10 more romantic things to do in London

10 more romantic things to do in London

London is full of things to do; here's Clare Wilson's guide to adding a bit of extra romance into your visit

For six of the best 2014 date ideas in London, click here.

1. Take a candlelit tour

Planning on decorating your love-nest? You could do worse than to get some inspiration from the house-come-museum of architect Sir John Soane, who designed buildings including the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Soane's magpie collection means you can see the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I, examples of cartoons by political caricature artist Hogarth, and various items of furniture, clocks, gems and statues - all in one house. For the most atmosphere, his collection (bequeathed to 'amateurs and students') is best seen by candle-light on the first Tuesday of each month.

Sir John Soane's Museum: 12-13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2 (Holborn)
Admission free (Tues-Sat 10am-5pm), candlelit tours 6-9pm first Tuesday of each month.

2. Take a walk

London is a surprisingly good city to see on foot. Step out for a stroll along the Southbank, along Regent Canal or through one of the city's many parks.

Ramblers have a Walks route-finder so you can set your own pace, but they also run special Walking Festivals if you fancy joining a group. The Winter Walks festival (nationwide) runs until 6 Jan, and earlier in 2012 they ran special series of film location walks to coincide with London Film Week.

Ramblers' Association website

3. Sip in style at a speakeasy

London's new favourite bar trend is has gone right back to the glamour days of the speakeasy. If you want true knock-on-doors, give-the-password style exclusivity try the Experimental Cocktail Club in the heart of Chinatown. Reservations are recommended, but they do leave 50% capacity for walk-in guests… and the drinks are sensational.

Or, for a hidden slice of old-school glamour on the fringes of Shoreditch, head to the Nightjar. There's live music from the golden age of jazz, the very best of cocktails and candlelit table service - you'll need reservations, so book a table online in advance.

Experimental Cocktail Club: 13a Gerrard St, London (Leicester Square)
Nightjar: 129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB (Old Street station)

4. Don't make reservations - try tapas in Soho

You don't need reservations for everything in London though - and that goes for food too. There are tapas style joints a-plenty in Soho for a meal designed to share. Two of our favourites are Copita on D'Arblay Street and Spuntino's on Rupert Street.

Copita serves true Spanish tapas in mouth-watering 3-or-4 bite portions. The menu (and that of its sister restaurant Barrica) changes daily to reflect the best produce. Spuntino serves North American plates and sliders in a converted butchers - sit on double stools around the bar for a London version of a New York take on road-food and Italian classics. Make sure you try the pulled pork and truffled eggs on toast.

Copita: 27 D'Arblay street, London W1F 8EP (Oxford Circus)
Spuntino: 61 Rupert Street W1D 7PW (Picadilly Circus)

5. Say it with flowers at Colombia Road Flower Market

Come Sunday morning, Colombia Road in East London is transformed into a fragrant oasis as the flower-sellers set up their stalls. Pick up a floral tribute (romantic red roses or ornate orchids) or something to grow at home - from bulbs and bedding plants to Bonsai trees. Get there really early for the pick of the bunch, or grab a bargain as things start to wind up just after lunch.

Alongside the Sunday market there's a streetful of independent galleries and shops selling pottery, perfume and the like - many of which are only open at the weekends.

Columbia Road Flower Market - Sundays, Columbia Road, E2 7RG (Old Street/Bethnal Green tube)

6. Rooftop views at Madison, 1 New Change

Many places claim to have the best view in London, but Madison at 1 New Change definitely takes some beating, especially at sunset. Literally a stone's throw away from St Paul's Cathedral, the famous dome dominates the view - head out to the terrace to take it in all its glory, or relax in one of the many comfy sofas, sipping on an indulgent snifter of champagne as you look out of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Madison: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Paul's, London EC4M 9AF

7. Poetry Library, Southbank

There are many brilliant things about South Bank. One you probably haven't heard of is The Saison Poetry Library on level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall.

The most comprehensive collection of modern poetry in Britain has over 95,000 books, magazines, posters and postcards, plus audio recordings of poets reciting their work. There's nowhere better to find the right words to tell them just how much you love them.

Poetry Library: Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX
Admission free (Tues-Sun 11-8pm)

8. Get Physic-al

Take a stroll in the walled garden that houses the fragrant collection belonging to the Society of Apothecaries. Dr Hans Sloane purchased the Manor of Chelsea back in 1712 and began leasing the four acres that now make up the Physic Garden for £5 a year in perpetuity.

As well as over 5000 species of plant, the pond rock garden is made from Icelandic lava and stones from the Tower of London. And the café is famous for home-made cakes.

Chelsea Physic Garden: 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3
Admission £7 (Open Apr-Oct) - Slone Square or Victoria then bus 239

9. Berkley Spa

Pamper yourselves high up above London in the exclusive Berkley Spa if you're after a particularly pleasurable hedonistic half-day. The rooftop pool overlooking Hyde Park is a highlight.

The treatments emphasise facials, and there's a good range of treatments for you both. Half day pamper experiences start from £160.

Berkley Spa: The Berkeley, Wilton Place SW1X 7RL (Hyde Park Corner tube)

10. Take in the View

The View From The Shard opens officially on 1 Feb 2013, but pre-booking the experience is open now. Treat yourselves to a view like no other from the highest building in Europe. The view takes in the full 360 degree panorama of the city; just imagine being there as the sun sets and evening lights start twinkling.

The View From The Shard: beside London Bridge Station in London Bridge Quarter
Admission: £24.95 for adults (Mon-Sun 9am-10pm from 1 Feb 2013) - London Bridge.

Main image © The View from The Shard

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