Singles Day in London
- Ladies and gentlemen, Singles’ Day is approaching fast. The same day that marks the Armistice Agreement is, perhaps appropriately, also a day when single people can focus on making themselves feel good and celebrate their freedom.
- Singles’ Day is not designed for poor, lonely singles to get out of doors and magically fall into the arms of that special someone; it’s for singletons to focus on themselves, and in the world of online shopping, is one of the biggest business days of the year.
- But being single means freedom; and in order to make the best of both worlds, we’ve knocked up a handy guide for you to get the most out of Singles’ Day in London.
Treat yourself to that special something on Singles’ Day
A great bit of modern wisdom posits that you should always leave your house dressed to meet the love of your life. This applies to everyone; whether single, married or in-between – the fact that you feel confident in yourself the second you step out of your door is an attitude we can all get on board with.
So what better day than Singles’ Day to splash out on that extra garment that’s really going to make the difference between feeling normal and feeling special? We know that confidence doesn’t come from material possession, but there’s no denying that looking good and feeling good are linked. This is why we suggest picking one or two things that you’ve always wanted and spend the day getting it just right.
Don’t part with your cash in the first shop you see; make a day of getting it just right. Give yourself permission to go into as many shops as you can and try on everything you like; the fact that you’ve got something in mind will help you feel like you’re not wasting time. And the fact that you feel your efforts are going to have a direct effect on making you feel good helps this day be all about you.
So why not book yourself one of our budget single rooms either in west London or east London, and spend your stay pampering yourself? For starters, we’d suggest Oxford Street, not only for the vast selection of shops but also that they’ve ramped up the feel-good-factor this time of year, and if you happen upon your preferred garment, you can spend the rest of the day parading around one of London’s most fashionable areas feeling great.
If that doesn’t float your boat, London’s got swathes of shopping centres to choose from; with N1 in Angel, the Westfield centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford, the markets and shops in Covent Garden for the alternative shopper, One New Change in St. Pauls and the Whitgift Centre and Centrale in Croydon to name but a few. If you’re serious about making a day of it, then these areas form a rough line across London (depending on whether you start east or west) and many lie on the Central Line; so do a Central Line shopping spree!
If you’re after that personal touch, then throw some artisan markets into the mix. The market in the grounds of St. James Church on Piccadilly is a one-stop-shop, as well as the aforementioned Camden markets. If you wanted to combine your shopping with a boat trip, then jump on the clipper to Greenwich market.
Get out and about amongst other singletons!
Perhaps you’re single and ready to mingle. Well you couldn’t be in a better place. London the most metropolitan and cosmopolitan area of the UK, so probability dictates there’s someone out there for you at the very least. But moreover, there are regular, dedicated singles bars and events that you can get along to for those added odds in your favour.
We’d start by taking a glance at yourself; what kind of person do you want to meet? If you’re after a fling with someone with the carefree lifestyle of big business, then mingle in the bars of Canary Wharf of St. Pauls. If you hanker for that musician type, jump on a tube to Camden and grab a table in the Hawley Arms. If you like the heady charms of the art world, mingle in one of the big venues of the Southbank, such as the National Theatre of BFI, and take your party to the Players’ Bar off Villiers Street. You get the picture.
A great place to start is staying at a hostel. By its very nature, you’re thrown into the mix with a huge mix of people all year round, and even if cupid doesn’t hit, you’re definitely on track to make some life-long friends. Most hostels have either nightly or at least regular communal activities, meaning that the shyer and retiring amongst us can have that ice-breaking moment over with quickly. To put the cherry on the cake, hostel stays are some of our cheapest options, so everything you save can either be spent in the subsidised bar.
Another virtue of meeting people at a hostel is that you’ll get invited to parties in the locality, where you then meet friends of friends, and the sparks my start to fly. If you’re interested in being out there, that fact alone does more work than any dating book would have you believe, and more often than not, singles feel like they’re not making connections simply because they’re not meeting people.
London is awash with singles nights, and finding yourself in a room of strangers all thinking the same thing is a helpful pill to the nerves. The Book Club in Shoreditch runs a monthly singles night, and its relaxed approach to life means you won’t feel under pressure. In the same area, Bar Kick also runs a singles night. Yager Bar is a dedicated singles bar, running a host of events; and MeddlersofHonour is an online service promoting its own singles parties for people who don’t like singles parties.
Meeting people in London’s hottest night spots!
Maybe you’re not so bothered about being foisted into someone’s arms, but you just want to window shop for that special someone. No problem! There are a number of pubs and bars that, by some divine miracle, always draw a very good looking crowd. In our opinion, The Roebuck in Borough is one such pub. There are pubs that serve almost as community hubs for young professionals, such as the Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park. The already mentioned Players’ Bar on Villiers Street is a sure-fire heady concoction of fun and flirtation.
As well as what to do, there’s also what not to do. We find, typically, that big chain clubs such as Walkabout and Tiger Tiger seem like good ideas but never end up being much more than an expensive sit around moaning about life. Moreover, these places are so anonymous that any intimacy – or even potentials among the clientele – is hugely limited. A fun night out with friends can be had, but we know a lot of singles out on the town who invariably end up in one of these places and are forever whinging about why they never pull.
Similarly, as beautiful as they are, this is not the night to be visiting traditional London pubs; unless you’re in the market for an opinionated, ruddy gentleman of a certain age.
There are some great club nights, if that’s what you’re after. Head up to Hoxton for the pick of the crop, including Juno, where there’s a monthly dance event called Houseplant that’s a great way to meet friendly new people. Nearby is the Hoxton Bar and Grill; a place so vast and hip that you’ll feel anything’s possible.
Who needs anyone else when you can spoil yourself?
But if you want it to just be about you, then that’s great. It takes quite a lot of courage to really go the distance when treating oneself; most people are in the habit of buying something nice and leaving it there.
Independence to the proud singleton, we say! So scared are we of social judgement that things such as getting a meal alone, going to the cinema alone and so on are pretty taboo. Well enough! If that’s how you treat yourself, then good on you; and go for it.
We’ve got more than enough budget single and double rooms (for that extra sprawl-space) for you to find a bargain, and one nearby some great eateries. If you’re going to spend a couple of days alone in a hotel, then you may as well do it right; eat excellently and get out only if it’ll make you happy.
London has a good range of spas, however the majority are expensive. Some gyms have attached health centres, where you can book yourself a massage or other treatment that will put the focus firmly on you. Chinatown has a strong contingent of good massage parlours, and the prices aren’t as unpalatable as elsewhere.
And if you can find a hotel with a bath, well, you know what to do…
Singles don’t have to go out on the town…
Finally, you don’t need to be a consumer to enjoy London. It’s beautiful, really it is, and there’s so much to see on foot that one of the best ways to treat yourself is to fill up to the brim with culture.
Take a walk through the stunning Highgate Cemetery, or the Inns of Court. Stroll along the Southbank, or among the beautiful Georgian houses of Kensington or St. Johns Wood. Take in the birdsong in Holland Park, see a free lunchtime concert at one of London’s many churches, go to a library and find something stimulating.
Most of the London museums are free, and some are crowded into the same area: the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the V&A being some of the best in the world and all in South Kensington, as well as the Tate Modern on the Southbank and Tate Britain in Pimlico.
Most off-West-End theatres offer a discounted ticketing system on specific weeknights, so find out which it is and get along. Most brochures available are only going to tout you the same old, worn-out west end musicals and long-running plays, so check out what’s on at the National Theatre (there are four theatres within it), the Royal Court, the Bush, The Gate, Saddlers Wells, The Southbank Centre and the Barbican Centre.
Maybe your idea of romance is having a nice chat over a cup of coffee about something that you find really interesting; and you wouldn’t be alone there. All of the above are great places to go, as well as the Poetry Café on Betterton Street or any number of cafés near the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.
Why not do it your way?
If you want to meet people, a lot of the time, strength is in numbers. So why not book yourself into a hotel with a bar and start the party there. Many of our hotels have subsidised or competitively priced bars on site, meaning that you don’t have to go far (literally metres) to have a good time.
The beauty of this plan is that you’ve got options. Your friends can come and meet you; you can hang out at your hotel if you want, or you can hit the tiles; it’s completely up to you. One added advantage is that you can take a drink back to your room with you from the bar…
So save on the expensive trappings of a night out; cabs, cover charges, over-priced drinks, and all the little extras that add up (like instantly regrettable late-night kebabs) and book a cheap hotel in one of the busiest areas. Hostels, too, tend to have a much more relaxed policy about visitors, meaning there are all the more singles to mingle with.#
Singles’ Day started as an online shopping bonanza, and it seems we all need to be given permission by an invisible, rule-making parent figure in order to let ourselves enjoy ourselves. Well, take Singles’ Day as your cue, and make sure you’re looking after yourself everyday. London’s always going to be around, so if you don’t make it along for this year’s single day, then come the day, week, month, year after. You could spend weeks treating yourself or meeting someone new (or both), and many will tell you that the best thing to be in London, is single.