Looking for some festive outdoor fun in London? Check out John's pick of date destinations in London this winter.
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park
The yearly Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a great place for a date. I’ve never figured out why it’s German themed. Despite extensive research I still can’t find any evidence to suggest the German’s have a particular ownership over the festive season. It’s also a little over-priced. And yet, every time I go, it never fails to instil in me a sense of Christmas wonder and a hint of romance. It’s pretzels, mulled wine, and hugging tight. And I once met Heidi Klum here. Lovely woman. Perhaps that’s the German theme.
Oh, and it has an ice rink and a ‘giant observation wheel’. Oh yeah.
Talking of ice rinks, London becomes a breeding ground for these fancy frozen fields during Christmas. And with the recent boom in street eating, the physical hardship of broken ankles, grazed wrists and bruised bottoms needn’t be your main focus.
An awesome setting for some blade based bonding. Go after dark when Thomas Wolsely’s masterpiece offers a beautifully illuminated and ridiculously romantic backdrop to your foot fumbling advances.
Then take a brief stroll over the bridge and through the low mist rising from the Thames to indulge in one of the many log fire dominated local hostelries.
Another ridiculously romantic back drop, but this time with a large slice of cool.
Yup, it’s illuminated at night and yup it’s a beautiful old building but it’s the club nights, pop up artisan market and availability of chocolate and champagne packages that make this a popular destination for potential paramours.
Just make sure you avoid the kiddie focussed Penguin Club. Not only are the knee high blighters guaranteed to send you flying, they will invariably be much, much better than you. Throw organic strawberries at them while supping on locally produced eggnog instead.
I grew up Kayaking on the Thames in the beautiful surrounds of North Surrey, so for me canals are a fraught environment. Unless you’re cruising on a house boat on a roman aqueduct hundreds of metres above beautiful countryside in a county up north where everyone calls you ‘pet’, a canal brings to mind abandoned shopping trolleys, the sulphurous scent of Satan and the possibility of a fisherman discovering body parts.
Not so Little Venice. A great stretch of water, particularly in winter when a light mist hangs tantalisingly in the air and the glow of boutique bars and restaurants beckon like some benign will–o–the–wisps.
Definitely worth a visit while in Little Venice is The Puppet Barge
(www.puppetbarge.com) for both adult and not so adult entertainment.
Also worth giving a go is a short cruise with The London Waterbus Company (www.londonwaterbus.co.uk/) followed by sophisticated refreshments at the wonderfully located Cana Café Theatre (www.canalcafetheatre.com).
So that’s a little taster of outdoor treats for all you single Londoners this Xmas. There’s more to come but in the meantime, why not escape the cold and join us at a (suitably heated) Speed dating event or lock and key party and perhaps you’ll find someone to take to one of the above.
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS