Sometimes, the most romantic dates are the simplest. Forget pricey restaurant reservations and tired romcoms; there’s nothing better to do with your loved one than exploring the world around, walking hand in hand through one of the most romantic places in the city.
Built by the architects that brought us the London Eye, the Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens connects 200-year-old chestnut, lime and oak trees in a short but nevertheless charming walk. Some 18 metres (59 feet) above the ground, this walk grants you a new perspective over the London skyline while getting you closer to nature – and to your partner.
You don’t have to fly to Italy to bring a little Venetian magic to your life; the residential district of Maida Vale, a stone’s throw from Paddington, is home to an area known as London’s Little Venice. A wander through these streets offers splendid early Victorian architecture, quaint floating markets on the canals and vibrant cafés where you can stop and enjoy a hot drink. End your walk in one of the waterside restaurants for a truly romantic evening.
Constructed amid the ruins of St Dunstan Medieval Church, this garden takes full advantage of a green inner-city space. Here, cobbled paths set out a route for a venture among exotic plants and some of London’s wildlife. The garden was awarded a Landscape Heritage Award in 1976 and is still worthy of this title today. As a historical landmark, the site attracts lovers and explorers alike.
Get away from the noise of the city for some quiet time with your loved one in this sequestered traditional Japanese Zen garden. Donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991, the tranquil space is hidden away in the scenic Holland Park. With a landscape reminiscent of mountains and gorges and a pretty little pond (representing the serenity of the ocean), a walk through this garden will bring you one step closer to inner peace.
Though the typical tourist stroll beside the Thames leads through the rather crowded South Bank, a much more romantic and secluded alternative is a wander around the Hammersmith Bridge area. This corner of the Thames often hosts rowing competitions in the summer, and you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities in this scenic patch all year round. The numerous pubs along the water guarantee a back-seat view of the hustle of busy London, allowing you and your significant other to cuddle up and watch the world go by.
Another walk along the Thames, this one starts at the Saatchi Gallery; pop in to see some of the world-class exhibits before you get on your way. From here, you continue through the Physic Garden in Chelsea, established in 1673 to grow plants for medical purposes, and over the Albert Bridge. Once known as the Trembling Lady due to a flawed infrastructure, the bridge has now been remodelled and renamed – but it’s still as romantic a destination as ever.
The closest you’ll get to escaping London entirely is Richmond Park; romance can be felt in the crisp country air and outer-city greenery. Abundant with trees and wildlife (including red and fallow deer), the park is an area of conservation and of special scientific interest. As London’s largest Royal Park, it guarantees couples enough space to wander and have a picnic in full privacy.
There’s nothing more romantic than strolling with your partner through serene, natural beauty, and this is the best place in London to do so. Running along the route of an old train track leading from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, this four-kilometre (2.5-mile) walk is London’s longest nature reserve and is teeming with flowers and wildlife. Pass beneath disused railway archways covered in intricate street art and finish your journey in one of the cosy pubs at the end of the route.
It may not be the most obvious choice for a romantic stroll, but Highgate Cemetery is a surprisingly idyllic place to spend an afternoon. Known as one of England’s greatest treasures, this historic venue is full of things to explore; you can discover the final resting place of revolutionary Karl Marx, inventor Michael Faraday and writer George Eliot. Surrounded by peaceful scenery and beautiful architecture, this is a quiet and intimate place to take a romantic walk.
Hampstead is a romantic, windswept destination in itself; what’s even more romantic is the house of John Keats, located right next to the heath. It was at this residence that he was inspired to write ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ after becoming enamoured with his neighbour, Fanny Brawne; the ring with which he proposed is part of an extensive collection of his belongings inside the house. These star-crossed lovers were not destined to be together, however, as Keats died young, from tuberculosis, before they could be wed. Distract yourself from the tragic end to their tale by venturing to the nearby Hampstead Heath to admire the stunning scenery. Climb the hill hand in hand and gaze out over the romantic view of London.