And this year is no exception, as restaurants remain closed and many couples won’t be able to celebrate in person while we’re all in lockdown. But, of course, there’s still Zoom.
While you might usually be a last-minute shopper, looking for inspiration in shops’ love-themed displays, that’s just not an option this year. So, we’re here to help.
First off, you have to sift through all the tat, with teddy bears, balloons and cringy cards bombarding you from all angles. Then you have to toe the line between sentimental and practical: you want to treat your partner to something meaningful, but also something they’ll actually use.
It is possible to find a romantic offering that isn’t in-your-face cheese, and we’ve done just that with our gift guide for every kind of partner.
Whatever their tastes, we’ve got something they’ll love to receive – from food gifts, such as a pasta subscription or restaurant-quality food boxes, to Ugg slippers and those Insta-famous pyjamas we’re obsessed with.
However you’re celebrating this year, impress your partner with a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift from our round-up of treats.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Lyle’s provisions goose box, serves two
From the east London restaurant that is ranked number 32 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, expect big things from this food box. Lyle’s has managed to continue sourcing from suppliers who follow ethical and sustainable practices, and the thought behind this box is to help some of the farmers and fisherman who have been most affected by restaurant closures. The goose is from Bath, and although normally a Christmas dish, Lyle’s bought them to guarantee sales for the farmer, while the scallops and mussels are from Cornwall.
Inside you have everything for the impressive seven-course meal, and although that sounds daunting, there’s really minimal preparation to be done at home. The goose leg comes vacuum packed with the carrots, prunes and smoked bacon – all we needed to do was add the barley and heat it up in a casserole pot. Easy. The meat literally falls off the bone, is beautifully tender and the whole dish is blessed with a wonderfully subtle, smokey flavour. The scallops with artichokes and preserved lemon had a super citric flavour, proving the perfect lead in to the rich goose. You’ll also get some fantastic bread and butter, mussels with brassicas, cider and lovage – which is so fresh and green – and two rhubarb and blood-orange tarts. Then it’s all finished off with two mini brown butter cakes and little chocolates.
To achieve these incredible flavours in a food box is seriously impressive. It’s absolutely the closest thing anyone’s getting to going out to a beloved restaurant, and we think it’s worth the price for a treat. We also loved that the instructions are on a QR code (very of the times), reducing the need for extra paper.
Buy now £140.00, Lyle’s
Orelia London large statement interlocking earrings
Double hoop earrings are in vogue, and this statement gold pair from Orelia London makes the perfect gift. We love the interlocking design of the gold-plated hoops, and despite having a 4cm drop, they don’t feel too heavy, even after hours of wear. Whether your recipient goes the whole hog by pairing with gold necklaces, or decides to just let the earrings speak for themselves, these are versatile enough to dress up or down. There’s also a matching necklace available, should you be feeling extra generous. The brand offers a free giftbox option too.
Buy now £28.00, Orelia
Hurley Burley personalised leather heart page corner bookmark
Is the booklover in your life always turning the corners of the pages down, or, worse, using the dust cover? This little heart-shaped bookmark could be just the ticket. Choose from 10 colours, from mulberry red to cornflower blue, and then pick one of seven foils for the initials, from gold to hot pink (or choose blind for a debossed look). There’s space for up to three initials. It’s a lovely, well-made little gift.
Buy now £9.50, Not On The High Street
The White Company mini diffuser collection
Perfume is an obvious go-to for Valentine’s Day, but why not opt for a gorgeous set of home fragrances this year? Featuring four miniature bottles of The White Company’s bestselling reed diffusers, there’s a scent to suit every space in this collection. We were impressed with the generously sized 50ml bottles – considering the standard size is £27 for 150ml, they aren’t a bad deal. Our favourite fragrance is the brand’s rich, warming pomegranate scent, which is perfect for a romantic night in.
Buy now £40.00, The White Company
Les girls les boys pencil stripe classic pj top and bottoms
Top – Buy now
Bottoms – Buy now
What we love most about this brand is that many of the products are designed for any gender. The boxer-style shorts are styled on male and female models (we’re partial to them for their length and comfort), as are the long pj sets. Known for its recognisable bright yellow and white striped set, along with other colours for winter (Nick Grimshaw wore the forest green set on Christmas Day), the brand’s gone more muted this season, as with the varying pink and black vertical stripes in this set.
The top is in a traditional pj style with a lapelled collar, but all the edges are piped in a silky-feeling pink and there are also little pockets. The bottoms are nicely long and come in one size, so you draw in the string waist to fit. The beauty is that either of you can wear them – there’s not much cuter than that. Top and bottoms sold separately.
Buy now £140.00, Les girls les boys
Biscuiteers let’s get knotty biscuit gift set
If you’re more of a token gift giver for Vday, and, even better, like presents to be of the edible kind, Biscuiteers and it’s ever-so-cute creations never fail to disappoint. Baked-good lovers with a sense of humour will adore this design, made up of a smiley pretzel in the middle, with two red hearts on either side reading “Let’s get knotty” across them. Perfect for a post-dinner lol to satisfy any sweet tooths, and perhaps to give your other half an idea. This set is exclusive to Selfridges.
Buy now £24.99, Selfridges
Ugg scuff slippers
Sometimes you just have to go for a classic, especially if your partner is fussy. No one will turn down a fancy pair of sheepskin slippers, and Ugg is still a leading brand in the comfort stakes. The fluffy lining is gorgeously soft, keeping feet snug but not too warm, and the slip-on style is easy to pop on and off. They are designed for indoor use, but you’ll get away with taking the bins out in the morning while wearing them. They’re available in four colours, but we love the staple chestnut shade.
Buy now £80.00, Ugg
Bottega rose prosecco
Nothing says Valentine’s when it comes to alcohol like pink, and now our favourite affordable Italian fizz, otherwise known as prosecco, is available in rosé form. We think there’s not a more impressive bottle to choose for your significant other than this instantly recognisable Bottega creation, which has been given a metallic rose-gold coating so you know exactly what’s inside. Using hand-picked pinot noir grapes from the Lombardy region of Italy, it’s light pink in colour with a lightly floral and delicately fresh mix of berries on the palate that will go down a treat as a pre-dinner aperitif. Plus, it’s vegan. Cheers!
Buy now £21.99, Ocado
Sleeper party feather-trim woven pyjama set
If your lucky recipient has exhausted all of their jogging bottoms, pyjamas and knitwear co-ords, elevate their loungewear game with this signature set from Sleeper. Dominating our Instagram feeds throughout the pandemic, the brand’s pyjama sets blur the line between luxury and lounge to beautiful effect. Sure, they are expensive, but they feel like a true treat to wear, which is what we all need given how tired we are of wearing scruffs around the house. We opted for the party set, with a traditional button-down pyjama top and wide-leg trousers, both adorned with ostrich feathers – lockdown opulence at its finest.
Luckily the feathers are detachable, making caring for this pricey set easy, although the brand still recommends a cold wash. The fit is perfect – oversized enough to feel comfortable while maintaining a tailored feel. We’ll be wearing the trousers out to dinner, with heels, when we’re allowed as these are far too special to reserve as pyjamas.
Sleeper has recently extended the size range for its bestselling sets, but even so, they only go up to a UK size 18, which is still quite a poor offering, particularly when it’s not across the whole collection yet. You can only get this extended size range on the Sleepers site, where you’ll have to pay shipping, but Selfridges currently stocks up to a size L.
Buy now £255.00, Selfridges
Haynes Explains marriage personalised book
If this is the year you and your valentine are tying the knot, get them this tongue-in-cheek version of a classic Haynes car manual that explains everything you’ve got to look forward to; from useful wedding-planning tips, to the realities of stag and hen dos (spoiler: they’ll always cost more money than you have). It also offers more jokey advice – “don’t invite extras on your honeymoon” – and outlines how to deal with “the very hungry husband”. The perfect present for the year you’re not doing gifts and saving for the big day. You can also get it personalised with your names on the front.
Buy now £14.99, Getting Personal
Evermore London north clouds and cool oud scented candle, 300g
Our new favourite luxury candle brand, Evermore London’s scents aim to bring us back to nature – something we’re all currently pining for. With a sustainable focus, each candle is made from vegan rapeseed and soy wax, before being hand-poured into recycled jars and packaged in recyclable boxes with no cellophane wrap. The glossy black jar and gold lettering looks very Instagram-worthy, and the scent itself also impressed us. With notes of cypress, oud, maple and tobacco, this comforting, woody fragrance reminded us of being sat by the fire on a cold winter’s night. We love the “burning bright across velvet skies” message on the back of the candle too. A thoughtful gift.
Buy now £50.00, Amara
Page & Bloom single red paper rose
If fresh blooms are not your bag (or theirs, either) a paper one will last forever. These beautiful flowers are made from old literary books (swoon for any bibliophile) and have been hand made by women who have experienced domestic abuse. Page & Bloom works with two domestic abuse charities – Hestia and Housing for Women – and runs flower-making workshops for women in refuges. Choose from white (the natural page colour), red, yellow or pink, and buy them either singularly or in a bouquet of three, six or 12. We like the classic: a single red.
Buy now £15.00, Page & Bloom
Pasta Evangelists subscription
If you’ve just started dating someone and made out you’re a great cook but actually struggle to boil an egg, this food delivery subscription will save you – and make you look like you learned it from your nonna. All you need to do is pick a minimum of two dishes from that week’s menu (you can pre-order more dishes for the following two weeks), decide if you want the normal portion size or the grande (we suggest you opt for the latter for a decent-sized portion that’s not overwhelming for two), pick your delivery day and ta-da. Your meals will be delivered through your letterbox in a nifty-sized box with fresh pasta, sauce and cheese.
As long as you hide the evidence, your other half will be none the wiser that you didn’t whip it up from scratch. It’s without doubt the best delivery pasta we’ve tried – you’ll be hooked in no time. Prices start from £6.47 for one dish.
Buy now £6.50, Pasta Evangelists
Paxton and Whitfield Valentine’s cheese selection
As we’re all staying in this year for 14 February, any turophile will be pleased to finish off a homecooked meal with this little set of heart-shaped cheeses. It’s made up of a coeur de neufchâtel, similar to a camembert, a coeur du pic, which is a superbly light French goats’ milk cheese, a white fig confit that’s slightly sweet and a perfect match for the cheeses, and a box of crispy charcoal crackers. If you whip this out at the end of a date, you’ll definitely win brownie points. Available between 28 January and 14 February, you can choose your own delivery date, depending on when you’re celebrating.
Buy now £25.00, Paxton and Whitfield
Tilly Sveaas medium gold T-bar one fine gold belcher necklace
Layering gold necklaces is the only way to wear them. From medallion coins to other trinket-shaped versions, our latest gold-chain obsession is the T-bar. This one is from Tilly Sveaas, which offers up classic designs, and comes in three lengths: 50cm, 60cm and 80cm. We tried the 60cm version, which sat in a really nice position in the middle of our chest, and not too high. The T-bar is 3.5cm wide, with a gorgeous belcher chain that’s not so thin that they’ll be scared to wear it. Both the chain and bar are sterling silver, plated in 23.5k gold that has been ethically certified.
Buy now £110.00, Tilly Sveaas
Pocket Tiger love pink and gold heart card
With a selection of beautiful contemporary cards, from thank yous to wedding day celebrations and congratulations, the Valentine’s collection from Pocket Tiger has a range of hand-designed options all made in the UK. This gorgeously simple one is made using a risograph printing technique that originated in Japan in the Eighties that uses soy-based inks – which are better for the environment – on FSC-certified card. We love the fluorescent pink that contrasts with the little gold heart detail in one of the letters. It comes with a brown envelope, is 10.5cm x 15cm and is blank inside.
Buy now £2.95, Pocket Tiger
Le Labo tonka 25 eau du parfum
Epitomising minimal cool, New York-based perfumery Le Labo gained huge popularity in 2011 after the launch of its universally flattering santal 33 scent. If you’re looking for something with less of a cult following that still has the same intoxicating qualities, say goodbye to the sandalwood and hello to musk, orange and vanilla, with the brand’s 2018 launch, tonka 25. It conjures up a feeling of warm summer evenings with the perfect balance of smoky and sweet notes.
A couple of spritzes last all day, and the only problem you’ll have is becoming addicted to such a pricey scent. This fragrance is eye-wateringly expensive, but the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle helps to justify the splurge. Every scent is hand-blended to order and labelled with simple typography that you can personalise with your name. It’s unisex, so you can steal it from your partner after you gift it.
Buy now £189.00, Liberty London
Native Union leather case
This is the kind of present you’d never buy yourself on a whim, but is a real treat. Let’s be honest, airpods are expensive as it is, but if your partner wants their tech to look as stylish as the rest of their accessories, this handcrafted, Italian leather case is the perfect home for their prized possession. Compatible with wireless charging, you simply pop your existing case into this and it works as normal. The leather ages nicely over time and the case feels very good quality. It’s available in four colourways, but we opted for classic black to match our other accessories.
Buy now £29.95, Apple
The verdict: Valentine’s Day gifts for your significant other
For maximum output with fairly little input, the Lyle’s provisions goose box is an outstanding offering. You’ll no doubt impress, and it will absolutely make a celebration evening to remember while restaurants are still closed.
If you’re looking for something smaller (and less edible), we also love Evermore London’s candle, and think it’s a thoughtful gift that’s as luxurious as it is sustainable.
From timeless red roses to quirkier arrangements, treat someone this year with the best Valentine’s Day flowers