Is your heart all a-flutter? It could be that you’ve fallen for the City. From swoon-worthy views and cute hideaways to the greatest concentration of historic church buildings in the country (not rushing things but, y’know, if it all goes well…), there’s nothing clichéd about romance in the Square Mile.
Whether it’s a daytime date or a romantic night you’re planning, here are some of the most romantic places in the City (because you can do better than suggesting you simply “grab a coffee” together).
Daytime date ideas
Buy a gift
First off, don’t turn up empty-handed. Think flowers and chocolates are a cliché? Who cares when they’re the very best flowers and chocolates. Windsor Flowers in Leadenhall Market has been supplying beautiful flowers to some of the City’s oldest institutions for over 30 years. Pre-order a beautiful bouquet before collecting.
No one is going to snub a box of luxury chocolates so pop into Charbonnel et Walker at 100 Liverpool Street. These chocolatiers have been crafting scrumptious flavours for 150 years, and some of the latest additions are vegan-friendly.
Casual, chatty, no complicated food to contend with…a riverside stroll is always a good date choice. Set the right mood by suggesting you meet-up at Georg Ehrlich’s sculpture The Young Lovers in Festival Gardens before heading to the Thames path and strolling along Riverside Walk East. If you stop gazing into each other’s eyes for a moment you’ll be able to see St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre across the water (now, how many Romeos and Juliets have trodden those boards?).
A tour of St Paul’s Cathedral
Wow your date with the majesty of this Wren masterpiece. Guided tours will uncover even more hidden histories of the Cathedral than a regular sightseeing ticket: the Triforium tour will take you behind the scenes with sights that will take your date’s breath away (that’s also down to the 141 steps you need to climb to reach the Triforium level).
Visit Guildhall Art Gallery
Ponder how the Victorian painters redefined beauty or why the Pre-Raphaelites had such romanticised views of the past (aka: impressive date chat) as you stroll around the collections. Even if art history isn’t your thing, you can still count how many paintings are inspired by love, or consider what that couple is really thinking in Hugh Goldwyn’s The Garden of Eden…
Romantic daytime dining
Who knew you could find romance in an ancient crypt? You can at Café Below housed in the crypt at St Mary le Bow, a historic space which dates back one thousand years. This cute, family-run café is open for breakfast and lunch serving seasonal, homemade dishes with plenty of veggie and vegan options.
For daytime dining on another level, Fortnum’s Bar & Restaurant at The Royal Exchange provides the setting for a memorable date. Show how refined you are as you both sip Champagne cocktails in the spectacular courtyard – time it for late afternoon and you’ll have no excuse but to stay on for dinner…
Date night ideas
Music Nights at Sky Garden
Any high expectations for your date will be exceeded at Sky Garden – because you’ll both be watching the sunset while sitting 35 floors up. Book a ‘table for two’ package and enjoy a bottle of rosé Champagne with sharing platters, while the bar provides DJs, live music and spectacular views.
Shows at the Barbican
Impress your date with a trip to the Barbican where you could be watching new plays by Olivier Award-winners, contemporary dance from international companies, or stunning opera performed by students of the globally renowned Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
If you prefer film, book Barbican Cinema tickets for a classic ‘back seat at the movies’ kind of date (with added arthouse vibes).
Romantic restaurants for dinner
Or, up on the roof at Florattica you can say it with flowers. Inspired by the area’s connection to the 17th century textile industry, the interior of this sky-high bar and restaurant is an homage to the floral silks woven by the French Huguenots. Order the oysters and sip on a botanical cocktail beneath the flower-festooned ceiling.
Think French cuisine is a little too obvious for a romantic dinner? Then you clearly haven’t been to Coq d’Argent. Cherry smoked sea trout, miso glazed aubergine and langoustines feature on the exquisite menu, and you can also dine on the heated outdoor terrace.