The big V day is coming up and a lot of us want to wow our loved ones with a romantic gestures. However, it’s not been long since Christmas and you’re now paying off your summer holiday you’ve already booked (because you needed a January pick-me-up) so funds are a little tight.
London can often feel like the most expensive place in the world so I’m always trying to find ways to make the most out of living in the capital without having to sell my soul (see How to get the most out of London (on a budget).)
Planning a romantic date doesn’t need to cost the world as it really is the thought that counts. A thoughtful gesture is worth more than just throwing cash around.
So here are some of my top tips for you old romantics who have to stick to a budget.
If you have the day off…
Have breakfast at Aqua Shard
If you are lucky enough to have Valentines Day off of work, you don’t need to stick to the usual conventions of going for dinner. There is something extra thoughtful and romantic of thinking outside the box and taking your Valentine for breakfast. Kinda seems like something out of an American movie.
Nothing is going to wow your love more than one of the most stunning views from one of London’s most iconic buildings. But rather than spending up to £100 per person (eeek!), their breakfast menu prices don’t differ that much from your average brekkie spot, with a lot of dishes costing under a tenner BUT with the bonus of being able to have beautiful views of the city.
The other upside to going out in the morning, means you don’t need to trek in rush hour to and overcrowded restaurant with every other couple in London. Instead, you can have a cosy night in with your favourite person as you’ve already gone out for a meal.
If you want to a 3 course meal & drink for under £25…
Go to Strada Riverside
Restaurants LOVE to suddenly make their menu double in price because they know people are willing to pay it to impress their love. But this is REAL LIFE and not everyone has hundreds of pounds to spend. But 21.95 for two courses and a glass of prosecco and £24.95 for a third course, you can’t go too wrong!
And this isn’t just any Strada. The Riverside branch has beautiful views of Tower Bridge and the river which make for a very romantic setting. Unfortunately you can’t reserve tables by the window, but if you are lucky enough to get one, it really is something special. And even if you don’t get one, why not get the tube to Tower Hill and take a walk along Tower Bridge on the way to the restaurant (with the appropriate layers because England in February is COLD) as sometimes the most romantic things in life can’t be bought.
If you fancy doing something different…
Play mini-golf at Junkyard Golf Club
Maybe yourself and your partner have gone for a sit down meal every V Day for the past 5 years and you fancy doing something a bit different. Or you’re in the early stages of a relationship and the traditional Valentines Day date spots are feeling a little too serious. Or you want to plan a fun activity before going for dinner and drinks in trendy Shoreditch afterwards. Then Junkyard Golf Club is going to make your night a lot of fun!
Mini-golf is always a laugh, but this particular venue is super quirky. There are four different courses to chose from. If you partner is a film buff, there is a blockbuster themed course, filled with hilarious puns on your favourite classic movies. If they love cars, there is another course filled with written off vehicles, tires and lots more. And if you fancy something a little different there are also courses with a jungle theme as well as a creepy circus one.
There are also bars which appear at various points as you make your way round the course and the cocktails are DELICIOUS!
For just £9.50 a person, it’s an affordable way to add a bit of fun (and competition!) to your Valentines Day.
If you are impressing a wine lover…
Take them to Gordon’s Wine Bar
The oldest wine bar in London (est. 1890) is a family run bar selling only wine in a historical feeling setting which has tired to stick to its origins. The cosy nooks and crannies and candlelit tables make for the perfect setting to take someone away from the modern hustle and bustle of the city while sipping on a delicious selection of wine starting from a modest £5.50 a glass.
If all that wine is making you feel peckish, they have affordable cheese boards as well little plates or bigger meals if you are feeling particularly hungry.
So if you fancy getting a little tipsy in somewhere completely different from your average trendy bar, arrive early (as tables are first come, first serve) and impress your date.
If you want to stay in…
Get the M&S Valentine’s Deal
Going out for a meal can be a enjoyable treat, but you don’t have to go out to make a romantic gesture. If being in a restaurant full of other couples makes your cringe or after a long day at work you just want to relax with your loved one and have a cosy night in with M&S.
Why not buy some candles, put on that Netflix boxset which you only watch together but never usually have the time, (because life is busy) and dig in to some tasty M&S food (because cooking is just WAY too much pressure, and they’ve got the good stuff).
For £20, you get to indulge in a starter, main, side, desert, bottle of wine or bubbly AND a box of chocolates. If you bought these items individually you could be spending up to £35, so you are making a huge saving and getting so top-notch food. This can include things like shellfish, steak, extra fine asparagus, (or the chunky chips option let’s be honest) profiteroles and pink bubbly. And if you’re still feeling peckish their are also the chocolates. Check out their WEBSITE for more tasty options.
Spread the love this Valentines Day and remember it’s about the thought and the effort, not the money.