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Holiday Inspiration

London’s best Valentine’s Day dates

By Susan Ward Davies

1920s Valentine’s Ball, Museum of London, London Wall

There’s a roaring 20s theme at the Museum of London’s Valentine’s ball and flamboyant flappers are invited to dance the night away to a live jazz band. If you haven’t mastered the Charleston, fear not, demonstrations and classes by Swing Dance UK will be on hand. Ideal for those who like to expression their passion creatively – of who forgot to buy a card – art collective, Hurdy Gurdy, will be helping create Valentine’s cards or put together art nouveau accessories. In the museum’s stunning Pleasure Gardens (replete with 18th Century period costumes and masks and hats by Philip Treacy), a Bloomsbury Literary Salon of poetry and writing will take place, while, elsewhere, the fashion curator discusses fashion and sexuality in 1920’s London. If this all sounds a bit cerebral, you can always take part in an Absinthe tasting session or sit back to watch 1920s-themed cabaret performance.

Valentine @ Late, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN, museumoflondon.org.uk/London-Wall/Whats-on/Adult-events/LateMOL.htm; 020 7001 9844; Thursday, 14 February 2013, 7pm-10pm; Tickets £7 / £6 concessions.

Valentine’s chocolate making class, Farringdon

For those with a sweet tooth, this chocolate-making class promises to be both romantic and satisfactorily high in sugar. The workshop is held in a 1950s-inspired kitchen whose flickering candlelight allows for romance (and the sneaky sampling of your creations). On arrival, you will be greeted with a glass of champagne and a mountain of strawberries and chocolate fondue. Thus fortified, you will begin a chocolate -tasting session, sampling products made with the finest beans from around the world, as you listen to a talk on some of the legends that surround chocolate. Finally, the hard work begins as you roll up your sleeves to make your own truffles, decorating them with gold sugar and crystallised rose petals. You’ll go home on a sugar high with a ribboned package containing your hand-made chocolates and a Valentine’s Day goody bag full of personalised chocs and other gluttonous tokens of love.

My Chocolate, Unit B1 Hatton Square Business Centre, 16-16A Baldwins Gardens, London, EC1N 7RJ; mychocolate.co.uk; 020 7269 5760; Wednesday 13th 7pm, Thursday 14th 7pm, Friday 15th 6.30pm, Saturday 16th 3pm and 7pm, Sunday 17th 2.30pm and 7pm: Tickets £165 per couple

Teen Dream Prom, The Book Club, Shoreditch

If you’ve always felt bereft by growing up in the UK and finishing school without a prom, now’s your chance to make up for it. The Book Club’s Teen Dream Prom will be a cute, tongue-in-cheek party for couples (or singles) who don’t take Valentine’s Day too seriously and have a penchant for Americana. Come dressed as a character from your favourite teen movie stereotype – think cheerleaders, jocks, skaters or drop-outs – or head to the Prom King or Queen Makeover Photobooth after you arrive. In the basement, DJs will be spinning suitably nostalgic tunes, while teen movies will be screened upstairs for those who want to cuddle up and feed each other popcorn. Expect lots of silliness, such as a ‘One time at band camp’ story- telling competition and games of Beer Pong. There will also be cocktails and classic American eats like mac’n’cheese. You could even be crowned Prom Queen.

The Book Club, 100-106 Leonard St, London, EC2A 4RH; wearetbc.com; 020 7684 8618; Thursday 14 February 2013 8pm-2am; Tickets £5

Love in the Archives, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Before the days of ungrammatical texts and 140 character tweets, we like to think that lovers wrote long, lucid letters to each other full of achingly beautiful poetry and masterfully worded passion. Of course, this may not have been the case but you can find out for yourself at the new National Maritime Museum exhibition, Love In The Archives, whose collection of love letters spanning several centuries, sent by lovers who were separated by the sea, is guaranteed to be moving. After browsing the declarations of love from times gone by, sit down for bubbly, a three-course meal in the 16 Seconds West Brasserie and music from the Trinity College of Music.

National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk; 020 8312 6608; Thursday 14 February 2013 7pm; Tickets £96 for two adults (includes dinner)

Love Letters Straight from the Heart, Southbank Centre

One of London’s most charming celebrations of love – in all its forms – is surely this inspired event, staged by Uninvited Guests. The format is this: before the show you submit your dedications – letters to lovers, shout-outs to your mum and dad, angry polemics about the bitterness of failed relationships – and those messages go on to form the backbone of the show. As you drink champagne, the show hosts spin records and read out the dedications from the audience, all of which will be anonymous unless you’ve chosen otherwise. Between the music and the unpredictable messages of passion, this is a humorous but touching showcase of the many guises of love.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX; ; 020 7960 4200; February 6th- February 16th 7.30pm (dedications must be in approx. one week before the performance); Tickets £20

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