1 The strollers’ date
Stroll through the pretty walled gardens atop Brockwell Park, then down the hill to instil yourself in the candle-lit Lido Cafe for their special three-course Valentine’s Day menu (£45pp). Alternatively, head for Crystal Palace Park to check out Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’ famed dinosaur sculptures. Work your way up the park to the sphinx, then head for dinner at the Crystal Palace Market. The food and the cocktails here (try the Market Twinkle) are outstanding.
2 The shoppers’ date
Enjoy brunch at the critically acclaimed Joanna’s before wandering the Triangle’s varied independent shops. Do South, Designs of Modernity and Flaming Nora are a must for furniture lovers, Simon Carter has great gifts for men, Smash Bang Wallop has some wonderful homewares and Vien has a carefully curated collection of vintage clothing as well as a cafe for tea and cake.
3 The chocolate lovers’ date
For the lady that loves chocolate and wine, which let’s face it is most of us, a chocolate and wine tasting workshop with the experts from The Melange chocolate shop on Bellenden Road (14 February, 8pm-10.30pm) makes for a great date. Discover how complementary chocolate and wine can be and how to pair them to greatest effect. The workshop will either be conducted at the Bellenden Road shop or at the Chocolate Museum in Brixton. £75 per couple.
4 The traditional date
Indulge in quirky, delicious cocktails and small plates at Three Eight Four and then head around the corner to The Ritzy to catch a film. On 14 February they’re showing Fifty Shades of Grey – ooer – or for something more high brow, watch a live screening of a Met Opera double bill – Iolanta and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (£30). Greenwich and Blackheath residents may prefer to head for a glass or two of English sparkling wine courtesy of Chapel Down in the first floor bar at Greenwich Picturehouse, which is also screening Fifty Shades and the Met Opera double bill on 14 February. Dinner afterwards? It’s got to be The Rivington, just up the road.
5 The art lover’s date
Take your date on a Camberwell art crawl, taking in SLG, GX Gallery, House Gallery (which supports emerging artists), and Camberwell Space (the art college’s public gallery). Linger at SLG’s art shop, which has a curated selection of books, artist monographs and gifts. Extend your date into the evening by heading to Communion Bar for some very cool cocktails. Alternatively, The Camberwell Arms and The Crooked Well both serve excellent food.
6 The wine lovers’ date
Vinopolis at Borough Market is running special Valentine’s wine tasting packages on both Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February. This package (£70 for two) includes a sparkling Framboise Fizz cocktail each on arrival, two Essential Wine Tasting tickets, a cheese and charcuterie sharing plate and a bottle of Prosecco. The experience lasts around two to two-and-a-half hours.
No 1 Bank End SE1 9BU; vinopolis.co.uk
7 The dinner date
It’s hard to beat Chapters for special occasion dining. The Blackheath venue is offering a Valentine’s menu for £39.95pp on Saturday 14 February (or £29.95pp on Sunday), featuring confit leg of duck with butternut squash purée. Chapter One in Locksbottom, one of the finest restaurants in Kent, is offering a menu for £55pp on Saturday (or £45pp on Sunday), featuring baked wild halibut with hand rolled macaroni and truffles.
8 The culture date
Culture lovers have plenty of choice in Greenwich on 14 February. At Love in the Archives at the Queen’s House, you can browse a collection of romantic letters written by sailors to their lovers and take a candle-lit tour of the Queen’s Bedchamber with musical accompaniment by Trinity Laban (7-8.30pm, £46 for two with Prosecco). Meanwhile, below the decks at the Cutty Sark in the Michael Edwards Studio Theatre, British Soul/R&B music duo Hil St Soul perform memorable classics and covers live and unplugged (7.45pm, £20 each).
9 The kooky date
A tour of Chislehurst Caves provides the perfect excuse to cuddle up to your date. The 45-minute guided tours of the man-made labyrinth of tunnels start hourly from 10am until 4pm. The caves were originally dug for chalk and later used as munitions storage in WWI, an air-raid shelter in WWII and later hosted dances and concerts. Tours are £6 per person. Afterwards, head to The Bickley for drinks or dinner.