dolly-alderton

Discover more insider guides in SUITCASE Volume 20: Homelands.

Former The Sunday Times Style dating columnist Dolly Alderton is an award-winning writer, director and podcast host. Between teaming up with Pandora Sykes for their podcast The High Low, she regularly writes for publications such as GQ, Marie Clare and The Spectator.

Order Volume 20After escaping London for a solo trip to Orkney for the Wild Issue, we called on Dolly’s experience with dating to help us find love in London. Here, she explains why a bench at the foot of hill is preferable to any overpriced outdoor cinema, where she’d like her next sleepover to be and one place where finding love is definitely not as realistic as it sounds…

Which is the most clichéD spot for romance in London?

The bank opposite The Houses of Parliament. I used to work in a production company in County Hall and nothing made me feel gloomier than the conveyer belt of couples who were having their engagement photos taken there that I passed on my way to the office.

And a place where you genuinely feel the love?

The bench at the summit of Primrose Hill. Heavenly.

The best location you’ve even been to for a date is…?

The aforementioned bench.

And the absolute worst?

I mean, there’s at least one location in every borough of London where I’ve had a bad date; but don’t know how much of an uplifting read that list would be so instead I will answer with my most inventive first date: the boy who took me on a walking tour of Camden’s rock ‘n’ roll history in the depths of winter. It was me, him, a Spanish couple and an enthusiastic American tour guide who tagged along for our drink afterwards.

Which neighbourhood do you find the most romantic?

Hampstead. It’s where the romantic poets were inspired to write.

You can always count on finding loved-up couples at…

Any overpriced London outdoor cinema event. I blame it on all that grass they can showily roll around on.

Your favourite place to buy flowers?

Columbia Road on Sunday morning before a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at Campania and Jones. Or Wild At Heart at Liberty. They often sell camomile, which is my favourite flower (by a lucky coincidence, this also makes me quite a cheap woman to seduce).

The dream hotel for a sleepover is…

Claridge’s. I mean, I’ve never stayed the night there, but a girl can dream.

Where would you go to escape the city for the weekend?

Babington House for a treat. That’s cliched and predictable isn’t it? I can’t help it, I love it there. It’s the free scones.

One myth about dating in London that you’d like to dispel?

That people meet in galleries. When I hear single women say: “I am opening myself up to meeting people, I’m going to art exhibitions”, I want to say: “Unless you would like to go out with a 60-something woman in a pair of dangly peridot earrings and a William Morris print tote bag or a French school boy, you’ll have no luck there pal, trust me.”

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