Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Valentine’s Plan

Tower Bridge

A short while ago, we were in the West End when Stephen turned to me and said that we really should spend a night or two in the centre of London one day.  I’ve never really thought about it because we live so close and usually go home after spending a day or evening in London. But Stephen is right and I’ve started thinking about my perfect overnight stay in London. It was then that I came up with a Valentine’s Plan.

Book Ahead: The Hotel

I can’t seem to get enough of the Thames at the moment so while I love the idea of posh hotels in Mayfair and Kensington, I’d definitely be looking for hotels that offer a fabulous view of the Thames or landmarks such as Tower Bridge or the London Eye. It is a long time since I’ve booked a hotel in London (the last time being our honeymoon!) but looking on this site, I realise that there really are hotels to suit every budget. Nevertheless, this is a romantic getaway, so I would love to book at the Park Plaza Riverbank or the Marriott London County Hall. Hey, a girl can dream - their views are incredible!

On Arrival: Take a Walk

Another reason for booking a hotel along the banks of the Thames is the fabulous walking opportunities this affords.  On arrival, you can take a long, romantic stroll up along the Southbank towards London Bridge and the Shard, over Tower Bridge and back down the Thames Path past the Tower to Blackfriars Bridge. Cross over at Blackfriars and wander past Oxo Tower and Gabriel’s Wharf and on to the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre.

Eating Out: The World’s Your Oyster

I tried to do a quick count of how many restaurants you’d pass during this riverside walk but I kept losing count! The Bankside and Southbank area is full of restaurants catering to every culinary preference. Fluid London gives a list of the Top 10 Restaurants with Romantic Views across London. 

During the Day: Art and Culture

Dash Magazine ExhibitionI just know that spring is around the corner because the London art and culture scene is heating up and there are some fantastic exhibitions on over Valentine’s Day.  There is an exhibition on the life and work of my favourite designer Valentino over at Somerset House. Valentino: Master of Couture runs until 3 March 2013 and tickets are £12.50/£9 concessions.

There are always good exhibitions on at the gallery@oxo located at Oxo Tower Wharf and the DASH Magazine Hosts CH Talents exhibition looked especially interesting (see image above). There is also a display of Heather Leitch’s Iconic Scenes of the World running from 6-10 February.  All exhibitions at the gallery@oxo are free.

If all of this culture seems a little high-brow for you, perhaps you can appeal to your inner child and visit the Imagine Children’s Festival running from 11-24 February 2013.  This literature festival will feature Anthony Horowitz (my favourite author of all time) speaking about his new novel Oblivion on 19 February.  I can’t think of anything more romantic!

In the Evening: Catch a Show

You can’t have a romantic interlude in London without catching a West End show. We’ve gone ahead and booked Valentine’s tickets for Billy Elliott at Victoria Palace Theatre and I cannot wait. You can also catch War Horse at New London Theatre, which I highly recommend, or The Bodyguard at Adelphi Theatre for some classic romance.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to plan all of this in two weeks and it is a pity that Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year! But all of this planning definitely makes me excited for a long London summer of festivals, exhibitions, arts, culture and live events. 

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Why don’t you plan a similar post and tell me all about what there is to do in your city?

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