Looking for something different to do in London this Valentine's Day? Here's our pick of love-themed events in London on and around 14 February 2023 — and best of all, you don't need a partner to get involved. Take a date, a mate, or simply go by yourself.
DATING COMEDY: Have your questions about dating answered in a relationships-themed comedy show at Rich Mix. Email your questions in ahead of the night, and the best ones will be picked and answered by special stand-up comedy guests live on stage. Age 18+. 5 February
LOVE HURTS: February's show by the London Moth StorySLAM has a Love Hurts theme, with anyone welcome to get up on stage and tell a five-minute story linked to the theme. As always, organisers of the storytelling open mic night state that all stories told must be true. Not a storyteller yourself? That's fine — just kick back and watch others spin a yarn. 8 February
LOVERS AND FRIENDS: Actor and presenter Ashley J is at Rich Mix to host Lovers and Friends, an interactive comedy show that both celebrates and disrespects love. It's followed by an afterparty, included in your ticket. 11 February
NORWEGIAN EROTICA: Though not officially billed as a Valentine's Day event, we can't think of a better time of year to spend an evening delving into the intricacies of the erotic folklore tales of Norway. In the 19th century, Norwegian duo P.C. Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe travelled around rural Norway, collecting local tales, legends, and fables. While most were published, some were considered too explicit, and were hidden away in archives at the University of Oslo for a century. These are the ones that Norwegian lecturer Lena Schattenherz Heide-Brennand discusses online tonight. 12 February
UNLUCKY: Vanessa Woolf of London Dreamtime invites you to celebrate Valentine's Day with an evening of scary stories with an 'unlucky' theme in Peckham. Sounds like a good option if you want to completely avoid the love hearts and candlelit romance that are everywhere this time of year. 12 February
LONDON LOVE STORIES: Guildhall Library holds an online talk about the most charming love stories from Handheld Press's collection of forgotten fiction. Hear about the courtship between a German lady and an English Socialist MP in Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Caravaners, a secret love affair in Rose Macaulay’s What Not, and a department store romance in Business as Usual. 14 February
ROMEO & JULIET: On Valentine's Day, Barbican teams up with Backyard Cinema for a very special version of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 take on Romeo & Juliet, reimagined for the theatre. It features detailed film sets and a live choreographed choir — this event will sell out, so book now if it takes your fancy. 14 February
LAUGHING AT LOVE: A mixed bill of comedians recall cringe (and not-so-cringe) dating stories at Angel Comedy Club tonight — before things get REALLY interesting, as co-hosts Carla Gordon
and Bronwyn Sweeney attempt to match up audience members and create London's new hottest couple. What could go wrong... 14 February
VALENTINE'S VARIETY NIGHT: Walthamstow's Big Penny Social hosts a Valentine's Variety Night, where performances include magic from Tom Brace, comedy from Taskmaster legend Lou Sanders, daring circus feats performed by West End stars Lucius & Emma, and acoustic music from singer-songwriter Zach Said. Tickets include a glass of bubbly or a beer. 14 February
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: Learn about love in the animal kingdom at the Natural History Museum's Valentine's late-night opening. It's a chance to visit the displays and exhibitions (including Wildlife Photographer of the Year) after hours, enjoy a cocktail or two, and take part in tours and talks from experts. 14 February. The museum also hosts a Valentine's silent disco on 16 February.
GREEK AND ROMAN SEX: Professor Marguerite Johnson gives an online illustrated talk on the theme of ancient sexuality. Using archaeological evidence and original translated passages from Greek and Latin sources, it's a chance to find out about approaches to sexuality and sexual expression, as well as how these issues relate to the rest of ancient society and culture. 14 February
ASEXUALITY AND BISEXUALITY: Asexual activist Yasmin Benoit and Dr Julia Shaw, author of Bi: The Hidden Culture, History and Science of Bisexuality, are at Conway Hall Ethical Society for a conversation about alternative ways to live and love, beyond the binary. Hear their take on improvements in LGBTQ+ rights and visibility in recent years, and what still needs to be done. 15 February
Valentine's date ideas in London
If you are doing the big date thing this Valentine's Day, here's a handy starter kit to romance in London: