Let’s go out. What do you want to do? Pub? No, let’s do something. Dinner? No, let’s do do something. Can’t we do dinner? No, something more active. Like do doing something? Yes, that’s what I said. I don’t have any London Date Ideas which involve doing things active. We need a list, a list of London Date Ideas which skews towards activities. A list of London Date Ideas which skews towards activities, including…
- The pick of the London activity bars best designed to impress
- Our favourite London immersive experiences, just waiting for a dating
- A smattering of evergreen London date ideas
- And much, much more
London Date Ideas: Activity Bars
The first of the big hitter activity bars on the list, Swingers is an adult-oriented rejig of crazy golf. As with all the activity bars on this list, it depends how competitive you feel like being on your first, second, or five hundred and fifty third date. It’s very pretty in there, with wooden course decorations, low lighting and fake grass. It certainly isn’t as gaudy as your traditional seaside town crazy golf. It’s like if Amelie was commissioned to design a crazy golf course. And the holes are well-designed, created to be open to all, letting everyone’s competitive streak flourish. But they require some nouse and, if you want to take it seriously, the pair of you could have quite the game on your hands.
West End and City locations. For more information and to book, head HERE.
Next up on the activity bar rundown, Flight Club is doing for darts what Swingers is doing for crazy golf: making it a night out activity and a game that feels like an event. Where Swingers is rescuing crazy golf from seaside town, broken windmill kiddydom, Flight Club are taking darts out of the you’re-kind-of-getting-in-everyone’s-way, only-one-dart-board nature of the pub dart setup. They call it ‘social darts’ and it’s helping make darts a more than acceptable date night activity. It looks the business in each of the Flight Club venues. That kind of curated look and atmosphere that seems delightfully thrown together, but definitely isn’t. Their cocktail menu features inventive ice slushies and plenty of classics given a thoughtful twist or two. Food-wise, the most popular items they offer are sharing board pizzas, along with international mix and match small plates, such as salmon ceviche tacos and veggie gyoza.
They’ve got a good policy when it comes to walk-ins too. So, as long as you’re not rocking up at peak time on a Friday or Saturday, you should be able to get a board in a couple drinks’ time. They’ve also made the below high energy video showing just what social darts is all about.
Bloomsbury, Islington, Victoria and Shoreditch locations. For more information and to book, head HERE.
Table tennis. Ping-pong. Whiff-whaff. Whatever you want to call it, the fast-paced mini-tennis game finds its after-hours home at Bounce. The atmospheric basement venues have become popular for work-dos, birthdays and dates in the years since they opened. The music is loud, the lighting is right, there are balls flying everywhere. Sure, it’s pretty chaotic with all the dinging of the hollow balls on the tables, the clinking of hollow balls on the hard floor, the hollow balls now trampled under your feet.
But they’ve made these spaces well, so you never feel like you’re in anyone’s way or like you’re playing on Centre Court, assembled masses surrounding you, critiquing your every shot, questioning your thin grip on the rules of the game. You’ve got space to focus on your game and, in between sets, your opponent/date. McEnroe and Borg might have had a better relationship were they to have played out their rivalry in a place such as Bounce.
Farringdon and Old Street locations. For more information and to book, head HERE.
All Star Lanes
The ultimate in date night activities, bowling has been given the London revamp at All Star Lanes. That is to say, it’s not a bowling alley on an industrial park beside an A-road with an Ikea on its left and a KFC on its right. And it looks the business inside. No sticky floors, too-loud arcade or too-bright lighting here. Nope, it’s all thoroughly retro-looking, drawing from a shared nostalgia for a 1950s American bowling scene we never knew, but we want desperately to return to.
We’ve been plenty of times, and each visit there have been plenty of new couples taking to the lanes. All of them working out how seriously to take it. Once the things start falling down and the little animations come up on the screens—mocking you—it’s hard not to be swept up in the atmosphere of All Star Lanes. It’s a blast. Even if the date doesn’t go as planned, it’s a fun way to strike out.
Westfield Stratford, Westfield White City, Holborn and Brick Lane locations. For more info and to book, head HERE.
London Date Ideas: Immersive Experiences
Take the pressure out of choosing what to wear, by going somewhere which demands you come in fancy dress. Secret Cinema are behind some of the biggest budget and most beloved immersive experiences London has to offer, themed around your favourite TV and movies. The whole place is made up to look like the setting from Blade Runner or Stranger Things or Star Wars or Romeo + Juliet or whatever nostalgic cultural behemoth they’ve chosen this time. Actors are there, doing their thing all around you. Get involved, follow your individual story for the evening, exploring all there is to explore with your date. At the end of the evening, there’s a screening of the film to enjoy. It really is an experience best shared. And if you pick the right event, you could be exploring a world that means a whole bunch to the pair of you.
Check out our review of Secret Cinema Presents Stranger Things HERE
. And find out which Secret Cinema event is on next HERE.
Pedley Street Station
Pedley Street Station provides the setting for the creations of Funicular Productions, who come up with train-set immersive theatre pieces. Well, you would too, if you had a train carriage set like they do at Pedley. Join them for mystery theatre pieces, like The Jewel of the Empire and The Murder Express, which take you back to the age of steam train travel…when anyone who was anyone was getting murdered on a train. Or doing the murdering. Think Agatha Christie, pencil moustaches and genius detectives. Take your date along for the ride and try to solve the mystery together, before it’s too late, before the killer strikes again, before…the food arrives. And the food is pretty special aboard this train. At Pedley, they get guest chefs (usually recent MasterChef finalists) to come up with four course dining experiences that take you on a journey.
Pedley Street Station, Arch 63, Pedley St, London E1 5BW. For more details and to book, head HERE.
London Date Ideas: Evergreens
Portobello Electric Cinema
An oldie and a goodie: the cinema trip. But who needs armrest dividers when you’re on a date? Whisk someone off to the Portobello Road Electric Cinema in Notting Hill and you’ll be watching from the comfort of your very own private sofa or bed. The whole place looks stunning, with the cinema tracing its history back to the early 20th century. And they’ve got an impressive cocktail menu too, as well as a diner-style restaurant for before or after the flick. A trip to the Portobello Electric Cinema is as fancy and refined as cinema-going gets.
Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED. For more details and to book, head HERE.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Whispering Gallery
Whisper sweet nothings in one of the most visited London attractions…and have no one but your date hear them. A quirk of Whispering Gallery of St. Paul’s means that a word whispered into one side of the dome will reach a listener on the other side. Remember, you’re trying to impress here, so be mature. No fart noises.
Whisper it (actually, just shout it), but entry to St. Paul’s (including the Whispering Gallery) is included with The London Pass. Find out more about The London Pass below.
St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD. For more info, head HERE.
Banya No. 1
Getting thwacked with bunches of twigs and leaves doesn’t sound very pleasant. But do it with someone you’re dating and suddenly it doesn’t sound so bad. Because you’ll be getting violently attacked by bunches of branches together
. Head to Banya No. 1 for this authentic Russian spa treatment, entering a sauna that’s kept at about 80 degrees and getting the twig treatment. Then dip into the cold tub for a bracing finale. Relationships are built on shared experiences. Sometimes those experiences involve overcoming challenges together. This is one of those times. It’s meant to be seriously good for you too, heart healthy and replenishing and such.
Banya No. 1, 17 Micawber Street, London N1 7TB. For more info and to book, head HERE.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
Sometimes in a relationship, you just need some space. Head up to the Royal Observatory Greenwich for a dose of the cosmic, taking a look through their ludicrously powerful telescope, touch a 4.5 billion year old asteroid and catch a show at the planetarium. Stars are romantic—it’s a fact. And the view from up here on the hill in Greenwich Park is phenomenal.
You can gain entry to the Royal Observatory Greenwich with The London Pass. Find out more about that little shooting star below.
Royal Observatory Greenwich, Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ. For more information, head HERE.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Pick up a bouquet for your beau or belle at Columbia Road Flower Market. The historic market has an idiosyncratic feel to it, part relaxing, sweet smelling lazy Sunday, part chaotic, salt of the earth East London fun. It’s a combination that works at this Sunday flower market, where you can pick up cut flowers, readymade bouquets, houseplants, bedding plants, pot plants and herbs. Columbia Road is rich in independent businesses too. Family-owned restaurants, cute coffee shops and one-of-a-kind clothing, antique and gift stores. Head there early and make a day of it. Or go later if you’re thrifty. Plenty of stuff comes down to a fiver the closer you get to 4pm.
Every Sunday, 8am - 4pm. Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG
There are few dreamier London date locations than Kew Gardens. Superbly beautiful walking routes to explore, wonderful areas of flowers and trees and succulents and water features, inside and out. And special events on throughout the year, highlighting the change in seasons, showcasing flora from across the planet. It’s a well-trodden path, for sure, but what a path.
Entry to Kew Gardens comes included with The London Pass. Find out more about The London Pass below…
Kew Gardens, Richmond, London TW9 3AB. For more info, head HERE.
Photo by Stephanie Mulrooney on Unsplash
That’s your lot, when it comes to activity-based London date ideas. That’s a wrap. Finito. Done and dusted. Got some active London date ideas to add to the mix? Let us know in the comments below. As ever, we’d love to hear from you. And, as ever, we’d love for you to check out what else we’ve been writing about recently. So here's our article, London Date Ideas: Drinks and Eats