With Valentine’s Day coming up shortly, it’s time to catalogue some romantic Big Smoke activities. Here are five budget-friendly London Valentine’s Day ideas.
1. Flower hunting at Columbia Road Shops & Flower Market. East London’s Sunday flower market is jam-packed with shoppers and aimless strollers alike. The streets are full of stands selling flowers, with salesmen barking prices in hardcore Cockney tones. Columbia Road shops are also delightful, with cafes, furniture stores, and curio shops sharing retail space. Columbia Road Market is open on Sundays between 8 am and 3 pm. Arrive early to avoid the crowds and to pick up the best possible selection of Valentine’s Day flowers for your loved ones.
2. Valentine’s Day at Tower Bridge. For £15 ($24) per person, participants can ascend to the bridge’s walkways, eat chocolates, drink a glass of bubbly (pink Champagne, no less!) and enjoy views over London. Organizers promise “scented flowers, seductive lighting and live mood music” in the background. Wow. In other words: one part cheesy spectacle, one part make-no-bones-about-it goosebump fest. This activity is scheduled on the evening of February 14 in four one-hour admission shifts, at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 9:30 pm. 18 and older only.
3. Romantic candies. Pick up some Valentine’s Day sweets at Hope & Greenwood. The very British confectionary shop has two branches, one at 20 North Cross Road in Dulwich and the other at 1 Russell Street in Covent Garden. They’re hawking a line of special Valentines candies right now; these include an organic spotted dick chocolate bar, love hearts, and champagne truffles.
4. Makeshift river cruise. Bypass the terribly pricey Thames dinner cruises and cobble together a romantic river journey of your own. On Valentine’s Day afternoon, take a River Cruise eastward from Westminster to Greenwich or westward from Greenwich to Westminster. A cruise leaving Greenwich at 4:50 pm arrives at Westminster at 6:10 pm, affording almost a full hour of post-sunset views of the city. A one-way journey for adults costs £9.50 ($15.30) and a roundtrip runs £12.50 ($20.10).
5. Primrose Hill views. Few neighborhoods in London are quite as picturesque as Primrose Hill. The hill itself perches on the northern flank of Regent’s Park, and affords beautiful, sloping views of central London. Primrose Hill is also home to ungodly numbers of British celebrities. Will they be out on Valentine’s Day evening, enjoying the view? Unlikely, but you never know.
Searching for the perfect romantic bolthole for Valentine’s Day? Of course you are. Check out our list of five romantic properties in Boston, California, Mexico, Quebec, and St. Lucia.
[Image: Flickr | siddhu2020]