Valentine’s Day has the manifold ability to both excite and inspire dread in the hearts of the population. Whether you’re loved up, happily single, coupled up but cynical about the whole affair, or single but always looking for a little love in your life, there’s really no excuse not to make a night of it this Valentine’s Day. Throw out the roses, overpriced perfume and extortionate restaurant meals, and commit to doing something a little more interesting for Valentine’s Day this year.
Spend time with animals
Yes, that’s right, dogs are a man’s best friend and your cat probably tolerates you, so why not spend the day with them? If you’re lucky enough to have your own pooch, head down to Hampstead for the Valentine’s Dog Walk(14 February) and join a crowd of other dog enthusiasts on a traipse through the Heath, including goodie bags to treat your little furry friend and extra prizes for the most loved up dogs and owners.
If you’re more inclined to cats, the hilariously titled Feline Lonely (14 February) will be perfect for you. You’ll have to put yourself on the waiting list for this one, but if you do get a ticket you’ll be spending an evening with some of Battersea Cats and Dogs Home’s feline residents with a glass of prosecco in hand, and you might even be able to take one home with you as part of the re-housing programme (if you’re dedicated to the cat lady lifestyle).
Spend a night at the movies
Some of the most iconic and timeless romances have been depicted on films. Lose yourself in a night at the movies, including a screening of the Audrey Hepburn musical Funny Face (14 February) at the Stanley Halls, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (14 February) at Pop Brixton, and an Anti-Valentines screening of Magic Mike (14 February) at Boondocks for anyone who wants to drown their single sorrows with shirtless men (and an endless supply of Mac and Cheese).
Fall in love with culture
Everyone knows that a museum trip makes a great date, and there are plenty of museum lates this Valentine’s Day to satisfy curious minds. Learn about the seductive socialite Emma Hamilton (14 February) at Maritime Museum Greenwich and discover how design is affecting intimacy at the Design Museum inLove In a Networked World (14 February). At The Grant Museum of Zoology (14 February), find out how they do it on the discovery channel with a special Valentine’s Late on animal seduction. John Keats is one of the best-known Romantic poets, and Keats House (11 February) in Hampstead is holding a special event where you can explore his relationship with Fanny Brawne, make your own Valentine’s card and enjoy live jazz.
The national day of love gives you a great excuse to indulge your creativity. On the 12 February you can enjoy the Valentine’s DIY Market in Hackney (12 February), with an incredible selection of unique handmade gifts for that special someone (which could be someone else, but also yourself). Also East, the wonderfully eccentric The Last Tuesday Society(13 February), full to the brim with weird and wonderful taxidermy animals, is hosting a life drawing evening with a special absinthe twist (the twist being lots and lots of absinthe).
Come to the cabaret
Life is a cabaret old chum, and a pinch of burlesque will undoubtedly add to the Valentine’s charm. Transport yourself to the city of love, Paris, with the Valentines DIY Market (14 – 18 February). There will be live music, comic song and tantalising burlesque to ensure your Valentine’s is truly special. For a post-Valentine’s Day treat that is just as romantic, The House of Burlesque Lock-In(17-18 February) at The VAULT Festival is an extravaganza including pop-up cabaret, a silent disco and bespoke cocktails.