THE BEST PLACES TO CELEBRATE A SPECIAL OCCASION IN LONDON
By Kerry Dolan
When it comes to celebrating a special occasion in London, we want to make it memorable and if applicable, a little romantic.
Most of us know the best places to keep the kids entertained but what about when you want a little adult time?
London has a lot to offer the party hungry, but if you’re not looking for a pub crawl, a visit to the Shard or a river cruise, what else is on offer?
As I’m turning 40 next year, I have spent the last few months researching the capital for an unusual and I’m not afraid to say, utterly fabulous way to celebrate my special occasion.
I have stumbled across some truly unforgettable places to wow your friends (and create some amazing pics for your social media channels).
The best places to go to celebrate a special occasion in London:
For something a bit different, private capsules are available to hire on the Coca Cola London Eye.
A Family and Friend’s capsule for between 3-15 guests includes priority boarding and a 30-minute rotation and can be booked from £400. There’s also the option to add champagne and canapes at an additional cost.
For a romantic anniversary treat, try a Cupid’s Capsule for two – your booking includes champagne and Hotel Chocolat chocolates and you’ll be served by your personal host. Prices start at £380.
If you are celebrating a hen party or birthday, TigerTiger in Haymarket provides a Cocktail Making Masterclass where you get to shake it, make it, and have a good giggle in the process.
The packages are quite affordable and start at just £29.95 per person including bubbly on arrival, the chance to make two cocktails from the menu, a master cocktail creator certificate and a reserved booth for 2 hours after the class to keep the party spirit going.
For a calm and grown up evening, Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden is definitely worth a visit.
It’s known as one of the most romantic restaurants in the world and certainly is London’s.
A romantic intimate dining experience for couples or small groups, the unusual cherry blossom covered conservatory is a delight in the summer months, and a cosy sanctuary in winter with candles and a warming fire.
The menu is French contemporary and oozes sophistication.
Nothing could be quintessentially more English than afternoon tea at The Tea Terrace. With two central London branches to choose from located in House of Fraser stores, you can hire Cinderella’s carriage to sit in while you enjoy afternoon tea.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, sitting in Cinderella’s beautiful gilt carriage is a dream come true for most girls.
From the regal high back chairs, the chandeliers made from teapots and the delicate Royal Albert china, this is certainly a treat not to be missed.
The thrill seekers among us who prefer a more spine-tingling experience should head to East London for the ArcelorMittal Orbital Slide at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
It’s the world’s highest and longest tunnel slide at 178 metres long and is available for private hire.
The 40 second trip might be short lived but will definitely be a hair-raising experience you won’t forget.
If you’re looking for a private dining experience with a stunning view, try the Coppa Club at Tower Bridge.
Situated on the banks of the River Thames the luxury private igloos can seat 6-8 people for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
You’ll enjoy an enviable position on a south facing terrace overlooking the river, the chairs are adorned with fluffy rugs and each pod is heated individually. Booking is available online, but some are held for walk-in reservations.
Good for couples or larger groups is the Tea Bus Tour from B Bakery, an iconic Routemaster bus that drives around central London taking in sights such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Hyde Park while serving decadent afternoon tea at the same time.
What’s not to like?
The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on traffic and prices start at £45 per person. If you have a larger group there are options to hire the entire bus, or either of the upper or lower floors.
Where are the best places to go in London when you’re looking for something specifically romantic?
29 romantic things to do in London:
Head to Soho to sample some of the best Mexican food in town at La Bodegra Negra. Order Softshell Crab Tacos and spicy Yellowfin Tuna Ceviche and down them with some Frozen Margaritas.
Look for a hidden doorway just past Old Street station and you will find the entrance to Night Jar; one of the best Jazz Bars in London. It’s small, intimate, resembles a 1920’s speakeasy and the cocktails are as extravagant as the acts.
Hire a private capsule on the London Eye. It’s not cheap (prices start at an eye-watering £470) but you’ll enjoy a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal Champagne and a luxury box of Hotel Chocolat Pink Champagne Truffles (served by your private host) while you take in some fabulous views of London.
Head over to Hyde Park – one of London’s largest parks – and hire a pedal or rowboat for two. Rowing is harder than it looks but there’s something quite special about being on the water with the swans.
The team at Londonist called Wilton’s Music Hall one of London’s most beautiful and romantic venues – it’s like you’re stepping back in time. Head upstairs for some fabulous cocktails.
Head to Mr Foggs Gin Parlour and drink cocktails from all the countries you’ve visited together. Reminisce about all the fab times you have had and perhaps even plan your next adventure.
Buy last minute cheap theatre tickets. London is home to some of the best theatre shows in the world.
Whether it’s the Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots or The Book of Mormon, the Theatre is always a good date. Use the money you've saved on a pre-show dinner.
Visit the Natural History Museum after hours and with no kids. Go to ‘Museum Lates’ and enjoy exhibitions, silent disco and large glasses of wine.
Get hot under the collar at Bar Salsa. Go on a Thursday to see and hear Latin Krazy at their evening Salsa Class. Learn some steamy moves while you both make the most of their Happy Hour.
Hampstead is home to romantic restaurants like La Cage Imaginaire, Villa Bianca and 28 Church Row.
The Heath is also perfect for long walks, stargazing on a summer’s eve or enjoying a romantic picnic. Take a stroll to the top of Parliament Hill and admire the breath taking views of London’s skyline.
Press for Champagne at Bob Bob Ricard and order the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory. It. Is. To. Die. For.
If you are deep in the trenches of sleep deprivation and struggling to keep your eyes open, go to the Comedy Store and laugh until your belly hurts.
Take a canal ride from Little Venice down to Camden and end up in The Blues Kitchen for some ribs and beers.
If you’re in the mood for the cinema, try the Electric Cinema at Notting Hill or Shoreditch and make out in the back seats in their plush large sofas.
Go get lost in the Maze at Hampton Court Palace and kick back and relax in a deck chair by the fountains. Take a picnic and a few bottles of G+T and take it in turns to feed each other strawberries to make it the ultimate romantic date.
Compete against each other in darts at Flight Club. To make it more fun, go with other couples and hire an area along with a few bottles of prosecco and pizzas for two hours. Play boys vs girls and whoever loses has to buy the other cocktails for the rest of the night.
Pop in to Champagne + Fromage and indulge in beautiful cheese boards and bubbly. They have 30 different hard and soft cheeses to choose from and they even do a cheese based Afternoon Tea if you are feeling extra indulgent.
Take a romantic stroll down the Southbank as the sun sets on London and then watch a Shakespearian classic under the stars at The Globe.
Book yourself a table at The Box, but ensure it’s not right at the front otherwise you may be subject to some light showers if you know what I mean. And enjoy freaking each other out!
Eat Dim Sum and BYOB to a cheeky Chinese in China Town, you will be spoilt for choice. Once you are nicely merry, head to a Karaoke Club and sing your heart out to Mariah Carey and George Michael classics.
Head to The Vault for some whiskey tasting fun and purchase a bottle to share in bed when you get home.
Go shopping in Shoreditch and end up at the Duck + Waffle to watch the sun set over London while you tuck in to a yummy dinner.
Stroll through Borough Market sampling cheeses and cakes and get yourself a warm salted beef bagel. They are the best.
Head over to Richmond Park and hire a couple of Boris bikes to make your way around. Keep an eye out for the deer while you enjoy a romantic picnic.
Pop over to The Ginstitute in Notting Hill and make little bottles of gin to take home and make into cocktails for each other.
Go to The Curtain Hotel and book yourself into Red Rooster - an American Dining experience run by the acclaimed New York Chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson. Think Southern soul food meets the trendy east end.
Where’s your favourite place to go on date night?