While it feels like we’ve only just made it through the holidays, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! If you’re fortunate enough to be in the UK capital with the one you love over the holiday, then you’ll have plenty of options. From traditional fine dining to sightseeing and offbeat adventures, London has your Valentine’s Day covered.
For guests staying in one of our vacation rentals in Kensington, Notting Hill, and Chelsea, there are a number of excellent fine dining options at your fingertips, ranging from internationally-renowned establishments to family-run restaurants. Here are some of our top picks.
Nestled along one of Kensington’s most beautiful and quaint residential streets, Michelin star-winning Launceston Place is the place in West London for modern British fare. Head chef Brett Graham takes traditional British ingredients, like hare, lamb, and veal, and prepares them using innovative techniques to create a refreshingly unique menu that has won critical acclaim.
Run by the Chiavarini family for over 30 years, Il Portico serves homemade Italian food alongside an enviable wine line. The relaxed restaurant is a great choice if you prefer a low-key dinner. Conveniently located on Kensington High Street, it’s easy to reach and very near to Kensington branch of ODEON cinemas, where you could catch a film after dinner.
Consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in the world, The Ledbury serves modern French cuisine influenced by British ingredients and Asian cooking techniques. Recipient of two Michelin stars in 2011, a trip to The Ledbury is a truly special experience.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Arguably the UK’s most famous chef, Gordon Ramsay owns a number of restaurants throughout London. His Chelsea establishment is his flagship restaurant and most critically acclaimed. This year there is a special Valentine’s Day menu available that includes a glass of champagne on arrival, steamed truffle buns, pressed foie gras, and mango, jasmine, and passion fruit soup.
Dinner with a View
London’s signature skyline sparkles at night and the OXO Tower offers classic views of Central London and the Thames, while Ting at The Shangri-La Hotel inside The Shard will reward you with commanding views of the city. The Sky Garden is the latest high-altitude hot spot in London to open and features a seafood restaurant, brassiere, and bar.
Night at the Museum
After a very successful Valentine’s evening event in 2014, the Museum of London has just announced its programme for this year. On Friday, 13 February, members of the public are invited to attend Late London: bohemian city, which will include a late-night bar, special installations, discussions, and performances that explore London’s more eccentric and bohemian side.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to enjoy a romantic night of sightseeing. A Thames River cruise is a popular option, but you’ll need to book your spots in advance. Check out our recommendations for the best Thames River cruises here. Another excellent choice to impress the one you love is with a ride on the London Eye.
A trip to London’s glittering West End is a fun and entertaining way to spend Valentine’s Day. There are a number of popular shows playing on February 14th, including Billy Elliot, The Book of Mormon, Cats, and Disney’s The Lion King. If you do plan to catch a West End show on Valentine’s Day, just remember to book London theater tickets in advance!
How About Paris?
If you really want to impress your significant other this Valentine’s Day, why not whisk them away to the most romantic city in the world? After all, it’s less than 2.5 hours to Paris on the Eurostar. Start the night off right with a visit to the longest champagne bar in the world, located right in St. Pancras International, before hopping aboard the Eurostar. Before you know it you’ll be in the heart of romantic Paris. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, stroll through the magnificent Louvre, and make it a Valentine’s weekend to remember.
Cheylene Thongkham is a writer, travel blogger and American transplant in London. You can read more about her life as an expat and adventures around the world at: www.girlinlondon.com