10 romantic things to do in London

10 romantic things to do in London

Travellers are descending on London now the summer's on its way – Tom Whitehead shows you how to inject a bit of romance into your trip

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

Or why not experience eight FREE and romantic things to do in London?

1. Raise a toast in London's oldest wine bar

This tired-looking building may easily be passed off as just another pub, but step inside the dull brown doors and you'll find the kind of tavern Robin Hood would frequent. Set down a steep staircase is the oldest wine bar in London. Age-old newspaper extracts line the walls and candle-lit tables are home to drinkers sipping from their glasses.

The only drink on offer is wine but the list is extensive, so it caters for all versions of the fermented grape. Hours can slip by and the cellar area is devoid of any sunlight so it is easy to lose track of time - if you're in good company. If hunger strikes, there's a plentiful range of cheeses, pies, meats, and other home-made treats on offer.

Gordon's wine bar: 47 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NE - located next to the Embankment tube station.

2. Preach love in the National Theatre

If you can't conjure up your own poem to express your love then why not let the playwrights and poets do it for you?

Head to the national theatre, located on London's marvellous South Bank. The theatre hosts some of the finest productions in London and the shows on offer are a range of classic, modern, and the downright bizarre.

Shakespeare's Timon of Athens is currently being performed until November and other productions include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, The Doctor's Dilemma, and The Last of the Haussmans.

National Theatre: South Bank, Southwark, London, SE1 9PX - located near London Waterloo station.

3. Cuddle up in an alternative cinema

Many relationships start with a date to the cinema but perhaps the silver screen is more associated with hosting the slightly younger audience. Don't discredit the cinema as a great idea for a romantic outing though, as long as you select the right one. Avoid heading to your local multiplex where the queues are long and the alleys are lined with screaming children let loose on day release.

The Everyman Cinema in Islington is one cinema that caters for the more discerning film fans. Sit back and snuggle in comfier chairs - minus the annoying arm rest - using your own foot stool, while enjoying a cool beer, wine, or icy G&Ts. And you won't miss a minute of the screening - a trolley is on hand to provide refills. Cinema trips will never be the same again.

Everyman cinema: 83 Upper Street, London, N1 0NP - a short walk from Angel tube station.

4. Take a chocolate-fuelled tour

It's been said that diamonds are a girl's best friend but time has told us that the cocoa bean reigns supreme. Chocolate can make a great surprise treat and doesn't cost the earth.

One of London's best chocolate experiences is a chocolate walking tour, exploring either Mayfair or Chelsea. Sample the Queen's favourite chocolate in Mayfair or try melt-in-your-mouth award-winning chocolates in Chelsea. During the meandering choco-fest you'll be taken to some of the finest chocolatiers in the world and will be able to sample a selection of their jaw-dropping delights.

Chocolate Ecstasy Tours

5. Sit down to afternoon tea

Some of the swankiest hotels in the world are serving up their own interpretation of the Great British Afternoon Tea. London has some of the most impressive dining places you're likely to find and each venue vies to have the most creative and innovative dishes.

The gluttonous pre-dinner feast has made a big comeback in recent years and there are also a number of quirkier and cheaper places to indulge in a pot of tea and slice of cake. It would probably take a year of gorging in the late afternoon before you tried them all so here's a few places to get you started.

The Modern Pantry (afternoon tea £20 with bubbles, £15 without) offers a selection of sweet and savoury scones to nibble on, delicious cakes and a glass of berryish Prosecco. A smartly finished interior and dainty tea sets make this a traditional mid-afternoon tea break.

47-48 St John's Square, London, EC1V 4JJ - nearest tube station is Farringdon.

Perfect for light, informal dining the Upper Thames Foyer at the Savoy is a great spot to sit down, enjoy a hot pot of traditional tea and watch the world go by. A winter garden gazebo means you can enjoy your surroundings without having to rely on the British weather. Average price for afternoon tea between £35-£44.

The Savoy Hotel, Strand, London, WC2R 0EU - nearest tube station is Covent Garden or Embankment.

6. Cook up a storm together

What's more romantic than whisking up some fine food and sharing the well earned fruits of your labour with each other?

Hundreds of classes are run across the city of London as they improve their cooking skills. Caldesi offers a friendly class with a laid-back atmosphere. Run by husband and wife duo Kate and Giancarlo Caldesi, you can learn how to recreate fine, robust and hearty Italian food in your own home.

Cooking also creates a great talking point so the kitchen is the perfect venue to take someone on a first or second date; plus it's an ideal situation in which you can get to know someone better.

Caldesi: 118 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QF - Bond Street tube station is closest.

7. Pop a bottle (or two) of the fizzy stuff

Featuring the longest champagne bar in Europe, St Pancras Station is home to Searcys Champagne Bar. The bar provides the kind of glamour associated with the upper echelons of society. Searcys has a long list of champagne to choose from, ranging from the reasonable to the luxurious and they also serve a selection of ideal accompaniments, like oysters and cheeses.

If you want to impress then this is the place to do it and the bar also makes a great spot for people watching and chin wagging. Be super adventurous and hop on a Eurostar to either Brussels or France, which are both accessible from St Pancras Station.

Champagne bar at St Pancras Station: Travel to Kings Cross and then follow the signposts.

8. Experience London from the sky

Some things in life never get boring and flying is one such past time which never ceases to enthral. Pack a dose of adrenaline into your romantic outing by booking a helicopter ride to glide above London's skyline and escape to the clouds.

Expert pilots can point out some of the city's most famous landmarks as you soar through the air.

Nothing can be more romantically thrilling than taking to the skies with a loved one and from £119 per person with London Helicopter Centre you can take in the capital with a bird's eye view and enjoy the high life with your love life.

9. Or take the slower approach...

If you want the same aerial views but demand a little less speed then a balloon flight over the city is perfect for you. Ballooning is more traditional than using a motor in the skies so if you think the classic touch would suit you then this is a great way of taking in the 360 views.

Adventure Balloons have a number of different routes to choose from, which can be adapted for each journey. You can also opt for a chilled glass of champagne to toast to your future together or take a ride at dawn - although we can't promise a stunning sunrise.

10. Unwind and relax

Some say, there's no better way of unwinding than strolling through a spa and being pampered to the max. After a long day sight-seeing or exploring on foot - a well-deserved break will ensure the two of you feel at ease and enjoy your time together.

London is overflowing with indulgent spas and has a range to suit all budgets. The Spa at Chancery Court offers a tailor made package for the ultimate in shared-spa experiences. You will each have your own personal therapist who will perform your treatment of choice. Then you and your significant other will also enjoy the total privacy the harmony suite has to offer, which includes vanity and changing facilities, shower and steam room. Once you've been given the A-Star treatment you can lay back with a berry platter and herbal tea. If this doesn't please your partner nothing will.

252 High Holborn, City of London, WC1V 7EN - 100ft from Holborn tube station.

Want to see an alternative side to the capital city? Take a look at Wanderlust'sFREE 25-page guide to quirky London here. Find hidden gardens, secret viewpoints, little-known walks and more...

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