Contrary to popular belief, not all good dates involve getting drunk on cheap red wine. If you’re doing a Dryathlon or just cutting down on your booze for the New Year, here are some date ideas that will make you forget you even need vodka in order to make a move…
Get your ping-pong on at Bounce
Bounce is our favourite of the ping-pong themed bars popping up over London, and the perfect place to show off your skills. Hire a table (booking in advance is highly recommended) for 30 minutes and impress your date with your nimble wrist-action. The atmosphere is fun, not serious, and the staff are on hand to take drink/food orders and provide tips on your technique. Definitely a place for couples who have been on a few dates already, but a great night out for those not afraid to get a bit sweaty.
A nostalgic amble along Parkland Walk
This eerie walk from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace takes you along a disused railway line that was abandoned in 1970. The seven-kilometre path leads you through old station platforms and railway bridges, offering plenty to talk about along the way. There’s a shorter version of the walk that stops in Highgate, where you can end your walk with a well-deserved cup of tea. The full walk takes a couple of hours and leaves you in Alexandra Palace, which is an iconic building well worth a visit in itself. It also provides great views across London on a clear day. The whole experience is a brilliantly intriguing alternative to a weekend afternoon pub date.
Get intellectual at the Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection is one of the many museums in London that is hugely overlooked. It is in fact a fantastic venue for an afternoon date for the curiously-minded. One of their permanent collections, Medicine Man, is an exhibition made up of artefacts collected by the eccentric Henry Wellcome during his lifetime. Exhibits include Napoleon’s toothbrush as well as an impressive selection of false limbs throughout the ages! The guided tours are really informative and definitely worth signing up for if you’re there at the right time. This date is not for everyone by any means, but if you’re looking for a museum that offers something a bit different, it’s a great choice. FYI, the current temporary exhibition is entitled ‘Death: A self portrait’ – perhaps give that one a miss on a first date…
See some Work in Progress comedy at the Pleasance Theatre
The Pleasance Theatre in Islington is a lesser-known venue offering cutting-edge comedy and fringe theatre at very good prices. Check out their website for what’s on any given night, but generally there is a good selection of Work in Progress comedy (Michael Macintyre and Simon Amstell both practise their stuff here) and exciting new theatre. There’s a little bar in the foyer where you can get a pre-show soda water and lime, or for something more substantial, the gastropub next door has a good selection of American-themed food.
A night at the Trocadero
It may be a hangout for tourists and teenagers, but this central London attraction can also provide an evening of classic date entertainment. Our night included bumper cars, bowling and arcade games – you can’t really get more traditional than that. Admittedly, you have to approach the place with a sense of humour and take the kids and out-of-towners with a pinch of salt, but in a way that’s all part of the fun. In our opinion, it’s a perfect evening out for anyone who wants to show their not-too-serious date a good time with some timeless date activities.