12 February 2010

Heart of London: Where to cycle on Valentine's Day

London has plenty of places suitable for cycling sweethearts this Sunday. (Some of them will be celebrated in Southwark Cyclists' Valentine's Day ride.)

Just off Blackfriars Bridge Road for example is Valentine Place (right), off which runs Valentine Row – presumably what you have on the way home from that romantic dinner that turned out to be more expensive than, and not as nice as, you hoped.

There's also Love Walk, in Camberwell; while Latin lovers (in all senses) will want to head for Amor Rd, W6.

For the F who wishes to meet M with GSOH for cuddles and maybe more, there's Huggin Hill, near Mansion House; while Darling Row, off Cambridge Rd near Whitechapel, might be for couples who've been together long enough that she always remembers the anniversary but not how many years, and he remembers how many years but not the anniversary.

For sinners with a bit of originality there's Adam and Eve Court, off Oxford St, while Matrimony Place, just by Wandsworth Road station, should serve as a warning to us all: it's shorter and less pleasant than you'd expect.

London abounds in Love Lanes – there are at least a dozen – but the best one is in the centre, by the Barbican (right above and below). It's a little park where you can sit and coo by a bust of Shakespeare.

So here, for cycling lovers everywhere, is one of the Bard's most famous bike-inspired sonnets, No 18...

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds blow cyclists e'er th'opposing way
And summer's hire bikes hath too short a date:
Sometime too close th'impatient bus confines
And often are the cabbie's headlights dimm'd;
And every cycle lane sometime declines,
By chance or council's policy untrimm'd;
But thy frame builder's respray shall not fade
Nor lose the backlane shortcuts which thou knowest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When by the lorry's side at lights thou goest:
So long as taxis cut in front of me,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


  1. We're heading to Ilford's Valentine's Park http://bit.ly/dzllX3

  2. Weren't the older Love Lanes named because that's where the er, prostitutes used to hang about?

  3. @TIW - oho, I didn't know that! Now that everyone has mobile phones, maybe the Love Lane phone boxes at least can serve some useful purpose...?

  4. Oh yes, the Love Lane in EC2 is quite famous as being the place where you went to go and get your love. (ie riddled with hookers) Nowadays it's the location of a church tower missing it's church, two buildings by Britain's greatest modern architects side by side, and the a large police station which acts as the base for the City of London police mounted division.

    Full of useless info I am!