The big day is looming. You know the one: it turns half of the population into unbearably dewy-eyed romantics and the other half into stony-faced sceptics. Obviously we're talking about Valentine's Day. It's not for everyone, but it is a rather good excuse to step out for something fun, weird, tasty, cynical or whatever else London's ingenious promoters have to offer. We've picked out some of the best things to do in the run up to, and including, the almighty V-Day, whether you're looking for a last-minute date, fancy a spot of crafts or just want to get soppy.
On Friday night, author and choose-your-own-adventure dater Kit Lovelace hosts his regular Romantic Misadventures in Dalston, during which he, and guests, regale the audience with embarrassing and entertaining stories about their misshapen love lives. On a similar, but more morbid note, the late diarist Samuel Pepys will reveal Tales of Plague on Sunday afternoon in Tower Hill and explain how he fared in love during such a deadly time.
No date? No worries! On Wednesday night in central London Down With Dating will be offering disgruntled singletons the chance to 'speed hate' and bond over everything that really gets your goat.
Arts and crafts
London Local – a group of Etsy sellers based in the capital – are taking over Nanna's Café in Islington on Saturday for an Alternative Valentine's Craft Night involving blindfolded drawing, origami, crepe paper flower-making and love-poem writing.
All You Knit is Love comes as an alternative to the alternative with a spot of charity on Valentine's Day morning. Head down to The Book Club in Shoreditch from 11am, where they'll be holding a 'knit-in' to make blankets for refugees in Europe, and, while you're at it, you can make a love-themed gift too.
Food made fun
One of the most popular V-Day pastimes is going out for dinner, but why not mix it up this year? On Sunday Uncle Barts, a speakeasy-styled bar in South Ken, is hosting a sumptuous Chocolate Cocktail Masterclass in Prohibition-era drinks, but with added cocoa. Or turn the heat up with The Book Club's saucy Saturday afternoon cooking class, Erotic Baking, where participants (in groups of two) will ice like they've never iced before.
© Ian Macaulay
All the sensitive souls out there will no doubt want to fill Valentine's Day to the brim with schmaltz, and for that we've got just the tickets. How about an Evening with the Stars? At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich couples can do a bit of stargazing through an 18-tonne Victorian telescope and watch a show about the night sky in the planetarium. Alternatively, try a Sunset Concert featuring pieces by Bach, Vivaldi and Handel, which is being held in a flippin' eighteenth-century castle on Shooters Hill that was built by a grieving widow. Wow.
Find more Valentine's Day events in London this year.