London's most romantic places
Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day occasion or just one of the other 364 days of the year, the appetite for romance must be sated. Lucky then, that London is one of the most romantic cities in the world, if you know where to find the right places.
London is perfect for the adventurous romantic with its collection of beautiful museums, stunning parks and altogether more obscure curiosities. The weather can’t be planned and prices can be high but dating in London never lacks for excitement.
The capital is home to a plethora of places where history and beauty collide, but perhaps none of them offer the value of South Kensington’s V&A Museum. Cheap dates take note; this is the place to woo on a budget. Share tea and cake in the William Morris room, explore the ruins of the medieval era and finish up in the Cast Court with heavy petting below the wonder of Trajan’s Column.
These days, it seems like Londoners can’t step out of the front door without seeing a flier for a jive night, swing lessons or tango classes pinned to a lamppost. Staying in doors isn’t the answer either, not with Dancing on Ice and Strictly Come Dancing bombarding the programming. So, if you can’t beat them join them.
The Rivoli Ballroom, in Lewisham, is the only original 1950’s ballroom left in London and without a doubt, a romantic knockout. Think senior dating, hip young couples and single dance enthusiasts all sharing the same floor. Swing and jive are the dominating dances and a big excuse to cosy up with a partner.
Most Londoners tend to appreciate a little greenery once in a while but when it comes to romance, the big parks are clichéd. Hyde Park was big in the nineties, Richmond Park had Fenton the dog and Hampstead Heath is just so over. For the thrill of outdoor flirtation, head for the macabre majesty of Highgate Cemetery.
Generally, dating doesn’t take you to many cemeteries, or at least that’s true of most of us, but the Grade I listed Highgate Cemetery is different. Fifteen acres of meandering paths take you through gardens and past the statues and gothic tombs of the Victorians. If the beautiful eeriness doesn’t leave you hand in hand, then perhaps it will leave you clinging together.
A bunch of flowers is all well and good, but the true romantic dreams of a street of them. Botany heaven, Columbia Road Flower Market is the place where this dream becomes reality. On Sunday’s, the street is filled with plants, flowers and shrubs from end to end. The atmosphere offers the tranquil idyll of cosy urban life and an early morning stroll can set up a week of warm fuzzy feelings in couples. There must be something in the pollen.
London doesn’t strive to be romantic, it just is. It possesses an effortless, nonchalant charm that lurks around every corner. Paris who?