A carriage ride around verdant Hyde Park. A stroll along the Thames at dusk, admiring the misty lights of the Houses of Parliament. A coffee in a pavement cafe in Covent Garden, watching opera singers vie with circus performers for the public’s attention. A wander around the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum. A show in the West End. A meal at the top of the OXO tower on the South Bank, sitting on the terrace and drinking in the London scene laid out majestically before you.
Add the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the upcoming Olympics, and it’s little wonder that London has come out top in a poll to discover Europe’s most romantic city.
Commissioned by MissTravel.com, a travel dating website, survey respondents indicated that London is the ideal destination for a romantic break. According to the Evening Standard, the next most romantic European city was Rome, then Paris, Milan, Prague, Amsterdam, Budapest, Venice, Antalya and finally Barcelona.
I do love London – the parks, the restaurants, the culture and the architecture. But I think that often when you live near a place, it lacks the attraction of a less familiar, more exotic location. I quite understand why the top ten list is dominated by Italian cities, and I think this is the direction in which I would lean. I am currently writing a novel set in Italy, and so I recently spent some time there. Such a romantic place!
I think, though, that one’s most romantic city can quite simply be shaped by the experience you have there. Even in a city lacking all the trappings of romance, if you are with the right partner, the magic is there and the city will always be a wonderful place in your memories.
I’d be interested to know what your most romantic city would be – within Europe and worldwide. Where have you been that you loved? Where have you been that you thought would be wonderfully romantic, but disappointed you? In which city would you most like to have a date?