8 romantic things to do in London for FREE

8 romantic things to do in London for FREE

Travellers flock to London year-round; Alexandra Gregg shows you how to avoid the crowds and inject some romance into your visit – without breaking the bank

1. Tell tales of the riverbank

Anyone who's been to Italy's most romantic city will appreciate London's affectionately nicknamed 'Little Venice'. Waterside cafés, pubs and eateries make up this network of winding waterways where the Grand Union and Regent's Canals meet. It's a tranquil retreat for lovers looking to escape the busy streets and roads of the capital.

2. Take a Sunday stroll in Richmond

Flee the city and discover the delights of the sprawling green space that makes up Richmond Park. A National Nature Reserve, it's home to the stunning Isabella Plantation as well as herds of Red and Fallow deer. You can admire the wildlife, stop for a picnic and explore the 2,500 acres just the two of you, or join a free, guided walk with the Friends of Richmond Park.

3. Search for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

History, literature and nature roll into one at the iconic Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. More than a century old, the sculpture is hidden deep within the park, just west of the aptly named Long Water, and inspiring literature lovers and couples that are young at heart.

4. Experience the city in the snow

This one's hard to predict but is worth experiencing if the opportunity arises. London transforms in the snow. For one, most things grind to a halt. Public transport is out of the question, offices shut down and blizzards will often wreak havoc on shops and cafés. But, despite the chaos, a sense of calm and stillness falls across the capital - a simply magical and rare experience...

5. Cuddle up in Europe's biggest book shop

Waterstones Piccadilly is more than your average book shop. Not only is it the largest one in Europe - boasting eight-and-a-half miles of navigable bookshelves, spread over six floors and encased by art deco architecture - but it also offers the 5th View Bar with outlooks across the city. So whether you fancy a coffee or a cocktail, or simply snuggling up on one of the sofas, reading your favourite romance novel, this is the perfect date for bookworms.

6. Take your love to new heights…

…and do a bit of shopping while you're at it! Shopping centre One New Change has incredible views of St Paul's Cathedral from its roof terrace - a thoroughly romantic spot. Just take the glass elevator at the centre of the precinct and you're there. Be sure to hold your belle or beau close in the winter though, it can get rather chilly!

7. Banish the winter blues

Treat your loved one to a bit of live music at Soho's Ain't Nothin' But. The drinks may cost you, but entry to this characterful blues bar is free during the week and before 8.30pm Friday-Saturday - a rare occurrence for central London. So get there early, grab a table, and while away the evening listening to soulful tunes and gazing lovingly at your partner.

8. Get cultured at the Courtault Gallery

London is full of free museums and galleries, and while it's an incredible thing for visitors it does usually mean these institutions are a tad crowded. There are still some gems though, like the Courtault Gallery. Quieter than the Tate but with art just as inspirational and beautiful, the gallery's collection stretches from the early Renaissance into the 20th century, including masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin. It's based in the elegant Tudor palace that is Somerset House too, so you and your loved one will feel like royalty.

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