Fancy a bit of Kulcha in your dating life? Looking to impress with your knowledge of the more intellectual offerings of this fine city? Then let me guide you through my top 5 cultural date venues.
5) The Victoria & Albert Museum
I love the V&A. As one of London's most diverse museums you simply can't go wrong dragging a date along to this Kensington institution. While it's nominally a museum dedicated to art and design, the sheer breadth of subjects this description covers means there will always be something you both enjoy.
And on a warm day the central courtyard is great place for a little, ahem, respite. It can get busy though, so perhaps plan your tour in advance. Check out the site to see what's on.
Victoria & Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL
4) Borough Market
Strolling around Borough Market is an experience unique to London. The sights, sounds and smells of what are predominantly gourmet goods is a wondrous assault on the senses. And while it is generally expensive the amount of free tasters on offer mean you can fill to your stomach content without breaking the bank.
A coffee at Monmouth is always an experience - don't be put off by the queue - and you can always take a break in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral. It's a buzzing corner of the city and crowded enough that you may just have to hold hands in order to avoid losing each other, And when you've had enough a stroll along the South Bank is a welcome respite.
For the bold perhaps selecting dinner ingredients for that night's dinner could be on the cards as well.
TIP: Get there early for some celebrity spotting.
8 Southwark St
London SE1 1TL
3) Wilton's Music Hall
This is an absolute cracker of a date. The world's oldest music hall, a popular destination for courting couples since 1858, sits in an uninspiring corner of Whitechapel flanked by Taxi ranks, convenience stores and mobile phone shops.
It lay derelict for a number of decades meaning the contemporary visitor is greeted a slightly crumbling relic, yet rather than detract from the experience it has aged in such a way as to evoke a bygone era.
And it now holds regular cabaret, concerts and plays breathing life into this wonderful building. Most Monday's see musicians perform old tunes for free in the lustrous Mahogany Hall and tours of the building can be booked on the same day for £6, all while sampling generously priced beers and wines as you re-enact the romance of a bygone era in the wonderful old bar.
TIP: This place is a bugger to find so please consult the map before setting out. It's up an alley so your black cab can't drop you directly outside.
Wilton's Music Hall
2) Keats House
The museum contains books, paintings and other more personal memorabilia from his life and if you really want to impress your date, a pre-visit viewing of Jane Campion's Bright Star will serve as a good introduction to the poet's life. You won't be the only couple strolling the grounds, such is the draw of this testament to young lost love but viewing days vary so make sure you check in advance.
1) The Contemporary Key
For art lovers, galleries are always popular but why not impress your painterly date with a unique tour of not just a gallery but artist's and curator's studios as well.
The Contemporary Key London Art Tour takes place on the last Saturday of every month. Groups are limited to 15 people so plenty of space to impress your date - or submit your ignorance for analysis - and the focus is on young, contemporary artists.
Tours last two hours and cost £15. And most importantly, all tours begin in a café and end in a bar. Perfect.
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS
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