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Things to do as a couple in London

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London is jam-packed full of activities for couples. They say if you are bored of London you are bored of life – with the limitless ways you can enjoy the city, this may certainly be true.

London is home to high-profile pop-ups for an ever-changing social scene – there are numerous pop-up cinemas, cafes, shops and art galleries to keep your Instagram account fresh. Break the date night Netflix and takeaway rut and get out and explore London with your partner.

Unusual dining experiences in London

If you’re heading out to eat in London, you might as well make it a dining experience to remember. Impress your date with these more unusual dining experiences and make the most of London’s passion for all things cutting edge.

Forget the curry restaurant with the packed in tables and those wilted single roses being handed out – these are perfect for a Valentine’s Day with a difference! Check out our pick of the weird and wonderful, including:

  • Bel Canto

This opera-themed French restaurant near Hyde Park has waiters singing opera classics. The opera singing waiters have been trained at the most prestigious academies, so this is an opportunity to hear some beautiful singing in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

  • Archipelago’s

Quirky decor matches the quirky menu. How about sharing some crocodile, kangaroo, wildebeest, python carpaccio or pan-fried crickets with your date? The menu will certainly be a talking point!

  • Le QuecumBar

As you enter this romantic and nostalgic setting, you will be transported to a brasserie in Paris – an absolute hidden gem, with live jazz and gypsy swing music

  • Circus

The height of glamour, you’ll feel like you are in the midst of a rather surreal and decadent film set. Enjoy your meal and prepare to be wowed with the surprise cabaret and circus acts who perform on the tables – watch out for your wine glass!

  • La Cabina

The unusual experience starts with entry into La Cabina. Intrigue your date by finding the telephone box/tardis and enter the secret code to open the door. The tapas menu is delicious – share your choice in the flag draped snug.

Alternatively, try sister bar The Imperial Durbar in Tooting – a rich and decadent enclave with Colonial decor where you can have a curry served to your table by dialling through on the old-fashioned telephone at the bar. Choose to dine in the dimly lit hidden velvety sofa area for privacy.

  • Dans le Noir?

This is certainly a date night experience that you will never forget. In this restaurant in Clerkenwell you will be served by blind waiters in complete darkness. You won’t be able to see a single thing so you will have to reach out for your date’s hand. At the end of the meal the waiters will show you the menu – we think it will really surprise you!

Things to do for your anniversary in London

Keep the romance alive as the years go by. London has impeccable charm and an abundance of fun things to do to celebrate your anniversary:

  1. For the ultimate anniversary celebration fit for the movies, take a private helicopter ride  across London taking in all the sights of the famous skyline
  2. Learn to make lots of delicious treats together at the Cookery School in Little Portland Street
  3. Nothing is as romantic as some star-gazing at the Royal Observatory planetarium
  4. Dig out your 50s style threads and jitterbug with your other half at a swing dance class
  5. Enjoy theatre under the stars at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  6. Hire a rowing boat on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park and read some poetry to each other (just don’t fall in Hugh Grant-style!)
  7. See one of the Bard’s romantic plays at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  8. Make like Austen and go horse riding together through Hyde Park
  9. Competitive couples can have a fun anniversary celebration playing ping pong at Bounce
  10. Dress up in your vintage best and enjoy retro-style bowling at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, complete with a classic root beer float.

Where to stay on a couple’s weekend in London

Head to the capital for a romantic weekend away. Venues we’d recommend include:

  • The Rookery

A quirky boutique hotel with wonky wooden floors, Georgian architecture, Turkish carpets and roaring fires

  • Blakes

A boutique hotel with modern decadence, each room has been individually designed to reflect some exotic and far-flung corner of the world

  • The Zetter Townhouse

A mixture of the British love of both traditional and quirky, The Zetter Townhouse does bohemia perfectly. One room has a bath on a private outside terrace for an al fresco bathing experience overlooking the London skyline

  • Claridge’s

London doesn’t get much more glamorous and opulent than Claridge’s, London’s iconic luxury hotel. This is one of the ultimate places to stay for a romantic weekend. You can try to pretend that the luxury is too much, but we can guarantee that even the most modest of people will be impressed by this indulgent experience.

The best bucket list ideas for couples

For a wish-list with a difference, here are some things you can have fun ticking off as a couple to make the most of the city:

  1. Booklovers must visit Daunt Books – you might never come out thanks to shelves and shelves of the most interesting reads, all set against the backdrop of a beautiful stained glass window. Browse for hours, choose a book for each other and write a romantic message in the flyleaf
  2. Secret Cinema – for a night out that you will never forget, dress up and feel like you are on a film set. Sign up to the mailing list and await further instructions!
  3. Listen to live jazz at Ronnie Scotts – the ultimate jazz bar on London. Share a table lit with the iconic warm glow of the jazz club lamps
  4. Highgate Cemetery – walk hand-in-hand around this beautiful,  atmospheric and gothic setting
  5. Ride the Emirates Air Line over the Thames for breathtaking views
  6. Kayak in the River Thames for an action packed day
  7. Visit The Ritz – afternoon tea at The Ritz simply has to be experienced. Since it’s a bucket list event, why not push the boat out and book a room?
  8. Climb Big Ben
  9. Explore the deep dark depths of Chislehurst Caves, where Jimi Hendrix played underground gigs

Where are the best date bars in London?

If you’re looking for a bar that’s a cut above, head to:

  • Cocktail Trading Company

Cocktails come with golf balls as ice, teeth floating in them and some are even on fire. This is a date bar with a difference!

  • Doodle Bar

Have a drink and a game of ping pong to break up any awkward moments. You can also chalk messages on the walls – how about some love hearts?

  • The Owl

Flickering tea-lights provide romantic soft-focus lighting – of vital importance on a date!

  • Original Sin

This dark basement den sounds as seductive as it is!

Where to go on a dinner date in London

Shakespeare was onto something when he declared music the food of love. Check out these impressive dinner venues:

  • Clos Maggiore

Truly romantic, you can dine in the conservatory under white blossom trees, fairy lights and candles. The blossom is fake, but it looks exquisite – ideal for all year round romance!

  • Hakkasan

The super trendy Michelin-starred Hakkasan made Chinese food sexy, with melt in the mouth dishes and a dark elegant interior to match, all complemented by sensuous lighting

  • The Ivy

For traditional comfort food in a restaurant whose name alone will impress your date, this famous restaurant might have a reputation as a past celeb hang out, but the atmosphere is relaxing and the staff impeccable

  • J Sheekey Atlantic Bar

Cuddle up and keep your eyes peeled for a celebrity in this famous fish restaurant. Try Sheekey’s legendary fish pie – it’s a must!

  • Hutong at the Shard  

The views are incredible and this is the main reason for taking a date here. With floor to ceiling windows, this venue is film-set glamorous – and that’s what you pay for!

The most lavish activities on the river Thames

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The river Thames is part of the longest river in England and flows through southern England and most famously – London.

The river Thames is where the royal family, the wealthy, the opulent and the ‘who’s who’ of society have been drawn to for entertainment for hundreds of years – from boat trips to regattas to the opulent grand country houses along the banks.

London’s river Thames has always been an integral part of the City’s long history and these days you can celebrate with world class restaurants, bars and galleries along the banks.

What landmarks are there along the river Thames?

The river Thames offers so much to see, whether you choose to take a private helicopter tour in the air above its winding path or a river cruise on the water.

Some famous sights and landmarks along the Thames include:

  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Big Ben
  • Palace of Westminster
  • The Tower of London
  • The London Eye
  • Tower Bridge
  • Shakespeare’s Globe
  • The Oxo Tower
  • Lambeth Palace
  • Westminster Millennium Pier
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace

With these iconic sights lining the banks, there is no doubt that the Thames provides the perfect backdrop to a unique range of activities with a spectacular view.

Discover the hidden gems with VIP tours and try something new. Enjoy Michelin-starred meals, relax in a vintage boat or treat yourself to a special day of pampering and champagne afternoon tea with a river view.

Treat yourself to a luxury experience along the Thames with:

The London Max helicopter tour

With the London Max helicopter tour of the Thames you can fly 1,000-feet in the air to view the river from above, travelling the route of the Thames across central London from east to west. The ultimate helicopter ride in London, your group will have our helicopter all to yourselves.

Vintage boating experience

Vintage Days Out offer luxury days out on and along the river Thames. Experience the glamour of a different era with a vintage boating experience, travelling serenely along the Thames whilst sipping champagne.

Henley rowing experience

Looking for something more active, but still with a feeling of exclusivity? A Henley rowing experience offers a totally unique opportunity to row on the Regatta Course with an Olympian rower. After rowing the famous Henley Regatta course, you can then have a tour of the famous Leander Club and lunch at Leander with your Olympian host. Other packages available include ‘champagne rowing’ taster sessions.

Thamesjet

You’ll feel like you are in a scene from a James Bond film with an adrenaline filled ride passing under London’s bridges with Thamesjet. This is the most extreme ride on the river. You will be able to see all the iconic sights along the river – at high speed.

Champagne afternoon tea at Cliveden

For true decadence, enjoy a glass of Taittinger champagne with your afternoon tea at Cliveden. A trip to Cliveden would not be complete without a leisurely stroll around the beautiful 376 acre estate. The Walled Garden Spa offers a riverside oasis of tranquility hidden away behind the brick walls of the garden which are screened from view by tumbling scented roses and jasmine. You can also hire a luxurious boat from Cliveden, with champagne and a picnic.

The Oakley Court

Another luxurious venue for champagne afternoon tea on the river in Windsor, The Oakley Court even has a Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea with a bottle of Windsor & Eton Brewery Beer. Alternatively, hire out The Sitting Room for your own private dinner party in sumptuous riverside surroundings.

The most exclusive private sailing charters

Experience London’s landmarks from on the Thames itself, with a private sailing charter.

The Thames Boat Hotel

‘Down the Hatch’ from the Thames Boat Hotel offers an exclusive private charter on a wide-beamed river cruiser. On this boat you’ll be the only guests and your boat is skippered and meals prepared.

Magna Carta

There is a heated spa pool on board the luxurious Magna Carta so that you can sit and sip champagne in the ultimate luxury.

Chartered yachts

Take your pick from some stunning chartered yachts including the gentleman’s motor yacht, complete with a Michelin starred chef to prepare gourmet meals on board.

Where are the best luxury party houses along the Thames?

See the sights of the Thames from its banks with an evening or weekend as a lavish party house.

Riverside penthouses

Choose the most lavish party venue where state-of-the-art river penthouse interior meets the stunning views of the river Thames with ceiling to floor glass windows. You can even find penthouses for hire with a jacuzzi for the ultimate 5-star experience.

Winchester House, Putney

Putney party venue Winchester House is a luxurious London house that is situated on the banks of the River Thames, close to Putney Bridge. Party guests can relax outdoors, socialise and soak up the sunshine whilst sipping champagne overlooking the river.

Where is the best boat party on the Thames?

There are a whole convoy of party boats along the Thames. Have fun on a floating dance floor to the sounds of some of the best DJs in town. Combine London’s love of partying with its spectacular sights:

  1. Amor Boat Parties – the best DJs play your favourite tunes, while the boat takes you through some of the most iconic locations in the city
  2. West End on the Thames offers something extra special for your summer boat party
  3. Thames Lates Speedboats  – sip cocktails while watching the sun go down on the water

London’s most deluxe party venue hires with a river view

What could be better than a river-front setting with a jaw-dropping view? Take a look at some of these for a luxury party venue on the river:

  • Greenwich Yacht Club, Greenwich
  • The Jetty, Greenwich
  • Absolute Pleasure Yacht, Canary Wharf
  • Gallery @ Oxo, Southbank
  • View 94, Putney
  • The Sky Bar, St Pauls
  • Champagne Terrace, Wandsworth

Further along the river you can find Amber Lakes, Wraysbury and The River and Rowing Museum, Henley – both offering spectacular party venue hires on the river Thames.

Unique ways to propose in London

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We are a romantic lot in the UK. The number of weddings has started to rise – with 2.7% annual growth in the latest figures – after a steady and dramatic decline in the past 50 years. The number of divorces is also at its lowest level since 1971. An increasing number of weddings is preceded by an increasing number of proposals.

The most popular place to propose in the UK is at home and the most popular place in London to propose – the London Eye – comes down at number 9 on the global list. Booking a pod on the London Eye is romantic, but also a little unimaginative, with far too many London Eye proposal videos on YouTube.

Clearly, we need to up our game on original proposal ideas. If you are looking to propose in future, check out the most creative ways to propose that will all have your partner saying ‘yes’.

The best places to propose in London

If you really want your proposal to take your partner’s breath away, a proposal in a private helicopter as you soar high over one of the most beautiful cities in the world while the sun sets in the distance is hard to beat. After you land, you can have the option of including champagne in your package – head to one of London’s most glamorous bars for a glass or bottle of the best champagne.

The London Helicopter also offer private helicopter tour packages such as a picnic at Kew gardens with a luxury picnic hamper, including everything you need for a sophisticated picnic dining experience – fizz and gourmet food all beautifully packaged in a traditional wicker hamper containing crockery, cutlery, wine glasses, napkins, a bottle opener and a Kew picnic rug, which are yours to take home and keep.

For a truly individual proposal, choose a hidden gem in the city – a secret Bedouin tent which sits in the courtyard behind St Ethelburga’s in Bishopsgate, surrounded by a Lebanese fountain, bedouin-style lamps and an olive tree. So romantic, this is a rare secluded spot in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world.

Known for its enchanting blossom trees, the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park is also home to a romantic waterfall, a pond with some graceful koi carp and stunning peacocks. This captivating garden in Holland Park is a sanctuary of peace and calm and is brimming with romantic charm. You could send your partner a romantic invitation on an ornate card to rendezvous in front of the cascading water.

Bend down on one knee under a canopy of stars at the The Royal Observatory Planetarium. With an entire 132-seat venue to yourselves, the astronomer will begin a normal planetarium show, before handing the show over to you to create your surprise. A range of spectacular astronomical sights can be displayed on the dome, including the constellations and a fly-out from the Milky Way.

A proposal on a boat makes for another different experience from the norm! This is one of the most important moments of your life, fittingly it needs to be somewhere special. HMS President at Victoria Embankment stands majestically on the river Thames and the President’s deck offers a stunning vista to get down on one knee.

Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story of all time, so proposing at The Globe theatre is the perfect location. Keep an eye out for magical performance like A Midsummer Night’s Dream to create a dreamy atmosphere to propose after the show.

Romantic restaurants with a view

The sky’s the limit when it comes to proposing at the Sky Garden’s luxurious Fenchurch restaurant. Even if you just have drinks at Sky Pod, the views in this sky-scraping destination will provide the perfect backdrop for that all-important social media shot of your proposal. The staff can even organise private proposals over a bespoke candlelit meal.

The views of the cityscape are stunning from Aqua Shard, especially at night. You’ll get nil points for originality in location as it is a popular place to propose, but you can make it unique by adding your own touches. One way to make your restaurant proposal personal is to have special mementos delivered to your partner throughout your meal. These could include love notes, a photograph or any other objects that have special meanings to you.

The Galvin brothers’ seductive Galvin at Windows restaurant is on the twenty-eighth floor of the Hilton Park Lane and boasts luxurious food and stunning views, ensuring you can pop the question in style. Fred from ‘First Dates’ is the restaurant’s general manager, which adds to the novelty factor! You can arrange for staff to take you to the elegant balcony for a private, romantic proposal.

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We are delighted to support London’s Air Ambulance, helping to extend the reach of their lifesaving missions across London. The London Helicopter will match your donation to double its impact.

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