The ultimate guide to plan Valentine's Day in Britain in 2024
Where should you take your partner on a Valentine's Day date? We compiled this resource to help you decide. London, Edinburgh, the Lake District - pack your bags and explore the best of Britain with your other half.
Your guide to Valentine's Day in London
First, let's narrow down the many beautiful places and things to do for couples in London with a selection of romantic activities and spots that should ease your Valentine's Day weekend planning.
Most romantic places in London
Whether you're looking to create a unique experience for a partner, begin your own brand-new love story, or just immerse yourself in a few memories, these beautiful spots should be on your list as some of the most romantic places in London.
London is a reasonably flat city. Natural viewpoints are rare, but Primrose Hill is one of the best. With a stunning view across to the gorgeous city lights, surrounded by peaceful trees and green fields, it's probably the best location in the city for a first kiss (if there is such a thing!).
Perhaps one of London's most overlooked attractions, Kew Gardens is fascinating - and romantic. Its gorgeous hothouses offer a botanical tour around the world before a stroll through the canopies of the Gardens' beech and chestnut trees on the Treetop Walk. Finally, take a spot for lunch in one of London's best picnic spots at the Syon Vista. It's a peaceful, intimate world for you to explore together.
Dans Le Noir
Dans Le Noir is so perfect that it's impossible to leave it off. Hosted by visually impaired waiting staff, your dining experience will occur in complete darkness, leaving you and your partner with the quiet intimacy of sound, touch and taste. It's the best place in the city to fall in love again.
Hampton Court Palace
As a palace of Kings and Queens for generations, it's hard not to feel like royalty when you walk through the gardens of Hampton Court. Wander through its splendid halls, take intimate moments in the Palace Maze, or spend a night in the King's state apartments in their Dusk 'til Dawn Sleepover.
This little-known spot near Paddington station is notable for its tranquil waterside feel and relaxed atmosphere. It's a haven for busy couples who need a break from the city's hustle and bustle. Take a romantic stroll along the canal banks and admire its lovely barges and bridges. You can also stop for a quiet glass of wine in one of its many pubs.
Although each of London's parks has something special to offer, Regent's Park has always been Londoners' favourite for romantic walks. The varied gardens and hedgerows give it a more intimate feel and provide a few sheltered spots where you aren't subjected to the prying eyes of endless passers-by. At the same time, the family-friendly greens create a relaxed atmosphere perfect for picnics and games. It's beautiful on a sunny day.
Best romantic activities in London
Visitors to England's vibrant capital are never short of things to do and places to explore, but to find the city's most romantic spots, you'll need to take some advice from those in the know.
Visit London's Museums
One of London's most prestigious hubs for high culture and the arts, The Victoria and Albert Museum, is holding a one-day workshop on Valentine's Day with pop art milliner Pearls & Swine, in which participants can make their extravagant hats. Revel in even more resplendence by catching the museum's incredible exhibitions and stopping at the palatial V&A Café.
Indulge in a Traditional Afternoon Tea
Situated opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, The Rubens at the Palace couldn't have a much more regal setting. Offering delicious afternoon tea packages, you can always surprise your partner with one of the oldest British food traditions.
Cruise along the Thames
What could be more romantic than a candlelit dinner for two on a Thames river cruise? Some cruise companies organise idyllic cruises where guests are welcomed aboard with surprises before dining on a four-course meal, with wine and live entertainment.
Soak up some British History
One of London's great draws is its magnificent history. Visit 500-year-old Hampton Court Palace to explore its intriguing past and the story behind the monarchs who resided there. Take a look inside Britain's only Royal Chocolate Kitchen, wander through the flourishing 60-acre Royals Gardens (which back onto the River Thames), and lose yourself in the palace's great maze, which William III commissioned.
Take in a Top London Restaurant
Whatever you do on Valentine's Day in London, the perfect finale is a visit to one of the city's romantic restaurants. Quaglino's, a renowned European brasserie and seafood specialist, is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the town for dining with that special someone. The restaurant usually offers an exclusive set menu for Valentine's weekend.
Explore London's Parks and Gardens
Strolling through London's palatial parks and gardens can be romantic any day, but Kew Gardens gives people another reason to visit their Valentine's Late Kew Gardens. Taking place in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, this special evening includes exclusive experiences with dance classes amidst the hanging orchids.
Catch a Comedy Show
The West End comedy club Bar Rumba regularly hosts comedy festivals showcasing top talent. On Valentine's Day, the club usually welcomes a unique Comedy Carnival, with a three-course meal and Prosecco before the show. Afterwards, those in the mood for a dance can head to the venue's nightclub.
Wake up together next to Hyde Park
Take a stroll, or a light run if you prefer, down the banks of the Serpentine and stop for a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful Italian Water Gardens at its northern edge. If you can find the time, briefly look around Kensington Palace Gardens or stop at the Serpentine Gallery for some culture. Check out the Milestone Hotel for excellent accommodation right next to the park.
How to spend Valentine's Day in London on a budget
You don't need to spend too much in the British capital to enjoy yourselves. Some cheaper activities for couples are worth a try and will help you bond with your partner and build unforgettable memories.
Brunch in Kensington
Well, you need time to laze in bed after all; breakfast may be too early. Kensington has some of the nicest little eateries in the capital. Raison D'etre, Montparnasse Cafe, and Ffiona's are all beautiful brunch spots with a romantic vibe.
Shopping on Portobello Road
Wander in and out of some antique stalls, record shops, and fashion stores to experience authentic London. Toward the northern end of Portobello Road, don't miss out on the pop-up bar and food stalls at Acklam Village Market.
Enjoy music with Sofar London
There are tonnes of great options for live music in London. However, if you want to add excitement and mystery to your partner, check out Sofar London. These secret gigs are held in private locations around the city with mystery guests. Anyone from up-and-coming artists like Lianne La Havas to superstars like Hozier might put in an appearance, so get ready to be amazed.
Have delicious street food at Borough Market
Sometimes, the only thing you want to do together is eat. For the true foodies, the best place to go will always be Borough Market. From exotic meats to hand-crafted spirits and beautiful, fresh fruits and veggies, you'll find some of the city's best artisan delicacies and street food all under one roof. If you need to walk off the extra calories, a long walk down the south bank is perfect for a romantic stroll.
Party in Soho till the early hours
Soho has pretty much everything when it comes to London nightlife. Chaotic clubs, trendy cocktail joints and posh hotel bars. For those looking to splash out on a crazy night on the town, there's no better place to be. Arts Theatre Club, Garlic Bar, Crobar, the Duke of Wellington – there are too many fantastic dance floors to name them all in a single post. You'll have to experience it for yourselves!
Play board games in Waterloo
Leake Street is one of London's hidden gems. These disused railway arches and vaults used to be home to TFL's maintenance crews but now house some of London's coolest bars and restaurants. One of which is Draughts – a board game cafe where you can play pretty much any game under the sun. Play a few rounds here before retiring next door for dinner and drinks. If you have time, you might even be able to catch a show at The Vaults – one of London's underground performing arts venues.
Your guide to Valentine's Day outside London
Let's get a bit further from the capital and see what romantic escapes and activities are available for couples in the countryside. If you wish to have a quieter date with your other half, this list of things to do in Britain should help organise a memorable Valentine's Day weekend.
Romantic destinations in the UK
The UK is full of them, leaving no room for boredom. Each of the UK's capitals has something unique to offer in the way of romance. But you don't need to stay in a bustling city if you fancy a quieter retreat.
Now, let's head up north to another significant capital, Edinburgh. Scotland's most romantic city is brimming with charming cobblestoned streets and medieval architectural icons that seem to belong in a fairy tale (with a 'happily ever after'). While you're in Scotland with your date, don't forget to check out the mystical Scottish Highlands. You don't need Cupid when you can visit a stunning castle or two.
Before moving away from capital cities, try Belfast, a city with centuries of fascinating history and splendid architecture. Tour the capital's iconic Tudor buildings, such as the impressive Queen's University. Or, visit the filming locations from the hit series Game of Thrones. During your stay, make your way to Titanic Belfast.
The Romans first settled bath after natural hot springs were discovered. It quickly flourished into England's most famous spa town. Today, you can take your date to watch the steam rising from the Roman Baths' waters. Fancy having a dip? Head to the Thermae Bath Spa, which offers sweeping views over the stunning city. Bath's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is enough to prove this city exudes beauty around every corner.
Oxford is famous for being a prestigious university town. But it's also one of the UK's most romantic cities. Oxford is known as the 'Dreaming City of Spires', full of majestic streets, stunning architecture and plenty of places to take your date. The city's 800-year-old university inspired Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. When you've had enough of the wealthy city centre, jump on a river cruise for a romantic trip along the Thames.
Admittedly, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a town rather than a city. But the birthplace of celebrated playwright William Shakespeare deserves mention. This picturesque market town lies along the River Avon. Boat trips make for an exceptionally romantic date, as do comedies and tragedies performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
The Cotswolds, or Cotswold Hills, are home to picturesque villages and a rare type of grassland in the UK. Whether you stay in one of Cotswold's many quaint cottages or spend the day exploring its countless walking trails, the area won't fail to charm you and your loved one.
Most romantic spots to propose in Britain
To help you on your way to the perfect proposal, here we delve into Britain’s most romantic places to propose, from secluded gardens to sleepy riverside settings.
Packed with enough greenery to make one dizzy, the Lake District’s rugged mountains, serene lakes and literary associations all combine to make most visitors fall on both knees in awe.
Take a walk to Queen’s Park Bridge, which spans the River See, and look down on mile upon mile of weeping willows, groves and resplendent riverbank. If that’s not enough to get the feelings flowing, return in the summer when the city hosts a series of parades, concerts and festivals for a more upbeat proposal.
It should be no surprise that a site renowned for its spirituality has become a popular place for couples to propose. Encircled by stone, pierced by shards of sunlight, and saturated with a sense of the sublime, Stonehenge is the perfect place for couples to form an everlasting bond.
Located along the River Stour in Kent, Canterbury is a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular with visitors from all parts of the UK. Canterbury is perhaps most famous for Canterbury Cathedral, one of England’s oldest and most famous churches. The city also features cobbled streets lined with small, independent shops, charming enough to propose.
Stroll along the Albert Dock, listen to a concert at the Philharmonic or enjoy afternoon tea at The London Carriage Works to soften up your other half. Then, make a beeline for the Anglican cathedral as dusk falls; the views from its gothic tower offer an incredible backdrop to your big moment.