Paris is often referred to as the city of love, and hopeless romantics all around the world have their eyes set on the French capital. Paris is portrayed in a plethora of literature and films as the ultimate romantic getaway, the ‘it destination’ for finding love, and generally the place to be.However, it may surprise you to learn that London is on the rise as one of the top cities in Europe for romantic getaways. This guide is all about showcasing London as the new city of love, and why the capital city of jolly old England may actually be more romantic than Paris.
History And Landmarks
There are many parallels between the two famous cities of London and Paris. For example, the river Seine is lovely, but many more major landmarks – such as the houses of parliament, Cleopatra’s needle, the London Eye and many more – all sit along the Thames, making for an epic sunset stroll. Whilst Versailles is certainly impressive, Buckingham palace is equally as magnificent, and easier to reach due to its central location. In addition to seeing the palace itself, there’s also the traditional changing of the guards to enjoy watching.
Whilst Notre Dame has great bishops buried beneath its stones, Westminster Abbey has the likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens laid to rest there. If you like unusual food, Paris can offer you snails, but London can give you the unique culinary experience of jellied eels! London has an abundance of fantastic museums to visit such as the Natural History, Science and British museums. Art lovers can enjoy exhibits at the likes of the Tate Modern or the National Portrait Gallery to name but two. Other famous landmarks to explore in London include the iconic Big Ben, the Tower of London – and its traditional guards, known as Beefeaters – and Trafalgar Square.
Dining, Shopping And Theatre
Couples looking to wine and dine can enjoy a meal in Butler’s Wharf with Tower Bridge in the background, or an impressive panoramic view from Duck and Waffle, which is located in the Shard. For flowing champagne at the press of a button, book a table at Bob Bob Ricard, or for absolutely stunning decor, visit Clos Maggiore. Other culinary delights to enjoy with your significant other include afternoon tea at the Savoy and brunch at one of the trendy hotspots around the city, such as the Wolseley or Brother Marcus.
London’s legendary shopping destinations include Oxford Street, Regent Street, Mayfair and Covent Garden. All of these locations offer the chance to browse unique finds, antiques and designer labels. Shopping in department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges are experiences in their own right!
A trip to the theatre is always a great date idea, and London is the perfect spot to do this. The west end offers a selection of sparkling shows, with stars belting out classics from beloved musicals. Catch the Royal Ballet or enjoy classical music at the Royal Opera House, check out a show and tour of Shakespeare’s Globe, or watch a contemporary play at the National Theatre. During the summer, a truly amazing theatre experience is to watch a show at the award-winning Regent’s Open Air Theatre.
Quintessentially British Experiences
If you’re looking for a truly authentic local experience, head to one of the beautiful old traditional pubs in London, such as the Counting House in Leadenhall Market, the Cross Keys in Chelsea or the Salisbury in Stoke Newington, and get yourself a taste of some classic real ales. Get a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus or better yet, book yourself on a trip with a company like Virgin Experiences, where you can see all the sights of London from a traditional bus whilst drinking tea (of course!), eating scones with cream and jam, or drinking a gin and tonic. Does it get any more British than that? Well, you could also take your special someone for an authentic English roast dinner at Blacklock in Soho or Hack & Hop near Blackfriars.
When the sun is shining in London, what could be more romantic than a paddle boat for two out on the lake of Hyde Park? Or taking a stroll through St James’s Park? When the weather is good, go for a picnic, perhaps using one of the ready-made services available from various spots in the city. The Rex Whistler restaurant (located in the Tate gallery), Rivea London, the De Beauvoir Deli Co., the Arch, Mount Street Deli, Carluccios and Dukes all provide exquisite ready-made picnics and hampers, complete with baskets, champagne flutes, blankets and cushions.
In the summer, watch an open-air film, or take a dip in an outdoor swimming pool. Hire a speedboat to whisk you away across the Thames, or go for a walk to the top of Primrose Hill. Get lost together in Hampton Court maze, stroll through St Katherine’s Docks, or scout out spots where famous blockbusters were filmed. Be inspired by famous poet John Keats’ house and stop to smell the roses in the Botanical Gardens. Take a canal boat to Camden and explore the famous market, hire a Santander bike to explore the city like a local, or sit and relax in the cafe of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Rooftop Garden.
We hope that this guide has given you plenty of date ideas to share with your loved one in the UK capital, and sown the seed for a romantic getaway. There’s something for all tastes, whether you’re an art lover or a thespian, an avid foodie or a shopaholic. Hopefully we have successfully convinced you that London truly is the new city of love. Is London really more romantic than Paris? You should definitely visit and try some of our recommendations for yourself to find out!