Romantic Things To Do In London
A visit to the capital with your loved one is the ultimate romantic trip.
Live the high life in a fantastic luxury hotel, walk between the impressive buildings, cruise down the River Thames, stroll through Royal parks, cuddle together in a romantic bar, dinner for two in an intimate restaurant - all this and more is available in London.
Here are just a few ideas for romantic things to do in London:
You can enjoy a romantic walk through Kew Gardens at any time of the year. The amazing palm houses with their exotic plants can provide shelter from rain or cold weather, and the colourful flower beds and green landscapes are beautiful in warmer months.
If you want to study the gardens in more detail you can join a guided walking tour led by a knowledgeable guide who will show you the highlights of the season.
Alternatively you may just wish to wander hand-in-hand amongst the 14,000 trees in the garden - some of which, called the 'old lions', date back to the 1700's !
You may come across the Pagoda (also from the 1700s) nestling among the trees. Or you may discover the waterlily house showing off the exquisite water lillies, with their huge leaves.
You can test your head for heights on the Tree-top walk, where you can walk amongst the very tops of the trees - 18 metres off the ground.
Eltham Palace is one of the most romantic historic houses in London - it was the London home of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, who together created a luxurious Art Deco residence.
You can stroll around the sumptuous 1930s decorated rooms, imagining that you are socialites from the glamorous world of the Courtaulds.
There are clothes to admire (and replicas try on) in Virginia's walk-in wardrobe, a basement with a billiard room, photo dark room and the most comfortable wartime basement bunker ever seen!
Not forgetting of course that the Palace was originally built in medieval times, so you can also admire the fantastic 500 year old Great Hall with its hammer beam roof.
A trip to the zoo is always a favourite for couples, and the London Zoo is no exception. You can get up close to the cute and cuddly lemurs and meerkats, or you can keep your distance from the less-cute spiders and reptiles!
Together you can enjoy watching the antics of penguins and monkeys, and admire the wonderful colours of the birds in the aviary.
No zoo would be complete with out the "big" animals such as tigers, giraffes and zebra, and London Zoo has them all.
Amazing London Views
One of the most dramatic ways to view the River Thames and the landmarks in the centre of London is to take a flight on the London Eye.
You can enjoy the views together by day and night - the Eye is open from 10 in the morning until at least 8:30 in the evening (often later in the Spring and Summer).
On a clear day you can see landmarks over 25 miles away!
If you have a particular romantic event to celebrate (or propose!) you can even book a private capsule.
You'll have your very own quiet space to enjoy London's skyline together.
Thames River Cruise
Alternatively you might prefer to see London from the river itself, on a Thames River Cruise.
Departing from piers at Westminster, the London Eye, The Tower of London or Greenwich, you'll enjoy a distinctive view of London from the Thames, taking in Westminster, St Paul's and the Tate Modern, The City and Tower Bridge, and Canary Wharf and Greenwich. With a live commentary, you won't miss any of the sights!
You can buy hop-on hop-off tickets that allow you to use the river cruise boats all day long, between visits to your favourite attractions.
The London Helicopter
For the ultimate high-level view of London, you can take a helicopter tour on The London Helicopter. You'll be amazed at the views as you swoop over the famous landmarks of London.
To make the experience extra special, you can even book the helicopter for exclusive use, for your own private view of London.
Taking off from Battersea, you're guaranteed a great view of all the major attractions - the River Thames and its bridges, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and loads more!
Up at the O2
If you have a head for heights you can take a walk right over the top of the O2 with your loved one, for fantastic views of the river and city, and a real sense of achievement!
Once you have donned your climb suit, harness and climb shoes, you'll climb to the highest point of 52m from the ground, for spectacular views of Canary Wharf, Greenwich, The Olympic Park and more.
You can choose whether to climb in the daytime, at sunset or even after dark to see the city lit up at night. We reckon the sunset climb would probably be most romantic...
Romantic Royal London Stories
London has lots of romantic stories, many of which are connected with the Royal Family:
The Albert Memorial
One of London's most famous love stories is that of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.
It was love at first sight for Victoria - and she wasn't shy at coming forward! Victoria proposed to Albert just 5 days after meeting him for the second time!
They had a happy (but short) marriage, with nine children in the family.
When Albert died suddenly in 1861 at the age of only 42, Victoria demonstrated her love for him - she wore mourning black for the rest of her life, went into seclusion for many years, and commissioned a fantastic memorial to Albert in Kensington Gardens - the Albert Memorial.
You can see the Albert Memorial from a distance every day, but how about taking your loved one to a special close-up guided tour of this memorial of love?
On the first Sunday of each month (March to December), you can take a 45 minute tour which allows you to go inside the memorial's railings, and see the fantastic craftsmanship up close.
Edward and Mrs Simpson
One of the most poignant romantic Royal stories is that of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. The couple met and fell in love, but were unable to marry because Wallis Simpson was a divorcee.
King Edward decided that he could not rule without the love of his life, and so made the ultimate sacrifice for a King - he abdicated in order to marry.
A more recent romantic story is that of the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton from Bucklebury in Berkshire. You can visit the amazing Westminster Abbey, where their fairytale marriage took place on 29th April 2011.
Whilst at the Abbey, you can show your cultured side by visiting Poet's Corner - where the romantic poets Blake, Keats, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley and Wordsworth are commemorated.
River Cruise Dining
A romantic meal on the Thames is a great way to see the sights whilst enjoying delicious food and great music.
The Thames Dinner Cruise from Bateaux London provides an unforgettable experience - sailing serenely past the iconic London Landmarks such as The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye, whilst you enjoy the modern British cuisine and live music from the band.
The best place to drink-in the views and eat delicious food at the same is at Aqua Shard - on the 31st floor of the Shard. The views, exquisite menu and buzzy atmosphere all combine to create an unforgettable romantic experience.
You can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea (with or without champagne!) or dinner at Aqua Shard, or simply have a cocktail and nibbles at the bar.
If you need an excuse to cuddle up, how about a pre-dinner drink at ICEBAR London?
Everything inside the bar is made of ice (imported from a frozen Swedish river). The tables, walls, bar, decor and even the glasses are made of ice!
For your 40 minute time slot in the ice bar, you are provided with a thermal cape (with hood) and gloves to keep you comfy, but even so you might want to stay close to your loved one, as the temperature is a constant -5 degrees C.
Where to Stay
The Bingham Hotel
The Bingham Hotel in Richmond is a chic Georgian townhouse, in a beautiful riverside setting. The riverside garden and terrace is one of the most romantic places for a pre-dinner walk.
The Bingham has 15 individually designed luxury bedrooms with art deco furniture, and all modern comforts. For an extra special stay you could even book the four-poster room with 180 degree views of the river!
The hotel has an award winning restaurant, so you can stay in for a delicious gastronomic experience!
Hazlitt's Hotel in Soho Square has all the romance and grandeur you could need, with four poster beds, georgian panelling and gothic screens.
The hotel prides itself on old-fashioned hospitality, and friendly service. It is right in the centre of theatre-land and a short walk from Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Oxford Street.
The rooms are decorated in a lavish style - you'll really feel pampered staying in this hotel which is near a quiet square but also right at the heart of things!
The Garden Bed & Breakfast
If you have a more modest budget, it's still possible to find a romantic place to stay in London. How about The Garden Bed & Breakfast ?
It is an elegant Victorian town house in a leafy South West London suburb, with a fantastic world-famous garden for guests to enjoy! The owners, who have travelled all around the world, take great pride in their award-winning garden which has even been featured on television.
Also, you'll both feel suitably pampered staying at The Garden Bed and Breakfast, with bathrobes, fresh flowers, fine cotton bed linen and soft lambswool throws.
A Night Out
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
You'll have a fantastic night out at the famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club which features everything jazz - from traditional jazz musicians to the latest names to hit the jazz scene.
On most nights there is a main act (and supporting act), followed by the "Late Late Show" where you can stay up and enjoy jazz until 3am!
If you don't want to go to bed so late, there's always the Sunday Jazz Lunches where you can enjoy the best jazz with your traditional Sunday meal.
The West End
There is always a large choice of plays available in the West End - perhaps you'll even be able to find one with a romantic theme?
If you want discounted late-availability tickets for the West End, try the Ticket Booth in Leicester Square which is run by the Society of London Theatre. There are lots of bargains on last minute tickets for many of the current theatre productions.
For Romantic Culture Vultures
Many of the famous operas and ballets have a love theme. Check out the current productions at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Sadlers Wells or The Barbican for some romantically themed entertainment.
The Royal Albert Hall
To continue with the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert theme, you could take in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
This magnificent building was the vision of Prince Albert, to provide a Central Hall to improve understanding of the Arts and Sciences, surrounded by the museums of South Kensington.
From rock stars to the most famous classical musicians and orchestras to the BBC Proms - there's something for most musical tastes in the beautiful gilded surroundings of The Royal Albert Hall.
(PS if you decide to book your tickets on their website, they have the coolest ticket booking facility - the section you are booking is highlighted on a photo of the auditorium - much clearer than a drawing!)
London is the ultimate historic British city, but at the same time it has lots of modern features to explore. You can choose to spend your romantic break in London finding out about the old buildings and their love stories (such as the Victoria and Albert story) but you can also explore the new like walking across the O2 or dining at The Shard.
We hope you've been inspired by these ideas - there are, of course, lots of other romantic things to do in London but we hope we've sparked your imagination!
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