Whether you’ve been going strong for over a decade or you’re dipping your toe back into the London dating scene post-lockdown, here are some fun, romantic and unique date ideas to have up your sleeve to ensure 2020 brings you the summer of love.
From the poshest picnic deliveries that mean you won’t have to be ashamed by your sandwich skills to open-air cinemas you can get cosy at, pretty flower markets for the hardcore romantics out there and the best summer food and drink options in town, here’s all you need to know to guarantee a second date.
And for dates when it rains? London’s museums and galleries are beginning to open their doors once again and we’ve got the lowdown on the best exhibitions to book into.
Catch an outdoor movie
Snuggle under a blanket, cosy up beneath the stars and flirt over the popcorn at one of London’s open-air alfresco cinemas. London really comes into its own during the summer months and as soon as the temperature warms up and the nights get balmier we cannot wait to get to one of the outdoor cinemas popping up all over the capital.
Check out our list of the outdoor cinemas open now and book in for a classic rom-com at some spectacular locations, from Luna Cinema at Hampton Court Palace to retro drive-ins at Ally Pally.
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Book a table at one of London’s outdoor restaurants
Knock knees under the table (not strictly adhering to the one-metre rule here, sorry) at one of the city’s pretty alfresco spots.
There are endless options on offer, whether you want cosy, Italian fare – we recommend Circolo Popolare or blow the budget date night at The Berkeley’s newly opened summer terrace. Both are guaranteed to secure that second date.
Take in the views at one of these London rooftops
Impress your date with sweeping views over London – preferably with a sunset thrown in – as the city’s stunning rooftop bars and restaurants reopen for business.
Favourites include the Thames-side Seabird for seriously good seafood, crazy cocktails and painfully on trend rattan a plenty, the Queen of Hoxton if you’re trying to play it cool and the Treehouse hotel’s rooftop Nest bar which boast some of the best views of W1 and beyond.
Everyone’s partial to a killer view, especially with cocktail in hand and sharing small plates that mean you’re not invested in a three-course dinner if you don’t fancy your date that much. Just pray for rooftop weather and book ahead to avoid embarrassment at the door.
Pick up a bunch at one of London’s pretty flower markets
Call us old fashioned but a bunch of flowers can still make us go weak at the knees – and we’re not just talking about the girls, a boy who knows to pick peonies over gerberas is hot.
If you’ve got a day date planned this weekend, head to one of the city’s colourful flower markets and seal with deal with a handpicked bunch at the end. From Columbia Road and its endless array of cafes and pubs to Mare Street’s cool, curated space, there are plenty of bloom-filled destinations on offer.
CHECK OUT: Best Flower Markets In London
Plan an posh picnic
And we don’t mean an M&S 3 for 2 job. Go all out with some of the finest picnic delivery services on offer.
There’s the ultimate option – Burger & Lobster – which delivers decadent lobster rolls, salad and dessert for two to your picnic spot of choice. Or a whole host of gourmet hampers that will create the perfect picnic in your chosen spot, all you have to do is bring the blanket and hope for sunshine.
Our favourite is Pique – the luxe deli that will load up a box of the best scotch eggs in town, chorizo sausage rolls, succulent roast chicken salads and moreish brownie bites.
Take a romantic stroll down the canal
With waterside views as pretty as the Thames but with fewer people, some of London’s most charming local pubs can be found nestled in the city’s leafy waterways.
From Hackney Wick, the epicentre of canalside drinks in the sun, to Gordon Ramsay’s famous pub and restaurant, and a bursting with colour barge that’s been designed by none other than Sir Peter Blake himself, take a waterside stroll followed by drinks in the sun at some of London’s finest canalside boozers. Everyone’s seen the Thames but show your date some unexpected gems and we promise they’ll be impressed.
CHECK OUT: 11 Canalside Boozers To Try Out This Weekend
Take your date to a pop-up
Sure, dates are about finding love, having fun, etc etc, but they’re also about eating and drinking and this summer is full to bursting with some epic London pop-ups that will deliver. First up, there’s Giz & Green’s junk food pop-up. It’s the food baby of rapper Professor Green and chef, writer and broadcaster Gizzi Erskine, who have brought their weekly Instagram lockdown series called ‘Giz & Green’s Monday Night Fakeaway’ to life. They’ll be serving up Domino’s-inspired pizzas that are this summer’s must-try – that’s if you can get a table.
For something a little more highbrow, book in for drinks at the Black Cow x Tom Dixon Espresso Martinis pop-up in Coal Drops Yard. Located outside the Tom Dixon’s shop, the pop-up will be shaking up bucket loads of our favourite cocktail.
Take in a new exhibition
This is London after all and while we’d all love to flirt in the sunshine on a first date, chances are the heavens will open. Take cover at one of this summer’s new or reopened post-COVID exhibitions. There’s really something for everyone whether that’s Picasso, Warhol or mushrooms? Yes, really.
Be aware that due to government guidelines you do have to prebook, even if the exhibitions are free. Worth having one up your sleeve if you need to use plan b when it starts to rain.