15 romantic ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in London
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with a never-ending list of options to show your other half how much you love them, you might want to rethink those shop-bought chocolates and flowers.
We teamed up with DesignMyNight to find the best ways to celebrate the most romantic day of the year in London and there’s something for every couple; whether that’s a Michelin-worthy meal in London or zipping down the Thames on an adrenaline-pumping speedboat experience.
York & Albany’s Gingerbread Cabin
Why book a romantic getaway when you can have a staycation? Opting to stay and explore your city has never been so popular and what better place to discover this Valentine’s than Primrose Hill? York & Albany are offering a special package this February and it's sure to get your heart racing.
Unpack your bags and make their deluxe room a home away from home before you make your way to their cute courtyard pop-up, The Gingerbread Cabin, for a spread of winter favourites - we’re talking pigs in blankets and mini mince pies. Breakfast is included the next day and you’ll be treated to Champagne and chocolates when you check in.
Bottomless Espresso Martini Pop-Up
The Espresso Martini Society are responsible for the world’s largest espresso martini menu and they’ve run a number of sold out pop-ups in London over the years, but this February they’re turning their heads towards Valentine’s. Back by popular demand, this boozy event will shake and stir some intriguing concoctions in near unlimited quantities this Valentine’s.
Tickets to this bottomless event are a steal at £25 a pop, giving you the chance to try signature sips like The Coco Loco, The After Eight and The Strawberry Dream.
Valentine’s Day can become predictable (especially if you’ve been loved-up for a few years) but Thames Rockets are here to pump some originality into your plans.
Setting sail down the Thames in a scarlet-red speedboat, this adrenaline-pumping ride will zoom you under Tower Bridge and take you past iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Shakespeare’s Globe, providing you with hundreds of photo opportunities. A romantic playlist will boom out until you’re back on dry land too, making you feel like you're the star of your very own rom com.
Dinner and lingerie at Chotto Matte
This Valentine’s Day, Soho restaurant Chotto Matte has partnered with luxury lingerie brand MYLA to offer five women a surprise gift of a matching lingerie set from the brand’s Elm Row range.
Just book for Chotto Matte’s exclusive Valentine’s set menu and cross your fingers - five of the restaurant’s chocolate fondant desserts served on 14 and 15 February will conceal a prize-winning red centre.
And even if you don’t win, the £75 per person menu offers a range of delicious sharing dishes including Padron peppers, Pink Champagne tiradito, Golden sea bream chive gyoza, Warm wagyu beef tataki, Valentine’s nigiri, Pollo den miso and Maíz Huancaina, complemented by an Eternal Flame cocktail.
Journey into the rainforest at Amazónico
Love can often be hot and steamy, so where better to get in the mood than at Mayfair’s hottest new addition - the unexpectedly gorgeous rainforest-themed restaurant Amazónico.
Take a journey down the Amazon River with the restaurant’s latest cocktail, devised just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Rumble in the Jungle, made with Pisco, passionfruit, Cocchi Americano Vermouth, lemon and topped off with champagne.
Amazónico was recently selected as one of GQ’s most romantic restaurants, so book now to avoid disappointment.
Champagne by the glass at Bob Bob Cité
While Bob Bob Cité, to its credit, eschews anything too overtly Valentine’s-related, both it and its sister restaurant Bob Bob Ricard pour more champagne than almost any other restaurant in the UK. Perfect for loved-up couples and groups of friends looking for a way to escape Valentine’s Day alike, champagne is available by the glass and will be sent to your table at the push of a button. Enjoy the bubbles amind the opulent restaurants’ gorgeous design while tucking into classics such as Boeuf en Croûte for two, or Lobster Macaroni aux Quatre Fromages.
An intimate booth at Julie’s in Holland Park
Julie’s Restaurant in Holland Park has long been known for its romantic ambiance. Indeed, the restaurant’s intimate booths have earned the restaurant a reputation for being home to dangerous liaisons between famous names - with one alcove even being dubbed the G-spot. As Fay Maschler says in her review in the Evening Standard, Julie’s has long stood for “naughtiness, nookie and fun”.
Famous faces who have been spotted enjoying the mischief over the years include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and even Princess Diana. Book a private spot and enjoy some mischief of your own along with a four-course Valentine’s Day feast featuring Sea bass tartare, Hereford beef fillet and Clotted cream mousse.
Spectacular views at The Gherkin
Where better to celebrate Valentine’s Day than at a London icon? Both Helix restaurant and Iris bar at the top of the Gherkin offer glorious views over the capital, and with specially designed Valentine’s menus available in both, plus private dining rooms and live entertainment, there are plenty of reasons to head to the classic Norman Foster-designed skyscraper.
Sky-High Winter Chalet
There’s a mighty selection of rooftops to choose from in London and one we’re very fond of can be found only a couple minute’s walk from Trafalgar Square.
Rooftop St James offers unobstructed views of the city’s skyline and this February you can treat the love of your life to twinkling lights as you dine on a bespoke Valentine’s Day menu, which includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rosé on arrival, followed by an amuse bouche and a choice of starters, mains and desserts - all for £65.
Vintry & Mercer
Vintry and Mercer is one of the city's prettiest boutique hotels (and that’s without squeezing their fairy-lit rooftop igloos into the equation). Located in the heart of London, their skyline restaurant is a great option for Valentine’s Day if you like eye-spying city favourites like St Paul’s and The Shard.
Their five-course Valentine’s menu includes a range of dishes, from pan fried lobster to lamb saddle, and they have an alternative vegetarian menu if you’re keen to go meat-free. A complimentary glass of Champagne is part of the set menu too, giving you a hand on toasting to your romantic evening ahead.
Bloomsbury Club Bar
Bloomsbury Club Bar has hosted takeovers from some of the best bars in the world and they gave their cocktail menu an interesting twist towards the end of 2019. So, if you’re looking for a Valentine’s date to satisfy the fussiest of cocktail connoisseurs, you’ve just found it.
Inspired by a special deck of tarot cards from 1910, you can pick straight from the menu or let a fortune-telling machine predict your favoured cocktail, depending on your current mood. Let’s just hope it doesn’t land on ‘Flaming Venom’.
Michelin-trained chef James Cochran opened 12:51 in 2018 and it’s been a firm favourite amongst critics and foodies alike. For Valentine’s weekend the humble Upper Street restaurant will offer an eight-course tasting menu, which will kick off with the chef’s take on a Piña Colada.
Imaginative dishes include squid ink potato and chip shop curry sauce alongside James’s infamous buttermilk fried chicken with 12:51 Scotch bonnet jam. If you’re after an adventurous evening for your taste buds, it’s sure to tick all the dinner date boxes.
Movie Experience At The Top Of The Shard
It’s always wise to make an effort on Valentine’s but if you really want to push the boat out, we recommend the UK’s highest cinema experience that’s taking over The Shard. Soar 69 floors above London’s busting streets for jaw-dropping views and one of the most romantic movie nights of your life.
Tickets include fresh boxes of popcorn alongside a complimentary cocktail, but don’t worry - the bar’s open for the duration of A Star Is Born incase you need to have a little sob away from your date.
Bateaux’s Glass Room
If a speedboat isn’t the path you want to lead your Valentine down but you’re still interested in the prospect of being on water, Bateaux’s Glass Room has what you’re looking for. Their Valentine’s experience will bring you down the Thames on a unique cruise where you’ll be welcomed aboard with a rosé Champagne reception.
Live music will set the scene as you dine on a five-course meal and the heartache of queuing has been removed with unlimited house wine for the duration of the experience.
All About Gatsby
Get away from it all this Valentine’s as the London Cabaret Club takes you back in time to relive Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. This 1920s-themed evening encourages you to look the part as they take you on a journey with sultry cabaret performances until the early hours.
Packages start from £45 with the top tier Royal Diamond ticket giving you the full VIP treatment; think a five-course menu, half a bottle of Moët & Chandon, a theatrical cocktail alongside an exclusive meet and greet with show stars.
For more info on the best places to spend Valentine’s Day in London and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight.com or @DesignMyNight on Instagram and Facebook.