After a seemingly never-ending January, we’re finally into February and that means one thing – Valentine’s Day is around the corner! Whether you like to sweep your loved one off their feet with a day jam-packed with activities, woo them with something wonderful to eat or prefer to set aside some quality time at a slower pace, we’ve got plenty of inspiration for making the most of your time.
Spare your other half a last-minute panic present (limp bouquet, anyone?) with our list of the ten best things to do around the Park this Valentine’s Day.
1. Take your love to new heights
Zoom 80 metres into the air at the ArcelorMittal Orbit and wow your date with the views from the top of the UK's highest sculpture. What says 'romance' better than looking towards the horizon, soaking up the blue skies or even golden sunsets together from the indoor and outdoor viewing platforms? And just like falling in love, flip your world upside down and have some fun in Anish Kapoor’s huge and spectacular concave mirrors before you leave!
2. Take the plunge
Your heart’s racing, your stomach flipping over and your cheeks are pink with excitement – are you in love or are you about to take on the world’s longest tunnel slide…? We can think of no better bonding experience than getting your adrenaline levels racing together, and The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit is scientifically proven to get your heart racing and increase excitement levels by more than 40%, so there is no doubt that this 40 second drop will give your date an enormous boost of exhilaration!
3. Make a date
If you aren’t the type of couple to share red roses and chocolates, give the gift of quality time together instead by booking in an event later this year! We have a packed calendar of world-class events coming up at the Park to choose from, from Olympic qualifiers to stadium rock concerts, so let the romance last a little longer with a shared date in the diary for later in the year.
4. You’re my favourite
Is your partner a social media king or queen, who never passes by a good photo opportunity? Why not surprise them with a walk around the south of the Park to find the sweetest bench that reads ‘Everyone is someone’s favourite,’ and offer to capture the moment by taking a cute photo – or better yet, a couple’s selfie!
5. Spell it out
Are you running out of ways to say, ‘I love you’? Take the opportunity to spell it out as clear as day for everyone to see – while working up an appetite at the same time – with a trip to the Pixel Wall in the south of the Park. This interactive art installation allows you to physically manipulate the forward-facing colours of the fixed cubes in the wall, to create patterns, shapes and even words!
6. Let love bloom
Don’t limit your grand gesture for a friend or loved one to a small bunch of overpriced flowers! Set your sights a little higher, with a whole park’s worth of plant life and horticulture to admire and explore for free! Flower lovers will adore a visit to the Great British Gardens in the south of the Park, a special hidden spot combining innovative and varied new planting with the existing trees that flanked the banks of the canal for decades. Tranquil and secluded, you can surround your date with flowers without spending a penny!
7. Wine and dine
Does anyone ever get tired of being wined and dined? From the quirky cafés and creative eateries of Hackney Wick and Canalside to the buzzing bars and restaurants around East Village, you’ll find somewhere with the atmosphere to match your mood. If you fancy something really special, take a trip to The Stratford for fine dining, classy cocktails or a pretty Valentine’s afternoon tea.
8. Love is in the (fresh) air
Is your partner at one with nature and feels happiest away from the hustle and bustle of city life? Do you prefer to take your romantic inspiration from Wordsworth and Keats rather than red and pink displays in the supermarket? Fear not, an escape lies right here in the Park; with daffodils blooming, waterways glinting in the sun and plenty of peaceful wildlife to spot, it’ll be easy to forget you’re still in Zone 2 as you stroll through the Park together!
9. Enjoy date night at the movies
Sometimes the classics really are the best, so why not try a date to the cinema (and maybe crack out the tried and tested arm-on-the-seat yawn trick while you’re at it). On Valentine’s Day evening itself, The Stratford are hosting an extra-special screening of early nineties romantic thriller True Romance, with a welcome cocktail to start and a pizza-to-your-seat delivery service during the film – perfect! Stick around afterwards for drinks and dancing, with a themed cocktail menu to match.
10. Pop the question
Is there a more incredible way of celebrating love with your Valentine than starting your forever journey together? If you have been pondering the perfect way to pop the question, look no further! Whether you are looking for something low-key and intimate, or you are planning the biggest and most extravagant declaration, the ArcelorMittal Orbit offers an exclusive proposal package for you and your plus one. With panoramic views, your chosen soundtrack, a bottle of champagne and plenty more treats and surprises, you’ll be feeling sky high even before you’ve stepped out onto the 80-metre viewing platforms!