London for lovers: little pleasures à deux
One can be fun, and three's a wheeze, but some things just work better with two. Bustling, action-packed London wasn’t exactly built for die-hard romantics – so where do you go to share a quiet moment with that special someone? We know love comes in many flavours, so we’ve scoured the capital for under-the-radar spots best savoured à deux. From competitive games to head-turning cocktails, here are five of our favourites.
High speed dating
Who said finding love is easy? On both sides of the Channel, lonely hearts swipe in vain on dating apps, hoping to connect with that special someone. For Valentine's Day, Eurostar organised a speed dating event for 18 brave Parisians and Londoners hoping to find their match. Did they find what they were looking for? We reveal everything.
Five quirky Valentine’s Day ideas in London
Cosy up at Electric Cinema191 Portobello Road, W11 2ED
One of London's oldest and best-loved cinemas, Notting Hill's Electric has drawn film fans for more than 100 years. Its sumptuous auditorium is fitted out with leather armchairs, footstools and side tables. Curl up with your special someone on one of the back-row sofas, or even one of the front-row double beds. There are cashmere blankets on hand if you really want to snuggle.
Play ping pong at Bounce121 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD
There's nothing like a bit of playful back-and-forth to get you in the mood. Get competitive with a spot of table tennis at Bounce, a buzzing bar that mixes DJs with drop shots, and tacos with topspin. Head to the Farringdon flagship, where it's claimed the game was invented in 1901. Book in for the Sunday bottomless brunch and play through till bedtime.
Lunch amid the bloomsPetersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, TW10 7AB
Say it with flowers over lunch at Petersham Nurseries – and not just with any old bouquet. Tuck into award-winning Italian fare in one of the garden centre's heated glasshouses, surrounded by flamboyant ferns and headily scented jasmine. Richmond may be slightly out of the way, but the atmospheric fairy-tale setting is worth the trip alone.
Best for… art lovers: SKETCH9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
With its neon artwork, David Shrigley gallery and pink India Mahdavi lounge, this 18th-century townhouse is London’s Instagram darling. Superstar chef Pierre Gagnaire is the brains behind the menu, which includes suitably luxe sandwiches filled with caviar, foie gras or truffled egg. New art commissions and a programme of creative nights (canine life drawing, anyone?) ensure its street cred is up-to-the-minute, too.
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Image credits: © Petersham Nurseries; © Petersham Nurseries; © Soho House Electric Cinema; © Bounce; © Petersham Nurseries; © SKETCH