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10 romantic South Bank date ideas

January 11th, 2023 | by LWhitworth
Romantic South Bank riverside walk

Romantic South Bank

No matter the weather or time of year, South Bank is famous for being one of the most romantic destinations in London. Whether you plan to keep things low-key with a lazy stroll by the river, or you want to go large with dinner, theatre or a spin on the London Eye, there is no shortage of romantic experiences to enjoy.

Bringing your date to South Bank? Here are ten ideas to help you plan a romantic day out.




    Take your love for a romantic stroll along South Bank’s famous riverside promenade the Queen's Walk.

    Along this wide pedestrianised promenade between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge you’ll walk under the shade of grand old trees and pass by some of the city’s most famous sights such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. There are plenty of opportunities for a romantic selfie along the way, as well as some cosy spots to grab a coffee and cake or a glass of wine or cocktail.

    In the evening the riverside’s historic lampposts light up. Combined with the Illuminated River light installations on the bridges it make for an especially romantic atmosphere.


    The perfect recipe for a date night to remember – dine out in the city and book tickets for a show.

    South Bank has some of the best theatres in London, known for staging award-winning shows featuring the biggest stars such as The Old Vic and the iconic National Theatre. If you like a good 'whodunnit' book for the long-running Agatha Christie courtroom thriller Witness for the Prosecution which takes place inside the old London County Hall.

    Book a table for dinner beforehand and make it a special occasion to remember! 

    See our What’s On guide for a look at what’s on stage in South Bank this season.


    You can't go wrong with a classic movie at one of the UK's most iconic cinemas.

    South Bank is home to the British Film Institute (BFI), one of the finest cinemas in London. The BFI presents new and classic films from across the world on four state-of-the-art screens. Known for its many film festivals and regular themed seasons that focus on the work of a specific director, the BFI's curation is second to none and there’s always something intriguing to watch.

    The BFI’s Riverfront Bar is the ideal spot for a glass of wine before or after the film and in summer their terrace is particularly lively. 

    Take a look at what’s screening at the BFI here.


    When it comes to top-notch cocktails, South Bank has the most impressive bars around – with stunning river views to match.

    At the luxurious 5-star hotel Sea Containers London (next to Blackfriars Bridge) you can indulge in award-winning cocktails at the acclaimed Lyaness Bar, or for a super view of St Paul’s head up to their rooftop bar 12th Knot. Also boasting great rooftop views and cocktails is the nearby OXO Tower Bar.

    If you like gin, check out Gillray’s Gin Bar at County Hall which stocks more than 100 craft gins from around the world and has a bird’s eye view of Big Ben and the London Eye.


    South Bank has some superb fine dining if you are looking to push the boat out for a special occasion.

    For an unforgettable fine dining experience book for dinner at Daisuke Shimoyama’s celebrated Hannah Restaurant at County Hall. Choose from a six-course or ten-course omakase tasting menu with the option of a sake or wine pairing.

    Other fine dining favourites in South Bank include OXO Tower Restaurant on the rooftop of the iconic Oxo Tower building, or the buzzing Skylon Restaurant and Bar at Southbank Centre.

    > Explore our South Bank dining guide here for more inspiration.


    Soak up the most spectacular views in the city on the London Eye.

    The views from the top of the iconic London Eye are among the best anywhere in London, and a ride around the wheel is always a favourite date idea – especially with a glass of bubbly in hand!

    If you really want to go big, for £500 you can rent your own exclusive 'Cupid Pod' for you and your partner. The Cupid Pod experience includes a bottle of Pommery Rosé Champagne and a luxury box of Hotel Chocolat Pink Champagne Truffles. A favourite for proposals and big anniversaries.


    For something totally unique, enjoy a show at one of London’s most unusual theatre venues.

    If you and your date are looking for an alternative night out, look no further than The Vaults! This quirky and atmospheric venue beneath Waterloo Station is famous for its unique and interactive dinner-theatre shows, stand-up comedy, live cabaret, immersive-late night parties and cult drag shows.

    For dinner and drinks before or after the show try one of the bars, restaurants and pop-ups inside the colourful Leake Street graffiti tunnel such as Ban Bao Brothers.


    Perfect for an easy-going daytime date with great food and drinks.

    A great option for young parents or anybody else who needs to get home early. Leave the kids with the grandparents for the day and enjoy a lazy Saturday or Sunday brunch together. Follow up lunch with a matinee theatre show or film screening. Or alternatively, walk off the food with a stroll along the river. Either way, you’ll still be able to get back home long before bedtime!

    South Bank has loads of restaurants that have great brunch offerings. Favourites include The Green Room behind National Theatre, Marsha at Gabriel’s Wharf and Skylon at Southbank Centre.

    > Read our brunch guide to South Bank for more ideas.


    See the sights along the river Thames on a guided boat cruise.

    The London Eye River Cruise leaves from the London Eye Pier next to Westminster Bridge and makes a 40-minute loop of the river heading down to Tower Bridge and back up again. There’s commentary from an onboard guide and also a bar on the boat if you feel like making a toast while watching the sunset over the river.

    The boat operates daily, departing at 45 minutes past every hour between 11am and 6pm.


    Make a weekend of it and book a romantic stay over at one of South Bank’s finest hotels.

    The London Marriott County Hall is a classic with its front row views of Big Ben, top notch steakhouse restaurant, craft gin bar and a delicious afternoon tea served in the elegant Library.

    For contemporary style Sea Containers London is a 5-star favourite offering stunning views over the river to St Paul’s and one of London’s finest cocktail bars, while for art lovers the boutique Bankside is an ideal choice.

    > See our guide to all of South Bank's hotels here for more ideas.