The hit Ealing Music & Film Festival returns to west London for 2020 with five-days of entertainment. Now in its eighth year, this annual cultural festival lights up gloomy February with an eclectic mix of theatre, music, film and more. From 12-16 February, a host of venues across the West London district hosts workshops, screenings, concerts, plays and more for all ages.
The EMFF kicks off with a lunchtime concert by woodwind ensemble The Thorne Trio at St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, followed by an afternoon immersive performance by the UWL’s London College of Music’s Headspace Project, concluded with a screening of Nino Oxilia’s Faustian classic Rapsodia Satanica (1915) accompanied by alternative soundtracks composed by LCM students.
The festival continues with a wide selection of entertainment to suit different tastes, including award-winning choir Tenebrae; a UWL production of the play Enron; the Ealing Youth Orchestra; the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and Opera Holland Park Un Ballo in Maschera. Among the workshops on offer include percussion and vlogging (both on 15 Feb). Meanwhile, for those in the mood for some romance – or not – on Valentine’s Day, watch a screening of classic love story Brief Encounter or rock opera Tommy.
- Ealing Music and Film Festival is on from 12 – 16 February 2020. Venues include Weston Hall, St Barnabas, William Barry Theatre and Lawrence Hall. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common or South Ealing. Tickets range from free to £25. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in February, click here.
Treat your love or celebrate your fabulous singledom at one of London’s many Valentine’s events, from film screenings to workshops to 1920s themed ‘dos.
If doesn’t matter if you’re single or coupled up, there’s plenty going on in London in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. If you’re loved up and fancy something a bit different from dinner at your favourite local restaurant, why not treat your other half to a party, film screening or evening of poetry? Meanwhile, if you’re still looking for your Mr or Miss Right, head to one of London’s Valentine’s parties or dating events.
Here’s a guide to the best Valentine’s Day events on in London this February 2020.
- 12 February : Fashion Roundtable
Q&A and workshop celebration of love for Valentine’s Day, discussing music, vintage, identity, inclusion and all things love with singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and LGBTQ+ writer, model and activist Jamie Windust. 7pm-10pm. Tickets: £35.08–£57.18. The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PT. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.
- 12 February : Cinema Night @ View from the Shard
Watch A Star Is Born (2019) while enjoying 360 views of London from the top of The Shard. You’ll also be served complimentary Mermaid Gin and Tonic and fresh popcorn. From 8pm. Tickets: £45. View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit The View From The Shard website.
- 12 February : Murder on the Barts Floor… Valentine’s Special
Murder mystery experience at a 1920s Chelsea speakeasy. Collect all the clues and interrogate the suspects to find out whodunnit. 7pm-9pm. Tickets: £30pp (inc complimentary cocktail). Barts, 87 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, SW3 3DW. Nearest stations: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Barts website.
- 12 – 14 February : Pop-up cinema @ Rivoli Ballroom
Vintage ’50s ballroom hosts a pop-up cinema, featuring screenings of The Notebook, Pretty Women and Romeo + Juliet. 8pm. Tickets: £12. Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY. Nearest station: Crofton Park. For more information, visit the Rivoli Ballroom website.
- 13 February : Late Night Keats – ‘Sick of Love’
Late-night opening of poet John Keats’ former London home, featuring readings, activities and a bar. 6.30pm-9pm. Tickets: £10. Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the Eventbrite website.
- 14 February : The Godfathers’ Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre
The Godfathers return with their Valentine’s rock ‘n’ roll gig. 7pm-10pm. Tickets: £18.15. Dingwalls, Middle Yard, Camden Yard, NW1 8AB. Nearest station: Camden Town or Camden Road. For tickets, visit Ticketweb.
- 14 February : The Soul of Nine Simone @ Jazz Cafe
The Black Voices Quintet perform music legend Nina Simone’s greatest hits. 7pm-10.30pm. Tickets: £15 (standing), £25 (restaurant). Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PG. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Jazz Café website.
- 14 February : Valentine in Paris
The London Philharmonic Orchestra performs music by Ravel and Saint-Saëns. From 7.30pm. Tickets £14-£65. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest stations: Waterloo or Embankment. For tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 14 February : Valentine’s Day Speed Dating
Charity speed dating evening with money raised going to The Foundation for Live Research. Registration from 7pm, speed dating 7.30pm-9.30pm. Tickets: £25 (inc welcome drink). The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, SW11 4PF. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For tickets, visit Eventbrite. Read the rest of this entry
Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, are single or loved up, there’s something for everyone in London over the Valentine’s Day period. From slushfest romantic dates to fun and cheese-free events.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so Londoners everywhere are being bombarded with images of hearts and roses. Of course, it’s a commercial day which encourages you to spend money on your beloved. If you’re in a couple and looking for something a bit different from the standard overpriced set menu in a restaurant, check out this guide to what’s on in London. Many of the events, such as balls and comedy nights, are open to singles and couples, so you can still have fun and embrace the day regardless of your single status.
- 9 February : Lost Hearts – A Valentine’s Ball
A masked ball spanning four floors at the Century Club, featuring eerie, exotic and eccentric performers, drinking and dancing. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £20. The Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, W1D 6LQ. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit A Curious Invitation website.
- 9 February : The Candlelight Club’s Valentine’s Ball
Pop-up vintage nightclub The Candlelight Club host a Valentine’s ball. Hosted by Champagne Charlie, there will live music from the Bubbly Boys, tunes from vintage DJs Bee’s Knees and dancing from the Gatsby Girls. Meanwhile, in the Cabaret Lounge, Hot Swing Bohème will be playing gypsy jazz, while Marcel Lucont will host two cabaret shows featuring acrobatics duo Deux Ailes, burlesque bombshell Bonnie Fox and comic singing by La Poule Plombée. Despite Valentine’s styling, the event welcomes groups and singles, rather than just couples. 7pm-12am. Tickets from £30pp. Tables start from £65pp. At a secret east London location. For tickets, visit the Candlelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of TCC, click here.
- 10 and 14 February : Valentine’s @ Keat’s House
A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Afternoon Poems: Love Poetry on Sunday 10 February (2pm-3pm) and Valentine’s Late Night Keats on Thursday 14 February (6.30pm-9pm). Afternoon Poems is free, while Late Night Keats is £15 (includes drink). Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- 11 – 17 February : Chocolate Cocktails @ Old Bengal Bar
The Old Bengal Bar are creating a special chocolate cocktail menu for Valentine’s Day. Drinks include Dark Chocolate and Chilli Martini, White Chocolate Delight and a Baileys and Mint Chocolate Martini. Drinks: £9.75 (include complimentary mint chocolate shot). Old Bengal Bar, 16 New Street, City of London, EC2M 4TR. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Old Bengal Bar website.
- 12 – 15 February : Barry White: Love God of Soul: Starring Shenton Dixon @ Boisdale
The Canary Wharf branch of Boisdale is hosting four days of music and food, inspired by the late Barry White. Tribute act Shenton Dixon will perform the Walrus of Soul’s classic hits while you enjoy a meal. Gig starts at 9.15pm. Tickets: £15-£99 (depending on date, package or drinks only). Boisdale, Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.
- 13 – 14 February : Valentine’s @ Dirty Bones
Dirty Bones in Kensington are celebrating Valentine’s with special events and menus. On 13 February, enjoy a screening of When Harry Met Sally with popcorn, 2 cocktails and 25% food discounts if you eat before, after or during the movie. On actual Valentine’s Day, you can take part in the ‘Uh Huh Honey Cocktail Masterclass’ and learn how to make Dirty Bones’ Valentine’s cocktail, the Rose-Tinted Club (available 11-17 Feb). Film screening on Wed 13 Feb @ 7.30pm, tickets £10pp. Masterclass on Thu 14 Feb @ 6.30pm, tickets £45pp. Dirty Bones, Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8. Nearest station: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit Dirty Bones website. To book masterclass, email Kensington@dirty-bones.com or for movie tickets, check out DesignMyNight.
- 13 – 15 February : Pop-Up Cinema @ Rivoli Ballroom
Watch classic movies Pretty Woman, Romeo + Juliet or Ghost in the striking 1950s surrounds of the Rivoli Ballroom. 8pm. Tickets: £12. Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY. Nearest station: Crofton Park. For more information, visit the Rivoli Ballroom website. Read the rest of this entry
It’s the florist’s favourite holiday… yes we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. Now, admittedly it can seem like contrived romance, but if you don’t spend enough time treating your loved one, it can be a good kick up the backside to crank up the lurve! However, if gazing in each others’ eyes over a candlelit meal seems too cliché, there’s a host of different Valentine’s themed events to cater for all kinds of interests. With Valentine’s Day falling bang in the middle of the week, plenty of places are holding early or late celebrations over both weekends. If you’re single, or hate any kind of romance, then there’s also some fun activities and parties going on too.
- 9 – 10 and 16 – 17 February : Film & Fizz at One Aldwych
Enjoy a three-course dinner at Indigo, a glass of Champagne Lallier and watch All The Money In The World or Darkest Hour in the hotel’s private screening room. Tickets: Dinner, drinks & film: £55pp. One Aldwych Hotel, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- 10 February : The Candlelight Club’s Valentine’s Ball
Pop-up vintage roaming nightclub The Candlelight Club host a Valentine’s ball. Featuring live jazz from the London Dance Orchestra and DJ Auntie Maureen, performances from Gatsby Girls, while in the Cabaret Lounge there will be live music from Café Manouche, two cabaret shows hosted by Champagne Charlie, featuring song and dance from Ginger Blush, tap dancing from Josephine Shaker and acrobatics from Deux Ailes. 7pm-12am. Tickets from £30pp. Tables also available. At a secret London location. For tickets, visit the Candelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of TCC, click here.
- 11 – 16 February : Valentine’s @ Keats’ House
A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Valentine’s Guided Tour: ‘Love is my religion’ on Sun 11 Feb at 11.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm; The Poetry of Desire with Liz Berry and Richard Scott on Wed 14 Feb at 7pm and Late Night Keats: Ah! Dearest Love on Fri 16 Feb at 7pm. Ticket prices vary. Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- 12 February : A Night Of Whitney
A musical tribute to the Queen of love ballads with her greatest hits performed by a full live band. 7pm-11pm. Tickets: Early Bird £12, Standard £16. Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PG. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Jazz Café website.
- 14 February : A Romantic Renaissance @ British Museum
Daytime talk exploring symbols of love and marriage in the Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum. 1.15pm-2pm. Free entry. Room 2a, British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG. Nearest station: Russell Square or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the British Museum website.
- 14 February : Valentines with Patti Boulaye – Billie and Me
Enjoy a three-course feast while listening to a live performance of Patti Boulaye OBE, singing Billie Holiday. Shows @ 7.15pm and 9.30pm. Tickets: £30 (music, no dinner) or dinner packages start from £69.50. Boisdale, Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Boisdale website. Read the rest of this entry
Is it that time already? Christmas feels like yesterday, and now it’s time to splash the cash again on that special person in your life. Or perhaps you’re single and dread this time of year? With Valentine’s Day taking place midweek this year, there’s a host of themed events taking place on both weekends either side of the date. If you’re happily single or looking for love, then there’s also plenty of anti-Valentine’s events on around town too.
For a guide what else is on in London in February, click here.
- Valentine’s Masked Ball of the Full Moon (10 February)
A masked ball featuring four stages, three immersive realms and a huge cast of performers. Including walzer-meister Troylus Searll, London Gay Symphony Orchestra, Electric Swing Circus, DJ Rockit Riyad, Chivaree Circus, Morpheus’ Masseuses, the Blue Moon Cabaret featuring Benjamin Louche, Ungewinster, Syban V, Lolo Brow, Cynth Icon and Sacha Dieu, hot tub movies, and food. Dress code: Surrealist, fairy tale, futurist, lace, Mardi Gras, Venice Carnival, tribal and animals. Masks optional. 9pm-4am. Tickets: From £15. Coronet Theatre, 28 New Kent Road, SE1 6TJ. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information and tickets, visit A Curious Invitation website.
- Valentine’s Candlelit Late @ Sir John Soane’s Museum (10 February)
Late-night opening of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, the former home of the 19th century architect, which is full of his sculptures, painting and antiquities. Also including two complimentary cocktails and some more surprises. 6.30-9.30pm. £30. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John’s Soane Museum website.
- Galactic Love (10 and 11 February)
Feral (aka The Artful Badger) are hosting another amorous adventure in The Vaults below Waterloo station for both singles and couples. As part of The Vault Festival, there will be live bands, DJs, FERAL performers, dating games, face painting, stalls, games, treats and more across the tunnels. Fancy dress code: ‘Tron Toads, Rocket Man Racoon, Binary Star Bear, Moon Monkey, Planetary Pet, Spaceflight Fox, Intergalactic Insect, Frisky Fighter Pilot, El-Wire Weasel, Pluto Pop Star, Astronaut Aardvark, Amorous Alien, Starfleet Stork, Interspecies couple, Barbarella Bear, or any galactic creature.’ From 10.30pm-3am. Tickets start from £16 (early bird) or £22 (advance). The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit The Vault Festival website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on The Vault Festival’s highlights, click here.
- Valentine’s Day @ Aquum (10 – 14 February)
Enjoy a romantic foodie feast for two at Clapham bar and restaurant Aquum. Featuring eight meze sharing plates, a starry-eyed sharing dessert, and a complimentary bottle of Prosecco. Dishes include Pork Rib Eye Steak, Lemon-Oregano Chicken, and Greek-style Fries (veggie option also available). £27.50pp. Aquum, 68-70 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UL. Nearest stations: Clapham North, Clapham High Street or Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Aquum website. For Metro Girl’s review of Aquum, click here.
- Shaggers: Valentine’s Special (11 February)
For those with a naughty sense of humour, head for some stand-up comedy on the subject of sex. 7-9pm. Tickets: £15. Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, Chinatown, WC2H 7BX. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Leicester Square Theatre website.
- Valentine’s Events @ Keats’ House (11 – 12 February)
A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Late night opening on Sat 11 Feb from 6.30pm-9pm, Afternoon Poems: Love Is… on Sun 12 Feb from 2-3pm and Valentine’s Guided Tour: ‘Love is my religion’ on Sun 12 Feb at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Ticket prices vary. Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- Film & Fizz at One Aldwych (12 and 14 February)
Enjoy a three-course dinner at Indigo, a glass of Champagne Lallier and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the hotel’s private screening room. Sun 12 screening @ 4.30pm, Tues 14 @ 6.30pm. Tickets: Dinner, drinks & film: £55pp. One Aldwych Hotel, 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- Making Love in the Queen’s House (14 February)
Enjoy a Prosecco afternoon tea while listening to the love stories of the royals who lived in the stunning 17th century Queen’s House in Greenwich. 2-4.30pm. Tickets: £25 (£22 members). Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest station: Maze Hill, Cutty Sark (DLR) or Greenwich. For booking, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
- Black Cat Cabaret / Joey Arias at Live @ Zedel (14 February)
Live At Zedel at the Crazy Coqs are presenting two shows for lovers. The Black Cat Cabaret will be performing their Salon des Artistes show at 7pm, featuring comic song, live music, showmanship and burlesque. Tickets: £35 (show only), £52.75 (show and three-course meal at Brasserie Zedel). The second show of the night will be New York based cabaret singer and drag artist Joey Arias with his Valentine’s special Love Bites at 9pm. Tickets: £18. Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website. For a review of a show at Zedel, click here.
- Sing-a-long Moulin Rouge! (14 February)
Watch and sing-a-long at a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! 8.30pm. Tickets: £16. Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, Chinatown, WC2H 7BY. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and booking, visit the Prince Charles Cinema website. Read the rest of this entry
It’s that time of year again! When anyone attached is expected to pull out all the stops to demonstrate their love. While, evidently the whole event can be quite commercialised, it can be a subtle reminder to spend a bit more quality time with your loved one. Fortunately, London’s attractions, bars and restaurants have got plenty of romantic events on to suit your budget. I highly recommend booking any of the events in advance as they are highly likely to sell-out in advance. Here’s a guide to what’s on in London over the Valentine’s Day weekend for both couples and singles.
For a guide to non-Valentine’s events in London in February, click here.
- Film & Fizz at One Aldwych (12, 13 and 14 February)
Enjoy a three-course dinner at Indigo, a glass of Champagne Lallier and watch Carol or Dr Zhivago in the hotel’s private screening room. Fri 12 & Sat 13 screenings @ 6.30pm and 9pm, Sun 14 @ 2pm. Tickets: Dinner, drinks & film: £55pp, Film & champagne only (9pm screening) £25pp. One Aldwych Hotel, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- Valentine’s Weekend @ The London Eye (12 – 14 February)
Celebrate Valentine’s while enjoying one of the best views in London. Packages include the Valentine’s Champagne Experience (£37.50pp) for a glass of champagne and Hotel Chocolat luxury chocolates or I Only Have Eyes For You Cocktails (£45pp) with two romantic themed cocktails per person and savoury nibbles. If you really want to splash out, the Valentine’s Cupid Capsule (£380) is a whole capsule for just the two of you, including champagne, chocolates and roses. London Eye, Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Road, Southbank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and tickets, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.
- Lost Hearts – Valentine’s Masked Ball (12 February)
A masked ball featuring four stages, three immersive realms and a huge cast of performers. Including The Turbans, Miguel Dare, London Digital Circus. Dress code: Surrealist, fairy tale, futurist, lace, Mardi Gras, Venice Carnival, tribal and animals. Masks optional. 9pm-4am. Tickets: £12 early bird. Coronet Theatre, 28 New Kent Road, SE1 6TJ. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information and tickets, visit A Curious Invitation website.
- Valentine’s Late @ Kew Gardens (13 February)
Enjoy a Brazilian-themed evening at Kew Gardens’ Princess Of Wales Conservatory. Check out the Orchid Festival, before build-your-own cocktail, take a Latin dance class and listen to live music. 6-9.30pm. Tickets: £25 (£20 members). Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Dirty Dancing Party @ Archer Street (13 February)
Soho bar Archer Street are hosting a Valentine Dirty Dancing party with cocktails and staff recreating songs and performance from the film and stage show. 2pm-1am. Archer Street, 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7AP. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Archer Street website.
- Valentine’s Day – The Masked Ball (13 February)
The Bootleg Club are hosting a special Valentine’s edition of their secret parties. Guests are encouraged to wear eye masks until midnight, before taking them off to reveal their true identities. Dress code: Gentlemen – Black tie, white shirt and velvet smoking jacket, Ladies – black silks, lace and velvet. 8pm-1am. Tickets from £25. Stationer’s Hall, Ave Maria Lane, City of London, EC4M 7DD. Nearest station: St Pauls. For more information, visit the Bootleg Club’s Facebook page.
- Valentine’s Day Weekend @ View From The Shard (13 – 14 February)
The Shard is open until midnight so couples can watch the lights of London twinkling later that usual. The Champagne Experience with bubbly and gourmet popcorn is also on offer. 10am-12am. Tickets: £25.95 The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the View From The Shard website. For Metro Girl’s review of a late night event at The Shard, click here.
- Macarons & Mews Tour (13 – 14 February)
The ‘Macarons & Mews’ tour explores the hidden corners of Belgravia and Knightsbridge while sampling some of the best macarons the area has to offer. The walk includes 5 tastings and there is time for additional purchases. Tours depart at 2pm from Hyde Park Corner station. £20pp. For more information, visit London Unravelled, or to book, visit Eventbrite.
- Valentine’s Day @ The Deck (14 February)
A pop-up restaurant comes to the exclusive rooftop venue above the National Theatre for one day only, which is not normally open to the public. Enjoy a four-course brunch cooked by executive sous chef at the National Theatre, Jason Wild, with bottomless Prosecco or Bloody Marys. Settings at 11am or 2pm. Tickets: £55pp. The Deck, National Theatre, Upper Ground, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
This guide is for 2015, for a new guide to what’s on in London this Valentine’s Day 2016, click here.
Yes it’s that time of year again – hearts, flowers, chocolates… aka Valentine’s Day. While big gestures are encouraged, sometimes it’s just a bit too hard to find the energy to dream up an original celebration. For those wanting to mark the day of love with something a bit different from their usual favourite Indian restaurant down the road, here’s a guide to just some of the special events on in London this Valentine’s Day. I would strongly advise booking most of these in advance as they are unlikely to have availability on the night. However, if you’re single or not a fan of Valentine’s, I’ve also compiled a list of some Anti-Valentine’s events at the bottom of the post. Most events listed are on 14 February, unless otherwise specified.
- Late London : Bohemian City (13 February)
Late night opening at the Museum Of London in honour of Sherlock Holmes (exhibition currently on at museum until April), featuring Trans-Siberian marching band performances, Desire Lines installation, Absinthe Chalkboard Philosophy workshop, a licensed bar and life drawing. 7-10pm. Tickets: £12 (event only), £18 (event plus exhibition). Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and booking, visit the Museum Of London website.
- Valentine’s Week @ Vinopolis (14 and 15 February)
Celebrate Valentine’s with your loved one and wine at Vinopolis. The Valentine’s Day package for two includes Framboise Fizz sparking wine cocktail each, 2 x Essential Wine Tasting tickets, cheese and charcuterie sharing plate and a bottle of Prosecco. Tickets: £70 for two people. Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, SE1 9BU. Nearest tube/overland: London Bridge. For information and booking, visit the Vinopolis website. Read Metro Girl’s review of Vinopolis here.
- Film & Fizz at One Aldwych – Pretty Woman (13 and 14 February)
Enjoy a three-course dinner in Axis, a glass of Champagne Lallier and watch Pretty Woman in the hotel’s private screening room. £49.50 per person. One Aldwych Hotel, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- Valentine’s Day at The Deck (14 February)
A pop-up restaurant comes to the exclusive rooftop venue above the National Theatre for one night only, which is not normally open to the public. Enjoy a four-course meal and welcome drink on arrival while looking at the sights of the Thames. Settings at 5pm or 8pm (sold out as of 5 Feb). Tickets: £75pp. The Deck, National Theatre, Upper Ground, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit The Deck website.
Pop-up restaurants are all the rage right now and with Valentine’s Day coming up, what better way to treat your partner or a friend than to share a unique dining experience with them.
This year, the team behind Pepper And Stew – an African cooking sauce and condiments company – are hosting their first ever pop-up restaurant for one night only so you can sample some good African home cooking. To give you an idea of just some of the dishes which will appear on the night, amongst the starters Pepper & Stew have posted on their Facebook page include Boerewors meatball salad with Red Onions, Crunchy Apple and Balsamic Vinegar on a Bed of Rocket or Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Soup with Toasted Bread, which look absolutely delicious.
As well as a five-course meal and complimentary cocktail on arrival, there will also be entertainment in the form of music and dancing. You are also invited to BYOB to accompany your meal.
- My African Valentine is on Saturday 15th February 2014 from 7.30pm – midnight. Tickets cost £30 and include a five course meal and cocktail. Maida Hill Place, 4 Fernhead Rd, Maida Hill, W9 3ET. Nearest tube: Westbourne Park. To book, visit Eventbrite.co.uk.
This guide is for 2014, for a new guide to what’s on in London this Valentine’s Day 2016, click here.
Valentine’s Day – the one day of the year when couples feel pressure to make a big song and dance about their loved one. While many couples may keep things simple with their favourite takeaway or a table at their local restaurant, some men and women will be looking to pull out all the stops to make the night special. Here’s some ideas and listings of things on in London during Valentine’s. Most events are on 14 February unless otherwise specified.
- Love Nest Valentine’s Ball @ Old Vic Tunnels (14, 15 and 16 February)
The Artful Badger is hosting the Love Nest Valentine’s Ball over three consecutive days at the Old Vic Tunnels underneath Waterloo station. Featuring live bands, DJs, performers, interactive theatre and kissograms. Couples and singles welcome. Fancy dress encouraged. 14 Feb 8pm-2am, 15-16 Feb 8pm-4am. Tickets: £25. Old Vic Tunnels, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 8SW. Nearest tube/overland Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Old Vic website.
- Night Safari Valentine’s Special @ Natural History Museum
Choose one of the two tours – the beautiful or the ugly – to see the stunning side of nature, or the world’s most gruesome creatures. 7-10pm. Tickets: Non-members £28, Members £25. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.
- Valentine’s Day Late @ Churchill War Rooms
Celebrate Valentine’s Day vintage-style under the streets of Whitehall. Featuring dance workshops with the London Swing Dance Society, 1940s-style letter writing, champagne and other drinks at the pop-up bar. Tickets £17.50. Churchill War Rooms, Clive Steps, King Charles Street, Whitehall, SW1A 2AQ. Nearest tube: Westminster. For more information and tickets, visit the IWM website.
- The Georgian Valentine’s Ball @ British Library
A Georgian-inspired banquet in the grand entrance hall of the British Library, featuring historical feasts, interactive performance, baroque musicians and Quadrilles. Tickets: £35. 7.30-10.30pm. British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest tube: Euston or King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and tickets, visit the British Library website.
- Friday Lates: London Stories @ London Transport Museum
This month’s Friday Lates coincides with the opening of The Serco Prize for Illustration 2014 – London Stories. Featuring DJ, bar, storytelling on board the heritage vehicles, illustration workshops, fun photobooth and a chance to see the exhibition. Tickets: £10. 6.45pm onwards. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. Nearest tube: Covent Garden. For more information and tickets, visit the LTM website.
- Nomad Cinema comes to Hyde Park
Pop-up cinema company The Nomad Cinema screens two films on Valentine’s Day – an earlier showing of The Princess Bride @ 6.45pm or Breakfast At Tiffany’s @ 9.30pm. The secluded spot has underfloor heating, dance space under a glitterball, firepits for toasting marshmallows and a silhouette portrait workshop. Tickets £20 (includes glass of Prosecco and bar of Devine chocolate). The Lookout, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For more information and tickets, visit the Nomad Cinema website.
February 14th is fast approaching and we all know what that means… the sudden urge [or pressure ;-)] to put some romance into your relationship and make a song and dance about the fact you’re in love. Now, here at MOAMG, we believe romance should be a regular occurrence in a relationship, not just for one commercialised day a year. Nevertheless, there should never be an excuse to not be romantic on the 14th as millions of couples across the world will be doing just so.
I’ve been to Paris, Venice, Santorini and many other supposed ‘cities of romance’, but I have to say, London is incredibly romantic. It can be difficult to find yourself in an amorous mood in a city you may associate with going to work, but believe me, there are so many great places to visit with your loved one. So if you’re stuck for some ideas on what to do on Valentine’s Day, here’s a few ideas both for on the day… or if you’re organising a date at any time of year. (NB. If any require booking, obviously I would recommend booking asap due to the Valentine’s Day surge in bookings).
- Dinner cruise on the Thames
As I have blogged about previously, cruising down the Thames is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. However, at night, the city takes on a whole different look with the millions of twinkling lights and lit-up landmarks. Several companies offer dinner cruises down the Thames so you can eat, drink and be entertained while checking out the beautiful sights of London. ThamesDinnerCruise.co.uk are offering different Valentine’s Day packages depending on what you want, ranging from £37.50 to £170. Bateaux London includes food, drink and entertainment, with their Valentine’s Day packages ranging from £125-£160. For something a little different the PS Dixie Queen is a paddle steamer offering a three-hour cruise including dinner, drinks and live band, with prices ranging from £78 to £125. City Cruises, one of the most popular Thames tour companies, are offering a Valentine’s Cruise with three-course meal and live music (£100-£110) or a Valentine’s Party for those who feel like shaking their tail feather (£30 per couple).
- Walk along the Southbank
During the day, the Southbank can be a bit overwhelmed with tourists. However in the evening, the pace really changes and with the city lit up and many options to stop off for a drink or something to eat, it’s a nice place to stroll along. You could even do a pub crawl. Either start at Westminster or London Bridge – or if you have more time on your hands start or end at Tower Bridge, where there are lots of riverside restaurants and bars. Many of them include a great view and are listed on MOAMG’s Guide to London Restaurants with a View on Urbanspoon.
- Talk to the animals at London Zoo
In recent years, London Zoo has become a popular hotspot with couples for dates. In the summer, London Zoo Lates is a great date because it’s adults-only. However if you have the day off on Valentine’s Day or are celebrating it at the weekend, the zoo is open from 10am-4pm. On the 14th, tickets are £20pp, going up to £22.50pp on 16th February onwards. For more information, visit the London Zoo website.
- Hold hands for some ice skating
Although the open air ice rinks of Christmas are mostly closed, there’s still plenty of rinks in the capital in operation throughout the year. Alexandra Palace in North London is open all year round and costs between £7.50-£9. Queensway rink in West London also has a bowling alley in the same building and is open daily all year round. Price: £10.50. Planet Ice in Brixton includes themed parties in the evening, with prices starting from £5-£9. Broadgate ice rink near Liverpool Street is one of the few open-air ice rinks open past New Year’s and closes 24th February 2013.
- Fun, frolics and flirting at the Trocadero
Yes, going to the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus may sound insane to some of you, but many couples enjoy gaming together. The entertainment complex features 5D World virtual reality experience, Star Command Laser Tag, Golden Nugget Casino, a Cineworld cinema, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum or the opportunity to dress up in historical clothing for a goofy photoshoot. When you get hungry or thirsty, there’s Yo! Sushi, Ed’s Easy Diner, Rainforest Cafe and Piccadilly Institute. For more information, visit the Trocadero website.
- Museum Lates
Many people can find large school groups of children or buses full of tourists a tad overwhelming during the day, so lots of the capital’s museum host special late nights, usually monthly, for adults-only activities. As well as a chance to see the museum exhibits when it’s less busy, there is usually music, food and drink, as well as other fun activities. Sometimes there are themed evenings where guests are invited to dress up. Victoria & Albert Museum and Natural History Museum host their late nights on the last Friday of every month, Science Museum not so often so check their website for details, National Portrait Gallery is open until 9pm on Valentine’s Day (and every Thursday and Friday) and the Wellcome Collection gallery in Euston Road is open until 10pm on Valentine’s Day (and every Thursday), with current exhibition Death: A Self-Portrait proving popular. The Design Museum hosts occasional ‘Design Overtime’ nights every few months. The Museum of London and Museum Of London Docklands host regular late-night events, and for this Valentine’s Day will be hosting a 1920s-themed evening at the City museum, with absinthe, cabaret and Charleston lessons on offer. Lates at Tate Britain take place on Fridays every few months including talks, drinks and performances, while the British Museum is open until 8.30pm every Friday.
- Cocktails in a unique or lavish setting
There are tons of bars serving cocktails around the capital, but some are more special than others. If you want a good view, I recommend booking a table (or you can just walk in if you’re willing to take a risk there will be availability) at Oxo Tower on the Southbank, Galvin at Windows bar at the top of the Park Lane Hilton, Vertigo champagne bar at Tower 42 in the City, Vista rooftop bar overlooking Trafalgar Square (only open from April to September for the summer season) at the Trafalgar Hotel or the Rooftop bar at the Sanctum Soho Hotel. Other great bars without the views, but with stunning interiors include the Long Bar at the Sanderson Hotel in Fitzrovia, the Booking Office restaurant and bar at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, the Art Deco Beaufort Bar at The Savoy off The Strand, or the Cocktail Lounge at the Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell. If you don’t mind swapping cocktails for wine, then check out the unique, old ‘cave’ at Gordon’s Wine Bar near Embankment and Charing Cross tube, the oldest wine bar in London. The Queen Of Hoxton in Shoreditch is hosting their pop-up winter venue WigWamBam on their rooftop from end of October 2012 until end of March 2013, which features a wigwam with roasting fires, the chance to toast marshmallows and drink alcoholic hot chocolates. However, one of the capital’s most unusual bars has to be Cellar Door – a converted Victorian underground public toilet at Aldwych, which feature live acts from 9pm each evening. Click here for Metro Girl’s review of Cellar Door.
- Climb over the roof of the O2
For those couples who want a bit of adventure in their life, climbing up and over the roof of the O2 in Greenwich is perfect. Open all year round, Up At The O2 offers 360 degree views of the city. Tickets start from £22, but O2 Priority customers can get discounts. Metro Girl went in the summer and absolutely loved it. Here’s our review.
- Take a boat trip through Little Venice
The Thames isn’t the only waterway in London – the canals of the North side of the centre are particularly lovely. Departing from Little Venice or Camden Lock, you can ride along checking out the stunning regency architecture of the area’s townhouses, go through the dark Maida Vale tunnel and either start or end your journey at the Camden markets. In the winter (November to March), the trips only run on weekends, but are daily through the summer season (April to September). Tickets are £7.20 one way or £10.30 return. For more information, visit the Waterbus website. After your trip, stop by The Bridge House for a pint or some food.
- Or here’s some old favourites if you’re not feeling too imaginative…
Visit the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square to get up to half-price tickets for West End shows for that day. Book a romantic meal for two through TopTable. If you’re planning on going to the cinema, I highly recommend staying local to wherever you live in the capital as the venues in the West End are highly overpriced (e.g. Vue West End £13.90, Empire Leicester Square £12.95-£15.95, Odeon Leicester Square £13-£22).
For listings of what’s else is going on in London over Valentine’s Day, read MOAMG’s Guide to what’s on in London in February 2013