Discover love in London this Valentines Day with a short stay in a serviced apartment, the perfect base from which to explore London.
With Christmas and New Year celebrations long gone, there seems no better way to brighten up those long dark winter nights and grey, overcast February days than spending it with your loved one.
The day that many couples crave for is looming ever closer- Valentine’s Day! February 14th (just in case those unromantic ones amongst you have forgotten!) is the time when sweethearts traditionally wine and dine in romantic settings, exchange gifts of flowers, chocolates and the like. Some couples may be looking to celebrate this ancient tradition less classically, or in more unusual ways, so this month we’ll be taking a look at just what’s out there for Valentine’s Day along with discovering a little more about its roots and origins.
So, who is this mysterious saint and where did these Valentine Day traditions start? Well, although somewhat obscure and exaggerated by legend, it would seem the most likely story behind Valentine’s Day originates in a risqué Roman festival named Lupercalia. This wildly popular, annual pagan fertility celebration took place on February 15th and involved young, naked men running around gently spanking nubile ladies with an aim to boosting their fertility! This ritual was later absorbed into Christian tradition, eventually morphing into St Valentine. Yet some scholars believe that St. Valentine was a wayward priest who was apprehended and put to death by Emperor Claudius II after defying him by secretly performing illegal marriage ceremonies. Claudius had apparently decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine deemed the decree an injustice, defying Claudius by continuing to marry young lovers in secret. For his misdemeanour, Valentine was executed on February 14, henceforth to be known universally by lovers and sweethearts as St Valentine’s Day.
Whichever version you believe, I’m sure the truth is hidden there somewhere!
Over many centuries Valentine’s Day has evolved, and by the Victorian era exchanging hand-made gifts and cards was commonplace in England. Today it has developed into a huge commercial success, where at least a quarter of the annual total of greeting cards, are sent as Valentine cards. In fact over 150,000,000 Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is now synonymous with romance, flowers and candlelight and is loved so much that we dedicate a whole day to celebrating it. Whether you want to celebrate in the classic, traditional way or do something more outlandish, there is certainly something for everyone in our great capital city.
Here are a few suggestions…
- Visit London’s Romantic Restaurants
Whether you’re seeking the perfect place for a first date or a table for a special Valentine's Day dinner, you can’t go wrong in London. There are cuisines to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are just a few……
a) The Hutong Shard where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the city, along with their signature dumplings, perfect for sharing, and their own specialty roasted Peking duck. Complete your evening with cocktails in the high ceilinged atrium bar above London's twinkling lights.
b) Galvin at Windows fuses 1930s decor with modern French cuisine. A Michelin-starred restaurant with views to match from the 28th floor, this is the perfect place to woo your loved one.
c) OXO Tower Restaurant. - On the eighth floor of this unmistakable Tower you’ll discover alluring views of The City and beyond, plus a menu of modern British classics and an intimate atmosphere, it's the ideal romantic Valentine's restaurant.
d) Bateaux London – Romance on the Thames. Some say the Seine is the place for lovers! Not so, as Bateaux London can do romance which is second to none. Go down on one knee whilst passing London’s iconic landmarks on this superb dinner cruise along the Thames. With floor-to-ceiling windows, dinner, cooked on board and live entertainment, it will certainly be a night to remember.
Visit the Rivoli Ballroom
If you want glamorous surroundings to woo your beloved why not watch Shakespeare’s classic love story Romeo + Juliet?
If you want to get starry-eyed, then an evening at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is for you. The night includes a planetarium show about the romantic sights the night sky has to offer, a chance to do some stargazing through the 18-tonne Victorian telescope and a glass of bubbly whilst standing on the historic Greenwich Meridian. An unforgettable evening sure to impress!
Check out the Jazz Cafe
Here you can serenade your date with Nina Simone's greatest hits. This year The Black Voices Quintet will perform the best and most powerful numbers from the repertoire of one of the 20th C greatest artists, Nina Simone.
For an unusual Valentine’s activity (11th February) head down to this vibrant space and treat your loved ones with an amazing homemade chocolate gift for St. Valentine's day. There are chocolate making classes where you can make mini chocolate truffles and filled chocolates.
Be serenaded by opera singers in the opulent surrounds of Sarastro with its flamboyant food and quirky artwork.
Take a romantic stroll
- Enjoy a spectacular sunset over London’s skyline from the top of Parliament Hill, on Hampstead Heath.
- Take a moonlit stroll along Southbank hand in hand, from London Bridge to Waterloo.
- Take in a London Park – Hyde Park is very beautiful at this time of year.
Take tea at the Barbican
Chill out with a romantic afternoon tea in the Barbican’s conservatory, which homes tropical plants, trees and fish.
Go to bed at the Electric Cinema
Watch a movie from the comfort of a front row red velvet double bed at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill.
Check out Belowzero Ice Bar
If your partner is chilly- Cosy up to them at Belowzero Ice Bar, where the walls, bar and tables are made of ice.
There is certainly a vast range of things to do with your one and only in our lovely city. If you choose to extend your Valentine visit to London to take advantage of the wealth of romantic activities on offer, then Euracom can help. We have a plethora of serviced apartments within the capital to suit every budget. Our three featured properties this month are…
Located in one of London’s most fashionable areas, these apartments are within a three star property and vary in size, from studio apartments to 1/2 bedroom apartments all available. Each apartment has en-suite facilities, a fully fitted kitchen & come furnished. Reasonably priced from only £98pn for a 1 bedroom studio, they are perfect for corporate business travellers or for short stays. Their central location offers easy access to the West End, London’s main entertainment centre.
- Concierge / security / reception/ Door entry phone/ Lifts/ Safe
- Daily or weekly linen change/Daily cleaning service/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- TV / Freeview/ Telephone/ Wifi
These wonderful apartments are situated on London's South Bank, with easy access to the many of London's iconic landmarks & attractions. For a nightly fee from only £117p/n they make an ideal base for short stay holiday. The apartments are based around the original Sarsons brewery and are complemented by a stylish new development that includes a gym and onsite café pleasantly located in the atrium area, - a great place to have breakfast. With separate living and sleeping areas and a fully fitted kitchen and complimentary Wi-Fi, there is plenty of room to entertain guests. With scenic walking routes around London’s South bank, these apartments are close to many bars, restaurants and cafes, along with other amenities like Borough Market.
- Central heating
- Concierge / security / reception/ Lifts
- Dining table & chairs
- Fully equipped kitchen/ dishwasher in some/ Iron / Ironing board
- Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- TV / Freeview/ Wifi
Our Inverness Terrace studio apartments have recently undergone a superb refurbishment and are perfect for a short holiday in the Hyde Park area of London. Located on a residential street and moments from Hyde Park, the area is bustling with shops, restaurants and cafes nearby. Entertainment venues are also close-by, making these quality apartments ideal for those who enjoy the high life! With an affordable price tag starting from £96 p/n, these great apartments are set in an historic Georgian terraced building with warm & vibrant interiors. With a kitchen which includes a fridge, hob, oven, microwave, kettle and all necessary cooking utensils, along with high speed Wi-Fi, these short stay, budget, self-catering apartments are hard to beat.
- Central heating
- Door entry phone
- Fully equipped kitchen/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- Room service available
- TV / Freeview/Wifi
By Johntex - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1676458By Rob at 4 Feb 2019