For a romantic day away from the craziness of the city, make your way to amazingly diverse Regent’s Park. As one of the Royal Parks, this natural gem in the heart of London offers plenty of fun activities, along with wide-open spaces perfect for relaxing and doing nothing at all.
Grab your rackets before you leave the house, because you’ll begin your day with some friendly competition at the Regent’s Park Tennis Centre. Located by York Bridge on the western side of the park, you’ll get to show off your wicked backhand on one of several high-quality tennis courts–but keep your partner’s feelings in mind, of course, and don’t run up the score. After all that vigorous exercise, you’ve both earned a treat, so drop by the Tennis Centre Cafe for a post-match pastry and a cup of tea and discuss the finer points of the game.
You’ll need the fuel for your next activity: exploring a field of more than 12,000 roses in 85 varieties in the gorgeous Queen Mary’s Gardens. Race each other to see who can identify the signature “Royal Parks Rose” first, then take a breather on one of the benches and rest your head on your loved one’s shoulder while you admire the beautiful statues, waterfalls, and the famous Triton Fountain.
For a different view of this sprawling park, take to the water and rent a pedal boat for a romantic cruise on the aptly named Boating Lake. As you glide across the water, you’ll get a close-up view of the park’s famous swans, who are as curious about you as you are about them.
If your swan encounter inspires you to discover the rest of the park’s bird population, take advantage of the Bird Walk, where you’re likely to spot swallows, finches, sandpipers, wagtails, and more. Stroll along the lush green pathways and admire the natural scenery that surrounds you before tossing out birdseed (not bread) to the birds milling around at the edge of the lake.
Feeling hungry? Lay out a picnic lunch on picturesque Primrose Hill, or sit down for a proper meal at the Boathouse Cafe, which specializes in pizza, salads, and sandwiches. And as the sun fades from the sky, there’s no finer end to the day than watching a performance at Regent’s Park’s Open Air Theatre. Hold hands and snuggle close as you enjoy the wit of a Shakespearean comedy or an adaptation of your favorite novel.
Photograph by Anne Marie Briscombe