Life

The best Valentine’s Day events in London to enjoy with your friends

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published

Be your best friend’s valentine and have the greatest 14 February of your life at one of these alternative events. 

For some, Valentine’s Day is a blur of tacky cards, commercialism and ultimately, an ‘up yours’ to the singles among us, which can give it a bit of a bad rep.

We get it. Those over-priced Valentine’s menus and fizzy pink cocktails are a bit naff. However, we’re going to go out on a limb here and say that love is love – and that’s worth celebrating.

Of course, if you have a partner that you want to dedicate the 14 February to, then we’re happy for you. But more than ever, we’ve been feeling some serious love for the female friends in our lives – and we want to take them out on the town and show them what they mean to us.

As our beloved Charlotte Yorke said (before she got woke) in Sex in the City, “maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with”.

So we’re banning you from rolling your eyes or hiding under the duvet this Valentine’s Day. Instead, join us in taking London for all it’s got and painting the town love-heart red with the women that have been there through the highs and the lows.

Whether you want to let loose at a Beyonce-themed club night, discuss female stereotypes with other like-minded women or indulge in a swanky afternoon tea, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to Valentine’s Day in the Capital. 

Diptyque rose-themed afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal

Hotel Café Royal

Ladies, celebrate in style this Valentine’s Day at one of London’s plushest establishments, Hotel Café Royal.

Their award-winning Diptyque afternoon tea, served in the gold-gilded Oscar Wilde room, has been given a rose-tinted update especially for February and let us tell you, it’s a spectacle not to be missed.

Executive pastry chef Sarah Barber has created a special rose-scented menu, which sounds as delicious as it is Instagrammable.

As well as traditional scones and finger sandwiches, guests can dine on treats such as raspberry, lychee and rose tarts, wild honey domes and fig and lemon mouse, all washed down with a glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé champagne.

On top of all this, you’ll get one of the French perfumer’s 190g rose candles to take away with you, making the experience well worth the price tag.

Roses, champagne and a gift straight from Paris – Hotel Café Royal has got you and your best mate covered.

When: 12-18 February, 11.30am-7.30pm
Where: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent St, Soho, W1B 4DY
How much: £45-75

See more information and make a reservation here

Crazy golf, heart shaped pizza and champagne at Swingers

Swingers 

Just because you’re not in a couple doesn’t mean you can’t revel in the cheesiness (get it?) of Valentine’s Day. Crazy golf venue, Swingers, is putting on an absolute bonanza of an evening including nine holes of crazy golf, a bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne and an adorable heart-shaped pizza (think of the Instagrams) from Pizza Pilgrims.

Take your BFF and enjoy as a pair, or take advantage of the ‘no dates, just mates’ deal which caters for four people and includes a game of golf and two cocktails each for £105.

When: 14 February
Where: 8 Brown’s Buildings, London EC3A 8AL
How much: from £70 per pair

See more information and make a reservation here

The Single Ladies Valentines Day Party at XOYO

The Yonce Experience 

The Yonce Experience has been bringing the best of Queen Bey to East London venue, XOYO, for two whole years. For Valentine’s Day, the organisers behind the club night have gone all out on the sass.

Expect a lot of Single Ladies hand shaking, a dash of Beyonce mask wearing and more glitter than you can physically smear on your face.

We couldn’t put it better than the event’s webpage, which says, “Put your stuff in the box to the left, lose your breath on Vodka (at £2.50), have some deja vu, as we cater to you, THE BEST THING YOU NEVER HAD!”

We’ll see you there.

When: 14 February, 10pm ‘til late
Where: 2-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AP
How much: £8

See more information and buy a ticket here.

Donuts, drinks and discussion at Second Home with Milk Tooth

Second Home

Jewellery brand Milk Tooth have partnered up with Mean Mail to put on the ultimate party, celebrating the sisterhood and debating female stereotypes. Hosted at the creative hub Second Home, there’s the promise of cocktails, donuts and a panel of awesome speakers, followed by music and mingling, which sounds wonderful to us.

What’s more, all proceeds from the evening will go to supporting the charity Bloody Good Period, which supplies menstrual supplies for asylum seekers and refugees.

When: 13 February, 7-9pm
Where: Second Home, 68-80 Hanbury Street, E1 5JL
How much: £5

Buy a ticket here

Valentine’s card-cutting at ME London

ME London

Luxury lifestyle hotel, ME London, has partnered with London-based illustrator and papercut artist Poppy Chancellor, to host a Valentine’s card-making workshop this Saturday.

Chancellor’s work is known for its effortlessly cool aesthetic, feminist slogans and celebration of the female form, all of which are demonstrated in the witty templates you’ll use to try papercutting for yourself.

To aid your creative juices there’ll be cocktails and nibbles as well as the chance to watch Chancellor in action.

When: 10 February, 11am-1pm
Where: Marconi Lounge at ME London, 336 – 337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
How much: Free

Email reservations.me.london@melia.com to book a place.

Valentine’s readings at Punch Room 

The Punch Room 

Romantic poetry comes part and parcel with 14 February, but if you’re expecting a simpering recital, think again. Step inside The London EDITION’s RSVP only bar, Punch Room, and lay witness to the powerful and sass-brimmed performances of a range of female musicians and spoken word artists, including The Raincoats’ Gina Birch and Neo Naturist Cabaret’s Jennifer Binnie.

Love Punch (the chosen cocktail of the night) will be flowing, as will love for the talents and tales of some seriously badass women.

When: 13 February, 6.30-8.30pm
Where: The London EDITION, 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NP
How much: £10 (including a cocktail)

See more information and buy a ticket here.

DIY porn workshop at The Book Club

The Book Club

Queer pornographer and sexual liberties campaigner, Pandora Blake, is educating the masses (or, y’know, those who buy a ticket) on how to shoot homemade porn – and feel relaxed and confident while doing it.

Although this event could push the boundaries of friendship for some, the basis of the workshop is sex positivity, self-care, and, of course, fun. It might be considered one of the more interesting ways to spend Valentine’s Day, but if your friends can’t encourage you to feel empowered sexually, who can?

When: 14 February, 8-10pm
Where: The Book Club, 100-106 Leonard St, EC2A 4RH
How much: £12 (plus £1.50 handling fee)

See more information and buy a ticket here

Sex, music and identity screening at The Paradiso Cinema 

The EDITION Hotel

The Paradiso, a 60-seat cinema at The London EDITION, was created for connoisseurs of the finest films on sex and sexuality. This Valentine’s Day, it is opening its doors to explore the themes of music, identity and sex.

Baron magazine has curated three screenings which will be staggered throughout the evening. Each includes a plethora of female-directed films, including Boyfriends by Jennifer Chan, Date with the Devil by No Bra and I Have Nothing by Sarah Baker.

When: 14 February, screenings at 7pm, 8.20pm and 9.30pm
Where: The London EDITION, 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NP
How much: £10

See more and buy a ticket here

Bottomless prosecco banquet at OSLO

OSLO

Bottomless brunches are one of our favourite ways to spend a Saturday with our friends, so when we heard that OSLO in Hackney was offering an evening of flowing prosecco for Valentine’s Day, our interest was immediately piqued.

The former railway station will be putting on a feast of slow roast pork belly, aubergine parmigiana and red velvet cheesecake, which will of course be accompanied by our favourite two words: free prosecco.

Sure, dinner and drinks are a pretty typical template for a coupled-up Valentine’s Day, but then again, you don’t have to be in a relationship to eat food. 

Bring on the bubbles.

When: 14 February
Where: OSLO, 1A Amhurst Rd, E8 1LL
How much: £25

See more information and make a reservation here

Cocktails and chocolates at Blade Hair Salon 

Blade Soho

Book in to get a new ‘do at Blade Hairclubbing with a friend during Valentine’s week, where you can enjoy a spot of pampering with a pal while indulging in an assortment of other delights.

This quirky Soho salon is known for its high-tempo haircutting, but between the 14 – 17 February you can also sip Four Roses bourbon and snack on LoveChock’s raw organic vegan chocolate, if you book in with a friend. Blade will also be serving their original ‘The Name Of The Rose’ cocktail, made with Four Roses Single Barrel, Luxardo Maraschino, Abbott’s bitters and Rose Bud Tea.

Bottoms up – just make sure the person cutting your hair doesn’t have one too many!

When: 14-17 February 
Where: Blade Soho, 26 Frith St, Soho, W1D 5LD
How much: Depends on appointment 

See more and book an appointment here

Phone free fun at The Savoy

The Savoy

If no one does a photoshoot like you and your BFF before a night out, The Savoy could be just the place for you on Valentine’s Day. The iconic central London haunt is asking all guests to leave their phones behind reception on 14 February, whether dining in or simply having a drink at the American or Beaufort Bar.

The folks behind this phone-free plan hope to encourage guests to spend the evening concentrating on each other. But, to ensure that no selfie opportunity goes un-missed, photography company, The Collective You, will set up a mini studio in the heart of the hotel - the magnificent glass domed atrium of the Thames Foyer. Here you can make the most of a mini photo shoot and strike a pose with your friends to your heart’s content.

When: 14 February 
Where: The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EZ
How much: Free 

See more and make a reservation here

Fries Before Guys at Drake & Morgan 

Fries Before Guys

We’ll take a plate of chips over an aphrodisiac any day of the week, so it’s no wonder we’re particularly seduced by Drake & Morgan’s Fries Before Guys Valentine’s offer.

The restaurant and bar chain are inviting customers to join them in celebrating female friendship throughout February by awarding a free portion of fries every time you and a pal raise a glass of champagne.

There’s no two ways about it: fizz and fries is definitely a combo we’ll toast to.

When: Throughout February 
Where: All branches 
How much: From £8.50 per glass

See more and make reservation here

Paper cutting workshop at Oliver Bonas

Poppy Chancellor of Poppy’s Papercuts

The talented Poppy Chancellor is back again and this time she’s hitting one of our favourite shops on the high-street, Oliver Bonas, all in the name of Valentine’s Day.

As we know, inspiration for Chancellor’s artwork is drawn from strong women and features recurring themes of sisterhood, friendship and love. For £25, you and your friends can join her and the gang at Oliver Bonas to learn the craft of paper cutting and keep a piece of artwork for yourself.

When: 13 February, 6-8pm
Where: Oliver Bonas, 63 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 2ES
How much: £25

See more information and purchase a ticket here

Valentine’s doggy brunch at M Victoria Street

M Victoria Street

If the biggest love in your life is your pooch, this tongue-in-cheek dog’s dinner could be the ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day.

M Victoria Street is inviting dogs and their owners to take a cookery master class with executive chef Michael Reid, where you can learn to whip up something tasty for your four-legged friend. After both species have enjoyed a spot of lunch there will be a game of ‘doggy speed dating’ and a photo opportunity on the pooch love seat.

It might sound like we’re barking up the wrong tree, but if you and your pals are serious pup enthusiasts we think this sounds pretty darn cute.

When: 17 February 11-2pm
Where: M Victoria Street, Zig Zag Building, 74 Victoria St, SW1E 6SQ
How much: £15 (donation which goes to The Dogs Trust)

Email marianna@mrestaurants.co.uk to make a reservation. 

Heart-shaped piñata smashing at Granary Square Brassiere 

Veuve Clicquot’s heart piñata

Granary Square Brasserie is turning its back on couples this Valentine’s Day. The Kings Cross eatery is inviting groups of friends of three of more to book a table with them and receive a free glass of rose champagne for doing so.

Throughout the evening you and your pals can celebrate friendship in style with a delicious menu, a DJ set which will be in full flow from 6.30 to 8pm and get ready for it; smashing heart shaped piñatas.

When: 14 February
Where: Granary Square Brasserie, 1-3 Stable Street, Kings Cross, N1C 4AB
How much: Free with reservation

See more information and make a reservation here

Dine solo at XU

XU

Despite the patronisingly sympathetic looks we’ve had once or twice from waiters, we love taking ourselves out for dinner. Being able to enjoy an evening in our own company, especially in a fancy restaurant, gives us a delicious feeling of empowerment which is something XU, apparently, couldn’t agree with more.

Singletons can book themselves into one of the restaurant’s perfectly formed banquettes for one, where they will enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival while they immerse themselves in a cinematic reimagining of 1930’s Taipei.

When: 14 February
Where: XU, 30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL
How much: Free with reservation

See more and make a reservation here.

Images: Courtesy of brands