Whitney Houston
Photograph: Erik C Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

The best romantic things to do at home on Valentine’s Day

Discover the best virtual date ideas streaming worldwide for Valentine’s Day 2021

Huw Oliver

Lucky enough to have somebody to woo this Valentine’s Day? Then it’s probably time to start thinking about what exactly you’re going to do to mark the occasion this year. In much of the world, IRL dates are all but off the cards right now – so if you do want to have any kind of romantic organised fun in 2021, you’re probably going to have to do it at home.

There are, of course, one or two fairly obvious couples’ activities for Valentine’s Day that don’t require you to leave the house. But before you get down to those, in the absence of actually being able to go out on a date, you should at least try and inject a little romance into proceedings – do something special and make things different from every single other night in you’ve had together lately.

And we’re not talking about board games. Fortunately, there are are a heck of a lot of brilliant virtual and streaming events looking to fill the Valentine’s void this year. You can expect plenty of super-special events with posh-date-night potential, like theatre and opera. But there are also a load of more unusual things like life-drawing, erotic story-telling, a Whitney Houston tribute show and a virtual ‘illegal rave’. Valentine’s Day, after all, doesn’t have to be boring and cliché.

In fact, even if you don’t have someone to go with, these will make excellent nights in – so read on and craft your ultimate Valentine’s Day plans for one, two or however many people need buoying up in your household right now.

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Best romantic things to do at home on Valentine’s Day

1. Attend a virtual life-drawing class

Any proper artist will tell you that life drawing is a very serious activity. But those amateurs clearly haven’t tried it while nibbling on charcuterie and sipping on wine in their own front room. Hubba hubba! London’s Brixton Life Drawing is streaming a class on Valentine’s Day. It’s accessible for all levels. Feb 14, from 7pm GMT (2pm EST, 6am AEDT). Pay what you can. Tickets here.

Why waste your energy on a romantic relationship with another human being when you can channel all that V-Day affection into adoring cute animals instead? That’s got to be the logic behind this event being hosted by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London. The charity has teamed up with a life-drawing company to throw a one-off virtual sketching class – and its resident rescue dogs are the models. Feb 14, from 2pm GMT (10am EDT, 1am AEDT). From £10 ($14, A$18). Tickets here.


3. Get hot and heavy with a couples’ workout

The dance supremos at London fitness studio At Your Beat know how to put the moves on, and they’re running a series of hot ’n’ sweaty classes for both couples and individuals this V-Day. You can learn the steps of a saucy partner dance set to Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’ via Zoom, or join a sober self-love rave, promising killer beats and a workout for your arms, legs and butt. By the time it’s over, you’ll definitely need a long, hot shower. Feb 14, various times. Free. Tickets here.

4. See comedians improv a romcom

Overly soppy romantic comedies can get in the bin on V-Day weekend – unless they’re being mercilessly mocked by an improv comedy troupe, that is. The UK’s Mischief Theatre is putting on a special romcom edition of its Mischief Movie Night In series, where the audience tunes in virtually, submits a title, genre and location of a film, and then watches as comedians improv the whole thing live. Feb 14, from 7.30pm GMT (3.30pm EDT, 6.30am AEST). From £10 ($14, A$18). Tickets here.


5. Relive your music festival memories

The good folk at Bandcamp are hosting another one of their excellent virtual music festivals this Valentine’s Day. Up-and-comers Bamily, Attawalpa, Malady and Stella Talpo will be the first acts to hit London’s Moth Club stage in nearly a year. For any couples missing regular trips down their local divey music venue, it’ll be some consolation to be able to some rambunctious live tunes – albeit from behind your computer screen. Feb 14, from 7.30pm GMT (2.30pm EDT, 6.30 AEDT). From £10 ($14, A$18). Tickets here.

6. Watch a Romantic opera

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t replicate a night of high culture at home. Munich’s Bavarian State Opera is streaming a new version of Weber’s ‘Der Freischütz’ by Dmitri Tcherniakov on Valentine’s Eve. The classic Romantic tale has been resituated witin a realm of organised crime, the whole piece set in a penthouse suite that plays host to a wedding party. Mega drama ensues. Surtitles in English and German. Feb 13, from 5.30pm GMT (12.30pm EDT, AEST). Free. Tune in here.


7. Hear some erotic tales from the Arabian Nights

Viktor Wynd, the dandyish owner of London’s Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and UnNatural History, is hosting a night of ‘exotic and possibly even erotic tales’ from the Arabian Nights, spanning genies, bewitchings, transformations and more. Half of proceeds go to charities tackling homelessness. Feb 14, from 9pm GMT (4pm EDT, 8am AEST). Pay what you can. Tickets here.

8. Sing along to Whitney Houston heart-tuggers

Want to be serenaded with love songs from the comfort of your sofa? West End singer Shanay Holmes is probably best known for playing Rachel Marron (aka Whitney herself) in musical The Bodyguard, which is based on Houston’s songs. Now her solo show of the late singer’s most famous tunes, which had a sellout run at London’s Jazz Café, is going virtual for Valentine’s. Cook an epic dinner and crack open the bubbly for the full VIP experience. Feb 14, 7pm GMT (2pm EDT, 6am AEDT). From £9.75 ($14, A$18). Tickets here.


9. Hit up an online ‘illegal rave’ – hell, why not?

So it might not be everyone’s idea of a romantic night in. But if you’re both missing the thrill of going out out, a new immersive theatre experience promises to offer couples and groups of friends the chance to ‘hunt down an illegal rave’ through their online platform on Valentine’s Eve. Their reward at the end? An excellent lineup of DJs including Sam Divine and Late Replies. Feb 13, from 8pm GMT (3pm EST, 7am AEDT). From £12.50 ($17, A$22). Tickets here.

And if you just want a quiet one...

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