Some people say it with chocolates, others say it with flowers but now a growing number of lovestruck couples are showing their affection with ‘love locks’. One day before Valentine’s Day hundreds of padlocks bearing the names of lovers have appeared across bridges everywhere in the world.
In a custom that is thought to have originated in Hungary in the 1980s, couples leave the locks in a place that is important to them and then throw the key in the water as a symbol of their hearts locking together in eternal love.
Occasionally, lovers leave the key in the lock until they can return to their cherished location. More than 100 have been secured to the grids on Tower Bridge while others have been left along the Embankment. Other locks have appeared in less romantic places, such as on a fence guarding a derelict piece of land near Shoreditch train station.
The locks have appeared in countries and cities around the world from China to Paris.
In Rome the number of locks left on the Ponte Milvio bridge on the river Tiber was so large last year that authorities stepped after claiming they were harming the structure.
In some countries officials said that in some cases they have removed the locks to stop the trend catching on.