Spring date ideas: London 2020
From the cherry-blossom canopy that turns heads to the chocolate-tasting event that melts hearts, spring offers a host of fresh things to do on a date in London
Cosy up under the cherry blossom
Between its roaring fire, white blossom ceiling and French bistro menu, it’s unsurprising that Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden is often described as the most romantic dining room in London. Yep, you can postpone your trip to Japan: here, diners can enjoy a meal all year round under branches laden with the flower that only appears fleetingly in the outside world.
When: Clos Maggiore open 12pm - 2:30pm; 5pm - 10/11pm
Where: 33 King Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JD
Ease any tension at a new Russian bath house
Whether within your shoulders or your relationship, if you havesome tension to ease, you can do it in style at the newly opened Russian Bath House in Belgravia. Here, the traditions of authentic Russian banyas are blended with the best of contemporary spa treatments to provide an offering complete with steam rooms, massages, scrubs, wraps and delicious nourishment to finish.
Allow the worries of your urban lives to melt away as you steam, surrounded by traditional Russian stoves infused with the aroma of mint, pine or eucalyptus. Then book in for a parenie (massage) with a venik (tiny-twig broom) of oak or birch leaves, before revitalising yourself in the ice-cold plunge pool.
There’s also a range of different massages, body scrubs and wraps to choose from, each of which has its own special benefits. Lastly, head to the restaurant and debrief on your experiences over a plate of traditional Russian fare, which can be enjoyed with a herbal tea, juice or – you’ve guessed it – vodka. You’ll emerge feeling refreshed, rebalanced and entirely knot free.
Note: Mondays and Thursdays are women only; Tuesdays men only; Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are mixed.
When: Monday - Saturday 10am - 11pm; Sunday 10am - 10pm
Where: 1 Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, London SW1W 0BD
Feed the lambs at Stepney City Farm
With the return of (slightly) warmer weather come daffodils popping up in the park and new life being born on the farm. All this heart-warming loveliness makes spring a time when even the hardcore city-dwellers among us want to escape to the countryside – if only for a weekend. But you don’t need to travel beyond the M25 to get a taste of countryside life. If you and your date are wildlife enthusiasts, pay a trip to Stepney City Farm in east London, where you don’t just look at the lambs, you can feed them, too. The three-acre working farm is free to visit and home to several different breeds of sheep, including horned Jacobs and ewes that lamb every spring.
While you’re there, check out the farm’s gallery space dedicated to showcasing traditional trades, arts and crafts. If you visit on a Saturday, you can make the most of the popular farmers’ market, where coffee and hot food is sold from 10am-3pm. Use the opportunity to stock up on organic farm produce – from fruit and veg to fresh eggs and meat – to take home and turn into a romantic supper (or perhaps a morning-after breakfast).
When: Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm; Sunday closed
Where: Stepney Way, Stepney Green, London E1 3DG
Tickle your taste buds at a cocktail and chocolate pairing event
If you and your date are the sort who close your eyes and take a moment of appreciation each time you bite into a square of chocolate, we have just the date for you this spring. Melt chocolatiers in Notting Hill is holding a cocktail and chocolate pairing night with a catch: blindfolds must be worn to heighten and fully appreciate the cacao flavours. What could be more sensual than allowing the chocolate to melt in your mouth and savouring its taste, while describing its notes to your partner? You’ll also have the chance to taste some of the finest single-origin chocolates produced on some of the best estates around the world.
The second part of the evening will see the two of you create two delicious cocktails, before sipping a further three Mexican creations: the Pisco Passion, the Melt Margarita and the Aztec Revenge. You’ll also leave with a goodie bag filled with chocolate to take home and enjoy together on the sofa afterwards.
When: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm
Where: Melt, 6 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, London W11 3AA
Make a nature-themed print
If one of you has green fingers and the other an eye for art, why not make a date of it at Daylesford’s ‘the lost art of nature printing’ workshop, at the farm's stylish Brompton Cross base? Led by designer and print maker Pia Östlund, the event begins with an illustrated talk on the colourful history of printing, followed by the chance to get stuck in and make your own delicate print using fresh plants and oil-based inks on paper.
When: Wednesday 29 April, 6pm - 8pm
Where: Daylesford Brompton Cross, 76-82 Sloane Avenue, Brompton Road, Chelsea, London SW3 3DZ
Sip on concoctions at one of three new bars
Bored of your usual watering holes? Or looking for somewhere fresh to take a new date? Spring delivers on that front, with the arrival of several hot new bars. For sipping on artfully masterminded tipples in a luxurious setting, head to Daniel Humm’s new restaurant, Davies and Brook at Claridge’s. Its stylish bar is headed up by Pietro Collina, who is responsible for the award-winning bars at EMP and NoMad New York.
For keen boardgame players, there’s Tavla inside the Hart Shoreditch Hotel, an elegant space boasting backgammon boards at every table. Wine lovers, meanwhile, should hole up among the barrels and wooden interiors at Bar El Rincón, a pop-up wine and tapas bar from Spanish restaurant Camino. While for world-class concoctions south of the river, it’s got to be Smokey Kudu in Peckham.
Take your seats for a glittering West End revival
Josie Rourke's 2014 Olivier Award-winning production of City of Angels has been revived for the West End just in time for spring (with the original creative team and much of the same cast, too). Boasting Cy Coleman’s original lilting score, lyrics by David Zippel and a narrative by Larry Gelbart, this witty take on 40s film noir – which transports audiences to the golden era of Hollywood – is a gorgeously picturesque musical, ideal for a theatre date.
The show weaves together two stories: the 'real-life' character of author Stine, who is struggling to adapt his latest book for the silver screen, and that of his fictional alter-ego Detective Stone (the hero of his book), who together with his trusty sidekick, Oolie, has been hired to track down an alluring femme fatale. The two tales entwine to comic effect, exploring the overlap between normal life and Hollywood glamour.
When: until 5 September
Where: Garrick Theatre
Flee reality on a virtual adventure
Fancy yourselves as a couple of explorers? Sci-fi loving gamers? Or fantasy enthusiasts? Spring brings with it a host of thrill-filled adventures, courtesy of a new branch of DNA VR opening in Hammersmith this April. Much like the original site in Kentish Town, the hub offers over 30 adventures to choose from in which the players navigate a world of their own making and ultimately decide their own fate.
On arrival, you and your date must decide on an experience to undertake. Will you step into the moon boots of Neil Armstrong and experience landing on the moon? Or create spectacular 3D art using tools that appear before your eyes? You can also explore the underworld Temple of Osiris or, if you're feeling particularly brave, roam around the Hospital of Horror. Teamwork and trust are essential… this could be make or break.
When: Opens in April
Where: Unit A, Foundry, 77 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8JA
See the Isabella Plantation in full bloom
From blossom to bluebells, the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park is never quite as lovely as it is in spring. Wander – date on your arm – through the 40-acre garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation which dates back to the 1830s. Sniff the blooms, take in the fresh air and, once you’ve had your fill of nature, snuggle down by the fire in one of Richmond’s many cosy pubs.
Where: Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park, Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey TW10 5HS