Valentine’s Day can be quite pricey, especially if you take your date to fine dining restaurants in the city, or shower them with gifts from Tiffany & Co. But that does not have to mean you can’t have fun if the funds were somewhat depleted by the Christmas season – there are plenty of dates you can go on in London that are affordable. Here are 12 affordable date ideas.
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Go to a free museum
A number of museums in London are completely free for the public to visit and wandering around the interesting museum halls hand-in-hand is a great way to spend the day of love. There are 27 free museums in London, some of which include: The Natural History Museum, The V&A Museum, The Science Museum, The British Museum, The National Gallery and The Museum of London… To name a few. Take your pick!
They say one of the routes to even the hardest of heart is through their funny bone, so why not head to some free comedy shows to get the giggling started? The T-Bird Bar is host to up-and-coming comedy talent every Friday for free – particularly convenient for Valentine’s Day 2020, which falls on a Friday.
Address: 132 Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, London N4 2DX
A romantic stroll
Yes, glits, glam and fancy 5-course tasting menus may be nice, but romance does not have to revolve around how much you can spend but rather the sentiment and thought places behind it. There is nothing quite like a romantic stroll to get the heart fluttering. Granted, it is February, so make sure you wrap up warmly before heading out. You could take a walk along the River Thames, or through the tree-filled heart of the city, Hyde Park.
Play some games
If you have travelled to London, you likely are away from home and as a result, can’t host a games night in your living room. However, there are a number of bars and cafes around the city where you can get to know your date, have a few laughs and order a few drinks while getting mock-competitive over a game of Scrabble. Perhaps you can spell “Love” over a triple-word score! A couple of examples of these types of venues include: Draughts in Haggerston, Scenario in Dalston, The Beer Hive in Brixton and The Four Quarters in Peckham.
Though you may be faced with a cover charge here and there, going dancing in London is an inexpensive but fun way to spend your date night this Valentine’s Day. If you fancy yourself partial to a bit of salsa dancing, then head to Salsa! Soho, a fantastic Latin bar and club. Alternatively, if a bit of pop music is more your scene, then perhaps XOYO in Shoreditch is the best bet for your dancing-date.
The most romantic possible date for booklovers is to read alongside their significant other and there are a number of places to do so in London. In fact, why not make it extra special and pick out a book for each other at one of the many quirky bookshops in Covent Garden’s Cecil Court (affectionately known as Bookseller’s Row), then head to The British Library and pick a nook to read in.
The Poetry Cafe
Poetry is a notorious language of love, and The Poetry Cafe is a notorious hub for poetry – so, head here for your Valentine’s Day date if you are having it in the afternoon. Enjoy light, reasonably priced vegetarian lunches, vegan cakes and flapjacks, a range of loose-leaf tea, Redemption Roasters coffee and artisanal soft drinks amidst the ambience of poetic charm.
Eat street food
Street food is an inexpensive way to dine, but doesn’t always seem worthy for a romantic date. However, Market Hall in both Victoria and Soho elevate it to a dining level that any date would be impressed with. These open-plan food courts are sparse but modern with a diverse and eclectic range of offerings, from Bao Buns to Tacos.
Rent a boat
Though not an entirely free option for a Valentine’s Day date, renting a boat to cruise around Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is certainly affordable and infinitely romantic – Bridget Jones’ Diary will teach you that! Gently row your boat around the lake, swooping past the swans as they bob on the water. Paddle around, chatting and learning about one another as you go.
Find a pub near you offering a quiz night this Valentine’s Day, and learn all about your date in a few rounds of questioning. Though quizzes can be tricky sometimes, they are also a lot of fun and a great way of learning about your date’s interests – for instance, judging on how they do in the music round!
Whose heart isn’t won with a few jazz chords? Head to one of the city’s brilliant, smooth jazz clubs, like Ronie’s Scott in Soho, Vortex in Dalston, or Jazz Cafe in Camden. These intimate venues will foster not only a love for the musical genre, but also one for the date who you are enjoying it with.
If you want to melt the heart of a cat-lover, then head to Bethnal Green’s Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. Sip on delicious cups of tea, chat about your loves and hobbies in life, nibble on delectable cakes, all the while having beautiful, furry cats wandering around this quirkily decorated, double-storey cafe. Everyone will be purring by the end of the date!
This Valentine’s Day, have a whale of a time with your