With its elegant architecture, world-class cuisine and cutting-edge culture, London has all of the components for a romantic escape. Equally, the city also has plenty to inspire those with a taste for adventure. From a trot on horseback through the English capital’s most picturesque park, right through to an exclusive spa experience for two, there are plenty of unique dates to be had in London.
The English capital is a foodie’s paradise, with a buzzing restaurant scene that bristles with everything from Michelin stars to Mexican street food. Some the city’s most serendipitous dishes are served hot and fresh at gourmet food markets, and Borough Market has to be the cream of the crop. Choose from a delicious range of aromatic offerings, from cheeses and cured meats to steaming spit-roast pork baguettes and creamy tartiflette. Pop the cork on something sparkling procured from one of the specialist vintners in the area and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the nearby Thames. For a more unusual market experience, venture south to Brixton’s covered market or east to the busy Broadway Market at London Fields.
With its soaring skyline of iconic architecture, London certainly has its fair share of dazzling vistas. Begin a sky-bar tour with scenic sundowners at the legendary Aqua Shard on the 31st floor of London’s tallest building. Follow it up with something tall and sophisticated at the Sky Pod Bar on level 35 of the Walkie Talkie, before heading across to The Gherkin where Iris Bar offers an inspired cocktail menu 180m up in the air with 360° floor-to-ceiling windows. Feeling peckish? Head downstairs to the sumptuous Helix for fine dining in a chic setting.
Once a hunting ground for King Henry VIII and his acolytes, Hyde Park is steeped in history and provides a beautiful and quintessentially British setting for a gentle horse ride. Saddle up and take an accompanied five-mile canter around the leafy perimeter of the park, passing Rotten Row where the Household Cavalry horses from the palace are exercised. When it comes to unusual dates ideas in London, this is certainly a memorable one.
Offering the ultimate escape from the city, a private spa suite for two at the award-winning ESPAlife at Corinthia is a luxurious place to unwind and enjoy some exclusive quality couple time. Indulge in a sumptuous treatment before toasting with a flute of Champagne in the chic relaxation lounge. Suitably revived and restored, tuck into a delicious lunch in The Spa Lounge. The menu is steered towards health and wellness, and includes light dishes such as steamed lemon sole, nettle and artichoke risotto and grilled tuna loin.
From the emerald sprawl surrounding Kensington Palace to Hyde Park’s immaculately tended gardens, London’s royal parks are ideal for a romantic stroll. Head off-piste from Regent’s Park to scale the verdant heights of Primrose Hill at sunset. Offering some of the most spectacular views across London, the summit is a picturesque perch for a quiet tête-à-tête. All that fresh air will muster up an appetite, so it’s a good job that there’s a wealth of cosy pubs and smart restaurants in the area. Continue on to the lively district of Camden, where a plethora of bars and music venues provide ample options for your date to carry on into the evening.
The ornate dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, and easily one of its most beautiful. Visit in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds, and head up 257 steps to the Whispering Gallery in the dome’s interior. A whisper against the wall on one side is clearly audible on the other. Climb a little further to the Golden Gallery and be rewarded with panoramic views. It runs around the highest point of the dome’s exterior, 85m high and gazes out across the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Glide past the swans on Hyde Park’s tranquil boating lake; head out in a pedalo hired from the Boathouse at Regent’s Park; canoe down the Thames or explore London from the dappled shade of its canals in a motorboat for two. Taking to the water in the English capital is a rather fun way to spend time with your loved one. Pack a picnic and a bottle of something special to really enjoy London’s beautiful waterways.
With an array of high-end cake emporiums and decadent dessert parlours, London has plenty of indulgent destinations that are perfect for dates. Find a quiet café for a cup of tea and a slice of cake if you’re after something low key. Alternatively, go to down with an extra special afternoon tea experience. The Crystal Moon Lounge at Corinthia Hotel London serves afternoon tea daily, with finger sandwiches, warm scones and delicious cakes to enjoy. Select a flute of Laurent-Perrier to accompany your spoils and toast to the sweet life.
Undoubtedly one of Soho’s most beloved music venues, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is the ideal place to spend a lazy afternoon. Slip into a velvety booth and relish some privacy as you sip a beautifully crafted Old Fashioned or Mint Julep. All the jazz greats have passed through these hallowed halls, with an excellent line-up of talent playing mesmerising cadences well into the night. It’s open until 3am, so you can savour the cocktails, excellent tunes and, of course, the special company.