Looking for something different to do in London this Valentine's Day? Here's our pick of romance-themed events and Valentine's date ideas in London on and around 14 February 2019.
Love poetry at Keats House
Romantic poems by Keats, Byron and others are performed by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors, in an Afternoon Poems session with a Valentine's Day twist. Best of all, it's free — and we won't tell your date if you won't.
Keats House (Hampstead), free, book ahead, 10 February, 2pm-3pm
Floral art at Chelsea Physic Garden
This one's not cheap, but if you and your beau have agreed to go down the handmade gift route, and you want to avoid a Chandler Bing-style mixtape nightmare, attend this workshop and learn how to make a Valentine's themed piece of floral art. It's led by award-winning florists Julie Collins and Tina Parkes of the British Academy of Floral Art, and the skills you learn will remain long after your relationship floral art has withered.
Chelsea Physic Garden, £220, book ahead, 11 February, 11.30am-4.30pm
Neon life drawing
Life drawing gets a colourful twist in this Valentine's edition of Neon Life Drawing. The models are artistically decorated in neon body paint, and glowing neon pastels are provided to help you recreate their eye catching colour on paper.
Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross), £22, book ahead, 12 February, 7pm-9pm
Love Letters at Roundhouse
Treat your significant other to tickets to Jack Rooke's show, Love Letters. The comedy-storytelling master covers the misfortunes of modern romance, gay dating and some good old fashioned sex — all set to a live harp accompaniment.
Roundhouse (Camden), £10-£18, book ahead, 13-16 February
A Fine Romance at London Metropolitan Archives
This passion-infused event delves into the London Metropolitan Archives, looking at the history of romance, dating and Valentine's Day in the capital.
London Metropolitan Archives (Clerkenwell), free, book ahead, 14 February, 2pm-3pm
Valentine's evening with the stars at The Royal Observatory
What could be more romantic than an evening of stargazing? You may not be able to give your love the moon, but you can give them a chance to view it through a Victorian telescope, before watching a romantically-themed planetarium show. Stand either side of the Meridian line, and chinwag with astronomers. Ticket includes a hot drink to keep you toasty during the planetarium show.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich. £20/£18.50, book ahead, 14 February, 5.25pm-8.50pm
Valentine's at the Grant
Find out about love in the animal world at this special late night opening at the Grant Museum of Zoology. Explore the museum's fascinating exhibits after hours.
Grant Museum of Zoology (Warren Street), £5, book ahead, 14 February, 6pm-9pm
Love is... unrequited at Somerset House
Tying in with the current Peanuts exhibition, Somerset House is open late for a Valentine's themed gander at artist Charles M. Schulz's work, with unrequited love as a recurring theme. Did you know, for example, that Charlie Brown’s long-running admiration for the Little Red-Haired Girl is a reflection of Schulz's own rejection of a marriage proposal to the real-life Little Red-Haired Girl Donna Mae Johnson?
See the exhibition after hours, take part in Valentine's themed activities, enjoy a complimentary drink, and take a Valentine's treat home with you.
Somerset House (Strand), £19/£16, book ahead, 14 February, 6.30pm-9pm.
Valentine's late at Keats House
In addition to the earlier Afternoon Poems sessions, Keats House (which claims to be the 'most romantic house in London') stays open late on Valentine's Day itself. Keats's poems and love letters inspire games and craft activities, and there's a pop-up bar too.
Keats House (Hampstead), £15 (includes a drink), book ahead, 14 February, 6.30pm-9pm
What is love? at the Royal Institution
The Royal Institution takes a look at the science behind love. Laura Mucha, author of Love Factually, and Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence Kate Devlin discuss the past, present and future of our most intimate relationships.
The Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 14 February, 7pm-8.30pm.
Mad Love film night at the Old Operating Theatre
A screening of 1935 film Mad Love might sound like just the ticket for a romantic date night, but we should probably warn you... it's a horror film about a psychotic surgeon, which was considered so deranged, the British Board of Film Classification almost banned it.
But if you and your date are both OK with madness, murder and dismemberment, then the good news is that you're probably made for each other.
Old Operating Theatre Museum (London Bridge), £12, book ahead, 14 February, 7pm
Valentine's Day gala at Southbank Centre
Looking for some highbrow romance? The Philharmonia Orchestra presents a concert of passionate music operatic love stories by Verdi, Bizet and Mascagni, and Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture for Romeo and Juliet.
Southbank Centre, £15-£65, book ahead, 14 February, 7.30pm
A Gothic Valentine's at Strawberry Hill House
Gothic masterpiece Strawberry Hill House keeps its doors open late, offering guided tours of the house, a chance to see the current Lost Treasures exhibition, and gin tasting. Get an insight into 18th century passion and love through the building's most romantic objects. But be warned: not all have a happy ending.
Strawberry Hill House (Twickenham), £16, book ahead, 15 February, 6pm-10pm
Valentine's Day food and drink in London
Dominique Ansel, Belgravia
This fancy bakery has an extensive menu of Valentine's eats, all on a pink theme. Treat your loved one to a Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Éclair, a Chilli Chocolate Éclair, Rose-tinted Chestnut Rose Cassis Mont Blanc, a Cupid Religieuse (cream puff filled with dark chocolate and pink Champagne ganache, topped with a white chocolate wings and cupid’s arrow) and more. Thankfully the menu's available for 6 days, so you've probably got time to eat your way through it all if you're so inclined.
Dominique Ansel, Belgravia. Valentine's menu available 9-14 February.
Lola's Cupcakes, various locations
Those famously blue cupcake kiosks are embracing all things pink, selling a whole menu of Valentine's goodies. Cupcakes, brownies and full-sized cakes have had a lovely makeover, or if you're really looking to splash out, order a Valentine's hamper, which comes with six cupcakes, a mini bottle of champagne and a red rose.
Lola's Cupcakes, various locations. Available 6-16 February.