location with ease. Many will be doing Valentine’s specials too.
🍽️ The Big Easy will be offering an affordable, but indulgent, Lobster and Prosecco meal deal throughout the Valentine’s weekend (February 9–12) and a moreish BBQ platter deal on February 14 itself.
🍽️ Theatre Royal Drury Lane will boast a special Valentine’s afternoon tea, comprising layered chocolate sponge, with pink icing and red love hearts; mini sticky toffee puddings; and sausage rolls to name just a few elements.
🍽️ Perhaps a three-course Indian meal, with a complimentary welcome drink and lavish meaty dishes, takes your fancy? Expect a grand sharing platter with the likes of tandoori king prawns and clove-smoked Balmoral red deer at Babur.
🍽️ Venture to the heady heights of Oblix at The Shard for a love story of two halves. At Oblix West, you and your loved one will have a choice of two, sharing-style set menus (one of which includes Oblix‘s famed Seafood Tower), while over at Oblix East, there’ll be a more casual two- or three-course set menu, and a limited edition cocktail and dessert. Valentine’s Day with views over London from 32 floors up sounds in–credible.
🍽️ A special menu is available at SeaGarden & Grill in Brixton Village for one night only. The experiences starts with a flight of three mini rum cocktails alongside a selection of Cornish oysters; followed by a hearty seafood platter, including the likes of mussels, pan fried hake, tempura soft shell crab buns and more. If you have room for dessert, then sticky toffee pudding, strawberry cheesecake and macarons await.
What film is the ultimate representation of dating in London? Bridget Jones’ Diary! The Clapham Grand have created a whole extravaganza around the iconic romcom, set to take over the venue on Saturday, February 11. With blue soup cocktails, mass sing alongs, food, and huge cut outs of Daniel Cleaver (aka Huge Grant), it’ll feel like 2001 again. We are SO here for it. Big pants optional.
16–18. Check into a hotel or hotel spa to mark the occasion
A soothing spa or a stay away from the daily rigmarole is just the ticket for a relaxing Valentine’s Day in London. Soak your cares away in one of London’s spas, enjoy a slap up meal, or just relish in the luxury of a room where you don’t have to make the bed!
😴 Leman Locke aparthotel, located near Aldgate, has teamed up with sexual wellbeing brand Quanna to offer an indulgent package stay in their modern digs all February. The room will be decked out with a set of Oomf sheets and you’ll get your hands on a pack of Quanna cards, designed to encourage you and your partner to get to know each other better.
😴 Boutique Soho hotel The London Edition will host a riveting talk on February 19, led by sexfluencer and award-winning romance author, Shakira Scott, (aka Scotty Unfamous). In the Valentine’s special, guests will learn how to build their body confidence, and unlearn any shame that often surrounds the topic of sex.
😴 East London hotel Montcalm East will be hosting a ‘Cupid’s Candids‘ photoshoot session on February 11 and 12. Couples (or a duo of friends or family members) can book a slot at the hotel’s in-house studio, where professional photographer in residence, Dimitar Maleshkov, will snap professional shots of the two of you. There’s even a complimentary glass of bubbles with every booking. Bookings are £30pp – find out more here.
19. Buy your love flowers – or better still, flowery cocktails
It’s a classic, but buying your loved one or new date flowers is a sure-fire way to make them smile. However, you can actually take it a step further with a trip to Florattica, a flower-themed rooftop bar that opened in Aldgate at the end of 2022.
Sitting atop the Canopy by Hilton London City hotel (on the 11th floor), you can enjoy gorgeously floral interiors, while simultaneously admiring panoramic views across The City from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The drinks here take guests on a sensory journey through the elegant and aromatic world of flowers, mixing up herbal and floral drinks to tingle your tastebuds. Both cocktails and mocktails are available.
20. Explore another Valentine’s drink concept in the city
Situated in another of the city’s hotels, the Sweeties bar at The Standard, London, has created a menu, comprising playful, exciting drinks that create a whole sensory experience. The music of the Kings Cross bar compliments the colours and textures of the drinks, which include All Yours (Japanese whisky, green tea, honey, and sticky rice vinegar, topped with soda), Hot Lips (Mezcal Espadin, pickled hot peppers, spiced tomato juice, and smoked salt) and Be Mine (Champagne cocktail, topped with peach liquor, ‘Be Mine’ bitters and an absinthe-dashed sugar cube).
21. Take a romantic stroll
Why not head to the great outdoors for a romantic stroll? It’s one of the few free things to do in London for Valentine’s Day, after all! With a plethora of pretty parks and city walks, not only is it great for mental health purposes, but it’s also a good way to catch up or form a bond, away from your phones, laptops and the TV.
22. Enjoy a Valentine’s themed variety show
Looking for a date night with a difference? Head to Big Penny Social for a variety show! On the evening of February 14, the Walthamstow venue will host one-off performances from magician Tom Brace; comedian Lou Sanders; daring circus feats performed by West End stars Lucius and Emma; and an acoustic performance singer-songwriter Zach Said. Tickets include a glass of bubbles or a bottle of beer, and there’ll be a curated menu of small plates available for purchase. There is literally something for everyone in London this Valentine’s Day!
23. Bond over a late-night match while watching the Super Bowl
This year, the Super Bowl falls on February 12 – great news for any American football-loving couples! The annual tournament final draws international fans in their droves to stream the game well into the night due to the time difference, and while we are yet to know who the competing teams will be, it’s guaranteed to be nail biting stuff.
For those who aren’t fans of American football, there is also an epic halftime show headliner: Rihanna. The megastar is known for her catchy, chart-topping hits, and we’re hoping she performs the likes of We Found Love, Te Amo, and our fave love song, Rude Boi…