From the cosy and intimate to the flower-strewn or football-filled, we've gathered together the most romantic coffeeshops in London.
We know: A football-themed cafe. Flags covering the ceiling, football paraphernalia wedged in everywhere and an almost-constant stream of matches on the big screens and the Bonzini football tables... doesn't sound like the most romantic of places. Hear us out. It's relatively quiet if you steer clear of evenings and lunchtimes. The coffee's good, the food's substantial and decent value for EC1, and it's got a Portuguese-Mediterranean feel. Take your loved one, order Spanish beers and Portuguese sandwiches, and roleplay being on a short break to a hot place together.
The homemade chocolate cakes and good coffee at this Kentish Town coffee shop are already inviting. The fresh flowers on the tables, regular film screenings and live music in the evenings and cushion-covered corner seating big enough for two - those tip it into romantic.
Austrian sachertorte and coffee are the specialities of this Islington independent, hidden in the narrow lanes of the market. It's narrow itself, and warmly lit, main table covered with cakes and snacks, so it'd be good for an afternoon date. And it has a dinner menu and wine, if the date's going so well you want to prolong it late into the evening.
This is actually a chocolatier rather than a coffeeshop, but all the more romantic for that, surely. Chocolate is seductive, and theirs seriously so. And they do have the trimmings of a cafe: drink great coffee or a mug of their rich hot chocolate in the tiny, pretty -- yeah, bijoux's about right -- shop. It's hidden down a quiet West Hampstead side street so you and your loved one can get matching hot chocolate moustaches in romantic seclusion.
Petersham Nurseries Cafe
Lots of restaurants in London are doing the Outside-In thing to good effect -- the conservatory at Blixen and the Salon at Spring are good places to get a fix of foliage indoors -- but not as many cafes. Petersham Nurseries, with its flowery, pretty cafe, is a great mix of floral and greenery, and the slightly ramshackle air to the furniture and building stops the prettiness from feeling chintzy. Extra romantic for being perfectly-placed to start or end a hand-in-hand walk along the river, through Petersham Meadows or across Richmond Park.
Belle Époque Patisserie
The cakes at this Islington patisserie are artistic and complicated, covered in curls of cream or fragments of meringue or whirls of chocolate. The cakes are grand but the patisserie's cosy and friendly -- you can enjoy the high art eclairs of London's most mind-blowingly expensive venues without the formality.
Bar by night but coffee shop by day, this Soho spot's designed to feel like a small Italian railway station bar. And there's something inherently romantic about a train station, right? The design calls to mind long journeys and tender reunions - and it doesn't hurt that the coffee's great, the pastries are soft inside and crunchy on the outside, and they'll bring you slices of cheese or cured ham and soft bread on pieces of greaseproof paper to spread out on your table and tear into with your date.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
It's not that the atmosphere at this bakery's that romantic - it's a bit too bright and clean-cut for it to feel intimate, though it's pretty, all faded floors and big, light windows. But the romance comes from the menu, featuring things like hot chocolate with a marshmallow flower balanced on top that 'blossoms' in the heat - an unfurling marshmallow! In your drink! - and small madeleine cakes baked to order and brought to you fresh from the oven.Deliveroo now from Belgravia