Forget sitting in a restaurant awkwardly thinking of things to say, or sitting silently in a cinema working out whether the arm will go around the shoulder. Nowadays there is so much more to try, with quirky and creative activities on offer. London is the home to probably more unique potential dating venues than any other city in the world, with my favourites listed below.
1) Ballie Ballerson
Having a drink is a great way to loosen the nerves, however playing in a ball pit like a six year old will have you both in fits of laughter and completely breakdown any awkwardness. It’s better to go here earlier, so you can avoid the mass groups, however it has to be up there as one of the best locations for a unique dating venue. Plus, if you do feel a little risky, you can always have a sneaky kiss and feel under the balls, shhh I never said that.
2) Afternoon Tea On A Bus
This one combines two great activities. Firstly, you will be driven around past all of the best sights in London. It doesn’t matter how well you know the city, there always seems to be more to see. Secondly, you will have some absolutely scrumptious food to tuck into. Plus the little bites are easier to eat than tucking into a messy spaghetti meal in an Italian restaurant. I always say you can judge a man by his eating style, well have a quick watch of how he eats those cakes!
3) River Thames Cruise
You have two options here in my opinion. You can go on a relaxing cruise with some prosecco in hand if you both like something relaxing and romantic (depending on weather). Or alternatively, you might want to opt for the speed boat ride in London, where you hit pretty fast speeds and they play James Bond music, which is certainly a great thrill. Don’t even get me onto the vibrations…
4) Crazy Golf
There are a number of (notice the capital letters) INSIDE crazy golf courses. Forget standing in a cold field, trying to prevent wind blowing up your dress and flashing your granny knickers to passers-by. These often involve neon lighting and cocktails galore. It’s also a funny way to test how competitive they are, not that it is overly important, just a curious factor. I mean, if you end up together, you are going to have to know how they will act when playing monopoly at Christmas.
5) Escape Rooms
Here is a moment of truth, I have never successfully got out of an escape room, despite being on my third attempt. Having said that, they are always great fun and I think you learn a lot about your date, such as their listening skills, confidence, intelligence, creativity, team work and how clean they are (seriously, some people just throw clues everywhere rather than neatly placing them down). Just be prepared for a serious mental challenge ahead.
6) Bottomless Brunch
This might not work so well for those that tend to slip off their chair after their first mojito, but a bottomless brunch can be great fun. They can also often be booked for a little cheaper via Groupon, however whatever you do, make sure tickets are booked in advance as some have decent queues or book up pretty quickly.
7) Walk a Llama
This one is actually a little outside of London, but nothing a 45 minute train journey can’t solve. Plus this will offer you both some time to talk. Walking a llama isn’t exactly your go-to dating idea, but they are so cute (except if they try to spit, eww) and what a great story to tell the grandkids if this is how you both met. Think of the wedding speech!
8) Cooking Class
I love cooking, but I don’t want to be left doing all the cooking, that man better be ready to chip in! I think a cooking class is great as it will test their ability in the kitchen, it will help you to measure how open they are to the concept of cooking and also it is a great ice breaker. You can then try to replicate the meal on a second date as their house, naughty.
9) A Bike Ride Through A Park
There are so many lush parks in London, you are spoilt for choice, however they can be a bit surprising when you walk through and find yourself only half way across by the time the feet start hurting. Definitely not one for a day in heels, a bike ride can be great fun and allow you to explore a park.
10) Live Comedy
I luurve live comedy and you don’t have to see a big name in order to have a great time. Comedy venues will have shows going on most evenings and are largely available on Groupon again (who can say no to a deal). Laughter releases endorphins and will certainly leave you both with happy memories.
11) Ping Pong
There are a number of ping pong bars opening up throughout the old smoke, however this might be one that leaves those sweat patches, so be aware and pack a potential change of clothes. Bounce is great fun, however it can get busy and pretty loud, therefore this is maybe better as a 2nd or 3rd date rather than a first meeting.
12) Go To A Market
If you would prefer the date to take place during the day rather than in the evening then this is a great option. You can mingle through stalls looking for a bargain, while having that ‘holiday feel’ a market offers. It’s also a great place to try exotic and interesting foods you both might not have had before.
13) London Dungeon Lates
How brave are you both? If you don’t squeal easily then this might be a great option. During the day the dungeon is over-run with children screaming and shouting, however their after dark version offers a very different feel, as you watch Sweeny Todd in action while sipping on a cocktail.
I couldn’t care less how good someone is at singing, in fact I think I prefer it when someone isn’t good. I just love to see people relax, be themselves and have a laugh. Not everyone will be brave enough to sing in front of a date, unless they happen to be a secret Sheeran, however a karaoke booth is a great option. But if they say no, don’t insist, it could be a nervous area and you don’t want them to feel like backing out before it’s even started.
15) Harry Potter Cocktail Making
OMG! Yes, you heard me right. You can make magic potions, packed full of alcohol, with smoke floating out of the glass, wands in hand. You will be given a cape to wear and will be chanting spells as you make up these tasty drinks. This is such a great spin on cocktail making and embraces one of the greatest books of all time, not to mention many of our childhoods.
As ever, make sure to try some activated charcoal teeth whitening before heading out on your date.