When it comes to deciding where a first date should take place it can be tricky. Some say the traditional first-date-bar-drink is pretty unimaginative. Where’s the charming setting to light the fire of romance? But perhaps there’s good reason it often fall to this. A drink in a bar is about as universally accessible and safe as it gets and avoids any post-Italian garlic nightmares or ‘kooky’ dates in the London Dungeon. ‘Kooky.’ Urgh.
If you’re anything like us, the mere suggestion of a ‘kooky date idea’ is enough to have you running for the nearest monastery begging for a life of singledom. When it comes to dating we’ve tried and tested ‘kooky’ things to do and had our fair share of awkward encounters scrabbling around pedalos on a sub zero Serpentine. Never again. Unless you’re seasoned couple who have weathered the storm of hiking treks with no loos and strange family get-togethers, these kind of dates are a no-no.
But are there original date ideas out there that fall neither into the dreaded kooky category nor conform to the conventional ‘drink in a bar’ one? Ones which are a little inventive, yet not totally barmy. Ones that accommodate the non-boozers, culture-vultures and incurably curious dwellers of the dating world. We think so. And here’s our two cents on what they are.
Ideal for the avid city explorer. A more original, less expensive take on the London Eye date. We recommend meeting at North Greenwich and strolling along the river getting to suss out each other’s thoughts on the O2 before boarding and squealing with delight at the sensational views and feeling of being on a grownup theme park ride. If you haven’t got cabin fever by the time you alight, we recommend a bottle of Malbec at floating beer garden The Oiler Bar.
For the out-and-proud geeks among us. An architectural colossus, the NHM offers hours of entertainment in the form of playful interactive exhibits, dinosaur-gawping opportunities and obscure facts. If your date’s not utterly enamored by this treasure trove they’re probably not worth date 2.
A raucous den of hearty Mexican grub, cocktails and -most probably- inequity. Not for the faint of heart or weak of wallet. Perfect for the ravenous thrillseeker. The entrance to this iconic Soho dinner spot is clearly (mis)marked ‘sex shop,’ which is bound to set your date’s pulse racing from the start and the blacked-out light bulbs and exquisite margaritas will seduce them even further.
(If a date here goes tits up at least you’ll be able to entertain/horrify your grandchildren with the story of when you ate in a sex shop.)
Perfect for two creative souls on a balmy summer evening. Original, a ‘cultured’ choice and comes complete with romantic riverside scenery. Good if you’re feeling a little shy too; the people-watching and post-show discussion potential of a Scoop date is huge and guaranteed to break the ice. ‘Ah,’ you say, ‘but what about the ever unpredictable English weather? We totally hear you. Luckily, if the heavens open you can go have a perve around the amazing Fashion & Textile museum down the road. And if they’ve turned out to be a loon, London Bridge station is five minutes swift walk away.
ONLY if it has been previously established that you’re both HP superfans. A good friend cites a trip to Potter world as being the best first date she’s ever had. Three years later they’re still together, so clearly it was. Plenty of weird conversation starter material all around and YOU CAN BUY A WAND from the gift shop.
A South London stroll complete with 33 prehistoric plaster monsters and fantastical maze. Wrap up, play hide and seek, get a hot drink and debate dinosaur names on a bench. This one’s for the ex girl guides and adventurers out there.
Perfect for a chilled day date with a chocolate-lover (not a lover actually made of chocolate, although if you find one of these PLEASE let me know where you found it.) Nothing says ‘I well fancy you’ more than buying someone a mug of incredible smelling hot lava. If they’ll wipe/lick any stray drips off your chin as thanks you know you’re onto a winner. Relaxed, no potential quibbles over a huge bill and really bloody romantic; we love this one.