Because it doesn't need to be cheesy
Forced romance can put pressure on even the most chilled of couples, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your Valentine’s Day plans to a another night of Netflix and chilling. Whether you’re into the whole song-and-dance of the holiday that originated from an ancient Roman festival or not, here are some fun date ideas to do with your significant other, or your significant friends.
For cabaret lovers
Let this year’s Secret Cinema transport you to Paris, 1899, where you’ll be engrossed in Montmatre of Moulin Rouge! Yes, the Belle Epoque is coming to East London from Valentine’s Day right through to April. Just think about the costumes.
For interior aficionados
British designer Tom Dixon’s Regency-era restaurant along the strand is a destination for the design, alone, but now, its launched afternoon tea, too. Taking inspiration from Tom Dixon’s collector’s house’ interiors, delectable sandwiches filled with jasmine smoked ham and miso mustard and smoked salmon and yuzu and pickled cucumber and shiso sandwichesare served in golden trinket boxes, and followed by spicy salted caramel macarons and the like. bronte.co.uk
For film buffs
Don’t settle for stiff cinema seats when you could be met with plush velvet sofas and lush cocktails from the bar quite literally behind you. Head to one of the Every Man Cinemas, like North London’s Screen on the Green for VIP vibes.
Or go ALL out and rent one of the double beds (yes, really) at Notting Hill’s iconic Electric Cinema, housed in a 102-year-old landmark building, where the front row has been upholstered to fit in leather beds for an experience that’ll rival the comfort of Netflixing at home on the sofa. Oh, and they’ve got a specific Valentine’s Day screening of Fifty Shades Darker, naturally.
For country bumpkins
Located just 20 minutes away from London, escape to the Hertfordshire countryside at The Manor Elstree. This Tudor property is furnished and founded by textile design brand Laura Ashley so you can guarantee it’ll be a chic stay (from £100 per night) complete with a restaurant run by some of London hotel’s most prestigious chefs. Oh, and if you fall in love with any of the decor, you can buy it as a souvenir, too.
For food and booze on a boat
For dinner with a difference, head to floating restaurant London Shell Co for a champagne cruise aboard The Prince Regent canal boat.
For playful pairs
For the more competitive of couples, head to Urban Jump Trampoline Park in Sussex to test out those pike jumps and channel your inner gladiator by going head-to-head in a ninja warrior assault course.
Or… dive in (literally) to adults-only ballpit bar BallieBallerson in East London who are relaunching this February with clear balls, LED underfloor lighting and pit-side mirrors for a truly immersive experience.
Considering that since Go Ape opened back in 2001, they’ve seen over 12 engagements and a wedding, it seems that outdoor pursuits have never been so romantic. Take a trip in the trees with your partner with the code FEBPR for 20% off during Valentine’s Week.
Or, how about a round of nine-hole crazy golf? Crazy golf has never been quite so chic as at Swingers London.
For shopping and Soho House & Co
Going to shopping destination Bicester Village has never been easier now that there’s a Bicester Village Station straight from London. So, if shopping together is your bag, enjoy the outlet prices followed by a meal at Soho House & Co’s Farmshop restaurant.
For those who enjoy a tipple (or two)
Head to the Hoxton Shoreditch hotel for photobooth fun and their hot juice pop-up where every cocktail will be served hot and for £5 a piece, you can try them all.
For experimental creatives
If you’ve ever wanted to trash a hotel room, this is your polite chance to. The Love Me. Paint Me. package at the Mondrian London includes a suite, champagne, breakfast, dinner and a Love and Paint Kit. Essentially, you arrive, lay down some plastic sheeting (yes, this sounds like American Psycho but we promise, it’s not!) and then paint each other and create some abstract art. Well, that’s certainly different.
For dessert lovers
London artisan gelato bar Gelupo will have you enjoying la dolce vita with all their flavours (think chilli chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut etc.) Summer holiday vibes, indeed.
For something a little more erotic…
Over at The London EDITION hotel’s Punch Bar, you’ll find a set of Valentine Erotic Readings taking place, complete with its very own sex shop and performances from erotic novel extracts.
For those with (or without) culinary skills
Why don’t you try a cooking class together? KitchenAid hold classes for everything from pasta making (from scratch) to vegan and gluten-free cuisines.
For music – and history – fans
Hidden down an alley in east London, Wilton’s Music Hall is a former 1859 Victorian sailors’ pub turned music hall is an ideal destination for gigs, a historical tour or a cosy glass of red wine in their bar.