10 Unusual Valentine's Day Ideas
Shakespeare in Love, Notting Hill and Love Actually – if they didn’t show the world how romantic London can be, then Prince William certainly did when he kissed his bride Kate on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of millions. This month, you can celebrate real-life romance by penning a love letter with a difference, attending a wedding of sorts or even getting cosy in a rooftop hot tub. Ladies and gents, it’s time to ramp up the heat...
1: Low-key Romance: Go On An Anti-date
If you’ve had your first tiff and aren’t feeling the love, then attend an anti-Valentine’s night at The Phoenix at 37 Cavendish Square with Feeling Gloomy. You’ll be encouraged to vent about what you hate about the world while dancing to live bands playing miserable music. 5 Feb. feelinggloomy.com
2: Watch A Film In Bed
If every date night ends up with you and your partner curled up in bed watching the latest blockbuster, then why not go one better and book a double bed at Electric Cinema Portobello? Note: all six beds are in front of the other seats, so don’t get any ideas! electriccinema.co.uk
3: Serenade Your Partner
Gents, sing to your Lady in Red in a private room at Karaoke Box in Mayfair, Soho or Smithfield. There are themed rooms, from the Gold room to the Showgirls room. karaokebox.co.uk
4: First Anniversary – Star Gaze
Remember how starry-eyed you were when you first fell in love? Well, now you can gaze into your lover’s eyes under the stars. On Valentine’s Day, the Royal Observatory is opening after hours for a planetarium show of love-themed constellations. Over a glass of bubbly, you’ll gaze at the moon through a giant telescope while learning about the life cycles of stars and galaxy collisions. 14 Feb.
5: Watch Dirty Dancing
Get hot under the collar at a private screening of Dirty Dancing at Cineworld on Fulham Road. Over cocktails inspired by the film, you can also watch live re-enactments of its most iconic dance scenes – then recreate them at the nearby 80s bar Maggie’s. 16 Feb. maggies-club.com
6: Tour A Gallery
The Romantic period (1800-1850) was characterised by an emphasis on nature, strong emotions and imagination – let your senses run wild while admiring paintings at The National Gallery.
7: First Weekend Away – Dine In The Dark
If candlelit dining seems too clichéd, then dine in the dark instead at Dans Le Noir?, which featured in Richard Curtis’ romantic film About Time. Once you’ve checked in your phones, a visually-impaired waiter will guide you to your seat in darkness before serving you a mystery meal. Without your sight, your other senses – and imagination – will soon be on high alert. danslenoir.com
8: Dance At The Masked Ball
At this stage in your relationship, you still retain an air of mystery – so work it to your advantage at The Last Tuesday Society’s St Valentine Dandies & Daemons masked ball at Clapham Grand. Meet a magician and have your fortune told by a tarot reader before you dance the night away to hip-hopera – operatic chorals and hip-hop rhapsodies – by Josephine & The Artizans. Make sure you dress up! 10 Feb. thelasttuesdaysociety.org
9: Enjoy A Bedtime Story
Don your PJs for a pyjama party at the boutique hotel 40 Winks near Stepney Green. Swap your hot chocolate for cocktails and cosy up to listen to Tales of Love, Passion and Lust. Bring along bedtime accessories, such as teddy bears, silk robes and slippers, as prizes are awarded for the best dressed. Includes cocktails and canapés. 8-9 Feb. 40winks.org
10: Recreate That Ghost Scene
Make like Sam and Molly – the loved-up couple in the 1990 film Ghost – and take a taster course in throwing pottery on Keeley Street in Covent Garden with City Lit. But remember: there will be other students in the class, so behave, please! 12-15 Feb. citylit.ac.uk