Valentine’s Day has the potential to be expensive, overrated and disappointing. But not with our pick of ideas. Here are some suggestions for romance, something alternative and ways to avoid the schmaltz altogether.

Desperate and Seeking

All that love proffered via the pages of this magazine’s Desperately Seeking will come to life at TNT’s Desperately Seeking Valentine’s Day Bash. Rock up at 7pm for your free love shot at the Grand Union, Kennington, on February 12 then get on the pull. Tickets £8 online.

Single affairs

Meet your diamond in the rough at the Hat And Tun love-themed singles’ quiz, in Hatton Garden, the heart of London’s jewellery quarter. It costs £2.

On Feb 12, find your Zorro at the Night Of Magic, Mystery And Masquerade in the City. Magician Brendan Patrick, plus a fortune teller will work the room. Tickets, at £7.50 include a bellini on arrival.

Eye in the sky

The London Eye takes romance to new heights with a variety of ‘flights’, including the Cupid’s Capsule, available between February 6-14, where for £330 you get bubbly, truffles and astonishing views.

Meal for two

The Metropolitan Hotel is laying on libido-enhancing afternoon teas laced with aphrodisiacs like ginger, chilli-chocolate and champagne. Bookings for between February 9-14, between 3-6pm, cost £27 per person, which includes a £15 voucher redeemable at the Lingerie Collective, in Ganton Street.

Get sketchy

Get kinky and creative at The Old Queens Head pub in Islington with a life drawing class hosted by the Dr Sketchy art school on February 14 from 8pm. It’s not all nude and definitely not serious. £8.50.

A fine line

Partial to pleasure, or pain? Choose one and do a themed night safari through the Natural History Museum. Explore the pleasurable side of love in the natural world and find out how to make a love potion. If you plump for pain, you’ll learn how the sentiment is rife in nature and learn which species poke each other with barbed appendages. Tours run between 6.30-10.30pm and cost £28.

Admire the view

Get all star-crossed at the Greenwich Royal Observatory’s racy Valentine Stars planetarium show. It’s a unique after-dark experience of star gazing and moon watching. There are four shows on Valentine’s Day. Tickets £28.

Foodie love

The alternative dining experience, Supperclub in Notting Hill, wants you to round up your mates and feel the love at its Love Brunch on February 12. Start with bellinis and bloody marys at midday then feast out and dance. Entertainment til 6pm.

Get your freak on

ndulge your fetishes in a room full of beauties, circus freaks, punks and goths at the Torture Garden: Jealous Love Valentine’s Ball on February 12. It’s going to be a gargantuan gropetastic affair of aerial performances, erotic installations and cabaret between 9pm-6am. Tickets £30.

Laugh about it

Chuckle at the ridiculousness of love with the Covent Garden Comedy Club on February 14. It is presenting a Valentine’s special at the HMV Forum in Kentish Town. East End comedy legend Lee Hurst and slick one-liner merchant Gary Delaney are on the bill. The show kicks off at 7pm. Tickets £15-£21.

Love expert, or texpert?

Dateless on Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry, there’s a novel way for the forlorn to pass time – at least we think so.

“When will I find love?” is one of the most frequently asked questions to text answer service 6336.

We asked the question and got this back: “You will find true love. You will first find happiness on your own, and then you will meet your soul mate at the end of August 2011.”

This was clearly an intuitive response from a seasoned astrologer.

For research’s sake, we posed another pearler: “Will my girlfriend ever be comfortable with my cross-dressing?”

It prompted this sage response: “If your girlfriend isn’t comfortable with your cross-dressing now, it’s unlikely she ever will be. Have a heart-to-heart with her and decide what to do.”

Granted, at £1 or more a text, it’s pricey advice, but it beats sticking rose stems in your eyes.