‘Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary,’ says Oscar Wilde and, frankly, we couldn’t agree more. Thankfully, London provides plenty of date destinations if you’re looking to treat your other half to an extraordinary evening. From emotive live opera and ballet at The Royal Opera house, to luxurious trips aboard the British Pullman and intimate movie nights, the capital is the perfect place to impress. This is our guide to the most romantic date nights to book this winter.
Soak up the old-school glamour of the golden age of travel during a romantic trip aboard the luxurious Belmond British Pullman train. Sip champagne and admire the Art Deco interiors of your carriage as you’re whisked along on a round trip from London Victoria through stunning scenery to destinations across the UK. There’s also a five-course dining experience on offer, created by a Michelin-starred guest chef. This season sees Jason Atherton serving a festive lunch with a Moët & Chandon champagne pairing for each course.
London Victoria Mainline Station, Wilton Road or Hudson’s Place entrances, Belgravia, SW1V 1JT.
Now that the Royal Opera House has reopened its doors, make the most of its live ballet and operatic offerings by taking you date to see some of its seasonal highlights. Handel’s Ariodante and Verdi’s Falstaff will be performed this winter, as well as The Royal Ballet: Live – two non-stop 75 minute shows celebrating traditional works and modern classics from the Company’s repertory. Meanwhile, Christmas favourite The Nutcracker will be returning to the stage on 7 December – perfect for channeling the magic of the festive season with that one person you love.
Tickets from £10, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E, roh.org.uk
For a date packed with romance, book a slot at the capital’s most intimate cinema. The Georgian House Hotel in Pimlico offers the cutest set-up: a retro two-seater screening room with a sofa you can snuggle up on to watch whatever your heart desires.
As part of its Pimlico Pictures experience, the hotel offers a library of classics such as Casablanca and Gone With the Wind alongside more recent releases like La La Land, but there is also the option of diving into your own Netflix account should you so desire. Plus, with a mini bar and a menu of sweet and savoury snacks to keep you going (including the obligatory popcorn, of course), this really is the ultimate cinema date destination.
Three-hour slots cost from £40. 35-39 St. George’s Drive, Pimlico, SW1V 4DG. georgianhousehotel.co.uk
This hotel, closeted away in pretty courtyard festooned with fairy lights, is the perfect spot for a romantic tryst. But while its bars and restaurant will certainly score you brownie points, it’s the hidden gem in the basement that you should be making a beeline for.
The Croc houses an original 1950s bowling alley complete with back-lit bowling balls and the option of upping the ante with UV pins and shoelaces. With interior touches by designer Kit Kemp – from vintage bowling shoes adorning the walls to the silver baby grand piano – this is a bowling alley quite unlike any other in London.
One hour of bowling costs £20 per person; two hours is £40 per person. 1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT. firmdalehotels.com
If you fancy taking a more zen approach to dating, particularly if your bid to find ‘the one’ has proved a little stressful, we can thoroughly recommend the mindful art classes offered by MasterPeace.
Hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Belgravia’s Eccleston Yards, a class will enable you to impress your partner by showing off your skill with pencil or paint. And there’s no need to worry if you find art a struggle. MasterPeace offers the option of producing a stencil from which you can work by using a light box to project a photo of your choice onto your canvas.
Class schedules are released weekly; prices vary. 12 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF.
While London is blessed with many excellent bars offering the very best wines in the world, upping the ante with an experience that takes in not one but four of the capitals best bars will guarantee your date night is one to remember.
And this is exactly the promise delivered by the East London Wine Walk, which takes you on a gentle self-guided amble around Hackney. By following the map, you’ll be directed to four very special wine bars, whereupon you’ll be greeted by the owner or sommelier who will guide you through your tasting. The surprise here is that the bars you’re visiting are only revealed on the day. However, given the walk has been curated by Benoit Allauzen, sommelier to Raymond Blanc and Joël Robuchon, you know you’ll be in for a treat.
Runs from 17:00, Thursday to Saturday, and costs £130 for two. indytute.com
If you really want a date with a difference and don’t mind getting a little messy, a Pottery Taster Session at SkandiHus is sure to delight. Hosted in a stunning pottery studio in Clapton that is the epitome of Scandinavian minimalism, this class will run you through the basic techniques of hand building with clay.
Following a short introduction to the studio, you’ll have two and a half hours to fashion lumps of clay into something that resembles a pot or a vase before being able to select your favourite piece to be glazed and fired. Items can be collected eight weeks later.
Runs on weekends; tickets cost £90 for two. Unit 4, Tilia Road, Hackney, E5 8JB. skandihus.co.uk
If your date is a gin lover, a few hours at The Ginstitute will be difficult to beat. Hosted in The Distillery, the home of London’s excellent Portobello Road Gin, The Ginstitute Experience provides an exciting and interactive journey through the world of gin.
Allow the ‘ginstructors’ to take you through the history of the tipple as you sample the goods, before moving through to the Blending Rooms to learn more about an eclectic range of botanicals. You’ll then have the opportunity to create you very own bespoke blend and have it bottled to take home.
Sessions run from Thursday to Sunday and cost £120 per person. 186 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 1LA.