Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. So if you’ve got someone to impress or just fancy a love-in with your mates, you’ll be wanting some options on either the weekends either side, or on the day itself. Alternatively, you could just stay in and watch TV in your pyjamas, no judgement here. If you don’t want to do anything official, we’ve got a few suggestions for romantic things you can do in London, no bookings required. But for those of you who want to go the full hog, we’ve got some restaurant recommendations, spa days, afternoon tea, cosy cinema ideas and special love-themed events to see you through from morning til midnight.
Here are our favourite romantic things to do in London.
“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones
1. Head east to Greenwich
You get the absolute best view of London from the top of Greenwich Park, but for bonus points, it’s also next to the Royal Observatory. At the Planetarium you don’t have to wait for the evening and hope for a clear night to see the stars. Also take a stroll east down the river and you get to the Cutty Sark pub, one of London’s best riverside pubs for a Saturday lunch as the dining room overlooks the river.
2. Stroll along the towpath at Little Venice
Easily one of London’s most charming spots for a nice leafy walk. There are plenty of independent shops, cafes and pubs to pop into along the way.
“Stolen kisses are always sweetest.” – Leigh Hunt
3. Go for a meal at St Katherine’s Dock
Just round the corner from Tower Bridge, this undercover area has had a recent restaurant boom. You’ll find places like Tom’s Kitchen along the marina.
4. Cruise along the Thames
In the evening take to the Thames for a pre-dinner, three-hour cruise while you drift past Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament.
5. Cosy up in a lovely London cinema
The Prince Charles Cinema will be showing two screenings of Breakfast at Tiffanys at 3pm or 5.30pm on the day itself (non members: £10, members, £7.50).
But if your tastes are a bit more risque, head to the Curzon Mondrian. You can opt to have Perrier-Jouët Champagne, popcorn, or wine waiting for you when you book into one of the special Valentine’s screenings of Fifty Shades Darker between the 10th – 19th February 2017.
6. See a show at the theatre
There are plenty of plays, musicals and shows on in the West End at the moment which you can grab not-too-pricey tickets for.
We recommend our show of the month, Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall: a dramatic love story with some pulse-racing acrobatics. Or go classic with a Shakespearean comedy: Love’s Labour’s Lost is on at the Haymarket. Who says you have to watch a love story? The Play That Goes Wrong is hilarious if you just want a good laugh.
7. Go up high at night on the Emirates Air Line
After 7pm, the Emirates Air Line – that’s the bubble lift across the Thames – extends its ride time to 25 minutes. That means you can catch the sunset and have a little airborn snuggle as you travel from one side to the next and back. It doesn’t cost any extra, either.
8. Turn all red on The London Eye…
If you don’t mind sharing a romantic pod with a few others, you can do a 30 minute turn on the London Eye with a glass of Champagne in hand from £31.95. Or for more privacy (and quite a bit more money) you could hire a Cupid Capsule all to yourself. Special Valentine’s Day packages run from the 10th – 19th February.
9. …or rave underground in the Waterloo Vaults
The Waterloo’s VAULT festival is back. On the weekends either side of Valentine’s Day, VAULT Lates is open til 3am. Expect raving, DJs, and solar-system lolz for Galactic Love (10th February) and the House of Burlesque Lock In (17th February)
10. Book yourselves a dainty afternoon tea
What could be more romantic than stuffing your face with sandwiches and cake? Nothing, that’s what. Search our afternoon tea deals or try the five star Bentley Hotel in Kensington, where your afternoon tea includes drinking Champagne under twinkly chandeliers (£45 for two). It’s just around the corner from Harrod’s, too. Just sayin’. Or try Making Love at The Queen’s House in Greenwich. Not literally. This is Prosecco afternoon tea while listening to love stories about the ex-royal residents. Opt for a tour of the house before or after you eat (£25 pp).
11. See some spectacular blooms at Kew Gardens
Rather than buy flowers, head down to south west London for the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens. It’s on from now until 6th March.
12. Table for two, please.
Nearly every restaurant worth its salt will have something romantic planned for Valentine’s Day.
Clos Maggiore and Galvin at Windows tend to top the “most romantic” lists, so chances are tables might be be hard to come by. But Quaglino’s in Mayfair is doing an aphrodisiac-themed menu with live music, which sounds nice. Or bypass all the booking issues and buy a gourmet picnic. This way you can choose the venue and you don’t even need to do any preparation. Hot Dinners have a great list of places to order picnics from in the city.
13. Meet your next… cat
Tickets are still available for the 5.30-7.30pm session of “Moggie Matchmaking” at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. For £7, you get a glass of bubbles on arrival and the chance to get smitten with a new kitten. There’ll also be a quiz, and some paw-shaped poetry. Hey, it’s something different.
14. Go on a romantic tour of a brewery
For those of you who aren’t down with champers and Prosecco, luckily Meantime Brewery have come to the rescue. Book their classic tour for the 14th February 2017, and you’ll get to look around the brewery before being served a selection of chocolate desserts created by their in-house chefs, which have all been paired with Meantime beers. The experience is 2 hours, and costs £40 for two.
We have put together our own Top 10 Romantic Hotels in London list to perhaps give you a little inspiration.
Or perhaps you want to try some new experiences – here’s the latest Valentine’s Day deals.
We also have plenty of other places to stay in London if you decide you want to make a weekend of it.
And if you are still not sure what to do, then be inspired by our 100 Things in London page. You can find somewhere intriguing to visit just round-the-corner from where you are standing.
We would love to know what your favourite places are in London for a little love and romance. Tell us about your ideal date by leaving a comment below.