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8 of London’s most unique date ideas for Valentine’s Day

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A couple driniking champagne on board of a London Eye 's capsule
London is packed with unique events and experiences for this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day struggled to gain traction in 2023 amid a cost-of-living crisis and spending estimated to have fallen 19% year-on-year, according to a Mintel report. And, love aside, we are spending less on romantic celebrations, with the average spend per person being £23 according to a survey commissioned by Finder, as well as data from GCA and Statista.

However, it is not stopping people to celebrate the occasion. London is packed to the brim with unique events and unmissable experiences to treat your loved one this Valentine’s Day. From candle making classes to personalised poems, here are our top suggestions for spending the special day out in London.

Skate Dates at Selfridges

Looking for something more active to try your hand at? After treating your loved one to some Valentine’s shopping, head down to the one-of-a-kind skate bowl inside Selfridges London. Whether beginners or keen skaters, lovers or friends, enjoy an hour-long private session in the fully enclosed skate bowl with an expert teacher.

Price: £38 for two, including a special treat each!

Dates: 10th – 15th February

Location: 400 Oxford St, London W1A 1AB

Soak in the sights with a romantic river cruise

Surprise your loved one this Valentine’s Day with a luxury river cruise through the heart of the capital. Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is offering an exclusive sailing, including a glass of champagne and live music on board for an hour round trip. See the capital’s iconic sights including Tower Bridge, Somerset House, and the London Eye.

After arriving back at Canary Wharf Pier, continue the good vibes in Canary Wharf with a game of shuffleboard at Electric Shuffle, or catch a movie at Everyman Cinema.

Price: £25 per person

Date: 14th February

Location: departing from Canary Wharf Pier, Docklands E14 8RR.

One-of-a-kind personalised poetry at The Coral Room

For a truly priceless gift this Valentine’s Day, make your way to The Coral Room, where acclaimed poet Luke Davis will write you a poem tailored specially for your loved one.

Renowned for his magical typewriting sessions outside the Globe Theatre on the South Bank, Luke will craft bespoke poems tailored to your thoughts and emotions. There are no bounds to the subjects or feelings, simply share a few thoughts with Luke and watch as he transforms it into a one-of-a-kind poem, a treasured keepsake for you to take home.

Date: 12:30pm to 8:30pm on 14th February

Location: 16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN.

Admire the romantic views at London’s highest garden

For one of the best views of London at night, look no further than Sky Garden: the capital’s highest public garden. Those looking to pull out all the stops can book a special package at one of the garden’s restaurants or bars, such as the six-course tasting menu at Fenchurch Restaurant. Combining British ingredients with Caribbean flavours, courses include native oyster with blood orange and cucumber; pumpkin cappuccino and beef tartare taco.

Price: from £165 per person

For a more relaxed atmosphere, head up to Sky Pod and City Garden to enjoy a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut with a sharing artisan antipasti board against a soundtrack of chilled date night sounds courtesy of the resident DJ.

Price: from £140 per person

Date: 14th February

Location: 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF.

Book a candlelit concert or private pool experience at the Four Seasons

Those looking to really wow their significant other need look no further than Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square.

A mesmerizing candlelight concert, featuring talented piano-vocalist Michael Amadi and a skilled violinist, will serenade guests with classic love songs at the Rotunda Bar and Lounge. The intimate setting will be illuminated by more than 2000 LED candles, casting a warm and intimate glow throughout the space, while guests enjoy a delicious three-course menu of handmade ravioli, luxurious lobster wellington and delicate pavlova.

Price: £125 per person

Date: 14th January

For the ultimate intimate evening for two, couples can book the spa’s pool for private use. From 8:00 to 10:00 pm, guests will have exclusive use of the pool facilities including a private steam room and sauna, to enjoy with a bottle of champagne and canapes.

Price: £980 for two people

Dates: 9th – 18th February

Location: 10 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ.

Ignite romance with a candle making workshop

 [p]Let the flickering flames of love take centre stage as you and your partner immerse yourselves in the art of candle making at Native Bankside in London. In this workshop you will make four tea lights and a fragrant candle.

With the guidance of expert instructors, you’ll prepare a 6oz glass vessel, infusing it with warmth and personality before expertly heating organic soy wax and adding your custom oil blend.

Price: £55 per person

Date: 10th February, 11:00 – 12:00

Location: Native Bankside, 1 Bear Gardens, London SE1 9ED.

For a quintessentially British experience, head to Fortnum’s

Fortnum & Mason at The Royal Exchange will be serving a special Valentine’s Day menu accompanied by live music, to make one of London’s ‘most instagrammable’ restaurants even more spectacular than ever.

Dishes will include a Steak tartare topped with a golden Burford Brown egg yolk, Poached Brill with spinach and a silky Vermouth sauce laced with caviar, and a very retro Baked Alaska with Griottines cherries.

Price: £80 per person

Date: 14th February

Location: The Courtyard, The, Royal Exchange, London EC3V 3LR.

Feel cupid’s bow with a private pod at the London Eye

Looking for somewhere special to pop the question this Valentine’s Day? Book the London Eye Cupid’s Pod for a private 30-minute rotation, complete with a bottle of Pommery Rosé Champagne, a luxury box of Hotel Chocolat Pink Champagne Truffles and your own personal host.

Price: £550 for the private pod; standard tickets from £30 per person

Dates: all year round

Location: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB.

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Lifestyle

Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama

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Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama
Written, created by and starring British actor Michelle De Swarte, Spent launches this Summer

A new six-part comedy-drama created by and starring Michelle De Swarte (The Baby, The Duchess) will premiere this summer on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

‘Spent’ is produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Various Artists Ltd. (Juice, I May Destroy You, Such Brave Girls, Sally4Ever). It is part-inspired by Swarte’s own experiences of the modelling industry and the trials and tribulations that come along with it. Michelle de Swarte stars as Mia, a former catwalk model who is on the run, mainly from herself. Long term it’s a story of personal renewal but for now, the stark reality is that her career is over, she’s flat broke and she’s homeless.

Alongside Swarte, the series stars Juliette Cowan, Amanda Wilkin, Matt King, Jamali Maddix, Karl Collins, Eleanor Nawal and Rachel Ofori.

Born in South London, Michelle De Swarte was scouted at 19 whilst working in Segaworld in the Trocedero Centre at Picadilly Circus. Soon after, Swarte moved to New York where she worked for major major fashion houses round the world including Burberry, Missoni, Tommy Hilfiger, Cartier, and Michael Kors. However, Swarte’s career as a runway model stopped abruptly and she moved back to London with nothing to show for her time in the fashion industry. Having to re-evaluate her career, Swarte transitioned to stand-up comedy and acting where she has starred as a series regular in Katherine Ryan’s series The Duchess for Netflix and had her first leading role in Sky/HBO’s The Baby.

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties
The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK at around 9pm

An officer who was driving a response police car to ram an escaped cow twice has been removed from frontline duties, Surrey Police has confirmed in a statement released on Sunday, June 16th.

The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK, at around 9pm, where the animal was hit in front of members of the public.

“I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated. In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration,” said Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp.

“At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations.

“I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd. She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes. She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.

“I can confirm that on the night, efforts were made to contact local vets without success and efforts were simultaneously being made to identify the owner.  Why these were unsuccessful and what more could and should have been done will form a key part of the investigation.

“As well as our overriding duty to protect the public, the welfare of animals is important to us and we know people want answers about how this happened and what led up to it. I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation. I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.  

 “We will continue to provide both our local communities and the wider public with updates as investigations into this matter continue”.

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Appetite for Ozempic boost Novo Nordisk brand value up 59%

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A woman checks her toned image in a mirror
Novo Nordisk emerges as Denmark’s second most valuable and second fastest-growing brand | Photo: Szabolcs Toth

Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company producing semaglutide drugs Ozempic and Wegovy which are in high demand for weight loss, is now Denmark’s second most valuable brand according to new data from Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Second only to LEGO, Novo Nordisk is valued at DKK35.4 billion, up 59%. Now also Denmark’s second-fastest growing brand, Novo Nordisk has surpassed  LVMH to become Europe’s most valuable company by market cap.

LEGO is Denmark’s most valuable brand for the ninth consecutive year, with a 3% brand value increase to DKK55.2 billion. With an AAA Brand Strength Index (BSI) rating, LEGO also remains Denmark’s strongest brand, underscoring decades of built-up brand equity and enduing nostalgia, demonstrated by excellent scores for familiarity, satisfaction, and consideration.

Tryg is Denmark’s fastest-growing brand, up 62% to DKK11.0 billion. Brand Finance data shows the brand is well-known and highly reputable across Denmark.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“The massive and unrelenting demand for semaglutide has led to Wegovy and Ozempic supply shortages while also dramatically raising brand awareness for Novo Nordisk. With projected sales growth of 19-24% for 2024, the pharmaceutical company must expand production while strategically positioning its brand to stay ahead of emerging competitors. If Novo Nordisk manages its brand well while successfully meeting demand for its products, it could surpass LEGO in the 2025 rankings, blocking LEGO from a decade-long reign as Denmark’s most valuable brand.”

Vestas, Danfoss, and ROCKWOOL are Denmark’s strongest industrial brands. Vestas (brand value up 6% to DKK23.9 billion), the strongest industrial brand with a BSI score of 82.4 out of 100 and an AAA- rating, notes high scores across several brand strength metrics, including reputation and promotion. Danfoss (brand value up 10% to DKK12.4 billion) ranks second, with an AA+ rating. ROCKWOOL (brand value DKK3.6 billion) maintains an AA+ rating and ranks as Denmark’s third strongest industrial brand, boasting a BSI score of 75.3 out of 100. ROCKWOOL performs well across brand strength metrics, such as promotion and its ability to command a price premium.

As part of its brand valuations, Brand Finance analyses the contribution of sustainability on overarching brand value. Brand Finance quantifies brands’ sustainability perceptions in its Sustainability Perceptions Index. According to Brand Finance research, Vestas is recognised as the most sustainable Danish industrial brand across the environmental and social dimensions of ESG (environmental, social, and governance). ROCKWOOL ranked second across all three ESG dimensions among Danish industrial brands, attributed to its commitment to climate resilience and sustainability.

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