New York may have that big red heart on its logo, but romantic London’s always got the love. And to celebrate the adorable and affordable range of independent travel packages offered by Virgin Vacations to the UK capital – like the appropriately-named London Fling – here’s part one of our guide to romantic London.
Admit it, you thought we were going with the obvious one – the little chap of love himself, Eros, twanging away on his bow and arrow at Piccadilly Circus as the crowds pass this way and that. But no, for sheer sentimentality it’s got to be The Meeting Place at swish St Pancras International train station a mile or so north. More commonly known as ‘The Lovers’, it’s a nine-metre high bronze sculpture of a crazy-for-each-other couple embracing underneath the station’s famous clock.
Altogether now: aaaahh.
The bridge (and song)
Hungerford Bridge, connecting Embankment with South Bank (both fab for romantic walks), tends to get a lot of people’s votes. But trust us to be contrary and hop northeast to the very next crossing, Waterloo Bridge, for our next romantic London landmark.
It may not look as inspiring but what a view on this epic bend of the Thames: Westminster and the London Eye one way, St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London skyline the other. Then of course there’s the Kinks song Waterloo Sunset for anyone who’s ever been in love in – and with – this big beautiful city.
Not forgetting the poem After the Lunch by Wendy Cope: On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes / The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes / I wipe them away with a black woolly glove / And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.
Can a book be a landmark? Well, this is a literary city, so we’ll run with it.
But which one? Bridget Jones? Bit too obvious. One of Nick Hornby’s novels? Nah, not that we don’t love them, but let’s think of something different. Instead, how about a very recently published and already acclaimed work by American author James Salter, entitled All That Is. Only a small part of it is actually set in London – when the main character, a dashing New York book publisher, flies to Europe on business after the war and falls in love with a beautiful Englishwoman – but it’s breathlessly romantic and rather racy too.
A little extract:
When she said goodbye, it was like a play ending. It was like the theatre and coming out again to the streets. He saw his reflection in many windows as he passed and stopped to take measure of himself. He felt in possession of the city, not the Victorian city with its dark wood interiors and milky marble halls, the tall red buses that lurched by, endless windows and doors, but another city, visible yet unimagined.
Head over heels yet? Part two of this luscious London affair is on its way soon…
See all of our fabulous London vacation packages, including independent and guided options, at the Virgin Vacations website.