Updated: Feb 2
London’s independent businesses are stepping up this Valentine’s with unique gifts to rival the big chains.
The team at My Virtual Neighbourhood, London’s directory of small shops, cafes, restaurants and more, have been browsing for the very best the capital has to offer.
Whether you buy your loved one a gift box packed full of cheese and wine, beautiful undies, handmade chocolates, stunning jewellery, racy ceramics, flowers that really stand out, afternoon tea, a rum-making experience or something special to wear, the site offers plenty of inspiration.
Basil Fansa, co-founder of My Virtual Neighbourhood said: “Life is so much more interesting when you buy from an independent. Making a decision to shop local this Valentines is about choosing to maintain the character of our high streets and protecting local economies.
“When you shop local, the gifts you buy are often more unique and more sustainable. It’s time to show some love for small businesses which have been hit hard by falling footfall due to the pandemic.”
My Virtual Neighbourhood’s gift list features dozens of brilliant indie traders in the capital. Here’s 10 of our favourite this Valentine’s.
After two years of staying in too much, this Islington Bar offers a brilliant excuse for a fun night out together. Their rum-making experience lasts two hours and offers a chance to flavour and distil a 500ml bottle of rum using spices and dried fruits. You get cocktails to enjoy, a fab gift bag and a chance to re-order your personalised rum after the experience.
Among the celebrity owners of this racy fine bone china tableware are Sir Elton John, Lady Gaga and Damien Hirst. Made from a kitchen in Wandsworth, they contrast beautiful floral designs with slang words and swearwords.
Too cheesy? Nah! What could be more romantic than a box packed with cheese and wine. La Fromagerie in Highbury offers to deliver London-wide.
These soy candle-making kits are the perfect activity for a cozy evening in, Wickpy Kits are packed full of natural, vegan ingredients with no synthetics in sight. Inside each kit, you'll find access to online instructions to take you from supplies to candle with zero stress and fabulous scents.
This Clapton café is offering to deliver afternoon tea to your door on Sunday February 13th or Monday February 14th. We highly recommend their cakes!!
This luxury lingerie and swimwear shop in Notting Hill has beautiful stock – why not treat someone special to some stunning undies or pyjamas – or better yet get them a gift card so they can choose!
This indie store sells small batch award winning Artisan Gins, including Apple/Honey, 12 Botanicals Signature Gin, Marmalade Gin, Natural Pink Gins and many more.
We are big fans of London jewellery store URSA, which stocks stunning pieces by emerging jewellers. The business owner Lucy is on a relentless mission for originality and she’s succeeding!
Handmade statement jewellery, This small business was born in the heart of a pandemic through a genuine joy of craft, in the search of soul-soothing mindfulness. The jewellery is affordable, well-made and unique!
These delicious artisan chocolates are made in Walthamstow and feature stunning flavours like dark chocolate with orange and ginger or honeycomb. We’ve ordered from them a few times now and have never been disappointed. Shop online for UK wide delivery.
The My Virtual Neighbourhood Gift Directory is brimming with inspiration and we’re adding new local traders all the time. Check out the full list at: www.myvirtualneighbourhood.com/hackney-gifts