Everybody knows that Valentine’s Day can be both clichéd and commercial. But we say it doesn’t need to be that way. While the day does bring too many trips to the local Italian, it does also serve up a plethora of opportunities to do something unique with your partner, with London naturally being the hub for most of the festivities. With that in mind, here’s a few ideas for an alternative Valentine’s Day in London 2017.

An Alternative Guide to Valentine’s Day in London 2017

A Valentine’s Evening with the Stars

When: Tuesday 14th February.
Where: Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, SE10 8XJ.
Price: £30

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is giving you the chance to be all starry-eyed with your partner this V Day with its ‘Evening with the Stars.’ There’ll be a romantically themed planetarium show, followed by a chance to look at the Moon through the Great Equatorial Telescope, as well as some time on the Meridian Line with an amazing view and a glass of champers.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Royal Observatory

Historical Aphrodisiacs Masterclass

When: Sunday 12th February.
Where: Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX.
Price: £20

Forget strawberries and champagne, this Valentine’s Day offers something far more titillating with a taste of history. Inspired by themes of love and romance, The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop will play host to a seductive still life, where everything on the table was at one point or another considered an aphrodisiac. Presented by food historian Tasha Marks, you’ll sip, sniff and taste your way through 2,000 years of frisky grub.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Viking Aphrodisiac Masterclass

Sotheby’s ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’ Exhibition

When: Saturday 11th – Thursday 16th February.
Where: Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street, W1A 2AA.
Price: Free

For something a little more risqué, Sotheby’s gallery on New Bond Street are hosting an exhibition aptly titled ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’, before an auction for the works on takes place on Thursday 16th Feb. Featuring over 100 extraordinary works, with everything from nudes to the depiction of love making, the exhibition will comprise of 19th-century furniture, design, fine art, photography and contemporary sculpture.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Sotheby's Erotic Exhibition

Valentine’s at the Grant

When: Tuesday 14th February.
Where: Grant Museum of Zoology, 21 University Street, WC1E 6DE.
Price: £6

Another exhibition involving the birds and the bees is being thrown at the always interesting Grant Museum of Zoology. Whether you’re looking for love or seeking to impress your Valentine date, the After Hours Valentine’s themed late opening gives you the chance to enjoy a drink and uncover how seduction is done in the animal world with the museum’s Valentines themed specimen labels.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Grant Museum

Gaming at The Four Thieves Pub

When: Daily
Where: 51 Lavender Gardens, SW11 1DJ
Price: Escape Game from £19

For an alternative date venue, there’s few better places in the capital than The Four Thieves pub in South London. Not only does the pub pack a gigantic games room complete with retro arcades, table tennis, mini golf, and an RC racetrack, but the pub is also the location for one of the best escape games in London in Lady Chastity’s Reserve. The food at the pub is also top notch – perfect for a date night.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Four Thieves Pub

Lady and The Tramp Dog Friendly Screening

When: Tuesday 14th February.
Where: The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH.
Price: From 6

If there’s three people in your relationship, The Book Club in Shoreditch is putting on a special screening of the Disney classic Lady & the Tramp for you, your partner, and yes, your dog. Tickets are £6 for you and your dog, or £8 if you come without a dog but want to come anyway.

Alternative Valentine's Day London Lady & Tramp Screening

Grope Mountain Climbing Wall

When: Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th February.
Where: The Climbing Hangar London, 33-35 Parsons Green Lane, SW6 4HH.
Price: £10

If you’re not really the romantic type, the always bonkers Bompas & Parr design house have got you covered this Valentine’s Day with their latest project, Grope Mountain – a bespoke climbing wall made from… well… things to grope. Naturally you can go with your partner, but it’s also open to groups with Bompas & Parr saying the ascension up the wall ‘encourages a rethink of the participants’ own body.’

Alternative Valentine's Day London Grope Mountain

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