Romantic days in London
Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, deciding the perfect way to spend a first date, or simply want some quality time with your significant other (or are trying to get back in their good books!), London provides the perfect setting to fill your day with a little romance. Here are some unusual but exciting activities to keep the flame alive in the stunning English capital.
For something a bit quirky, why not take a trip to London Zoo? Meet the penguins, have a close encounter with a tiger, or poke your tongue out at a giraffe. You can even try your hand at being a zoo keeper for the day, giving you and your partner a once-in a-lifetime opportunity to try something you will always remember. Once you have been kitted out in your overalls, you’ll be kept busy with a variety of activities from preparing food and feeding the animals to cleaning out the enclosures! If mucking out isn’t your thing, simply wandering around the different enclosures offers plenty of talking points on a first date.
Explore the outdoors
On a blissful Sunday afternoon, it doesn’t get much more romantic than Richmond Park. Wander through woodland and meadows, sticking to the paths or straying off the beaten track. In the gardens of Pembroke Lodge, King Henry’s Mound offers the perfect picnic spot with stunning uninterrupted views across London – all the way to St Paul’s Cathedral. You could also take a stroll around Pen Ponds, the largest ponds in Richmond Park, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.
If Richmond Park is a little too far from home, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath are also ideal locations to take a hamper full of treats and enjoy beautiful views of the city. However, in the summer months these locations can become overcrowded, so if you prefer the quiet you don’t have to wait for the weather to warm up to enjoy them. In fact, cuddling up under a blanket in the light spring sun could bring that extra little bit of romance to your outing.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, head to the historical Chelsea Physic Garden – London’s oldest botanic garden dating from 1673! If you find the “secret” garden, don’t miss out on the Tangerine Dream Café which serves a range of fresh homemade food including a delightful afternoon tea menu.
Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Champagne Bar
For something a little bit more elegant take a trip to the Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Champagne bar. Try your hand at cocktail making in a masterclass with the expert bar staff from only £60 each, or simply indulge with a selection of drinks and nibbles, and relax in pleasant company. The menu features an impressive list of champagnes, liquors and cocktails; share fond memories over Passionate Raspberry Kisses or splash out with a bottle of the finest Perrier-Joüet, and enjoy the delicate mood lighting that’s set to get you in a romantic mood. If you’re planning to make a night of it or really don’t want to part company on your date, the bar is open until 3am on Friday and Saturdays.
Food lovers, why not take your partner to Adam’s Café in Shepherd’s Bush? It may sound like a greasy establishment, but head there after 8pm and you will find yourself in an intimate candlelit room decorated with mottled lampshades and muted greens and blues. The menu is split into one, two and three course options so you can mix, match and share as much as you like! Find a delicious blend of Moroccan food, from tagines and stews to grilled meats and cous cous, in a setting that oozes romance.
Looking to impress your loved one with your cultured culinary palate? Take a trip to London’s exclusive Mayfair district and visit the three Michelin starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. Famous chef, Michel Roux Jr., took over the establishment from his father in 1991 and upholds the same standard of pride in his exquisite menus, the immaculate service provided by his staff and the overall welcoming atmosphere for all who visit. It’s ideal for those with a passion for French food – or even just food in general – but this fantastic dining experience doesn’t come cheap, so be prepared when the bill arrives! If you’re considering this for a special anniversary or occasion, make sure you think ahead; as of February 2013 the booking waitlist is a staggering 3 months, but it’s well worth it if you want to put a smile on your loved one’s face!
Unless you suffer from acrophobia, the Shard is a wonderful place to take a date. Standing at a height of 1,016 feet, the new iconic landmark has had raving reviews; with a choice of three viewing platforms, on floors 68, 69 and 72, you can experience London’s skyline in a way that you’ve never been able to before. It’s open every day from 9.00am to 22.00pm, so day or night you can take advantage of the spectacular scenery below (and nothing says romance like standing in the clouds on the tallest building in Western Europe!) However, to avoid a dating disaster, take note that all tickets are date and time stamped which means pre-booking is essential.
London’s oldest wine bar
If you enjoy a glass of wine or three, visit Gordon’s wine bar which is ideally situated right next to Embankment tube station. The extensive wine list ranges from crisp, refreshing whites to rich, full-bodied reds and everything in between, so you’ll be hard pressed not to find one you like. Established in its present form in 1890, this family run bar has a fascinating atmosphere that is a result of its diverse customer base, historical architecture, and somewhat hidden location below street level. Popular with both the young and old, Gordon’s wine bar is a distinctive and memorable place to take a date.