Feeling the love this Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re planning to celebrate it with a view, a glass of fizz, a meal to remember or sitting in companionable silence while gazing up at the stars, here’s some inspiration for where to take a date
Instagram your love at Greenwich Market
Love will perfume the air once more at Greenwich Market this Valentine’s Day.
Running from 10am to 5.30pm on Wednesday 14th February, couples can get a shot to keep forever in front of an especially installed Instagram flower wall.
Known for its handmade arts and crafts you can pick up something special from the stalls or one of the unique shops that circle the market and then grab a bite from of their fabulous world-food trucks.
Take afternoon tea with a World Heritage view
The Old Royal Naval College is welcoming guests for its popular Admiral’s Tea experience – a chance to tuck into delicate finger sandwiches, homemade scones and cakes in a regal setting overlooking the Thames.
A selection of teas are available to accompany your meal, plus for a little extra you can get a Valentine tour of their world-renowned Painted Hall.
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10 9NN. February 12-18 1.5 hour sittings from 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. £47 (Tea for two), £75 (Tea and tour for two). www.ornc.org/whats-on/admirals-tea/
Stargaze at the Royal Observatory
From hit series Friends to Hollywood movie La La Land, rom-coms love to show us the romantic potential for a planetarium date and a chance to gaze up at the stars together.
London is home to its very own Royal Observatory, which stands atop a hill in Greenwich – home of time itself.
Stand tall together on the Meridian Line, from which Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) itself is set, then cuddle up in the planetarium’s darkened auditorium and contemplate the sheer magnitude of outta space – thanking your lucky stars for the universe bringing the two of you together.
For a bite to eat before or after the show, head to the Astronomy Café & Terrace, open only to Planetarium ticket holders – a secluded spot for refreshments and hush-hush conversations.
Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, London SE10 8XJ. Open daily, 10am – 5pm. Admission: planetarium shows £10pp.
Impress over pasta
A sister restaurant to Peckham’s beloved Artusi, Marcella is the place in Deptford for fresh, seasonal and rustic Italian cuisine.
The short, seasonal menu of delicately detailed pasta dishes is not to be missed. (At the time of writing, a dish of ‘Violino Pumpkin Ravioli, Chestnut, Sage’ is competing with one of ‘Pipe all’amatriciana’), but branch out and you might find yourselves chewing the cud over a starter of ‘Mutton Chop, Winter Tomato Salad, and Shallot Mustard’, or a main of ‘Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Taramasalata and Red Peppers.
Do leave room to fight for the last forkful of the restaurant’s pud: ‘Poached Pears, Mascarpone’ or Stracciatella Gelato’. Marcella also wins marks for its bright and airy dining room, plus its service, which is polite and slick. A vibey place to say Amore.
Marcella, 165A Deptford High Street, London, SE8 3NU. Monday 6pm-10pm, Tuesday-Thursday 12pm-2:30pm then 6pm-9:30pm Friday-Saturday 12pm-2:30pm then 6pm-10pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm.
For pillow talk and opulence
For a somewhat steamier (and pricier!) affair, dress to impress and make your way to the InterContinental Hotel at the O2.
It’s pulling out all the stops to offer guests an overtly romantic stay, with enchanting afternoon teas at £52 per person to a decadent seven-course dinner and Valentine’s themed cocktails, plus a visit to their spa.
In their Indian restaurant Kinaara you and your loved one can indulgent seven-course menu and even choose the perfect wine pairing for £155 per person. The seven-course dinner and a glass of Lanson Rosé Champagne come to £99 per person
Their Valentine package includes a 60-minute massage per person (Swedish or Aromatherapy), a glass of champagne per person and a strawberry platter dipped in chocolate for two, including two- hour spa access.
InterContinental London, 1 Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0TW. February 12 – 18.
Linger over tapas
This recommendation comes with our heartiest of apologies to SE4 residents, whose best-kept-secret we’re louding tooting: tapas joint L’Oculto (meaning ‘the hidden one’), has got to be one of the most authentically romantic restaurants south of the river.
A carefully selected wine list, a passionate head chef, an ever-evolving menu of dishes made with seasonal produce are just some of its selling points.
For the more fickle, or perhaps ambiance minded, so are trendy interiors (exposed brick walls, the warm glow of fairy lights) and a buzzy atmosphere.
Entirely women-run, the restaurant is the lovechild of business partners Teresa Holmes and Ana Gomez, with Galician chef Irene Lorenzo Muñoz heading up the kitchen. Brockley resident or not, L’Oculto is a restaurant to celebrate and to celebrate at.
Past years have seen it offer special Valentine’s Day menus too, and you’ll want to book soon to nab a table.
L’Oculto, 325 Brockley Road, Brockley, London SE4 2QZ. Wednesday-Thursday 6pm – 11.30pm; Friday & Saturday 12.30pm – 11.30pm; Sunday 12.30pm – 5pm.