In London if you want to do anything you pretty much have to book ahead, so as Valentine’s Day is slowly approaching I’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in the capital no matter what your budget; including mouth-watering lemon meringue marshmallows, the River Thames and a look at the stars. I have also complied some ideas for breaks away for those who fancy a last-minute trip to escape the hustle and bustle. Intrigued? Then read on and discover some special places to take your loved one this February.
Staying In London
If you fancy star-gazing on Valentine’s Day, The Royal Observatory in Greenwich are hosting a special evening which includes a romantic planetarium show and telescope viewings, tickets for the show cost £28. They are also hosting a night called ‘Love In the Archives’ which includes entry into The Caird Library where a unique collection of romantic letters written by men serving in the Georgian Navy to their wives and mistresses are held. Investigate these love letters in the beautiful setting of the Queen’s House before taking part in a candle-lit tour of the Queen’s Bedchambers. Tickets are £46 for two and includes two glasses of Prosecco.
Bam-Bou is one of Fitzrovia’s finest south-east Asian Restaurants. This February they have devised some brand new cocktails entitled ‘Love Potions’. The Potions have been devised by psychic Susie Johns and the bar manager Ladislav Piljar using the complexities of the love psyche which include healing a broken heart, the art of seduction and promoting proposals and are priced at £7 each. I like the sound of ‘Cupid’s Kiss’ which is said to turn any frog into a Prince with its blend of Tapatio Blanco, Kummel and Creme de Menthe! Susie Johns will also be appearing in person for one-on-one Tarot Card readings on three consecutive Tuesdays in February.
Copa De Cava is the UK’s first authentic cava bar. They will be offering a unique menu priced at £60 per person where you can enjoy a special menu of six cava’s which have been carefully paired with accompanying tapas dishes. These include the Presa Ibérica; a succulent shoulder of rare Ibérico pig, creamy pearl barley, Ibérico ham and Manchego. For desserts try the Crema Catalana; a cinnamon custard foam, with crispy caramel and freeze-dried raspberry, the perfect end to a romantic evening.
Veuve Clicquot Rosé has paired up with luxurious gourmet marshmallows for an experience, costing just £15 at Aubaine restaurants. For the tasting you will be presented with three lemon meringue marshmallows alongside a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rosé. The unique offer is available throughout February at all Aubaine restaurants across the UK.
For Latin lovers, try Las Iguanas in Spitalfields where you can enjoy three delicious courses for just £25 per person. On arrival you will also receive some totopos corn chips with salsa and a glass of cava each. Choose from starters such as fresh and zingy crab or cucumber and tomato salad, for mains try their famous fajitas or a filo parcel filled with halloumi marinated in a tangy sweet chilli sauce. And to finish? Try the sugar-spiced churros with chocolate ganache and a dulce de leche dip.
Dinner & Private Viewing At Dulwich Picture Gallery
Enjoy an intimate evening at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, where set in the stunning Picture Gallery Cafe, guests will be greeted with a complimentary glass of Prosecco and treated to a three course meal. Included in the special price of £50 per person is a private viewing of the Hockney Printmaker exhibition which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Hockney’s long career as a printmaker.
How about a romantic cruise down the River Thames with Bateaux London, which incluses a special Valentine’s dinner and of course spectacular views of London. Bateaux London has seen 98 marriage proposals in the last year and they are celebrating by offering the 100th person who makes a proposal on Valentine’s Day whilst on board a complimentary bottle of champagne! Ticket prices start from £125 per person, and include a glass of Bateaux London Champagne on arrival, a four course set menu, specially selected wines, beers and soft drinks for the duration of the cruise, live entertainment and a single red rose.
At Launceston Place, the head chef, Tim Allen will be creating a bespoke Valentine’s menu for one lucky couple which will feature the couples most loved food and dishes. The meal will be served by Tim himself in the privacy and luxury of the Chef’s Office. In addition to this, Launceston Place’s head sommelier will work with the couple to choose the perfect accompanying aperitif and wines to complement the bespoke menu. With a minimum spend price tag of £500, this is a unique experience for one very lucky couple.
Get Away From The City?
The Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire boasts overnight accommodation and a restaurant serving seasonal British dishes all year round complemented by the Three Choir wines, making it the perfect place to escape the City. There are daily wine tours where you will learn about the rich history and different varieties of grape. Bed & Breakfast in the Vineyard View Room is from £135 per night or £160 per night for a Lodge including a full breakfast at the restaurant or hamper delivered to your Lodge.
Hertfordshire-based Brocket Hall is opening its doors for one night only on Valentine’s to couples wishing to spend a romantic night in the country house. On Saturday 15th February, guests will be able to take up the exclusive opportunity to spend the night in one of the 18th-century-manor’s 30 romantic suites, which are usually reserved for those holding an event in the hall. As well as the chance to stay the night, guests will be treated to an evening of Champagne, canapés and fine food. A delicious four-course tasting menu will be served by the Hall’s team of butlers in the opulent ballroom, familiar as the Netherfield ballroom in the BBC TV version of Pride and Prejudice. Sounds absolutely splendid if you ask me!
Hotel Lone in Croatia is the perfect two-night break away. The hotel is just a short stroll from Rovinj’s pretty historic quarter, regarded as one of the most romantic and picturesque towns in the Mediterranean. Their special package includes dinner for two at the ‘L’ à la carte restaurant, welcome sweet treats and a bottle of champagne on arrival, full use of the spa to relax in. The two-night package starts at €359 and looks pretty amazing!
Fancy recreating a scene from a movie for Valentine’s? You cannot forget Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan on top of the Empire State Building in Sleepless in Seattle, plus did you know the Empire State Building hosts weddings on just one day of the year – Valentine’s Day, with only a few lucky couples being chosen. The city is full of many romantic spots from a horse and carriage ride through Central Park to snuggling up for cocktails in a chic Manhattan bar. Be treated to something special from the boutique shops in Soho and don’t forget to take in the breathtaking views from the Brooklyn Bridge.
The city of love might be a cliché for Paris but it has its reasons for being one of the most romantic places in the world. Stay at the Hotel Plaza Athenee and relive every girl’s fantasy by recreating the Sex and the City moment in the exact same hotel! You know the episode where Carrie turns round and squeals at the tower? It may be pricey but the panoramic views from the balconies won’t leave you disappointed, as well as being only moments away from the Champs Elysee. Then head to the Pont de l’Archevêché to put your own love lock on the bridge, hold hands and throw your key in the river to seal your love!