Courting in the Capital… Guest post by Elise Lévêque
If your nearest and dearest is whisking you off to London this summer, then you’ll want to fill your days with suitably romantic activities… right?
Whether you’re Olympics bound or simply taking a city break, bear in mind the capital’s going to be extremely crowded this summer! It might be difficult to find seclusion and romance and quite a few attractions will probably be more expensive than usual.
But this doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune – there are still loads of free places to visit and things to do in London that are just as good as expensive wining-and-dining.
So, here are a few insider tips on how to avoid the crowds and tourist traps when you’re trying to find true romance in London this summer.
The Royal Botanical Gardens provide a tranquil trip outside the city bustle. Stroll between ancient trees, explore Victorian greenhouses filled with flowers and rare plants, and discover the evolution of British plant life since the time of dinosaurs.
There are plenty of gorgeous secluded spots where you can while away the hours too, wink wink.
Tickets: £13.90 Station: Kew Gardens
Herds of red and fallow deer roam free in this giant park on the outskirts of the city. You’ll feel a world away from the intense London atmosphere – this park is probably the closest you’ll get to London countryside.
Walking trails here will keep you occupied for hours, and there are great cycle routes if you get hold of some bikes. For a classic British lunch or afternoon tea, you might want to head to Pembroke Lodge, a stunning Georgian mansion in the park.
There’s a spectacular view of the city from the lodge’s back patio area!
Tickets: FREE Station: Richmond
The Phoenix Cinema
This cinema is special because it’s been screening films for over 100 years; it’s one of the oldest cinemas in the UK. It’s also one of the only remaining truly independent cinemas in the country, run by a charitable trust.
The decor has been kept traditional with loads of red velvet, coving and spacious seats. Plus there’s even an interval for ice cream, retro!
The Phoenix often screens classic old-time movies making it the perfect place for a date filled with classic romance.
Tickets: £6 Monday, £9.50 all other evenings Station: East Finchley
Keats House and Hampstead Heath
For a completely free romantic day out, nothing beats a trip to the house of one of England’s best loved poets, John Keats, and a picnic to follow on the gorgeous Hampstead Heath.
Keats wrote many of his most famous works at the house, which is now a museum dedicated to his life and to poetry in general.
Nearby Hampstead Heath is a huge expanse of parkland where you will find swimming lakes, gardens, woodland, and plenty of secluded picnic spots!
Tickets: FREE Station: Hampstead
Royal Observatory Greenwich
Take the river bus service to Greenwich (using Oyster or travel card) and visit this astronomical park where you can stand on the meridian line, watch a planetarium show in the observatory and explore all things astronomical in the museum.
Get all starry eyed as you explore the vastness of time and the universe together.
This is my favourite romantic day out in London!
Tickets: Royal Observatory- FREE Planetarium – £6 Station: Greenwich
So, with all these beautiful places to stroll, where should you buy your picnic food?
The very best place I can recommend is Borough market – you’ll find an array of fresh local produce, specialist foods, gourmet items and home cooked treats.
The market is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Tickets: FREE Station:
All that’s left to do now is to book some suitably luxurious accommodation. Romantic hotels, London range from luxury five star chic to cute B+Bs.
You can use an online hotel finder to discover the perfect room for you, and make sure you check Trip Advisor to discover what other guests have said!
Guest blogger Elise Lévêque is a bubbly French-English translator and lucky bride-to-be who left her beloved Paris after falling for the quirkiness of Great Britain… and also a Geordie lad! Always full of beans, she loves travelling the world and discovering new places.