In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to overlook how romantic London can be. Whether you’re pushed into someone’s armpit yet again on your commute, or heading to the same local boozer for a fourth Friday in a row, it can be tough to be inspired by your routine.
And yet, the capital has much to offer. With spectacular royal parks across the city centre, winding lanes leading to hidden spots in every borough and a range of events to surprise and delight, there are plenty of places to amp up the romance – no red roses required.
To start you off, we’ve brought together eight possible date ideas to set the scene so that sparks can fly.
Buy flowers at Columbia road flower market
Red roses are not a requirement for romance, but why not make a date out of discovering the other floral options on offer? Every Sunday, east London’s Columbia road is transformed into a veritable bazaar of pot plants, herbs and stem-cut flowers. The crowd gives you a reason to stay close together as you dodge between palm fronds and sunflower petals, pausing to prolong your meetup at one of the street’s independent cafes.
Discover hidden treasures in Sir John Soane’s museum
Free during the day from Wednesday through to Sunday, this quirky, off-the-beaten-track museum will impress any date. The tall, narrow house is full of shadowy alcoves and secret doors, and full to the brim with ancient trinkets, paintings and sculptures. The museum is also open on selected evenings, where you can explore by candlelight while enjoying a drink – or two.
Share oysters at Wright Brothers, Borough market
Oysters have long been rumoured to have certain qualities, making them quite the flirtatious talking point. Whether you fancy discussing this salacious myth, or simply enjoying them with a glass of white wine, the Wright Brothers oyster bar is a charming location to do either. If you’re not a fan of shellfish, you’ll still be spoilt for choice of alternative culinary delights under Borough market’s stunning art deco arches.
Cosy up on the sofa at Screen On The Green cinema
Going to the cinema is always a reliable date destination, especially if you’re a bit nervous. The film takes the pressure off making conversation, but you’ll certainly have something to discuss if you decide to go on somewhere else. Screen On The Green in Islington upgrades the normal cinema experience with velvet sofas, a fully stocked bar and a stylish, retro interior.
Be serenaded by live music in Cable Café Bar
This cosy little hideaway is a cafe during the day, transformed into a bar at night with a speakeasy feel. The intimate setting makes it a great venue to cosy up to your date over a cocktail, plus they offer free live music every Tuesday evening.
Whisper sweet nothings in St Paul’s cathedral
Potentially one of the most magical spots in the city, the Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s is so named because of a charming quirk in its construction. The dome that towers above it distorts the acoustics, meaning that a whisper against its walls can be heard on the opposite side. This simple yet surprising effect is bound to make your date smile – possibly even after climbing the 256 steps to get there.
Take in the view from Primrose hill
An excellent option for balmier evenings, strolling through Regent’s park and up Primrose hill is one of the most romantic walks the city has to offer. Picturesque Victorian lamp posts line the paths to the top of the hill and you may even spot a giraffe or two as you pass by London Zoo. Plus there are plenty of pubs nearby if you want to continue after the sun goes down.