London's catering to those in love and those out of it this weekend. There are plenty of Valentine's balls if you're wishing to get struck by cupid's bow, and an equal amount of alternative amore-themed events including a night championing girl power with a female-themed quiz and a screening of 'Heathers'. There's also Chinese New Year celebrations to get excited about and the cracking new 'Vogue 100' exhibition to squeeze in. Make the city your beau this weekend with our suggestions below.
Things to do
Grant Museum After Hours, Grant Museum of Zoology, TONIGHT, £6. This late opening is Valentine's themed, so drop in to find out how the animal world goes about the art of seduction. Tickets include a glass of wine.
The Scent and Spirit of London, London Transport Museum, TONIGHT, £20, £17 concs. Join the brilliantly named Odette Toilette, purveyor of olfactory adventures for an evening of talks and tastings inspired by the capital.
Feline Lonely?, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, TONIGHT, £5. Meet your pawfect match at Battersea this Valentine’s Day. Visit the Cattery, enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly and potentially meet the cat-ch you’ve always dreamed of.
For The Love of Trees, King George's Field, Sat, free. You know what they (don't) say – people who spade together, stay together. This mass tree planting day organised by independent charity Trees for Cities encourages couples (and families) to help plant a new edible urban woodland in Ealing.
Erotic Baking, Book Club, Sat, £7. Swap soppy for smutty at this Valentine's cake decorating class intended for couples or pals with a filthy sense of humour. Master bakers will arm guests with icing and decorations, providing top tips for applying x-rated imagery to their saucy sponges.
Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Sun, free. If you’re not too busy celebrating soppy stuff on February 14 you might like to welcome in the Year of the Monkey at this massive Chinese New Year celebration which will fill most of the West End with music, acrobatics, activities and pyrotechnics.
Alternative V-Day, Moth Club, Sun, free. This sassy alternative to soppy Valentine's events champions fabulous women, feminism and ultimate girl power. Activities include a female-themed quiz hosted by Sister Magazine with the chance to win Lovebox and Citadel tickets (8pm, £2 donation), a screening of 'Heathers' (9pm) and DJ sets from Cosmic Strip, Middle Fingers and more.
DIY Art Market, EPIC Dalston, Sun, free. With an eclectic array of artworks and original items including zines, ceramics and illustrations being offered by 60 exhibitors, the DIY art market is a must for lovers of the handmade.
Eating and drinking
Midnight Apothecary Valentine Special, Brunel Museum, Sat, £5. The Brunel's pop-up garden cocktail bar is hosting a Valentine's Day Special for a fourth year. Guests can expect a cosy fire pit, complimentary toasted marshmallows and cocktail infusions.
The Glam Clam, 14 Bedford Square , Sat-Sun, £49. This pop-up restaurant experience is bringing all the glitter to Bloomsbury, offering a three-course meal devised by food writer Anna Barnett that's accompanied by jazz and glamour.
Cahoots Presents a Very Squiffy Valentine's Day Picnic, Cahoots, Sun, from £42 per person. Cahoots, an underground cocktail bar in Kingly Court Station are reworking their Squiffy Picnics with a Valentine's twist. Loved up couples can enjoy one of three hampers complete with booze and a ration inspired menu which includes sandwiches, pork pies, lavender shortbread and Victoria sponge cake.
…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.
© Idil Sukan Draw HQ
Late Night Laughs, Royal Albert Hall, TONIGHT, £15. Tonight's late-night bill features 'Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe' star Diane Morgan, Matt Winning and MC Ed Gamble.
Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. 'Soothing Sounds for Baby' is both retro and cutting edge. The set up is a faux episode of 'Desert Island Discs' (featuring dialogue from Kirsty Young painstakingly spliced together for actual episodes) and Morpurgo transforms into the characters on the sleeves of his chosen vinyls.
Luisa Omielan's Valentines WWBD + Afterparty, The Forum, Sat, £20-£25 adv. Feelgood comic Luisa Omielan gets into the anti-Valentine's spirit, hosting this gig for all the single ladies. Well, singletons in general, really – but it's always good to get a Beyoncé reference in there.
…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.
Tame Impala, Alexandra Palace, Fri-Sat, £17.50-£25. Kevin Parker’s psychedelic rock gang are back in London for a huge show, where you’ll hear epic workouts from their Top Five album ‘Currents’.
Four Tet, Roundhouse, Sat, £16.50. Producing records for other artists as well as delivering marathon DJ sets and working on his own awesomely funky solo electronica, one-man digital groove machine Kieran Hebden is pretty much the busiest man on the London music scene.
The Who, Wembley Arena, Sat, £56 & £76. Stadium-filling rock hits by the two surviving members of one of the biggest bands ever.
…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.
The Artful Badger Love Potion Valentine's Ball, The Vaults, Fri-Sat, £10. Eclectic party pros TAB host two big Valentine’s parties, with bands and DJs playing funk, soul, disco, pop, house and techno, plus plenty of late-night shenanigans and wicked games for singletons and loved-up couples alike.
The So Solid Crew Valentines Ball, Electric Brixton, Sat, £5-£15. Grab your So Solid Valentine and head down to the Electric as the original garage crew take over, under the watchful eye of regular promoters and DJs Groove Control.
Supa Dupa Fly East LDN Sessions, The Laundry, Sat. A popular, fun club night soundtracked by classic hip hop and R&B jams from the '90s and early 2000s.
…or see all the parties planned this weekend.
'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' + 'Lars and the Real Girl', House of Vans, TONIGHT, free. Two days before Valentine’s, here’s the chance to tackle big questions about the nature of love with a double bill of complicated relationship dramas.
But I’m a Cheerleader!, BFI Southbank, Sun, £8.35 - £11.75 concs. The BFI always lines up the best Valentine flicks: alongside trad choices like ‘Top Hat’ and ‘The Lady Eve’, check out this delightful girl-girl comedy.
Weekend, Prince Charles Cinema, Sun, £11, £8.50 concs. Another perfect Valentine’s movie. The story is set in a mid-sized town over a 48-hour period. Easygoing, open-hearted lifeguard Russell meets outspoken, sharp-tongued Glen, an aspiring artist, at a club on a Friday night.
Roman Holiday, Regent Street Cinema, Sun, £11, £10 concs. This near-perfect romcom gave an unknown actress called Audrey Hepburn her ‘hello world’ moment in 1953 – making her an overnight star at 24.
Or at the cinema...
A Bigger Splash ★★★★☆ Ralph Fiennes steals the latest melodrama from Tilda Swinton and 'I Am Love' director Luca Guadagnino.
Zoolander 2 ★★★★☆ Yes, it's far from deep – but this 'Zoolander' sequel delivers what fans will be after: ample celeb cameos and an equal amount of lunatic plotting.
…or see all of the latest releases.
© Bill Knight
In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises), Gate Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£20, £7.50-£15 concs. A powerful, experimental two-hander about a couple having a baby.
Ursula Martinez: Free Admission, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15-£25 (£12.50-£17.50 concs). Performance artist Martinez builds a wall and tells blunt truths in a fine new show.
Rabbit Hole, Hampstead Theatre, Fri-Sat, £28-£35, concs available. You can see why this play about grief made waves on Broadway, but it feels a bit distant.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices.
This week's best new art
Vogue 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, all weekend, £19, £17.50 concs. Fashion may be fickle, but the fashion photographer’s lens is also a mirror. ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style’ is as much a reflection of a hundred years of our history as it is a celebration of the original glossy.
Premiums: Interim Projects, Royal Academy of Arts, all weekend, free. Featuring painting, photography, performance, sculpture, installation and video, this interim showcase of second year Royal Academy Schools students reveals the diversity of the three-year postgraduate course as well as profiling the emerging talent of the art stars of tomorrow.
Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian Drawings from the Lanigan Collection, Leighton House Museum, all weekend, £10, £8 concs. 2016 at Leighton House Museum kicks off with an extensive exhibition featuring over 100 drawings and sketches by the Pre-Raphaelites and their contemporaries organised by the National Gallery of Canada.
…or see all London art reviews.
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