The world of dating is a minefield at the best of times, but it’s even more anxiety-inducing when you’re the one who has to pick the time and place. If you’re looking for a step above a pint at your local but struggling for inspiration then you’re in luck. Our date ideas in London range from laidback market strolls to magical stargazing and even dining in the dark.
There’s nothing wrong with a classic restaurant date. The key to making this simple proposition a standout success is choosing your restaurant carefully – it has to set the mood, with ambient lighting, intimate seating and a good wine list. French restaurants are always a safe bet, as is anywhere with an incredible view. To save you the research, we’ve put together the ultimate list of romantic restaurants in London – just don’t forget to book in advance.
EATING & DRINKING
Whether uttered on the first or 50th date, ‘I know this great little place nearby’ is a sentence that’s always going to impress. But it doesn’t mean you have to stay on top of London’s ever revolving bar scene, keeping tabs on the latest openings and closures – that’s our job. We review one of London’s best bars every week and have saved you further homework by putting together an edit of the most romantic bars in London. Take your pick from the oldest cocktail bar in the UK to a candlelit boozer in Bethnal Green.
For good drinks, good cheese and – hopefully – good conversation, a date at a local wine bar almost guarantees a romantic night out. To point you in the right direction, we’ve put together an edit of the best wine bars in London, including late-night joints in East London and south-of-the-river spots specialising in organic and biodynamic drops.
Ever since Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal spent most of When Harry Met Sally… walking and talking around New York, it has become a classic (and cheap) go-to date idea. For a walking date in London, the options range from canal strolls along the Jubilee Greenway to show-stopping river?/park? views in Richmond. The key to pulling off a walking date is knowing where you’re going and having a pub to stop off at along the way. We’ve mapped out both in our best walks in London guide.
For those in need of a change of scenery, some of London’s best hotels are ideal for a romantic staycation. Among our top picks for a sexy stay is the Art Nouveau Jacobean Suite at Kettner’s Townhouse in Soho, the boldly coloured Townhouse Deluxe at Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell and the velvet-and-silk covered L’Oscar Suite at L’Oscar in Bloomsbury. See our full list of London’s sexiest hotel bedrooms for further inspiration.
PLACES TO STAY
The difference between a good date and a great one? Brunch the next day, of course. End on a high of fluffy scrambled eggs, crunchy bacon and a potent Bloody Mary or two – or bottomless booze. London’s brunch scene is more than up to the challenge. Enjoy it with a view – at any time of day – at Duck & Waffle in the City, go for Middle Eastern flavours at Rovi in Fitzrovia or all the pastries you can eat at Bread Ahead in Soho. For more suggestions, see our pick of the best brunch in London.
London isn’t just for couples. Part of the city’s charm is that it also has plenty of options for those who prefer to spend some time alone. The capital’s museums, art exhibitions and buzzy neighbourhoods all lend themselves to exploring solo. And when you get hungry, our pick of the best solo-dining restaurants in London are just the ticket.
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