London has a bounty of truly romantic spots, many of them discreetly tucked away. Here's a list of my 10 choices for you and a special someone to share.
1. Julie's Restaurant & Champagne Bar, Holland Park
Julie's always makes the romantic places list, and for good reason. It feels like a private club, even though it isn't. Going strong for 40 years, Julie's is an eclectic maze of twinkling lights, church pews, velvet sofas and curtained private rooms. Find Julie's tucked away down a tree-lined cul-de-sac in west-central London.
2. Portobello Hotel, Notting Hill
This eccentric townhouse in West London can definitively be classified as the sexiest in the city. Moroccan-inspired Room 16 is famous for its circular bed and antique bath. Room 13 has a four-poster bed from Hampton Court Palace. Think breakfast in bed before exploring Portobello Market. And do ask about the amusing Kate Moss and Johnny Depp episode at the Portobello Hotel.
3. Boats on the Serpentine, Hyde Park
Splash out on a rowboat for two on the Serpentine on a sunny day between Easter and Halloween. Afterward, order a couple of cappuccinos at the Lido Café Bar or lounge on the grass in gaily striped park deck chairs (£3 an hour for two), watching the world go by.
4. Tea at The Ritz, Piccadilly
Silver service sparkles on your table and gold leaf glitters on the ceiling in this centrally located locale. Afternoon tea in the Palm Court at The Ritz is legendary London. Ladies, get out your heels, for here's a good excuse to dress up; jacket and tie are required for gentlemen.
5. Spin on the wheel, the Thames
Book your own private capsule to ride The London Eye with a glass of Pommery Brut Royal Champagne in hand. Or splurge on the Cupid's Capsule package at twilight, which includes a bottle of bubbly and Charbonnel et Walker pink champagne truffles, while London lights up beneath your feet.
6. Stables Bar at The Milestone Hotel, Kensington
There's only room for a few in this cozy tartan-clad lounge — besides all-important Markus, the bartender. Stables Bar is a polo-themed tuck where you'll find a perfectly chilled glass of Chablis and tidbits enough to stave off dinner. Impress others by knowing about this so-traditionally-English establishment facing Kensington Palace.
7. Ride in Richmond Park, Richmond
In 1625, Charles I filled Richmond Park with red and fallow deer for his hunting pleasure, and 650 still wander freely throughout the park's 2,500 acres. Leave the urban hustle and bustle far behind: Take a hack through hills, woodlands, ancient trees, ponds and gardens with your picnic and your sweetheart.
8. Drink at The Dove, Hammersmith
The Dove is a terribly picturesque pub in a historic location that's hosted drinkers since the 17th century. Pull up two seats at London's smallest bar room...in fact, there are only two seats. The Guinness Book of Records calls this spot, near the main bar, Britain's smallest bar room. Other cozy corners are fireside or on the balcony overlooking the lantern-lit mall along the River Thames and Hammersmith Bridge.
9. Skate on the ice, South Kensington
Grab some mittens, wrap up warm, and hold hands while taking a whirl on the ice. Check out the ice rink in front of the handsome Natural History Museum. There's another at the former Tudor palace, Somerset House, an opulent backdrop near Waterloo Bridge.
10. Kew Gardens
Explore Kew Gardens. It's vibrant, colorful and fragrant all year round. Discover the delights of water lilies and palms, scale the heights of the treetop walkway, pop into the Victorian glasshouses, and marvel together at the beauty of nature.
by Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Top: London Eye is one of the city's most romantic views, especially accompanied by a bottle of bubbly. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News)
Right: Taking a boat on the Serpentine is a favorite summer activity in Hyde Park. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Left: A couple enjoys drinks at The Dove. (Photo by Adrian Houston/VisitBritain)