Every week on 30 Dates, I cover some of the best places in London to take a date … whether you’ve never met before, or wake up to each other every morning.
This week I’ve seen London from above from a couple of different vantage points, swung from the trees, and chilled in a vault, all in the name of dating.
Darwin, Sky Garden
20 Fenchurch Street is fondly known as the walkie-talkie, thanks from its angular walls, which a few years ago famously melted cars and pavements in the centre of the city. Perched in amongst the other modern skyscrapers of London, it would be easy to expect a table in the Walkie Talkie’s ‘Sky Garden’ to take months to book (like the restaurants in Heron Tower) or the atmosphere to be snotty (like the restaurants in the Shard).
Darwin was refreshingly accessible and relaxed. A lovely, modern, casual brasserie, the views are gorgeous, and the sky garden is rather romantic, particularly after dark. Anyone can access the garden area, though you need to book in advance.
We opted for a corner table, with views of almost the entire south side of the river, and loved every minute. Go for the Goodwood Estate burger, it doesn’t disappoint.
Impress on a second or third date.
Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower
It took us two months to book, but I finally got to check out Heron Tower. Again, the views are splendid – it’s quite something to be able to look down onto the Gherkin.
Staff are a bit snobby (as are some of the clientele!) but the restaurant is relaxed and nicely laid out. You either get a view of the Gherkin and river, or one of the sunset. Obviously everyone raves about the fact it’s open all hours, but if you’re trying to impress or celebrating, then I would recommend booking (well) in advance, and securing a dinner slot.
The menu is varied, with small but extremely rich dishes. Don’t order too much, you’ll be surprised by how filling it all is, and the signature duck and waffle may sound odd, but is genuinely delicious.
Go for an anniversary or celebration. I think it’s too flashy for an early date, and will make you seem pretentious, or like you’re trying to prove something.
Go Ape, Various Locations
As regular readers know, I’ve always been a fan of active dates, and Go Ape is nothing, if not active. A slight fear element can also be something of an aphrodisiac! I’m not the best with heights, but Go Ape is genuinely a lot of fun. Essentially it’s a series of challenging walkways, high in the trees, complete with tarzan swings into nets, and long zip lines throughout the course. Safety is paramount, and you’re shown how to stay clipped in the entire time. What’s nice, is that there’s an element of shared adventure, and if one of you is a little scared, you can bond on getting through it all together.
I wouldn’t recommend this as a surprise, unless you know your date well enough to know how they cope with heights and getting a bit messy, but it’s a great option for a double or triple date.
If you’re looking for a cozy, different option for drinks, near the City, head to Voltaire’s champagne caves. Each little vault comes complete with its own ice bucket table-centrepiece and bluetooth music dock, which means you’re in charge of the music in your own private area. A great call if you’re celebrating an anniversary or just want a spot of tailor-made privacy in the middle of the city.