Difficult to ignore and tricky to pull off with dignity, originality or aplomb, Valentine's Day looms. Whether you're a sucker for a plushie and a Moonpig card or turn your nose up at the slush and sell out, here is a smattering of out of the ordinary events around town to tickle your fancy, whatever your romantic inclinations.
Is love in the air?
Take to the ice with at Lee Valley's Valentine Disco Skate on Sunday 13 February between 2:30-4:30pm, £6 per person including skate hire. You know you look cute in ear muffs and mittens.
London Wetland Centre in Barnes is open as usual all weekend but runs 'Love Birds: Posh bird or ‘cheep’ date?' afternoon sessions in the theatre where you can decorate your own birdbox or make a bird feeder and follow a romantic trail around the grounds. Er, you can even download a bird mating call to your mobile phone.
Tip toe, through the
tulips snowdrops at Chelsea Physic Garden's gorgeous Galanthus days, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 February.
Steamboat Bordello throws a glamorous party aboard its Elizabethan paddle steamer on Sunday 13 February, setting sail from Tower Pier at 5pm for a "rocking rave up on the river" docking back at 10pm. Tickets £35.
Museum of London keeps its doors open late for a Valentine's extravaganza in the new Galleries of Modern London on Monday 14 February. Dancing, aphrodisiacs and erotic objects all for £6, from 6.30-10pm. Call to book now: 020 7001 9844.
Club Holloway Smith-Noir offers "a red hot bill of dazzling burlesque starlets and saucy new poets" in a boudoir setting strewn with lingerie at the Fox Public House, Old Street N1 on Monday 14 February. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £35 in advance, menus and booking email: email@example.com
Terry Saunders' Six and a Half Loves is performed on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 February at Pleasance Islington, 7.45pm, £10.
Alt & Anti Valentines
On Thursday 10 February, Mutiny presents Love on Trial - an alternative Valentine's night out of revolutionary politics, art and performance at the avant-garde Resistance Gallery in East London. Tickets £5 on the door or a very romantic buy-1-get-1-free online in advance at www.jointhemutiny.org.
Rock the romance of rollerderby with a double bout from the red hot London Rollergirls on Saturday 12 February from 4pm at Earls Court – Brompton Hall, London SW5 9TA. Tickets £15 from the Rollergirls' website.
CitySocialising hosts a Night of Magic, Mystery and Masquerade on Saturday 12 February, not a singles night, they say but "a party for urbanites who won’t be loved up on the couch that weekend to get out and make some new friends". Tickets £7.50 and must be purchased in advance. Venue: Mary Janes, St Johns House, 124-127 Minories, EC3N 1NT from 7pm till late.
Doom club mongers Feeling Gloomy host a Love Hurts Valentine’s Special on Saturday 12 February preceded by speed-hating and 'Blind Hate' courtesy of Down with Dating (£10 advance) and topped off with heartbreaking power ballads and screaming death rock from FG regulars who promise to litter the tables with dead flowers and boxes of tissues (£4.50 advance). It's at the Carling Academy, Islington N1 from 8pm. All info at
Waitrose Cookery School combines speed dating with food prep, pairing you up to make canapes and cocktails. At £105, it's ain't a cheap way to meet people, but will teach you something and see you get fed. On Monday 14 February from 5pm. Ring to reserve your spot: 0207 372 6108.
The Slight Aches offer post Valentine's Day Heart Breakers at Zigfrid von Underbelly, Hoxton Square N1 on Tuesday 15th February. "Soothe away those dreaded V-Day blueswith emergency chocolate handouts, hankies on hand, and good ol' country singing" from 7.30pm, £5.
Image by Big Rock Cat via the Londonist Flickrpool.