Looking for some alternative date night ideas? Here are seven idyllic places to visit when the sun goes down.
Duck and Waffle
There’s something incredibly indulgent about dining out in the small hours of the morning, and eclectic restaurant Duck and Waffle is open 24/7. It has the distinction of being London’s highest restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of London from 40 floors up – perfect for watching the sun rise over the city.
The menu is casual but unusual, featuring – as you might have guessed – plenty of duck-based dishes and waffles, but also a range of other intriguing mains and sides: ox cheek doughnut, burnt squash and bacon-wrapped dates. For such a unique experience, it’s pretty affordable: the titular dish will set you back around £18, but the late night menu starts at around £11 for mains. Book a table and enjoy the view.
London’s wet weather has a silver lining: the city lights are beautiful when it’s just rained. Whatever the weather, a walk along Southbank is an atmospheric (and free) way to start or finish a romantic evening. Seeing the skyline lit up and reflecting on the Thames is a must-do experience to get a feel for the city and provides countless photo opportunities to make the memories last. Starting from Tower Bridge, the walk will take you past HMS Belfast, the OXO Tower, Southwark Cathedral and more.
When your feet get too tired, duck into one of the many bars along the way to rest your legs and get a cocktail, or stop to take some couples photos at iconic landmarks.
A favourite for proposals and even weddings, The Shard is best enjoyed at sunset, when you can soar above the city to the highest publicly accessible point in the UK. The view of every building in London with their various lights twinkling is as astonishing as it is romantic.
You are unlikely to find privacy, but if you’re planning for a special occasion (like a proposal) you can contact staff before your visit to arrange something for just after it closes. You can also enjoy a selection of wines or champagne and explore the 360 degree view for as long as you please.
Belowzero Ice Bar
Belowzero, London’s only permanent ice bar, keeps things a frosty -5 degrees, giving you and your date an excuse to cuddle up whilst you sip cocktails (out of ice glasses, naturally). This unique spot in Mayfair changes its theme every year, with ice sculptors, mixologists and designers collaborating to bring it to life.
Ticket prices (from £13.30) include your first cocktail and a thermal cape and gloves, so there’s no need to bundle up in preparation – meaning it can still be a surprise destination for your date.
Perhaps the only drawback is that the ice bar is only available in sessions of up to 40 minutes, so you’ll need to plan something else before or after to make the night complete. It’s a quick stop, but that’s a great excuse to move on to the next item on this list, which is less than a ten minute walk away…
Mews of Mayfair
This tiny, tucked-away alley in Mayfair looks beautiful when it gets dark. Turning down this lamplit 18th century walkway just off New Bond Street, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled on a real secret. There’s just the right level of activity to create an atmosphere without being overly crowded, and whilst the small space has only a handful of businesses (housed in picturesque old stable buildings) they are all excellent quality, including a classic wine bar, pizzeria, chic cocktail bar, low-key lounge bar and coffee bar.
The coffee bar in particular is a great place to have close conversations with your date, thanks to the laid back vibe – there’s no loud music to shout over and it’s easy to find a quiet table.
Named for its network of canals, this quaint area of London near Paddington Station is a haven from the busier areas of the city. Lined with river boats and lined with large trees and old street lights this is a perfect area for a more private walk.
Located not far from the bustling Paddington Basin with its many bars and restaurants, you won’t be far from civilisation. At night the area look stunning and its usually reasonably quiet, particularly so the further you wall along the banks of its canals.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
What’s more romantic than a night under the stars? As well as having a great view of the city at any time of day (you’ll need to walk some steep hills to get there, but it’s worth it), Greenwich’ Royal Observatory runs regular events for stargazers and occasional astronomy evenings for couples. These sell out quickly, but if you manage to snap up a ticket, you can take turns star-spotting whilst you drink a glass of prosecco and have the chance to quiz astronomers about anything and everything celestial, from meteors to supernovas. If they’re sold out, you can go to one of their ‘Sky Tonight’ events at the Planetarium, where an astronomer will talk you through what’s happening in the heavens in real time.
Alternatively, on a warm night you can head to a high spot away from light pollution and enjoy a picnic under the stars. Bring blankets, a bottle of bubbly and you’re set. Excellent spots for stargazing include Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park, Morden Hall Park and Ruislip Lido.
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