Valentine's in Oxford: Date Ideas, Best Places & Gifts

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Valentine’s in Oxford: Date Ideas, Best Places & Gifts

Valentine's in Oxford: Date Ideas, Best Places & Gifts

Welcome to the enchanting city of Oxford, where romance and history intertwine to create the perfect backdrop for a memorable Valentine’s Day! As the city of dreaming spires, Oxford offers a plethora of excellent date ideas, charming locations, and unique gift options to make your Valentine’s celebration truly special. So, join me in this journey through the heart of the city as we unveil the best places to celebrate love. Alright lovebirds, buckle up!

What's Valentine's Day Like in Oxford?

Valentine’s Day in Oxford is a celebration of the city’s dual identity – a harmonious blend of old-world elegance and progressive charm. Which means that couples can stroll hand in hand along cobblestone streets, exploring historic sites like the Radcliffe Camera or the Bridge of Sighs, where the whispers of centuries past add a touch of magic to the air. However, Oxford is not bound by its history alone. Modernity finds its place amidst the spires, with contemporary restaurants, trendy wine bars, and innovative date ideas.

My goal in creating this guide is to show you all of these options. So, I’ve decided to divide it into the following sections (you can click on the names to jump straight to it):

  • Valentine’s Day activities (or, in other words, dates that are already pre-planned and ready for you to enjoy)
  • Valentine’s tea and dinner ideas (romantic dining or snacking experiences in the heart of Oxford)
  • Valentine’s Day wanders and walks (the best strolls to chat and possibly hold hands!)
  • Valentine’s Day gifts (some ideas that show your love for both the other person and Oxford)

From classic strolls through historic streets to quirky, offbeat adventures, we’ve got the lowdown on the best activities to spark the flames of love. So, grab your partner, put on your coziest scarf, and let’s explore the romantic side of Oxford!

Valentine's Day Activities in Oxford

Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or someone just looking to spice things up a bit, Oxford’s got the goods to make your Valentine’s celebration one for the books. Here are some ideas for pre-planned dates and activities.


Visit a Museum

Are you ready to embark on a date that combines intellectual stimulation with a romantic ambiance? Then a museum is a great choice. And the best part? There are plenty to choose from in Oxford. For example:

  • Imagine wandering hand in hand through the hallowed corridors of the Ashmolean Museum, surrounded by ancient artifacts and timeless art. The air is thick with the whispers of centuries past, creating an atmosphere that’s both intellectually invigorating and romantically charged.
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum, with its eclectic collection, provides a quirky backdrop for a date filled with curiosity and shared fascination. So, take the time to discover the strange and wonderful together, forging connections not just with each other but with the stories of the artifacts that grace the museum’s shelves.
  • Escape the ordinary this Valentine’s Day by embarking on a journey through time and the wonders of the natural world at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Marvel at the intricacies of fossils, stand in awe of the towering dinosaur exhibits and explore the mysteries of the universe together.
  • Looking for something different? You can find all of Oxford’s Museums and Art Galleries here
Oxford Museum of Natural History - Image courtesy ofMagnus D
Oxford Museum of Natural History - Image courtesy ofMagnus D.
At the back of the Natural History museum in Parks Road, Oxford. Image courtesy of Maggie Jones via Flickr Commons.
At the back of the Natural History museum in Parks Road, Oxford. Image courtesy of Maggie Jones via Flickr Commons.


Work Together Escape a Room

This Valentine’s Day, elevate your date night to a thrilling new level by immersing yourselves in the ultimate test of teamwork and wit—an escape room adventure in the heart of Oxford. Say goodbye to predictable candlelit dinners and hello to an evening of mystery, collaboration, and heart-pounding excitement.

Oxford’s escape rooms provide an ideal setting for couples to bond in the crucible of challenge and intrigue. Picture this: you and your partner locked in a room, surrounded by enigmatic puzzles and cryptic clues, working together to unravel the mysteries that will set you free. The clock is ticking, but so are the beats of your hearts as you navigate through the intricacies of each puzzle.

As you decipher codes, unlock hidden compartments, and unveil secret passages, you’ll witness not only your partner’s problem-solving prowess but also the unique dynamics of your teamwork. It’s an adrenaline-fueled dance of intellect and communication, turning a typical date night into an unforgettable adventure.

You can learn more about Oxford escape rooms here

All of Oxford's Escape Rooms and Interactive Games
One of Oxford's Escape Rooms and Interactive Games.


Play Some Minigolf

This Valentine’s Day, swap the usual romantic clichés for a playful and competitive date at one of Oxford’s charming mini-golf courses. Step onto the green with your significant other and let the laughs, friendly banter, and a bit of healthy competition set the tone for a memorable celebration.

Oxford boasts some delightful mini-golf venues that transform the classic game into an entertaining and lighthearted adventure. Imagine navigating through whimsical obstacles, conquering tricky turns, and celebrating each successful putt with a shared smile. It’s an opportunity to showcase your putting prowess or discover hidden talents, all while enjoying the laid-back ambiance of the mini-golf course.

Whether you choose an outdoor course with scenic views or an indoor setting with quirky décor, mini-golf provides the perfect blend of recreation and connection. You’ll find yourselves immersed in a world of fun, forgetting the outside hustle as you focus on the simple joy of sinking that elusive hole-in-one.

You can learn more about Oxford minigolf here

Junk Yard Golf Club in Oxford
Junk Yard Golf Club in Oxford.


Go for a Spa Day for Two

Picture a day dedicated to relaxation, rejuvenation, and shared tranquility, offering the perfect opportunity to unwind and connect on a deeper level. And indulge in the ultimate Valentine’s Day escape by treating you and your special someone to a blissful spa day in the heart of Oxford!

Oxford’s spa retreats provide a serene oasis away from the city life, inviting couples to immerse themselves in a world of pampering and luxury. You can begin your day with a warm welcome and a soothing cup of herbal tea, setting the tone for the serenity that awaits. Or you can embark on a journey of relaxation with side-by-side massages, allowing the stresses of everyday life to melt away as skilled therapists work their magic. Many spas in Oxford also offer access to tranquil pools, saunas, and steam rooms, providing the perfect opportunity for couples to unwind together in a serene environment.

You can also consider booking a private suite or couple’s treatment room for an intimate experience, complete with plush robes, soothing music, and the scent of essential oils in the air. Some spa packages even include additional perks such as champagne, strawberries, or a light lunch, enhancing the overall sense of indulgence.

Spa day Oxford
Indulge in a romantic spa day for two.


See a Play at the Theatre (or a Movie at the Cinema)

For a Valentine’s Day filled with drama, laughter, and a touch of cinematic magic, look no further than Oxford’s vibrant theatre scene and cinemas. Whether you’re a fan of the stage or prefer the silver screen, the city offers an array of options to ensure your Valentine’s date is an unforgettable experience.

  • Theatrical Romance: Catch a play at one of Oxford’s renowned theatres. From classic dramas to contemporary comedies, the city’s stages are alive with captivating stories and stellar performances. So, consider exploring the offerings of the Oxford Playhouse or the Burton Taylor Studio for a diverse range of theatrical delights.
  • Cinematic Enchantment: If you’re more inclined toward the allure of the big screen, Oxford’s cinemas offer the perfect cinematic escape. Snuggle up in plush seats, share a tub of popcorn, and let the magic of film transport you to different worlds. Check out the offerings at cinemas like the Phoenix Picturehouse or Curzon Oxford for a diverse selection of films in a cozy setting.
  • Combine the Best of Both: For the ultimate Valentine’s Day entertainment, consider a night that includes both a play and a movie. For example, you can start with a captivating live performance at one of Oxford’s theatres and cap off the evening with a cinematic treat. 
Old Fire Station - Oxford Theatres and Art Centres
Old Fire Station - Oxford Theatres and Art Centres.
Visiting the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford - Local Cinemas & Theatres.
Visiting the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford - Local Cinemas & Theatres.

Oxford Valentine's Day
Romantic Tea Time Or Dinner

Why not indulging yourself in a gastronomic love affair this Valentine’s Day by exploring the exquisite dining experiences and charming tea settings that Oxford has to offer? The city’s culinary scene, with its diverse offerings and intimate venues, sets the stage for a romantic evening filled with delectable flavors and shared moments. 

Oxford boasts a myriad of restaurants that cater to varying tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, international cuisine, or cozy local favorites, the city has it all. Imagine sharing a candlelit dinner in an atmospheric restaurant, where the ambiance is as delightful as the carefully crafted dishes. For a more relaxed yet equally charming Valentine’s experience, consider a delightful afternoon tea. Oxford’s tea houses and historic venues offer an array of sweet and savory treats, accompanied by a selection of fine teas.

Tea Time


Tea Time at The Ivy Oxford Brasserie

The Ivy Oxford Brasserie offers quite an elegant Afternoon Tea experience, beautifully presented in a three-tiered stand and served with tea or coffee. The menu includes a selection of savory sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of delicate cakes and pastries.

The brasserie provides a sophisticated and relaxed setting for visitors and locals to enjoy this traditional indulgence. The Wonderland Afternoon Tea starts from £29.95 per person. The Champagne Afternoon Tea starts from £39.95 per person.

The Ivy Oxford Brasserie
Afternoon tea at The Ivy Oxford Brasserie.


Tea Time at The Alice

The Alice in Oxford offers a Regency Afternoon Tea inspired by the cultural phenomenon of the time. This experience allows guests to step back in time for an unforgettable afternoon tea.

The menu includes a selection of savoury options, finger sandwiches, cakes, and tarts, carefully crafted to reflect unique associations with Alice in Wonderland. The tea is served at 3pm and includes a talk on the author and his inspirations. Champagne afternoon tea: £49 pp. Afternoon tea: £39 pp

Regency Afternoon Tea
Have a Regency Afternoon Tea at the Alice, in Oxford.

Romantic Dinner


Gee's Restaurant & Bar

Dine in a romantic setting at Gee’s iconic glasshouse. Gee’s Restaurant & Bar is a renowned dining establishment located in a historic Grade II listed Victorian conservatory on 61-63 Banbury Road, Oxford. Originally a greengrocer and florist built in 1898, it has been transformed into a unique dining space, featuring a rustic, Mediterranean dining experience set in a distinctive Victorian Glasshouse.

The restaurant offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with a menu best described as Mediterranean, simply prepared and expertly cooked, centered around the wood fire oven and charcoal grill. The venue is known for its romantic and cozy atmosphere, making it an ideal setting for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. Additionally, Gee’s has a stunning terrace and a secret garden, adding to its allure as a romantic dining destination. 

Gee's Restaurant & Bar oxford
Gee's Restaurant & Bar oxford.


The Folly

The Folly is a well-regarded restaurant in Oxford, situated in a unique riverside location beside the River Thames. It offers a modern British cuisine crafted from the freshest seasonal ingredients.

The restaurant provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with the option to dine inside the restaurant overlooking the river or on the floating terrace. The Folly is known for its romantic and picturesque setting, making it a popular choice for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. The restaurant also hosts a variety of events and offers a bespoke planning service for occasions like wedding receptions. Additionally, The Folly provides the opportunity for serene pre-dinner cruises, where guests can enjoy a 40-minute cruise along the River Thames before disembarking onto the restaurant’s terrace to continue their evening with a meal. 

Tea Time at The Folly Restaurant
Have a romantic dinner by the river in The Folly Oxford.


Chez Mal at Malmaison Oxford

Chez Mal at Malmaison is a restaurant and bar located within the Malmaison hotel chain, known for its stylish and contemporary dining experiences. With locations in cities such as London and Edinburgh, Chez Mal offers a fusion grill restaurant concept, providing a modern and upscale dining environment. The restaurant features classic and seasonal dishes, with a focus on high-quality ingredients and expertly prepared meals.

Chez Mal is recognized for its commitment to delivering a sophisticated and flavorful culinary experience, making it a popular choice for guests seeking a refined dining setting.

Chez Mal at Malmaison Oxford.


Lula's Ethiopian Restaurant

Lula’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine is a family-owned restaurant located at Makespace Oxford’s The Community Works, on Park End Street in Frideswide Square, Oxford. The restaurant prides itself on serving delicious, wholesome food prepared from scratch using natural ingredients.

Lula’s is known for its casual dining atmosphere that prioritizes taste over elegance, staying true to Ethiopian tradition by bringing people and the community together.

The restaurant offers a variety of authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes, with a focus on vegetarian and vegan options. Lula’s also provides catering services for special occasions, including celebrations, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries, with a commitment to delivering fuss-free catering packages. 

Lula's Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine
Lula's Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.



Kazbar is a popular Spanish/Moroccan tapas restaurant and cocktail bar located on Cowley Road in Oxford. It offers a vibrant and cozy atmosphere with North African-inspired decor, including lanterns, kilims, and mosaic tables.

The restaurant serves delicious and authentic Spanish/Moroccan-style tapas dishes, making it a great choice for those looking for a unique and flavorful dining experience. In addition to its food offerings, Kazbar also provides a good selection of wines and cocktails, adding to the overall dining experience. The restaurant’s warm and snug ambiance, combined with its diverse menu, makes it a favored destination for those seeking a taste of Spanish and Moroccan cuisine in Oxford. 

Kazbar Spanish/Moroccan tapas restaurant.
Kazbar Spanish/Moroccan tapas restaurant.

Valentine's Day Wanders and Walks

Alright, lovebirds, if you’re looking to swap the traditional candlelit dinner for a bit of fresh air and a dash of romance, Oxford’s got you covered with some charming Valentine’s Day wanders and walks. Get ready to lace up those comfy shoes, feel the crisp breeze, and explore the romantic side of this historic city on foot.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is all about creating moments, and Oxford’s got the dreamy settings to make those moments unforgettable. So, put on your coziest scarves, grab your partner, and let the wandering begin!

Canal-side Strolls

Start your day with a leisurely walk along the scenic Oxford Canal. The calm waters, rustic boats, and the charm of Jericho create a laid-back atmosphere perfect for hand-in-hand saunters. Stop by one of the waterside cafes for a cozy moment and a warm drink.

Botanic Garden Bliss

Escape into the lush beauty of Oxford Botanic Garden. Stroll through the tranquil paths, surrounded by blooming flowers and aromatic herbs. It’s a serene spot for quiet conversations and stolen kisses amidst nature’s beauty.

University Parks Romance

Escape into the lush beauty of Oxford Botanic Garden. Stroll through the tranquil paths, surrounded by blooming flowers and aromatic herbs. It’s a serene spot for quiet conversations and stolen kisses amidst nature’s beauty.

Canal-side Strolls

Head to the University Parks for a classic Oxford experience. With its expansive lawns, meandering pathways, and the whispering River Cherwell, it’s a picturesque setting for a relaxing afternoon wander. Find a quiet bench or spread out a blanket for a casual picnic.

Sunset at South Park

As the day winds down, make your way to South Park for a breathtaking view of the city at sunset. The panoramic vista from this hilltop park is nothing short of spectacular, providing a romantic backdrop for a moment to remember.

Valentine's Day Gifts Oxford

Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts in Oxford and where to buy them:

  1. Wicked Chocolate: You can find unique and artisanal chocolates at Wicked Chocolate, a local chocolate shop in Oxford.
  2. Aspire: This is a store in Oxford where you can find a variety of gift items, including potentially suitable Valentine’s Day gifts.
  3. Turl Street Kitchen: This place offers a cozy and romantic dining experience, making it a great choice for a Valentine’s Day meal or gift card.
  4. The Garden: This is another local store in Oxford that may have suitable gifts for Valentine’s Day.
  5. Oxfam: If you’re looking for sustainable and ethical gifts, Oxfam is a good place to find items like pre-loved jewelry, books, and other unique presents.
  6. Indigo on Cowley Road: This store stocks cute and unique gifts, including items for furry friends, which could be a thoughtful and unconventional Valentine’s Day gift.
  7. Lily Pad: Known for their Greek gift offerings, this boutique in Oxford Square could be a good place to find special and unique Valentine’s Day gifts.
  8. Golden Moments: If you’re interested in gifting experiences, Golden Moments offers a range of romantic gift ideas, including unique experiences ideal for couples, such as a hot air balloon ride for two or a romantic hotel stay.

These are just a few options for Valentine’s Day gifts in Oxford, ranging from traditional to more unique and sustainable choices.

Explore new and familiar locations, visit the parks, step into a college, or drop by one of the many quirky shops Oxford has to offer. Browse All >

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