Planning a honeymoon? Or maybe just a romantic getaway?
Consider London, where the city’s official visitor guide to the capital lists the top romantic places. The romance can start on the plane—if you can afford Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class where you can indulge at the spa at the Clubhouse at JFK or Heathrow or share an intimate dinner or drink—at the 787 Upper Class bar.
Really, it doesn’t take much longer to fly to London than from the East Coast to the West Coast A tip from Trivago, the megasearch engine that tracks hotel rates: Go in August rather than June and you can save $31 a night on hotels. Check out British Air’s flight and hotel packages.
I prefer hopping a morning flight, getting to London in time for a romantic dinner and cuddle up in a hotel like The Egerton where I recently stayed. I felt like royalty in the canopy bed in a hotel small enough that it seemed we were guests in a luxurious London home, complete with piping hot coffee brought to our room in the morning and martinis mixed by the hotel’s veteran bartender Antonio in the cozy lounge that was more like a living room than a hotel bar.
What to do when you’ve rested up?
OPT FOR THE CUPID’S CAPSULE package at the London Eye where you are greeted by a personal host and served champagne and truffles as you marvel at London’s sites in your capsule-built-for-two—all for a little less than $550. (If that’s beyond your budget, book online for a little under $40 and the views will be just as romantic!)
GO FOR AN EVENING STROLL along the South Bank of the Thames. This area stretches between Westminster and London Bridges.
IF YOU’RE PLANNING A PROPOSAL, consider Millenium Bridge which links St Paul's Cathedral on the north bank with Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe in Southwark. It's a great place to pose for selfies and is a popular spot for proposals.
TAKE A PICNIC TO HYDE PARK where you can go out in a row boat or paddle boat or stop to smell the roses together in the Rose Garden. Go for a run. Stop by Diana’s Memorial Fountain and on a Sunday, head to Speaker’s Corner where someone is always sounding off. Get the fixings for your feast at London’s famous Borough Market where you’ll rub shoulders with local chefs, restaurateurs and of course get to chat up the traders.
FOR A MEAL WITH A VIEW, locals give thumbs up to City Social with its sweeping views of the skyline.
FOR AN EQUALLY MEMORABLE MEAL, head to Brick Lane in East London for Indian Food in the heart of the Bangladeshi community where one restaurant after the other will try to entice you to sample their curries with free appetizers or drinks. The area is also know known for trendy art—including street art—and clubs. Fun!
CHOCOLATE LOVERS can sign on for an evening Chocolate Ecstasy Tour which starts in Covent Garden and ends in Piccadilly, finishing in a bar, of course.
SPEND A MORNING at Portobello Road hunting for treasures—or just memorable souvenirs—at the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible.
If your idea of romance is sharing a spoonful of curry here, a taste of smoked brisket there… a Polish dumpling, a bite of a roti wrap, a sliver of Argentine barbeque at the 50 food stalls at the Global Food Kitchen at Camden Lock Market, famous not only for good ethnic eats but for its shops and stalls—more than 200.
For many, a visit to London wouldn’t be complete without seeing a play or a musical in the West End. Get bragging rights by seeing something that hasn’t come to Broadway yet!
Of course no matter how much you plan, the most romantic moments on vacation just happen. You’ve got to be ready!
Eileen Ogintz is the creator of the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids. She is also the author of the ten-book Kid’s Guide series to major American cities and the Great Smoky Mountains. The third-edition of the Kid’s Guide to NYC has just been released.