Christmastime in London is when the city is at its most idyllic. Morning walks in the park are refreshing, people are snuggled under chunky knitwear, and there’s a light frost that reflects the sparkling Christmas lights strewn across the city. When the mercury starts to drop so does the number of tourists, making winter the perfect time to see London at its most starry-eyed.
Look at this list of London’s most romantic winter activities, morning, noon, and night:
1. Flowers for your lover at Columbia Road Flower Market
Start a crisp winter morning at the Columbia Road Flower Market. Great coffee and a vibrant atmosphere make it the perfect lazy Sunday date. This east London flower market has to be one of the most colourful in the city and it isn’t just the flowers. The shop fronts are painted fun hues, the vendors are friendly, and the buskers singing and playing guitar are guaranteed to brighten your day.
For breakfast, a cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel at Jones Dairy Café will get your day started in the right way. Hold hands while you explore the stalls, laugh about the quirky shops, and certainly don’t leave without buying a lily to wear as a reminder of the lovely morning.
- Columbia Road, E2 7RG
- Open Sunday 8am-3pm
- Overground: Hoxton/Shoreditch High Street; Tube: Old Street
2. Boat ride from Camden to Little Venice
One of London’s best kept secrets is the little bit of Italy in north London. Little Venice in Maida Vale is home to dozens of houseboats lining Regent’s Canal. The best way to see it is in a boat of your own. The Jason’s Trip is one of the few companies offering river boat rides in the winter.
Starting at the cheerful Camden Lock area or Little Venice, navigate along the picturesque route through Regent’s Park and the London Zoo. Cuddle with your special someone or look out the window of the narrow barge to see London from a different perspective.
- Jason’s Canal Boat Trip
- 75 West Yard, NW1 8AF
Open daily, 10:30am-3:30pm
- Tube: Maida Vale (Little Venice); Camden Town/Chalk Farm (Camden Lock)
3. Unhurried afternoon tea at Asia House
Afternoon tea is a must-do when in London, and you’ll love the low-key luxury of Asia House in the swanky Marylebone neighbourhood. The Georgian era townhouse is tucked away well behind All Souls Church, making Asia House the perfect respite from shopping in the busy Oxford Circus area.
The Mackwoods Tea Room is intimate, cosy, and relaxed, creating the right ambiance for indulging in the once-aristocratic tradition of scones, jam, and cake. The tea room is ornately finished, a combination of traditional British style and Asian flair. They serve fine breakfast tea, scones, and sandwiches, as well as tasty Asian main courses. Pick a table in a quiet corner for distraction-free conversation over sweet sundries.
- 63 New Cavendish Street, W1G 7LP
- Open Weekdays 9am-6pm
- Tube: Oxford Circus/Regent Street
4. Drink with a view at Madison
This rooftop bar is a hotspot among those who work in the City but a hidden gem for mere visitors. Take a ride up the glass lift to the stone terrace and admire the views of the London skyline. People are dressed to the nines while the glass windows and comfortable booth seating add a touch of glamour
Madison has an excellent variety of cocktails and delicious tapas to choose from, but it’s the view that takes centre stage. Wrap your arms around each other as you take in the scene of London you can’t get anywhere else.
- One New Change, EC4M 9AF
- Open Monday-Friday 8am-11am, 12pm-late; Saturday 12pm-2am; Sunday 10am-9pm
- Tube: St. Paul’s
5. Stepping over the Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory Greenwich
There’s no better way to make your better-half feel like they’re the centre of the world than walking along the Greenwich Meridian Line. Start at the Queen’s House – built in 1614, this fascinating building is one of the most important pieces in British architecture. From there, head up the hill towards the Observatory. Don’t forget to turn around on the way up: it’s a panoramic view of the city – from the O2 Stadium in the east, to Canary Wharf, and all the way over to the Gherkin.
If you’ve ever wanted to be in two places at once, this is your chance. Once at the Royal Observatory, straddle the Prime Meridian Line. Metaphorically, you’ll be standing in two different hemispheres, and who better to share this experience with than the one you love.
- Blackheath Avenue, SE10 8XJ
- Open Daily 10am-5pm
- DLR: Cutty Sark
6. Break the ice at Somerset House
Ice skating is an activity that says to your loved one “I’ll be there when you fall.” Somerset House is the perfect place to get close to your honey as you dodge kids and slip and slide along the ice. The lighting and decoration around the rink serves to make the neoclassical building seem even grander. Head here in the late afternoon as the sun sets over the Thames, when Somerset House’s Christmas tree and the Southbank across the river really come to life.
The west wing of Somerset House has been transformed into a Christmas Arcade. Once you’ve worked up an appetite head to the pop-up restaurant, Fortnum’s Lodge, for a snack of savoury tarts or traditional Welsh rarebit. Wash it down with steaming mulled wine to get warmed up for another round on the ice.
- Strand, WC2R 1LA
- Open Daily 10am-6pm
- Tube: Charing Cross/Covent Garden
7. Dinner with a skyline view at the Boundary
Nothing says romance better than alfresco dining of a rooftop with a view of the bright city lights. The skyline is at its most vivid at night so it’s a great place to have a meal by the fire. This place is a classic French restaurant, serving simply delicious French food using seasonal ingredients. Indulge in a flawlessly baked chocolate soufflé or glamourous foie gras. Sip on bold French wines while you discuss your favourite activities of the day.
It isn’t just the restaurant that’s amazing, it happens to be in the trendy Shoreditch area – an exciting place to explore after hours when it really starts buzzing.
- 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD
- Open Daily 10am-11pm
- Overground: Shoreditch High Street; Tube: Old Street
8. Wilton’s Music Hall
Wilton’s Music Hall has been charming couples since 1859, making it the oldest surviving music hall in the world. What makes Wilton’s interesting is its truly rustic interior – it wasn’t designed to have an exposed brick and distressed wood ‘look’. It is a veritable timeworn relic of the past.
Seek out a dimly-lit corner in the Mahogany Bar where you can relive the days of olde, canoodling over wine and old-fashioned piano tunes. Head here after dinner for an evening that lingers into the wee hours of the morning.
- 1 Graces Alley, E1 8JB
- Open Monday-Friday, 12pm-11pm; Saturday 5pm-11pm
- Tube: Aldgate East/Tower Hill
Romance is really about sharing experiences with the person you love, and London is never short of new and exciting things to do or new memories to hold. London truly makes it easy to have a romantic getaway neither of you will ever forget.
Fiona McCoss is Blog Editor and Content & Social Media Executive at The London Pass, a sightseeing city card that offers free entry to over 60 top London attractions, tours and experiences. In her spare time, Fiona loves exploring the city, visiting a wide range of events and exhibitions and venturing off the beaten track.