First dates are weird because although they have the potential to be a giant laugh, they've also got to be the most nerve-wracking events of our social lives. As well as freaking out over what to wear (because you don't want to misjudge the weather and turn up sweating like a prize pig), and what questions to ask, there's also the little old problem of what the hell to do.
The best advice is always not to make it too complicated or stressful, and don't ever put yourself in a situation where you can't get away from them if they turn out to be a total nightmare (espesh important with strangers you meet on dating apps!)
Here are some fun first date ideas that don't totally suck.
1. Wine tasting
If you both love a fine wine, or want to learn more about wine/be the kind of people who do, wine tasting is both educational and a huge laugh (and really luxury actually). Trying different types of wine, describing what you taste to each other, feeding your date an olive or tasty slice of charcuterie, there is so much fun and romance to be had at a boujee wine shop. If you're London-based, Oeno House just launched in The Royal Exchange and is as fancy and glorious as wine boutiques come. Plus, it's run by an all-female team. Sit outside on the lovely terrace, or hire the private space if you fancy a group date.
2. Outdoor cinemas
Usually cinema is a giant no because a) you don't get to talk, which as we all know, is really how you figure out whether someone is a total a-hole or not, and b) it's dark so you can't even get a good look at them. Outdoor cinemas are a different vibe as people tend to chat, you can usually take in booze and snacks, and they're not pitch black. Wembley Park has loads of great summer screenings coming up, and they're free - from Dirty Dancing to classic sing-alongs. Other options are Backyard Cinema, Luna Cinema and Cult Screens put on pop up and regular outdoor cinema events all over the UK.
One of the cutest, most romantic things you can do with someone is literally just look up. New research from Google Pixel 4 found 36% of people want to stargaze with their partner over anyone else (including celebs). N'awww. 44% said they wished they could spot constellations and 39% want to learn the names of stars. So why not be the one to wow your date with astroknowledge?
4. Retro amusement parks
Vintage amusement parks have that impossible balance of cringe and cute. If you're sh*t-yourself scared of roller coasters, you can go on the kids' rides or play games. And if you're not and you go on the biggest, baddest ride there is, it'll give you fun points and also be a massive crease. They're all over the UK so you can check out Dreamland in Margate, Dingles in Devon, Adventure Island in Essex, or some of the other best parks in the UK.
5. Board game cafes
You really don't have to be a big nerd (term used affectionately, always) to enjoy a board game. Whether you go for a really simply family fave like Trivial Pursuit (kick their ass at the Friends edition), or a complicated but thrilling game where you build a strategic network of power stations (this is my legit favourite board game), it gives you things to talk about and takes the pressure off answering personal qus.
6. Trampoline parks
Sure, the idea of your date seeing your boobs/hair/chins bouncing around might not fill you with the utmost confidence, but trampolining is bloody fun. Parks are opening up all over the UK where you can play trampoline-based games, or just do some cool mid-air stunts. Again, being relaxed and cracking up is the perfect formula for a good date, and trampolining's a good environment for that. Jump360 have parks all over the country.
7. Scavenger hunts
Scavenger hunts are becoming really popular for dates because having an actual task to do means you get to avoid any awkwardness or weird silences, AND they're incredibly fun. You get to work together which can obvs promote bonding (bit cringe but true) and it's something you can laugh/talk about afterwards.
Not just a cutesy thing to do with your nan on a Sunday, picnics are super fun for dates too because newsflash: you can take booze. You basically get to sit in a nice park, sipping gin from tins and chomping on snacks while having a good old chat.
If you chat about your interests beforehand and figure out what you have in common, you can go to an exhibition that you'll be both into. There are loads of galleries and events that aren't library style where you have to keep quiet. So you can look at cool stuff, have something to talk about and expand your minds, man.
10. Hang out with puppies
If your date doesn't like puppies then dump them immediately. Just kidding but seriously, if you're both mad about dogs, you can hang out with one for the day, take them on walks or go snuggle with them at a shelter.
11. Crazy golf
Another retro one, but these days you can drink beers while playing at places like Birdies, which is full of brilliant food and drink options and a surreal 9-hole golf course. Again, it gives you a talking point and allows you to mock your date mercilessly if they're rubbish.
It's an oldie but a goodie. Grab a coffee and go on a nice jaunt in your local area. Parks are obvs cool because you can stop for ice cream, play on the swings or feed the ducks (yes I am aware you're not five years old, but these things are good at any age). Or if you're both a bit more active, you can step it up and go on a full-blown hike. W/e you're into. Here are some lovely, nature-filled routes to walk. Also, it's free so...
13. Spooky stuff
If you're both a bit weird/overgrown emos, you could do something ridiculous like visit a haunted house, or go on a ghost walk or tour. Admittedly, not everyone's into the darker side of life, but if you're both supernaturally minded this could be a fab date.
14. Bike ride
Erm, if you've ever seen a film involving a love story you will know that riding a bike is like the number one way to attract someone. Look at you, all cute with your basket and the wind blowing through your hair. OR if you're super into cycling, like that proper cycling where you clip your shoes onto the pedals, you can take trip further afield and discover a cute little village together and stop for a drink.
15. Swanky dinner
When on a date, it's always nice to do something extra fancy. So why not choose a nice restaurant, dress up all posh and go for a swanky dinner?
Our new fave is IT, in the heart of London's Mayfair which launched back in November 2019. Overseen by the two Michelin-starred chef Gennaro Esposito it's an authentic Mediterranean menu. And the setting is just so date (and Instagram) worthy...
16. Cabaret, baby
If you both love a good show and watching performers sing, dance and do some seriously good burlesque, cabaret can be all kinds of fun. There's usually a good cabaret or two in most UK cities - like Lio London in, well, London...
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