The Perfect Getaway: A romantic weekend away in London
From boating on the Thames to a dinner for two with a view, London has everything your heart could desire. | By Joanna Tweedy | November 9, 2022
England’s capital is heaven-sent for loved-up weekenders – float along the Thames in a rowboat, grab a secluded table at a romantic restaurant with a skyline view or lose yourselves wandering through a beautiful art gallery or quaint neighborhood.
Stride to the top: A spectacular city vista awaits at the top of Primrose Hill
Roast and an ale: A traditional Sunday roast makes for a delicious dinner a deux
Art date: Cast your gaze at Paris Bordone’s “A Pair of Lovers” at the National Gallery
Rest your suitcases down in a contemporary yet cozy urban suite at The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton that’s a stone’s throw from the famous lion statues and fountains of Trafalgar Square. Before heading out for the day, stop for an expertly crafted cocktail in the hotel’s Rockwell bar, a colorful sanctuary where creative libations include the Lion’s Tooth, which marries vodka and Granny Smith apple-infused cordial. Toast your time together and head out on foot for London’s National Gallery, located just minutes away.
The National Gallery
If you're a couple with a passion for art, The National Gallery is a veritable nirvana, housing more than 2,300 pieces and ranking as one of the world's leading art museums. Quietly wander this magnificent building’s grand halls together, casting your eyes on works by the likes of Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh. We won’t fault you for lingering a little longer at one of the world’s most romantic paintings — Paris Bordone’s “A Pair of Lovers.”
Ward off any jet lag with an artisan coffee from the gallery’s Espresso Bar by Muriel’s. The night is young, and your evening awaits!
There are few sights more heart-fluttering in London than an unfettered view of its stunning skyline. Make the most of your couple time by fast-tracking the lines and pre-booking a 30-minute Champagne experience on the London Eye. While you may have other couples in the pod with you, it’s an intimate way to experience iconic landmarks – you can even see as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day.
After a luxurious hotel lie-in, stretch your legs with a gentle 10-minute walk to historic Covent Garden. A banquet brunch at Dishoom, a modern take on the old Irani cafes found in Mumbai, is a great way to partake in the eclectic dining experiences available in London. The Big Bombay is this characterful restaurant’s delicious take on a full English fry-up — and best washed down with refillable fragrant chai (tea). Once you’ve had your fill, head to Covent Garden to find the perfect souvenir for your romantic stay away.
Point your compass north and head to Primrose Hill – a neighborhood that’s played host to many romantic moments — before taking a quick 12 minutes stroll to Camden Town.
Primrose Hill’s very cool neighbor, Camden Town swaps gleaming townhouses for a famous market. Stroll hand-in-hand as you browse vintage vinyl, pop art and authentic street food from every corner of the globe. Head to the old-fashioned photo booths or venture along Camden Lock for a quieter moment with your other half.
Shopping complete, head back to Primrose Hill (preferably with Champagne in-hand) to soak up one of the city’s prettiest panoramic views.
After an afternoon siesta at the hotel, step out for an evening of Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre on the Southbank. Make sure to give yourself time to enjoy a bite before the show. Pop into the Swan, a cozy bar attached to this wonderfully authentic playhouse, for small plates of English cheeses and craft ales. Reserve seats on the benches and bring a blanket to share as you watch 1700s literature come to life on a 21st-century stage.
Start your quiet Sunday morning at Columbia Road’s colorful — and now very trendy — flower market. Grab a bistro table for two at local favorite Cafe Columbia and enjoy a coffee with your freshly baked bagel before making a classic romantic gesture and picking up a single rose for your paramour from one of the bloom-filled stalls.
After a light breakfast and leisurely stroll, you’ll be ready for something heartier for lunch. A traditional Sunday roast — best served in the middle of the afternoon — is just the thing. Especially when it’s served at a classic London pub.
On Sundays, a traditional roast is on menus in pubs and restaurants across the capital, including at the Trafalgar Tavern. Step inside the landmark venue that pays tribute to old London, for a butternut squash, beef, chicken, lamb or pork belly roast with all the trimmings. Share an apple crumble or a butterscotch popcorn sundae with your better half for dessert.
Snuggle up at a corner table to fully absorb the history surrounding you – you never know, it could be the same spot Charles Dickens sat in when he frequented the pub.
Take the five-minute walk along the Thames path to Greenwich Pier, where your romance can hit the water on a sightseeing cruise. Boats regularly launch on to the Thames and offer both hop-on and hop-off tours or round-trip tours from Greenwich to Westminster and back. After the tour, stop at one of the many riverside restaurants and raise a toast to an idyllic stay away together.
Whether you’re in the first flushes of romance, or keen to pull out the stops for a big anniversary, London is awash with romance. Let the city guide you through its endearing streets and charming neighborhoods as you cherish your time together and unwind on your romantic weekend getaway.
Joanna Tweedy is an award-winning travel writer and editor who lives in London.
The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton
An icon of central London, the Trafalgar St. James sits on the corner of its namesake, with unrivaled views over the famous square. We're steps away from notable landmarks, such as the National Gallery, and less than a mile from Buckingham palace. Drink in city views and craft cocktails from our rooftop bar, lauded as one of the best in the city.