Valentine’s Day in London: The Alternative Guide
Valentine’s Day: Watch
One of the only intact 1950’s ballrooms in London, the Rivoli Ballroom is renowned for themed nights and fantastic parties. However, from time to time, it also becomes home to a pop-up cinema – and who could ask for a more glamorous place to watch a romantic movie than a vintage ballroom? Gorge on popcorn, ice cream and wine from the bar and bask in the beautiful surroundings with your loved one whilst enjoying a classic Valentine’s Day film. Choose between screenings of _Pretty Woman, Romeo and Juliet, Ghost _or between 13 – 15 February.
If you like your classic movies with a side of history and culture, head over to the Natural History Museum instead. Luna Cinema – famous for their al fresco film nights – are taking the fun indoors and hosting pop-up Valentine’s Day-themed cinema events within the Natural History museum’s spectacular Hintze Hall (home to the amazing, gigantic Blue Whale skeleton). Viewers can pick between The Notebook (14 Feb); Pretty Woman (14 Feb); A Star is Born (16 Feb); or Love Actually (16 Feb). The price of admission includes a box of complimentary popcorn _and Life in the Dark _access to the exhibition, too.
Now in its seventh year, the Vaults Festival (which can be found in the super-cool Arches of graffiti-emblazoned Leake Street in Waterloo) brings an Edinburgh fringe-like vibe to London each February. There’s a huge array of cabaret, comedy and theatre to choose from – featuring well-known names and fledgling performers – and the fairy-lit glow of the quirky underground bar is a great place to have a relaxing drink with your special someone between shows.
Valentine’s Day: Make
Channel your inner artiste with an evening of prosecco and painting in Notting Hill. In honour of Valentine’s Day, attendees of the 14 February session will paint their own version of Swiss artist Felix Vallotton’s famous work, ‘The Kiss’. No experience is necessary (an experienced artist will be on hand to provide tips) and all materials are provided – as well as plenty of fizz!
Whether you and your loved one are master bakers, _Great British Bake Off _fans or complete novices, fun is guaranteed at The Big London Bake: the capital’s only pop-up bake off (and the setting for a truly unique Valentine’s Day date). You’re given a themed challenge and 90 minutes to bake up a storm, at the end of which time a winner will be crowned. All ingredients are provided and a professional baker will preside over the contest to help you achieve baking glory – all you need bring is your competitive spirit (all is fair in love and war – right?).
Valentine’s Day: Eat
London is famous for its sumptuous afternoon teas; and this Valentine’s Day, several of the capital’s most famous hotels are rolling out the red carpet for lovers, friends, and singletons alike. Rendezvous at the Ritz for a special afternoon tea in the famous Palm Court restaurant, where you’ll be serenaded by soprano Miranda Heldt whilst nibbling on some delightful themed confections; or, alternatively, try the ‘Sweet Love’ afternoon tea at the Dorchester. The hotel is updating its popular afternoon tea menu with a variety of delicious Valentine’s Day-inspired treats, including strawberry milkshake macarons and jasmine, honey and raspberry rose tarts.
At both the Ritz and the Dorchester, pink champagne will be flowing and guests will be given a beautiful red rose to take away with them. Cheers!
If you’re looking for romance in a beautiful – and unique – setting, look no further than the Secret Winter Garden. A hidden space in the heart of Kensington, the Secret Winter Garden gives visitors the chance to cosy up inside their very own private dome and enjoy a delicious three-course meal. Bookings last for three hours, which gives loved-up couples ample time to whisper sweet nothings whilst they feast on pan-Asian cuisine and prosecco.
Take your lover to Cloud 9 on the 16 February with a trip to the Shard. Moet & Chandon’s special Valentine’s event will take your relationship to new heights (literally): on arrival, you’ll be whisked off to the capital’s highest viewing gallery, where – thanks to the 360-degree panoramic views – you will see London as never before. Sip a glass of cold champagne, tuck into tasty nibbles from one of the premium bars, and enjoy the stunning scenery. If the mood takes you, you can move your date onto the dancefloor: DJ Cinderella will be on the decks all night, treating your ears to a combination of dance, house and classic party tunes.