Alternative Activities for Valentine’s Day in London

Natasha Sutton-Williams

Does Valentine’s Day have to mean hastily bought cards, cheap chocolates and a random bottle of bubbly? No! Get quirky and make this heartfelt holiday one to remember! Whether you’re spending time with your other half, your family and friends, or just exploring solo, these alternative Valentine’s Day activities will stimulate your head and your heart.

Highgate Cemetery
The origins of St Valentine’s Day are a little more macabre than you might expect. Roman Emperor Claudius II executed two men (both named Valentine) on 14 February during the 3rd century A.D. and the Catholic Church honoured their martyrdom with St Valentine’s Day. So what better way to celebrate than a visit to the contemplative Highgate Cemetery? In the East Cemetery you can discover the grave of political philosopher Karl Marx, or wander to the final resting place of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and add a pen to the pen-pot on his grave.
Oriole Bar
This sparkling gem of a cocktail bar is well hidden beneath Smithfield Market, the UK’s largest wholesale meat market. But don’t let the pork whiff put you off! This subterranean cocktail bar is decked out in splendorous explorer-style décor, with live jazz music every night and a cocktail menu consisting of the most elaborate and uniquely presented cocktails in all of London.

Urban Axe Throwing
At Whistle Punks you can sling axes alongside your loved ones, and learn to hit bull-eyes with the guidance from their experienced coaches. Once you get the feel for it, instructors will referee a tournament where a King or Queen of axe throwing is crowned. Safety first: each throwing lane is enclosed, you have an axe wielding expert to hand at all times, no booze sold on site, and they won’t let you throw if you’re hammered!

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