I know that Paris is usually touted as being the city of ‘love’ and you are often encouraged to pop across the channel for Valentines day. Now whilst I agree Paris is a marvellous city, and I do enjoy visiting, I think London has so much more to offer for an extraordinary Valentines Day.
The City of Westminster is a hot-house of romantic liasons and intrigue. If I had to list all the places with romantic links, I may as well write a book…..however to keep it brief here are a few of what I consider to be some of the most romantic places for Valentine’s Day:
THE ITALIAN GARDENS: probably one of the most gorgeous of all the features you can see in Kensington Gardens. Meander, hands linked as you listen to the melodious tinkling of water sprouting joyfully in the air from the magical fountains.
See the engravings on the gardens walls of that most loved-up pair of Royals ever: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Kensington Palace is steeped in romance, with intrigue and secrets in every corner. Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace and spent her childhood there under the watchful eye of her mother. It was Kensington Palace where she first set eyes on her beloved Prince Albert….one of the most enduring of romances of English history. Why not spend a few hours roaming the corridors with your loved one!
Feed the swans at the ROUND POND near Kensington Palace.
As you probably know, swans mate for life, watch them as they set a good example of how to nudge and cuddle, necks entwined.
BOATING ON THE SERPENTINE: What could be more romantic that a row on the Serpentine? Although not suitable for this time of year, Boating on the Serpentine is open from Easter until October 31. So why not plan a romantic surprise for later in the year and make your own Valentines’s day; times are from 10:00 am until sundown which is around 4:00 pm in the winter and 8:00 pm in the summer. Check the website for details of boating in Hyde Park
DISCOVER ART WITH A HEART at The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Want to impress an art lover? The National Gallery holds some of the UK’s best-loved paintings.
“Make love, not War: Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’ – Curator’s Talk”. Date and time Thursday 14 February, 1–1.45pm Sainsbury Wing Theatre. Admission free. Join National Gallery curator Caroline Campbell in this lecture exploring Botticelli’s great painting of love, ‘Venus and Mars’. Caroline will consider the painting’s possible meanings within the context of patrician marriage customs in late 15th-century Florence. Visit www.nationalgallery.org.uk or call 0207 747 2885. (information obtained from their website)
13/02/13 23:45 UPDATE: via @NationalGallery – “Unfortunately tomorrow’s lunchtime talk on Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’ has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.” But don’t despair, there is so much to see and so many beautiful paintings at the National Gallery that it is well worth a visit anyway.
While you are at Trafalgar Square you can see that most legendary of lovers; Horatio Nelson – included amongst more than a 1,000 unpublished letters were private love notes to his mistress, Emma Hamilton – His relationship with Emma, Lady Hamilton was a very infamous one when he was alive.
Before you leave the area, take a stroll over to Charing Cross Station where you can see the ‘Eleanor Cross’ in the forecourt.
This is one of 12 originally wooden crosses that were erected by King Edward I between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken when her body was transported to London…..
What could be more romantic than your true love building a monument to mark the spot where you once lay?
The Eleanor crosses were a series of twelve originally wooden, but later lavishly decorated stone monuments of which three survive intact.
After your visit to The National Art Gallery and Charing Cross, take a stroll to Victoria Embankment Gardens where you can see a statue of Robert Burns, one of the most romantic of poets.
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) also known as Robbie Burns or Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard.
A Scottish poet and lyricist, he is widely regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and is celebrated worldwide.
Although not strictly a Londoner, his statue resides in Victoria Embankment Gardens. At this time of the year the park will be filled with the heavenly scents of the first blooms of spring; delicate snowdrops and the the sunny faces of daffodils – just what you need to brighten a cold spring day!
From here take a ride on the iconic #15 Bus from Trafalgar Square to the Tower of London where many a tale of love abounds within the walls of this superlative Palace.
Click here for Things to do in the City of London on Valentines Day.
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