Thinking of popping across the pond for a romantic weekend in the UK? When visiting London, Add the items below to your agenda to get your heart beating faster and your bae squeezing your hand a wee bit tighter.
1. Explore Hyde Park on Bikes
Santander Bikes is hands down the best way to see the city. Hyde Park is the pride of London (not to be confused with London Pride, a tasty pint by Fullers), and unabashedly commands a whopping 350 acres smack dab in the middle of the city. If you’re not just faffing about the park for the afternoon and do actually need to get somewhere, this is an efficient way of doing so. For a measly 2 quid, you’ve secured yourself 24 hours of rental time on a sturdy power horse of a bike. With several places across the park and city to drop off / pick up bikes, you can hop on and hop off at will. Download the app so you know where the bikes are located (once we had to wait a few minutes for other peddlers to drop off a bike at our depot).
Cost: £2/24 hours rental (including unlimited rides up to 30 minutes; additional time is £2/30 minutes).
2. Take a dinner cruise on the Thames
You’ve never seen London like this!! Imagine the sun setting around you as you glide through the water, gaining a view of the Thames that simply cannot be experienced on land. The boat glides under some of London’s most iconic bridges, where you can step outside onto the deck, feel the breeze and take in breathtaking views.
The food was spectacular, service was top notch, and the music was a lovely addition. This is without question a pricey excursion, but worth saving up your pounds for. For a less extravagant and less expensive option (or if your plans with the Queen fall through), the company we booked through (Bateaux London) also offers lunch or afternoon tea cruises. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a celebrity, be the first couple to dance and you’ll get a round of applause from the other patrons!
Cost: £105 /pp for a 2 hour 45 min cruise, including welcome drink, 4 course meal, and wine.
There is no shortage of luxurious lodgings in London. We selected the iconic Royal Garden Hotel, which is conveniently located on High Street Kensington next to (and often overlooking) Hyde Park. The hotel recently celebrated its 50th anniversary so it has a story or two to tell. The Monkees, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, and Mick Jagger have all graced its presence. And if you’re lucky (?!) enough to stay in room 836, you can say you were thisclose to Justin Bieber. Score points with your sweetie and ask for a bottle of champers and some chocolate dipped strawberries to be brought to the room. Rooms have international sockets, so no need to dig up adaptors from your backpacking days.
Cost: A Garden King Room, with guaranteed views over Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace, start at £257.33 this fall.
4. Visit Buckingham Palace at night.
During the day, the palace is buzzing with tourists. On Sundays and public holidays, the road surrounding the Queen’s abode is actually closed to traffic. But when the sun goes down and the pubs fill up, this area turns into a ghost town. What a perfect opportunity to take a stroll with your sweetie! The lights on the palace are stunning and it’s an impressive sight to take in. You also avoid being clothes-lined by a selfie-stick.
5. Eat British comfort foods
Nothing is more romantic than stuffing your face with spicy curries, fish and chips, and gastropub delights. Try the uber trendy Dishoom in the Brick Lane area, which is so hot it’s cool. The resto pays homage to old Irani cafes in Bombay, and offers mouthwatering dishes amongst a candle lit atmosphere. Think Mattar Paneer (vegetable curry), Biryani (aromatic rice), and Masala Prawns. The juxtaposition between indulging in the above against eating still-frozen bread at work the following week was depressing. If you have a bit of a wait before being seated, be sure to order some of their famous cocktails (or “tipples”).
Cost: £100 for 2 people including drinks.
6. Take in an exhibit
London is teeming with galleries featuring permanent collections and rotating exhibits. On this trip, we hit up the National Gallery to get our daVinci and Botticelli on. We also popped by the Whitechapel Gallery to take in an informative exhibition by the infamous feminist activist group, The Guerrilla Girls. In 1985, a group of feminist activists in New York donned gorilla masks and took the name of famous female artists from the past. The Guerilla Girls examine and present new statistics on the state of European museums and galleries.
Cost: free (so you can save your cash for a cheeky pint)
7. Visit the Tower of London
While Crown Jewels, Ravens, Royal Beasts and torture chambers don’t necessarily scream “romance” (unless it’s 50 Shades of Grey), there’s something that brings a couple together in the process of learning about something new. Plus, if you’re a fan of the Tudors, the Tower of London will make you feel all the feelings. It was a gorgeous day when we visited, so we took the wall walk around the parameter of the towers, taking in the fresh air, and tucking into exhibits to school ourselves on prisoner etchings and polar bears who were kept as pets.
Cost: £25.00 at the gate. Save a couple quid by booking in advance online.
8. Soar above the city on the London Eye
Sadly, a wrong turn caused us to miss out on this attraction but it’s definitely a must for our next trip across the pond. Nestled on the edge of the embankment, this Ferris wheel for grown ups lifts you up almost 450 ft into the clouds. Champagne, nibbles and a private capsule are available for those who want to splash out / propose /etc.
Cost: Tickets start at £21.20.
The writer was a guest of Visit London. The tourism board did not review or approve this article.