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Valentines at the Museum, Natural History
Photograph: The Trustees of The Natural History Museum

Things to Do on Valentine‘s Day in London

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in London this year? Here’s our pick of the best romantic events and activities for February 14 2023

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Things To Do Editors
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London is a great place to be on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter if you’re flying solo, newly coupled up, or have been with your other half for decades, you can guarantee there’ll be something fun to do on Tuesday 14 February 2023.

Single and very much ready to mingle? Transform that dusty Hinge profile and arrange a meet-up at one of London’s best first date spots

Or if you want to spend the day with a lover, but don't fancy traditional romance, you could always check out an art show together, stuff your face full of street food or take a stroll around the city and discover some of London’s hidden gems

Whatever you’re in the mood for, take a look at our comprehensive guide below for loads of great Valentine’s ideas for 2023. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a sucker for wine, flowers, chocolates and dinner for two, or can’t help rolling your eyes at all the cheesy clichés.

RECOMMENDED: explore the full guide to Valentine’s Day in London.

What to do on Valentine’s Day in London 2023

  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Brockley

London’s legendary 1950s Rivoli Ballroom is bringing back its pop-up cinema for Valentine’s Day. Expect iconic romantic classics including Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ featuring Audrey Hepburn. Famed for its original red velvet flock decor, sparkling chandeliers and gilt Chinese lanterns, there really is nowhere more romantic for V-Day. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Greenwich

Head to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich for a romantic hour gazing into the stars and exploring the universe via a planetarium show. Watch ‘The Sky Tonight Live’, presented by an astronomer, to find out what is in the stars for the month ahead. Whimsical, but also super fascinating. 

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Kew

Want to make Valentine’t hot and steamy? Head to the tropical Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, which getting a Cameroonian makeover this February, courtesy of a mind-bending new orchid display. You’ll get it all: the varied landscapes, the native wildlife and more. Visitors to the glasshouse will run into loads of ‘native animals’, carved out of plants and replicated across the horticultural displays. Giraffe, gorillas, lions and hippos. All your faves.

  • Things to do
  • South Kensington

Plan yourself a hot date among the animal skeletons and curios of the natural world at the Natural History Museum’s Valentine’s evening. Explore the galleries after-dark and drink cocktails under the blue whale in the Hintze Hall, before donning a pair of headphones and throwing some shapes in Alfred Waterhouse’s Romanesque cathedral until midnight. 

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  • Things to do
  • Haggerston

Let’s face it, for many of us, Valentine’s isn’t the pink, fuzzy chocolate-filled holiday all those Hallmark cards would have you believe. This ‘evening of love songs and regret’ at The Glory will face the more morose side of V-Day head-on as Xnthony and his troupe of iconic comedians, drag stars and legends unite for a night of power ballads to heal broken hearts. Want to purge all memories of the ex who ghosted you out of the blue? This is the anti-valentines day show for you. 

 

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  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Hackney

Get ready for Valentine’s Day by swigging back absinthe and learning how to make your own cocktail bitters at the spiritual home of the esoterically minded, The Last Tuesday Society. Learn all about the ‘green fairy’ spirit, create cocktail bitters based on their chosen natural flavours and prepare yourself for a riotous evening. 

Tuesday Feb 7. 7pm to 8.30pm. £25. 

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • City of London

With its gorgeous panoramic vistas over the city, The Fenchurch Building’s Sky Garden is quite possibly one of the most romantic places in London. So romantic that its website has an entire info page for those thinking about popping the question at the place (it’s here, if you’re interested!) This makes it a very good place to take your boo on February 14. The restaurant is offering a range of packages that would make a great date night, starting at £22pp for entry and a glass of champagne ranging to £150pp for dinner with bubbly. Romantic AF.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Belgravia

Any situation is made more romantic with a set of quivering strings, so it makes sense that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra should host an epic Valentine’s Day concert this February. The gang will be performing some of the most romantic pieces of music ever written, from the worlds of film, opera and classical music. Expect well-known themes from some of your fave (if ill-fated) romances like ‘Out of Africa’, ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as well as much-loved classics by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Chopin, Mascagni, Verdi, Massenet, and more. Your Valentine’s Day is sure to end on a high note. Literally. 

  • Things to do
  • Late openings
  • Greenwich

This Valentine’s Day treat is straight out of a rom-com. Take a break from staring into each other’s eyes to crane your necks and see the big baroque artworks of Sir James Thornhill on the ceiling of the Painted Hall in Greenwich, often referred to as south London’s answer to the Sistine Chapel. You’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne on arrival, then serenaded by live piano music as you enjoy a three-course meal. Totally dreamy.

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  • Film
  • Romance
  • Leicester Square

Get cosy this Valentine’s Day at the Prince Charles and explore their rotating programme of cult, arthouse and classic films, alongside recent Hollywood blockbusters. Veering away from the typical romcoms, the Prince Charles Cinema is offering a line-up of more obscure Valentine’s friendly films, from Wong Kar Wai’s paean to the agony’n’ecstasy of buttoned-up emotions ‘In the Mood for Love’, romantic classics ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘Casablanca’, Céline Sciamma’s glorious period romance ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, the wonderful ‘Before’ trilogy and rom-com faves ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Amélie’. 

  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • Vauxhall

If the smell of price-hiked roses coming from Sainsbury’s on February 14 makes you sick, head down to The Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s pleasingly cynical V-Day ball. Enter the damaged-goods tombola and get your best screamo ‘Since U Been Gone’ voice ready for the drunk power ballad singalong, before dancing till you drop at the broken-hearted disco, plus more cabaret, drag, games and surprises. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • London

Suck the sickly saccharine sweetness right out of Valentine’s night, by spending February 12 listening to horrifying urban legends told in an eerie, outdoor secret location. There’ll be adventure, exploration, live music and plenty of macabre storytelling. Wrap up warm and leave the kids at home – this is strictly adults only – and bring a candle to light your way. Email vanessa@londondreamtime.com to reserve your place. 

  • Things to do
  • Borough

Think Valentine’s Day is an unimaginative, consumerist, entirely arbitrary interpretation of romance? Well, this night’s for you. Join boylesque performer Matt Skully, stand-up ZeeZee Stardust and performer Naomi Wood for a night of chair acrobatics, poetry and all-round red rose ripping-up antics with an anti-V-Day cocktail included in the price. 

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  • Things to do
  • Soho

Need to give the love in your life a Valentine’s gift? Or want to get started on creating some apt mood lighting for the night? Head down to Soho where eco-conscious handmade candle and ceramics shop Studio Limbo will be hosting a series of candle-making and painting workshops throughout the day. Drinks are included, so bring your Valentines/galentines/palentines along and get stuck in. 

Find romance in London all year round

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