London’s calling, and it’s time to dial up the romance. With a city so beautiful and abundant with gorgeous streets, sky-high attractions like the Shard, and places studded with Michelin-starred restaurants, forget about Paris or Rome; London is the capital of love. Here are 20 things that are sure to stir up that romance in the UK’s capital city:
1. Make sure that love is in the air
Awarded the title of ‘The Most Romantic View’ by Mills & Boon 'Romantics’ Awards in 2015, The View, located on the pinnacle of The Shard, is quickly developing a reputation as one of the most romantic venues in London. Indeed, a myriad of marriage proposals happen in this stellar location. In fact, two couples were engaged within 10 minutes of the attraction’s opening! On Valentine’s Day 2015, The View from The Shard saw a record day of sales with 6,161 visitors, pouring 2,414 glasses of champagne and a marriage proposal on average every 30 minutes. Imagine sipping champagne while watching the sun set over London from 800 feet (244 metres) up in the air. There’s really no better or more romantic way to experience London than by soaking up that sexy skyline.
Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: Opening times do vary on occasion depending on the events that are taking place so please do check the website before you visit.
Website: The Shard
Contact: +44(0)84 4499 7111
2. Find out how deep your love is at the Sea Life London Aquarium
Upon entering, you will be greeted with a long corridor, with glass walls surrounding and arching over you in the aquarium. Walk through these glass arches while the magnificent sea creatures swim along with you, merely inches away. Come face to face with great whites and stingrays, along with technicoloured schools of fish and corals. They have a bunch of different VIP packages as well, including one that allows you to feed sharks, and another one that allows you to swim in the aquarium with your special other half, complete with a bottle of bubbly after you’re both done.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
SEA LIFE London Aquarium, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 10.00 - 19.00 (last entry 18.00); Saturday - Sunday: 09.00 - 19.00 (last entry 18.00)
Access: SEA LIFE London Aquarium is located on the South Bank of the River Thames, within the County Hall building. Public transport is recommended.
Contact: +44 (0)871 663 1678
Website: Visit Sea Life
3. Heat things up at this movie theatre
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Their recipe for a great movie experience is pretty straightforward. Great films, amazing rooftop areas, the best company and a dozen hot tubs. Just add water! This is a hot tub cinema, where films are celebrated along with the company of the person you love.
You can book a whole tub for yourself, or share with others and make friends along the way. The place has waiters running around, to cater your every whim or desire, within reason of course! It’s a great place to pamper each other, and especially great for film buffs, while overlooking the stunning London cityscape.
Hot Tub Cinema
Address: 6-8 Hemming St, London E1 5BL, United Kingdom
Website: Hot Tub Cinema
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
4. Find each other at the Hampton Court Palace Maze
The Hampton Court Maze is the United Kingdom’s oldest surviving hedge maze, and this same path has been walked by many famous and influential people. Even William III would have walked through the wilderness at Hampton Court Palace with his devoted wife Mary II. Now, it is one of the most famous maze in the history of the world, making appearances in literary works, movies, and even important historical events.
The unique feature about the maze is the shape. It’s a multicursal or puzzle maze, known for confusing and intriguing visitors with its many twists, turns, and dead ends, and it has several exits, unlike the single-path maze that usually has only one correct path. It’s great fun for couples to ‘find each other’ and see where they end. After you’re done, the Magic Garden is worth visiting. It’s a really picturesque and well-kept garden, great for taking photos.
Hampton Court Maze and Magic Garden
Address: Surrey KT8 9AU England
Opening Hours: 10.00 - 18.00
Duration: around 2 hours required.
Contact: 0844 482 7799
Website: Hampton Court Palace
5. Whisper sweet nothings at St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline, situated right at the heart of the city. The whispering gallery is located within the dome, and you’ll have to climb exactly 259 steps to reach it. When you stand on one side of this stunning circular gallery, and whisper something, (say, I love you) it can be heard crystal-clear by a person standing about 30 metres (98.4 feet) away from you. It’s super fun for the both of you and it’ll ironically make you feel a lot closer and intimate, even if you’re standing a bit apart.
St Paul's Cathedral
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: 8:30 - 16:30. Closed on Sundays.
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Contact: 0207 246 8348
Website: St Paul’s
6. Buy flowers for the lady at the Columbia Road Flower Market
Rain or shine, every Sunday without fail, Columbia Road near Shoreditch transforms into an oasis of flora and foliage. The streets are lined with every type of flower or plant, from cacti to 10-foot-tall (3-metre-tall) banana trees, all up for sale. The best part is that the storekeepers are very open to haggling, and they are more than willing to share some tips with you on how to have green fingers when it comes to certain types of plants.
The streets truly turn into bursts of colour, with flowers that are both home grown and flown from overseas. Apart from flowers, there are also quaint little pop up stores selling antiques, clothes, and cupcakes, and even a few delis with choice sandwiches. It’s a beautiful place filled with energy, and great for couples to go and experience a different side of London. And to buy the lady (or man!) some flowers of course.
Colombia Rd Flower Market
Address: Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: 8:00 - 15:00
Contact: +44 20 7613 0876
Website: Columbia Road
7. Have a picnic on the gorgeous Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill has a character all of its own. At the summit of this grassy hill are some spectacular views across London. It is separated from Regent’s Park by Prince Albert Road and the ZSL London Zoo.
At the top of the hill is one of the six protected viewpoints in London. The summit is almost 63 metres (206.7 feet) above sea level and the trees are kept low so as not to obscure the view. In winter, Hampstead can be seen to the north-east. The summit features a York stone edging with a William Blake inscription, it reads:
“I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill”.
Primrose Hill Park
Address: The Old Police House - Hyde Park - London - W2 2UH
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Website: Primrose Hill
Contact: 0300 061 2000
8. Ride into the sunset like a knight and princess
Hyde Park is one of the largest Royal parks, and also the most popular, seeing millions of Londoners and tourists teeming to this place. The park is home to several famous landmarks, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. On top of that, there are just so many recreational activities to do, including boating, cycling, and of course, horseback riding.
It’s a great way to move around the park, and doesn’t it just sound like something out of a movie?
Opening Hours: 5:00 to 12:00
Contact: 0300 061 2000
Website: Hyde Park
9. Walk in the steps of movie stars at this famous filming location
London has been the main setting for many Hollywood shows and it has been inspired by so many famous pieces of literature. When in the city, it would be a waste to not visit some of these famous landmarks and live out the movie of your dreams. Depending on which one your partner and you like, there are so many options to choose from. Perhaps a bit of magic, at Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station, or do like 007 and survey the fantastic London skyline atop a building. The possibilities are endless, and it’ll make both of you feel like a movie star!
10. Browse for books at the Heywood Hill Bookshop
The Heywood Hill Bookshop is very old. Like, dating back to 1936 old. It’s been a must-see establishment for all literary enthusiasts who flock to London, and the bookshop has managed to preserve its historical draw, mixing it up with a contemporary feel through the furniture and the carefully selected collection of books. They offer a range of tailored literary services, all marked by old-fashioned courtesy and good humour. It has a cute, comfy library where people are welcome to sit and relax with a good read.
Heywood Hill Bookshop
Address: 10 Curzon St, London W1J 5HH, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: 9:30 - 18:00. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +44 20 7629 0647
Website: Heywood Hill
11. Go on a chocolate tour!
Calling all chocoholics! The Chocolate Ecstasy tours deliver the ultimate chocolate experience in all of London. This tour is the brainchild of Jennifer Earle, one of England’s leading chocolate experts.
The tour guides are not too far off either. They are each hand-picked for their knowledge and undivided love for chocolate. The tours move in really small groups, about 4 - 5 each, and they lead you to beautiful boutiques on the gorgeous streets of London. By the end of the tour, you’d be full to bursting with the best truffles, caramels, pralines, and of course – all things chocolate.
The tour also offers dairy-free, gluten-free, and alcohol-free chocolate substitutions, so no one has to miss out on the fun!
Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
Address: 207 Regent St, London W1B 3HH, United Kingdom
Contact: 02034 321 30
Website: Chocolate Ecstasy tours
12. Sail along Little Venice
Little Venice is a quaint part of the city, overlooking a canal and home to streets lined with waterside cafes, pubs, and eateries. You can take a romantic boat ride to see how the winding waterway snakes its way through the heart of the city. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, if you need a bit more peace and quiet in this tranquil part of town.
For more information, click here
Address: off Blomfield Road, Pool of Little Venice, London W9 2PF
Contact: +44 (0)20 7985 7200
13. Declare your love across two atmospheres at the Royal Observatory Greenwich
This is London’s only planetarium, but it is simply astounding with so much to offer. You can meet actual astronomers, who will follow you on your journey through the universe from the comfort of your seat. You and your partner can both unravel the mysteries of the cosmos at the free interactive Weller Astronomy Galleries, see stunning images of space from all around the world at the annual Insight Astronomy Photography of the Year competition, and even touch an actual 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite.
Of course the main highlight is standing on the historic Prime Meridian of the World and somewhat straddling 2 atmospheres. It’s an experience like no other, and should not be missed.
Greenwich Royal Observatory
Address: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Opening Hours: Monday–Sunday, 10:00 - 17:00
Access: Enjoy your trip to Greenwich by rail or river, it’s just 10 minutes from central London by rail, or make the journey part of the fun and arrive by boat.
Contact: +44 (0)20 8858 4422
Nearby Food: Astronomy Café and Gagarin Terrace offers light food and drinks, with views over Greenwich Park.
Website: Greenwich Royal Observatory
14. Have a romantic and relaxed afternoon tea
You didn’t think you’d get through a list on London without afternoon tea did you? This quintessential English tea is the perfect way for indulgence. A spread of sandwiches, intricate cakes, and perfect scones accompanied by clotted cream, all on perfect china, and all washed down by a perfect cup of tea. You can even have some bubbly if you are both feeling more celebratory. Either way, it’s the best way to treat yourselves.
There are several takes on afternoon tea at different hotels, both classic and quirky. For a more classic experience, try Claridge’s or the English Tea Room, Brown’s Hotel. For a quirky experience, try having afternoon tea on a bus going around famous moments, at BB Bakery.
15. Dine at this restaurant with a ‘champagne buzzer’
Bob Bob Ricard emphasises luxury, while still maintaining an outlandish and fun atmosphere. The interior decor is elaborate, with colour-coded rooms arranged throughout the large area, accented with gold for that added richness. The menu is a play on European and Russian cuisine, with mains like ‘humble pie’ and chicken Kiev. The desserts retain playfulness with a touch of luxury and even showmanship, with freshly-flambéed crêpes suzette or an elevated version of strawberries and cream – in a soufflé.
Now the pièce de résistance of this restaurant: every dining booth table comes with a ‘champagne buzzer’. Yes, you read that right. You can buzz for a glass of bubbly any time you want. In fact, Bob Bob Ricard is famous for pouring more champagne than any other restaurant in London.
Bob Bob Ricard
Address: 1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF
Sunday - Wednesday: 12:30 - 15:00, 18:00 - 00:00 Thursday: 12:30 - 15:00, 18:00 - 01:00 Friday, Saturday: 12:30 - 15:00, 17:30 - 1:00 Open 365 days a year.
Contact: +44 203 145 1000
Website: Bob Bob Ricard
16. Break the ice at the Icebar
This Icebar is sure to give you the coolest night experience in all of London. As you step inside this winter wonderland, the fabulous frozen sculptures make the perfect setting for your photo moments. Everything in the entire place is made of ice, and don’t worry, they provide you with thermal coats and gloves for you to fully enjoy your time and immerse yourselves in this experience. They serve really cool drinks, and not just because they are inside sculpted ice. They also have really fun themed nights, so be sure to check their website for an even more unique experience. And if you feel you want to heat things up a bit, there is a lounge for you to warm up in with your partner.
Address: 31-33 Heddon St, London W1B 4BN, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: 14:25 - 23:00
Contact: +44 20 7478 8910
Website: Icebar London
17. Don’t say it’s zoo late for a fun night out
Have a sunset safari at London Zoo, when the animals truly come alive. Relax and be entertained as the sun goes down in the company of some of the world’s most fascinating animal species, all while watching animal-themed acrobats, playing and dancing with fire. To entice all the other senses, indulge in the great food they have to offer.
It’s a carnival of music to enjoy with your partner and to make friends as well, complete with face-painting among other activities, and good ol’ festival fun and joy under the moon and animal-shaped lanterns. But be sure to book tickets fast, it’s limited to only about 8 nights per month, and they sell out fast.
ZSL London Zoo
Address: Outer Circle Regent’s Park London, NW1 4RY
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 16:00. Last entry at 15:00.
Duration: Around 3 hours required.
Access: ZSL London Zoo is within walking distance of Camden Town and Regent’s Park stations and a short bus ride from Baker Street station.
Contact: 0344 225 1826
Website: ZSL London Zoo
18. Perhaps a night at the museum?
Museums aren’t exactly the most romantic places on earth. But come night time, and there’s a certain charm and magic about museums. The atmosphere of many London museums and galleries at night is completely transformed and a bit more lively, with talks, performances, workshops, films, DJs, food, and drink. It’s a celebration!
On top of that, London has some of the most remarkable museums to offer. But only some offer the night tours. It really depends on what you’re interested in. For a safe choice, the British Museum is open until 20:30 every Friday, with engaging debates, lively performances, rare film screenings, and late opening in their very own Court Restaurant. The Museum of London offers a more fun agenda, ranging from unique Halloween card-making workshops to fully-fledged Cleopatra-style makeovers. Look around and choose which museum would be the best choice for you and your loved one.
19. Stroll in a park lined with cherry blossom trees
It’s not just Japan that has cherry blossoms! The cherry blossoms in London are just as pretty, if you know where to look. It’ll provide for a really romantic setting, strolling along a lane lined with pretty pink trees sheltering you and your partner. For a safe bet, visit Kew Gardens, because they have cherry blossoms that are in bloom for the longest times of the year. Their Rose Garden has a great collection of Japanese cherries of different kinds. Another great place is Regent’s Park, located in the middle of London, and home to some of the most pigmented pretty pink cherry blossoms in all of London. Be sure to take a camera with you!
20. Visit the grand Westminster Abbey, and do like William and Kate
Westminster Abbey is a must-see living spectacle of the rich British history, and a definite stop for you and your partner. It sees over one million visitors each year. Just think of all the wonderful things that have happened in this 700-year-old building. From kings and queens, to statesmen and soldiers, and to poets and priests, so many people have attended this building. From weddings to coronations, and celebrations to funerals, if anything, it’s one place in London that is so steeped in history. And now, even you and your partner can join in and see this celebrated building for yourself.
Address: Westminster Abbey is in the heart of London, next to the Houses of Parliament.
Opening Hours: 09:30 - 15:30.
Access: Closest tube stations are St James’ Park and Westminster.
Contact: +44(0)20 7222 5152
Website: Westminster Abbey
London is where romance is at
With all these amazing destinations and things to do, there’s always opportunity to sweep your partner off their feet and make a romantic gesture to make them feel appreciated. The city is alive and magic, so be sure to experience the romance in London for yourself.
Get Trip101 in your inbox