3 Love It
Save it

Alternative romantic things to do in London

Dodge the cheesy clichés and do something original with these mush-free romantic things to do in London

Want to do something special without buying into all the flowers and other mind-meltingly mushy nonsense? Skip the chocolates and teddies and treat your beloved to something different, with our guide to non-naff romantic things to do in London.

Non-naff romantic things to do in London

Don't buy blooms from the petrol station

Don't buy blooms from the petrol station

Do learn how to whip up a terrarium

Giving flowers can be dangerous; how can you know which flowers to send when you don’t know how you feel? Red roses mean ‘love’ and yellow ‘friendship’, but we don’t think there’s an official flower for ‘you’ll do until I find someone better’. Happily, lovely London florist Grace & Thorn hosts regular terrarium-making classes. And there’s not a lot you can read into something that’s transparent.

First Tuesday of every month. £65. Grace & Thorn, E2 7AX.

Don't make a baby

Don't make a baby

Do build a Lego robot

Multi-tasking spot Drink, Shop & Do host regular evenings of Lego robots. It’s the perfect activity for creative commitment-phobes; a weirdly bonding activity, it requires teamwork and a shared vision, but then at the end of the night you can just dismantle your ‘bot and go your separate ways.

Free when you buy a drink. Check website for future dates. Drink, Shop & Do, N1 9DX.

Don't share a plate of spaghetti

Don't share a plate of spaghetti

Do share a plate of heart

Sharing spaghetti is old hat and, more to the point, incredibly messy; what are you, a cartoon dog? Instead, head down to Jidori (we gave it a five-star review) on Kingsland High Street and share some chicken heart skewers. Romance tastes delicious.

Jidori, E8 2PB.

Advertising
Don't send a mindless card full of soppy verse

Don't send a mindless card full of soppy verse

Do polish-up on your punning

On selected Mondays, The Book Club in Shoreditch hosts Pundemonium!, a night of competitive wordplay. Comedians, poets and a guest dad battle it out in game shows, to be crowned the ultimate pundit. It's billed as an event for 'compulsive punners and their carers' and quickly shapes up into a perfect night of punnilingus.

Selected Mondays, check website for details. £5. The Book Club, EC2A 4RH.

Don't drink champagne

Don't drink champagne

Do go whisky tasting

Once a wedding dress boutique, Cadenhead’s on Chiltern Street is one of London’s oldest whisky shops. And there’s nothing pretentious about its dinky basement – which, fact fans, is the room in which Princess Diana first saw her wedding dress. Head down there and join other Scotch nerds as your tastebuds go on a whisky tour of Scotland. 

Monday–Saturday, check website for start times. £25-£35. Cadenhead’s, W1U 7QF.

Don't whisper sweet nothings

Don't whisper sweet nothings

Do listen to story time with Viktor Wynd

Until June, the wonderfully weird Museum of Curiosities plays host to its founder, who’ll be telling the tales found in ‘The Arabian Nights’, The Brothers Grimm’s German folk tales and WB Yeats’ ‘Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland’. Listen to Wynd’s dulcet tones and do the classic yawn move, because nothing will encourage your beau to lean in close and snuggle up like a really-quite-creepy story.


Monthly until June, check website for individual dates. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, E8 4RP.

Advertising
Don't cosy up with a film

Don't cosy up with a film

Do live out your 'Grease' fantasies at a boozy bowling alley

It’s widely believed to be one of the worst films ever made, so don’t watch it; become it instead. With a score that includes the numbers ‘Reproduction’ and ‘Do It for Our Country’, ‘Grease 2’ is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Seize the opportunity to pull on your gold lamé pants and dance down the lanes singing about how you’re going to ‘Score Tonight’. But where to do such a thing? At Rowans, of course – Finsbury Park’s haven of bowling, karaoke and slush puppy cocktails.

RowansN4 2DF.

Don't go for a cocktail

Don't go for a cocktail

Do go on a gin odyssey at Mr Fogg's

The upstairs salon of Mr Fogg’s Tavern houses London’s largest gin collection, and it’s here that you can sample and learn about six of the most interesting, concluding with two G&Ts made with your favourite Gs. The Gin Safari is for 10–12 people, so round up your most emotionally supportive pals and get sipping. 


£40. Mr Fogg’s Tavern, WC2N 4EA.

Or try some romantic movies with a twist

Comments

14 comments
BooBoots
BooBoots

Kew Gardens in the summer: all you need for a romantic day out.  Bring your own drinks and picnic to avoid over-priced stuff in the cafe.  And stop off at The Cricketers pub on Kew Green after for a cheeky drink or two as the sun goes down.

Adam
Adam

Interesting ideas here, some options for those with and without cash.

Rachel Parrott
Rachel Parrott

Great page. still find it useful even though it was 5 years ago!

Jane Leahy
Jane Leahy

DO spend some time in Battersea Park. It's got everything - a boating lake, a zoo, the peace pagoda, lovely walks with romantic views... and you can hire recumbent bikes, or even a bicycle made for two!

mia
mia

Book A romantic Helicopter flight to see London by Air, The flight is amazing and the team really make you feel so special for only £129.00 for 2 i got a romantic helicopter flight, Champagne,Chocolate and Photography- The Blue Tiger Company

Simon
Simon

Don't go to the Zoo, way overpriced and not worth the money. DO get into Kingston and take a walk along the River Thames to Hampton Court Palace (it's about 1hr 30mins if a slow stroll), along the way you'll be able to feed ducks, see adorable ducklings, rabbits and it's a lovely walk. Then you can get a river cruise back. :)

A god
A god

The gay dating idea could be fun... Although I've had. Lot if fun in vauxhall railway arches. It's offensive how some commenters seem to think a gay idea is inappropriate for this list. A tenth of people are gay and we are equal thanks

Amanda
Amanda

Erm...just made a note of The British Museum, as my husband wouldnt do any of the other things.

Jaclyn
Jaclyn

Great list! Thanks for the tips!

Herve
Herve

Thank you for these good tips. Obviously some humor is useful when talking about love

Kate
Kate

agree not all of those things are DONT'S timeout isnt always right nowadays, unfortunately

john
john

This is crap

Nina
Nina

Don't book Everyman cinema's special valentine's tickets. If I told my friends up north it cost £95 for two cinema tickets in 'that London' they wouldn't believe me. But it's true. Boo! What a rip off.