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  1. Lady and the Tramp

    Original scene
    After being forced out into the streets by a tyrannical dog sitter, Lady gets picked up by a mucky, plucky pup who takes his new flame down to (the back of) a local Italian joint for a bite to eat.

    Original setting
    A table-for-two spontaneously assembled by a pair of moustachioed waiters in the dank alleyway behind Tony’s Restaurant. Think of it as a pop-up without the queues.

    The London version
    Don’t take it too literally – an alley date will probably get you thrown in the doghouse. Head to Trattoria Da Aldo on Greek St in Soho for delicious Italian dining.

    How to get it right
    Think twice before copying the Tramp’s shabby-chic doggy style. And don’t forget to wipe your chin after slurping all that spaghetti – you want to be saucy, not saucy.

    What to say
    ‘There’s a great big hunk of world down there with no fence around it.’

  2. Dirty Dancing

    Original scene
    It doesn’t get much more iconic, or romantic, than the final scene in this ’80s classic. Patrick Swayze sweeps in, plucks Jennifer Grey away from her parents and then they dance their little hearts out before he lifts her into the sky like a huge sport trophy. Swoon.

    Original setting
    The movie’s big crescendo takes place on a stage in a holiday camp. Butlin’s was never like this.

    The London version
    Face it, most of us haven’t got perfect rhythm or poise, so a dance class is almost certainly called for. TNT Dance’s pachanga class (the dance they do in the film) should sort out all your left feet and guide you through all kinds of saucy Cuban dance moves.

    How to get it right
    Don’t concentrate too much on that lift – even Baby struggled. Just concentrate on getting those feet moving and those hips swinging. Men, unbutton that shirt, and ladies, swish that skirt about like a bullfighter.

    What to say
    ‘Nobody puts baby in a corner.’ Obvs.

  3. Romeo + Juliet

    Original scene
    A floppy-haired DiCaprio this time gets distracted by a fish tank during a humdinger of a fancy dress party in Baz Luhrmann’s take on Shakespeare’s tale. Clare Danes then pops up and engages him in a staring competition. Neither backs down.

    Original setting
    The world’s most lavish urinal – the fish tank is actually a not-so-private divider between the men’s and women’s bogs.

    The London version
    Resist the urge to scrimp by recreating this scene with your fish-tank screensaver and head for the gorgeous Sea Life London Aquarium instead.

    How to get it right
    You’re trying to recreate love at first sight here, but be careful – there’s a fine line between longing gaze and deranged glare. If things do go wrong, at least you’ll have a reminder that there are plenty more fish in the sea.

    What to say
    ‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight. For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’

  4. Spider-man

    Original scene
    When Spiderman saves Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane from a gang of vicious, leering street thugs, she (rather cheaply) repays him with a kiss. As he hangs upside down in the pouring rain, she partly rolls down his mask and pashes the arachnid crime fighter.

    Original setting
    A grim, rain-sodden back alley in deepest, darkest New York.

    The London version
    Hanging upside down isn’t easy to… erm… get the hang of. Thankfully, the Gravity Circus Centre is on hand with a series of workshops to help you learn all sorts of tricky aerial manoeuvres. There’s no word, however, on its superhero costume policy.

    How to get it right
    This could go wrong in a variety of ways, but as long as you don’t fall and end up in hospital, you should be okay. And there probably won’t be any distracting street thugs on your date either, so you can concentrate on getting that kiss just right.

    What to say
    ‘You’re amazing.’ ‘Some people don’t think so.’ ‘But you are.’ ‘Nice to have a fan.’

  5. Titanic

    Original scene
    Keen to show his new gal a good time, a giddy Leonardo DiCaprio sticks two fingers up to health and safety by hoisting Kate Winslet on to the railings of the Titanic, where she chooses to suspend her disbelief/sense and thinks herself to be flying.

    Original setting
    The bow of the iceberg-bound boat during the happier half of its voyage.

    The London version
    Taking a date on an artillery-laden warship might not scream romance, but the HMS Belfast is a classier place to pull this scene off than a Thames Clipper.

    How to get it right
    This one’s all about trust – you want to walk away feeling soppy, not soggy. Once you’ve found a sturdy railing, simply throw your arms out and hope there’s a loving embrace waiting for you when you lean back.

    What to say
    ‘I’m flying, Jack!’

  6. Brief Encounter

    Original scene
    Coming to the aide of a damsel in distress, Dr Alec Harvey removes some grit from Laura Jesson’s eye, kickstarting an all-too English love affair in this heartbreaking 1945 weepy.

    Original setting
    The best scene involves Laura gracefully leaning out of an open train window and reaching out for Alec.

    The London version
    You won’t achieve the same sense of romance by attempting to yell through a tiny window gap in a grimy Southern Rail carriage. So go for the glitzier option and recreate the film’s station tearoom in the delectably old-fashioned Gilbert Scott Bar at St Pancras, with its delectably old-fashioned cocktails.

    How to get it right
    You can’t be effing and blinding or dropping your Ts and Hs here: you’ve got to speak proper, like a 1940s BBC news reader. And you’ve got to dress to impress. Nothing but a suit will do, or a conservative dress and hat pour madame. This is all about class, not sass.

    What to say
    ‘Forgive me.’ ‘For what?’ ‘For loving you.’ Heart. Melter.

  7. When Harry Met Sally...

    Original scene
    Oh God! Yes! Yes! Yes! When Billy Crystal insists he knows the difference between real and fake orgasms, Meg Ryan demonstrates, loudly, just how convincing the fairer sex can be.

    Original setting
    Before the orgasmic interruption, Harry is chomping his way through a pastrami sandwich from Manhattan’s Katz’s Delicatessen.

    The London version
    You’re going to need some New York-style Jewish food served with oodles of atmosphere. Mishkin’s dishes up gooey reubens and mustard-laced mac ‘n’ cheese. Perfect.

    How to get it right
    You’re going to need to be brave. Wailing and moaning in public isn’t for the faint of heart, so don’t be afraid to indulge in a little Dutch courage from Mishkin’s extensive list of gin cocktails before kicking off. You may also need to bring an old woman with you to say the famous ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ line.

    What to say
    ‘You are a human affront to all women, and I am a woman.’

  8. 500 Days of Summer

    Original scene
    The ever-adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt tries to woo the somehow-even-more-adorable Zooey Deschanel in indie hit ‘500 Days of Summer’. Of all their dates, the Ikea one is the most impressive – in that they manage to make the Swedish giant seem like a lot of romcom fun. The pair run about, giggle and canoodle in model Nordic bedrooms and fake kitchens. See? Adorable.

    Original setting
    Well, Ikea of course, the world’s greatest source of flatpack shelving and allen keys.

    The London version
    There are four Ikea stores in greater London, so you’re spoilt for choice. Sure, there are more romantic places for a date than a furniture warehouse, but this is all about quirky fun. And meatballs. Wonderful meatballs. They’re not in the film, but the Ikea café is probably the only place in London that won’t require a Valentine’s reservation.

    How to get it right
    Deschanel is the queen of twee, so be smiley and free-spirited – and skip joyfully.

    What to say
    ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but there’s a Chinese family in our bathroom.’

Eight romantic movie scenes to recreate in London

How to woo like a movie star without leaving the comfort of the capital

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Desperate to show your dearest a good time this Valentine’s without resorting to clichés? Make like the movies! We’ve found the perfect London date spots to recreate magic moments from the silver screen, without leaving the city…

Still in the mood for love?

The 100 best romantic movies
  • Film
  • Romance

‘When done right, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, better in the cinema.’ That’s Tom Hiddleston talking about romantic movies. And he has a point, doesn’t he? That’s why we’ve brought together 101 experts to choose the 100 best romantic movies ever made.

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