Characterized by balloons, cakes, chocolates, cards, and anything else you can mold into the shape of a heart, valentine’s day has become a commercial event with a firm place in the calendar of the Western world. But what is the history of valentine’s day, and how can you celebrate at one of the top romantic hotels in London?
The history of valentine’s day
There is actually no definitive story about St Valentine and how valentine’s day came to be, because different people believe different versions of the story.
The most popular version links St Valentine to Rome in the third century AD, with Valentine working as a priest in Rome at the time. The story goes that the Emperor of Rome had banned marriage because he believed that any man who was married would become a bad soldier - caring too much about his life and the lives of those around him. To combat this, the emperor said no man could marry under his rule… but did Valentine agree? No, he didn’t.
So, he began to conduct marriages in secret, giving couples the union they so desired but which was being denied by the emperor. In true historical style, Valentine was caught and sentenced to death - but before his death he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her a letter, signed “Your Valentine”.
And so, Valentine was born as a symbol of love.
But how did it come to be celebrated on one certain day of the year - 14th February? And what makes valentine’s day such an important time of year for the romantic hotels in London?
This tradition started in the year 496 according to most sources and coincided with another festival which was celebrated by the Roman’s during February each year. This festival was called Lupercalia and it was a union of men and women who would draw names out of a hat - transforming a community of singles into a selection of couples. These couples would become boyfriend and girlfriend for the duration of the festival and would even get married in some instances!
This became linked with the story of Valentine, and so valentine’s day as we know it was born.
How to celebrate valentine’s day this year
While valentine’s day is primarily a time for couples who are romantically involved, recent years have seen an evolution in the way that valentine’s day is celebrated across London and beyond - with groups of friends just as likely to celebrate together as with a chosen loved one.
‘Galentines’ is one such move which sees groups of girls celebrate together, changing the way that valentine’s day is marketed by some of the top brands and industries in the world. You are just as likely to see groups of friends out on valentine’s day as you are to see couples - so what can these celebrating groups do in and around London?
- Book a romantic hotel in London - benefitting from our packages which combine a luxurious and comfortable overnight stay with incredible food, high end facilities, and close proximity to some of London’s best and most memorable experiences and attractions.
- Go for a walk around London’s parks, a stone’s throw from the top romantic hotels in the city. Hyde Park is one such park with endless footpaths, overlooked by some of the city’s authentic traditional London townhouses.
- Go out for a meal at one of the top London restaurants. For something a little different, try a traditional afternoon tea!
- Book a cruise on the river Thames, or a pod on the London Eye - seeing London from a different perspective.
- Book an experience that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Some of our favourites include Up at the O2 in East London, a well-loved West End show, or a tour of some of London’s most famous sights.
Once you’ve finished with your day of experiences and celebrations, you will want a comfortable, luxurious, and romantic hotel in London which you can call home during your stay. Here are some of our favourites.
Our pick of the best romantic hotels in London
The Park Grand London Hyde Park is not just romantic on the inside but presents a traditional and authentic London townhouse feel on the outside - immediately making you feel as if you’ve stepped back into old London. This exterior, combined with the luxurious and high end inside, presents the perfect welcome, with the experience continuing into our selection of bedrooms which are finished to a high standard and include complimentary water, fruit, and WiFi.
Stepping out onto the street, the hotel opens out to the streets surrounding Hyde Park - perfect for a sunrise or sunset stroll, or for getting out and about and seeing London on foot.
For most travelers, central London is the best go-to regardless of their reason for staying in the city - however, there is no place between when you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day. Central London and the hotels surrounding Hyde Park become lit up at night, with light shining off the London streetlamps and reflecting on the River Thames which is just a few minutes’ walk away.
The area surrounding Hyde Park is also great for finding a romantic and high-end dining experience - with some of the top chefs cooking and serving their food in this central London location. Whatever your favourite cuisine, you will find something just perfect in London.
If you find that the Park Grand London Hyde Park hotel isn’t to your liking, the Park Grand collection boasts hotels all over the Paddington area of London - each offering a boutique experience that outs luxury on a pedestal and ensures that your every need and preference is met. Best of all, with so many special offers available, it has never been easier to secure a romantic hotel in London at a high value and attractive price.