It was my boyfriend’s birthday and I wanted to plan a special, surprise day out for us in London. I spent a long time deciding where we should go and what activities to organise because there is so much choice. It was so hard to keep the itinerary a secret from him as I was so excited. I just told him to bring a coat as we might get cold in the evening.
We took a direct train from our closest station to Kings Cross which takes around 50 minutes. We usually do Sudoku or crossword puzzles on the way. I’d booked us a timed slot at Junkyard Golf which is the amazing, underground mini golf place in Shoreditch. Each course is themed in a different way – junkyard, nineties, circus and movies which I chose for us to do. When you turn up and head downstairs, you’re handed a neon ball and can choose a tall or short golf club. There’s loud music playing, it’s lit like a nightclub with dark walls and bright colours. Before you start, there’s a free photo booth which produces a fun gif that you can have sent to your email address. They also have a cute cocktail bar which serves drinks with funny puns like “Hotline Ting” and they’re decorated exactly how a five year old would dream of: with popping candy, paper umbrellas and fizzy belt sweets. The cocktails are super moreish so it’s a really good thing that there’s other bars at around every three holes. You can get tipsy pretty quickly. The atmosphere is amazing and we both really enjoyed ourselves.
Next, it was time to get something to soak up the alcohol. I picked DF Mexico which is a short walk around the corner. It’s a low-key Mexican themed diner with plenty of options on the menu for fussy vegetarians like myself. We both chose tacos – steak and chorizo for Sam and I had a spicy vegan option. The service was great and you could refill on drinks easily. The vibe was awesome and my boyfriend loved it. We wanted to continue our day of fun so we headed to Spitalfields.
Our first impromptu stop was Be At One, a cocktail bar which is close to my heart as I used to manage one of their venues. We had a few 2-4-1 cocktails and shots there as it was Happy Hour. If we are feeling a bit tired, we always go for espresso martinis to wake ourselves up instead of calling it a night. They play classic tunes and the bartenders sing along, throw crushed ice around and dance on top of the bar. Whenever you leave one of their bars, you do so in a great mood. Then we went down the road to Dirty Martini which I had never been to before. It was very similar vibes to Be At One but feels a little more upmarket and nightclub-ish. I had an apple martini and Sam had a dirty gin one which we both liked. By this point, it was the evening and we were quite merry.
I had booked one last surprise for us and I was apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect. I managed to reserve us a table at the Sky Garden, overlooking St Paul’s and the Shard. When we turned up, there was a huge queue, snaking around the building. I knew that we didn’t have to wait because of my booking which was a big relief. We had to put our belongings on a conveyor belt and walk through scanners, just like airport security. Our names were ticked on the guestlist and we were taken to our high table and bar stools with the most incredible view, so romantic. I had told them it was Sam’s birthday in the reservation notes and they brought over a plate with strawberries and “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate sauce. It was so sweet! We ordered some more cocktails and a dessert platter as we wanted to spend the deposit but didn’t want to die of alcohol poisoning.
Whilst we waited for that to arrive, we took a stroll around the floor we were on to get a good look at the view. The whole place was lit up with neon, pink lights and accompanied with the background electronic music, I felt like we were on Made in Chelsea. You could see right around the building as all the walls were glass. The room was also full of plants so it was like a Kew Gardens nightclub vibe. Our food arrived and we couldn’t have been more impressed. There was nothing left on the plate when we’d finished. I have been craving the carrot cake for over a year.
As we started our day early, we were able to get a train back even though it was late. We saved money on an expensive hotel and woke up at home which is always a winner on a hangover. We had such an amazing time and I think they key was having an activity, food and drinks. If you cover all three then you tick every box and can’t go wrong.