Whether you met on Tinder or you’re hoping for a good old-fashioned love story, it can be hard to plan the perfect first date. It has to be interesting enough to impress without being too much, easy enough to talk about without being too intense and let people get to know each other without being too close. It should also get you that second date.
But if thinking about a first date makes you nervous, don’t worry. Help is on the way. We looked all over London to find some of the best places to go on a date. Of course, many romantic French restaurants and places to get tasty tapas are great for sharing a few small plates. But we’ve also chosen some somewhat out-of-the-ordinary activities. Scroll down to see some of our favourite first date ideas, like making friends with animals at the zoo or spending a night at the Royal Observatory.
You can get close to nature in the middle of the City at the Barbican Conservatory. With more than 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, you’ll have a lot to post on Instagram.
Visit the Royal Observatory after hours to look up at the stars. Observe the night sky and talk with astronomers about everything from the history of astronomy to the latest discoveries about the universe. You can go on specific Friday and Saturday nights from November to February.
The animals went in two by two, or so the nursery rhyme says. If you want to honour this, London Zoo is a good place to meet. Choose this one if you’re nervous about your first date because it has a lot of things to talk about and things to do if you need a break.
If you want to do something different, try axe throwing. Yes, you did hear correctly. It sounds like it’s all about technique, not strength, so you’ll start on an even playing field, and it’s a great way to break the ice.
When you go to Swingers for the night, you can play crazy golf, eat street food, and drink cocktails. This will take away any first-date nerves you might have. Pizza Pilgrims and Patty & Bun are some of the places that serve food, and a DJ sets the right mood.
Choose “coffee,” “chocolate,” or “craft beer,” or mix and match all three to make a personalised food tour of London. You’ll get an envelope with fun facts, a map, recipes, and a tasting wheel about all the places you’ll be going. You can do it as quickly or slowly as you want.
A night of painting pottery in West Hampstead is a great way to show off your artistic skills, or lack thereof. Art 4 Fun is open on Friday nights until 10 p.m. You can bring your favourite drink to help you get creative.
Dinner at Brasserie Zédel will give your evening a Parisian feel. The grand, busy room will make an impression immediately, and the cocktail bar and live performances next door will keep you entertained for the whole night.
Let someone else do the hard work for you by going to the Soho Theatre for a night of comedy or cabaret. It’s great for a laid-back date because it has late shows and a lively bar.
There’s nothing more romantic than a walk through London’s Hyde Park, whether in the fall when the leaves are changing or in the winter when the first frost falls. Go to the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen to take a break by the water and eat some wood-fired pizza.
The iconic cocktail bar at the Savoy was voted the best in the world in 2017. You couldn’t find a better place to drink in the evening than this bar.
With its low-key facade on a quiet street in Islington, this less-known watering hole will give you instant points for being in the know. Downstairs is a room that looks like an Italian café from the 1950s. Find a quiet spot and order a drink or two. You could also plan and sign up for a cocktail masterclass to kill an afternoon.
The Bloomsbury Club Bar is in the middle of literary Bloomsbury, based on the lives of the famously wild Bloomsbury Set. Since the bar is split into two areas, you should save the dim lighting and comfortable seating of the original bar for at least date four and start things off at the private, heated outside bar.
This romantic hideaway is perfect if you don’t want things to seem too intense but want to get some serious brownie points. Here you can book a venue with everything a bohemian space needs, from exposed brickwork to a canvas of fairy lights.
People often say that having too many options is bad for everyone, and this can be especially true when trying to find the perfect date spot in London.
If you’re in charge of setting up that all-important first date this winter, it’s essential to choose wisely. If you pick the wrong place, you might go home alone. Getting it right, on the other hand, could spark a love that lasts a lifetime.
The average length of a first date is most likely a couple of hours, but it can last anywhere from 45 minutes to the whole day/evening, depending on how well it’s going!
Instead of dinner and a movie, do something that will make you stand out from other dates you’ve been on. Invite your date to a painting class or an art show. Tell them to go to a game room. If you like music, take your date to a record store so you can talk about your favourite bands and music.
Generally, people hug their date to avoid awkwardness, but you should do what you feel comfortable with. It would help if you got as physically involved as you feel satisfied with. In courtship, the man typically takes the lead, and the woman follows.