The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a dating rut and return to the same old trusty Italian restaurant time and time again but with so much on our doorstep we want to make date night exciting again, so here is our guide to the best alternative date ideas in London, for all budgets.

Up at the O2

15 mile views of London

You don’t actually have to be a daredevil to climb Up at the O2, maybe you just want to see how manly your date really is once he’s 52 metres above the ground, attached by a harness and rope. The adventure takes about 90 minutes, with one hour for the climb and can be done at twilight, during the day or at sunset. If he passes the test you can head to one of the 38 bars or restaurants in the O2 itself for a debrief and hopefully a follow up.

Where: Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX

Dans le Noir

Dining in the dark

Taking the term Blind Date quite literally, Dans le Noir is a one of a kind dining experience where you’ll really get to know your date. A surprise meal (vegetarian, meat or fish) provides the opportunity for some great conversation in a pitch black setting – the idea being that without sight, all your other senses are heightened. Sounds pretty romantic to us.

Where: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0DU

The Electric

Luxury movie-watching

A movie is a classic date activity but when the seats are covered in someone else’s popcorn and the carpets are sticky it kind of kills the romance. Forget everything you know about chain cinemas and replace with leather armchairs and cashmere blankets and you have yourself Electric Cinema. It’s not particularly expensive anyway (angled seats are cheaper) but with reduced rates on Sunday matinees you’ll be able to spend more in the deli-bar to drink as you watch.

Where: 191 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Shepherds Bush (0.9 miles)

William Curley Belgravia

Chocolate sampling masterclass

What is it about chocolate that links it with romance? Whatever it is we love the sound of chocolate sampling at one of London’s finest chocolatiers, William Curley Belgravia. The 2.5 hour truffle masterclass isn’t cheap but they have been voted ‘Britains Best Chocolatier’ four times by The Academy of Chocolate. Go for a stroll and window-shop in Sloane Square after to save your waist and your wallet.

Where: 198 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1W 8UN

St. Paul's Cathedral

Whisper sweet nothings in St Paul’s Cathedral

If you don’t fancy spending a bomb or having a strict itinerary to stick to then a visit to the Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome is the perfect solution. First discovered in St Paul’s in 1878, there is something intimate about whispering galleries despite the fact you are 110 feet apart; just think of all the lovers who have visited before you.

Where: St Paul's Churchyard, St Paul's, EC4M 8AD

33 Portland Place

Tango by Candlelight

Get up close and personal with your date and try something a little different; candlelit Tango. It helps if you have a bit of rhythm so maybe it’s worth watching Strictly on the Saturday night before heading to the class on Sunday so your partner doesn’t leave with bruised feet and in a strop.

Where: 33 Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B 1QU

Somerset House

Winter romance on the ice rink

Somerset House’s 18th century courtyard is one of the most romantic settings in the city. Cling on to each other as you glide round the rink (Torvil and Dean, anyone?!) and head to the bar after for a hot chocolate or wine and fondue for two in Fortnum’s Lodge. For something a little different try one of their Club Nights with live DJs playing as you skate, and no children to show you up.

Where: Strand, London, WC2R 1LA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Temple (0.2 miles)

Hampton Court Palace

Get lost together

If you fancy getting out of central London for an afternoon, head to the maze at Hampton Court Palace. Commissioned by William III around 1700, it is the UK’s oldest surviving yew hedge maze. Whilst you’re there, have a wander round the immaculate Privy Gardens and through the Great Vine – the largest grape vine in the world.

Where: Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hampton Court (0.2 miles)

Little Venice

Venician romance in Maida Vale

Can’t quite make the time for a city break? Head to Maida Vale instead for a canal boat ride down Regent’s Canal at Little Venice, so named by the poet Robert Browning. Various companies offer boat rides but some are longer than others, making the 45 minute ride to Camden past some of West London’s most desirable townhouses.

Where: Jason’s Wharf, Little Venice, W9 2PD