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Looking for unique date ideas in London or a fantastic first date place to encourage cupid in the capital? London is full of creative date ideas or cool nights for love at first sight (and something to suit all tastes, be they culinary or carnal)
From historic pubs to cheese conveyor belts, riverside rambles to London’s most exclusive food court (plus literal speed-dating at go-karting tracks); here is our guide to the best date ideas in London:
Table of Contents
First Date Ideas in London
1. Pick & Cheese; The Cheese Bar at Covent Garden
Let’s start with one of the more ‘cheesy’ date ideas for London (but in a good way).
What a brie-illant idea and so gouda to try; but maybe choose your stinky cheeses ‘caerphilly‘ so as not to have OTT cheese-breath on your date!
The Pick & Cheese concept is simple; choose your cheese from the conveyor belt (all British cheeses), with prices around £1.50 to £5 per plate of cheese.
With around 20 varieties of cheese to choose from – each comes with an accompanying and complimentary treat (think figs or cornish fudge). You also have access to unlimited crackers.
Paired with wine, this is one of the most fun (and delicious) nights out in Covent Garden. You can often just walk up and grab a seat at Pick and Cheese, although you may have to wait on busy nights.
Watch our Pick & Cheese Tik Tok video:
@cktravels Pick and Cheese – a sushi style conveyor belt cheese restaurant in Covent Garden London. #cheese #cheeserestaurant #london #coventgarden #londonlife #londontiktok #londonhotspots #londonfood #londonrestaurants #londontown #uk #england ♬ Gotta Get Some Food Funk – FrequentlyAskedMusic
2. Cahoots London
Soho’s very own time-warp, Cahoots is an underground bar harking back to the blitz spirit of the 1940s; a veritable vintage feast of cocktails and food ‘rations’.
Cahoots certainly provides a rather unique location and beautiful bar for a first date or memorable date idea in London.
Lovingly decorated and themed like a war-time tube station and train carriages, walking down the steps from modern day Kingly Court to the Cahoots basement bar is genuinely like stepping back in time.
If your London date is on a Sunday afternoon, try the Cahoots Cocktail cuppas and cakes afternoon tea, held every Sunday (£28 per person as of 2023) which we’d thoroughly recommend.
One of the more memorable things to do in Soho, read more about Cahoots Bar (and see more the Cahoots Bar interior) here >
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3. Mercato Mayfair Food Hall
A first date in London’s Mayfair doesn’t have to be an expensive affair.
Located in an old church, Mercato Mayfair is a stunning street food hall in the heart of London, plus it has surprisingly reasonable food and drink prices given it is located in upmarket Mayfair.
The church (St Mark’s in Mayfair) was deconsecrated in the 1970s. This is our go to street food place near Oxford Street when we are hosting friends from overseas – it is also one of our best ideas for a date in London.
Mercato Mayfair Food Hall has around 15 street food vendors (so you and your date can grab different foods if need be, plus beautiful bars based over two floors. There is even a craft beer brewery bar where the church altar used to be.
Mercato Mayfair food stalls include Steamy & Co bao and dumplings, Malaysian street food from Spice Lab, plus bars including German Kraft Brewery and Jim & Tonic.
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4. Fairgame Canary Wharf
Fairgame is one of the best immersive experiences in London and a fine date idea in London! A place to see how playful your potential partner is!
A new hands-on gaming experience that opened in Canary Wharf in late 2022, Fairgame is a fun date night and one of the best photo spots in London.
How best to describe Fairgame at Canary Wharf? A London games bar with all the fun of the fair without the rubbish circus acts.
A carnival of fairground attraction style games with oodles of eating and drinking options. We’d actually recommend eating after the activities as some of them can be energetic if you really get into them!
And yes, there is a candy floss stall too alongside delicious street food fare from Rudy’s Pizza, Burger & Beyond and Taco Dos Mas (their loaded nachos were incredible).
There are various options / packages available at Fairgame Canary Wharf which would be suitable for a date night in London including the £25pp package which includes 70 minutes of gaming activities plus two drinks each (wine, pints of beer, prosecco etc).
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5. Picnic on Primrose Hill
This is a great place to go for a picnic on your first date in London (picnics are always one of the most fun date ideas in London).
Offering incredible panoramic views over Regent’s Park (including London Zoo) and possibly the widest, free, unspoilt views of downtown London anywhere in the city, this is one to relish and make an afternoon of.
Pack your picnic blanket and Pimms and enjoy Primrose Hill’s downtown vistas; the best place to get supplies is nearby Regent’s Park Road.
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6. Frank’s Cafe at Bold Tendencies,
Although a car-park roof in Peckham may not sound like the most formidable first date idea in London, Frank’s Cafe is a hip hangout and incredibly busy at the weekends. Perfect for an alfresco summer’s evening (or quick escape if the date isn’t going so well!)
Frank’s Cafe has changed a lot over the years (it first opened in 2009 as a wooden shack) and has various rooftop sculptures.
Admission to Frank’s Cafe is free but best to buy a drink from the bar and enjoy the view. Nearby Bussey 360 Degree Rooftop Bar also has a brilliant south London panoramic view.
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7. The Barbican and the Barbican Conservatory
Some first dates in London can be particularly ‘brutal’ but possibly none more so than a meet-up at the Barbican, London’s beautifully Brutalist housing estate in London which has an incredible indoor tropical garden – one of the best free things to do in London.
The Barbican was initially conceived as an experiment in inner city living and is an interesting place in itself to walk around and a great idea for a date in London.
The Barbican Conservatory is London’s second biggest conservatory. It is a huge tropical greenhouse that is home to hundreds of species of tropical plants and waterfalls; it is hard to believe you are still in central London.
For this, you need to plan this London date idea in advance. Free tickets for the Conservatory are released one week in advance online on Thursdays at 10am, click here to book your Barbican Conservatory ticket >
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8. The Bermondsey Beer Mile
Comprising of almost 20 breweries and counting, the Bermondsey Beer Mile is likely London’s best beer experience and also an interesting place for a first date if you want to enjoy drinks together in an amiable setting that isn’t too pretentious.
From tiny taprooms to brand spanking new bars, craft cideries to hipster hangouts, there is a Bermondsey Beer Mile brewery to suit everyone’s tastes.
And if your date doesn’t like beer, you’ll even find a dedicated mead taproom, or many breweries also serve soft drinks or wine.
There is also a low alcohol brewery (Small Beer Brew Co.) along the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
9. South Bank Walk
We rate the South Bank walk along the River Thames as one of London’s best walks because there is so much to see and enjoy here.
The walk offers history, attractions, riverside views, old pubs and more – you can see landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern.
If your date is new to London, this is one of the best ways to introduce them to all the incredible views and vistas the city has to offer.
After a walk or sunset stroll along South Bank, you can always enjoy a drink at some of the best riverside pubs in London.
This is the perfect way to spend a date night in London. Read our guide to the South Bank walk here >
10. Go to a board game cafe
‘Board’ of the same old London date ideas? How about a board game date?
One of the best board game cafes in central London is Draughts near Waterloo Station, located in the super street art tunnel Leake Street Arches.
Open daily until late, this is a great place for game enthusiasts and role play revellers and a nice place for a first date or date idea in London.
As well as board games, Draughts Leake Street offers diner style food in the form of burgers, tacos and light bites along with the usual craft beer choice.
Alternatively, check out Rule Zero, a canalside bar and Hackney Wick hang-out where you can eat, drink and (role) play ‘til your heart’s content.
The first rule of Rule Zero is to have fun and with a top floor dedicated to table gaming (from Scrabble to Snakes and Ladders). It isn’t hard to be ‘won’ over by this Hackney Wick puzzle pub.
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11. Tate Modern
Housed in a former power station, the Tate Modern has been transformed in recent years into a modern art powerhouse, with permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions.
The Tate is free admission (a very cheap date night idea in London) although some of the exhibitions charge entrance fees.
The Tate’s Turbine Hall is free to visit too and often has large scale displays and immersive soundscapes that are unique to the space it inhabits.
Afterwards grab a drink with your date at the Tate’s Terrace Bar, overlooking the city and River Thames (plus the wine choice is pretty good and prices reasonable too for such a well appointed bar).
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12. The Churchill Arms, London’s Prettiest Pub
Fancy a date night in London with flowers? Then the Churchill Arms is one of the best date ideas in London for you!
Located in between Kensington and Notting Hill, The Churchill Arms is London’s most colourful pub due to the exterior being festooned with thousands of flowers during the summer and a cacophony of Christmas trees in the winter months.
Not only is the Churchill Arms Kensington a classic choice for craft beers and fine ales on tap but also one of the most popular and prettiest pubs in London (complete with a secret indoor Thai restaurant).
A memorable West London date night, read our full guide to visiting the Churchill Arms in Kensington here >
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13. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is world renowned for its beautiful blooms with over 50,000 different types of flowers and plants in its collection – it is also a colourful place for a date idea in London.
Set over 300 acres, you’ll find lots of cute talking spots at Kew Gardens including a charming Chinese pagoda, incredible green houses, a Japanese garden and The Temperate House.
The Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse that has over 1000 species of plants from all over the world; the ornate staircases in the middle section that descend into the foliage are particularly photogenic.
Kew Gardens can be visited all year round; admission fees apply.
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14. Pop Brixton
A local community space, full of shipping containers and temporary office space, Pop Brixton features lots of local businesses, from bars to barbers and radio stations to restoration specialists.
Given its huge outdoor terrace and plenty of street food choices, it is a perfect plate for a London first date and an excellent date idea.
The food options are incredible – Koi Ramen is always popular and Baba G’s Bhangra Burger looked gut bustingly beautiful. S11 Bar also has a nice beer garden as you enter the Pop compound, with several large alfresco tables bedecked with hanging baskets.
Open all year round, Pop Brixton also hosts a regular events schedule offering everything from tai chi and yoga sessions to vintage jumble sales.
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15. Somerset House Stroll
Along the banks of the River Thames, Somerset House is a historic building (parts date back to the 1770s) that is free to explore.
Inside Somerset House, visit the Courtauld Gallery, home to one of the largest collections of fine art in the UK or visit one of the numerous pop-up art and craft studios and shops.
The Somerset House courtyard often has free events in their central square like pop-up markets (and in winter, you hire ice skates and enjoy one of London’s most magical Christmas ice skating rinks – brilliant for a Christmas date of the romantic kind.
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16. Up The Creek Comedy Club
Greenwich’s Up The Creek Comedy Club has been around for over 20 years, and one of the best venues for a ‘funny’ date idea in London.
Just a short walk from the Cutty Sark DLR station, Up The Creek has comedy shows several nights a week including their (in)famous Saturday night comedy club.
Hosting new and established acts, previous shows and comedians to perform at Up The Creek include Stewart Lee, Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand and Dara O’Briain.
Tickets for Up The Creek Greenwich comedy shows start at £8.80 for the lesser known acts or try-out nights whilst the Saturday night show is around £22 which includes around four comedians. Just pray that the comedian onstage doesn’t hone in on you and date!
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17. Crazy Golf
Asking your date if they are into swinging may not be the ideal way to start a first date in London…unless you are inviting them to a date on a mini golf course!
Fore real – there are lots of cute crazy golf and marvellous mini golf courses to go on a date in London.
Mini golf in London for a London date idea is also better than ‘proper’ golf as you don’t have all the expensive joining fees or wear ridiculous golfing gear. Better still, most of these London mini golf places have bars meaning this is the only time you are allowed to ‘drink and drive’.
The London mini golf theming is excellent too from a course with miniature London landmarks like Tower Bridge through to a roof-top mini golf course in east London.
18. Flight Club
Bullseye! Before you ‘dart’ to Victoria Station to catch the train home, why not have a flight of fancy and try to hit 180 in Flight Club, the home of social darts in the city of London? Dart dating is definitely one of the more different date ideas in London.
Darts is a well loved sport and could be a good way for you and your date to bond over a bullseye! If you haven’t heard of it before, think of it as throwing mini arrows at a circular board where you are trying to get the best score, the first to 301 or 501.
Flight club is a darts themed bar where you can step up the oche and throw a few flights.
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19 ‘Go Ape’ on your London date
If you are in the market for some daring date aerial antics and high up walks, Go Ape at Battersea Park might be for you (plus they have another location at Alexandra Palace).
This is a terrific / terrifying (delete as appropriate depending on your mindset) treetop walk and adventure aerial course and possibly a rather quirky first date idea in London.
There is a cafe directly below Go Ape Battersea which serves booze if you need a stiff pick-me-up afterwards!
With courses available for all levels, this is one London alternative first date idea with real ‘altitude’.
A fan of heights?! Time to do the O2 Climb in London >
20. Holland Park and Kyoto Gardens
Just across from Notting Hill, Holland Park is one of London’s best open spaces and top date ideas in London.
Renowned for its oriental style, Kyoto Garden is glorious in Spring (London’s very own sakura / cherry blossom spot).
Holland Park is also home to Holland House and its glorious Formal Gardens (a very popular wedding spot too if your date goes REALLY well!).
Free to visit, in the summer months, you can listen to open air opera at Holland Park Theatre.
Holland Park is also a prime picnic spot, where you can stock up with hamper goodies either from delis in Notting Hill (or Waitrose on High Street Kensington).
The Kyoto Gardens contain a beautiful waterfall too and if you are lucky, you might spot a peacock – surely a good omen for your first date in London?
21. Go Karting Dating
Talk about speed dating!
If you fancy driving some circuits or chicanes in the capital, you might be surprised how many go karting tracks in London there are that are easily accessible by public transport and are suitable for a driving date.
With traffic often at a stand-still in the city, live life in the fast line and re-enact Super Mario Kart for real with high-octane opportunities and top tracks in and around London.
From Canary Wharf karts to go kart action in Acton (plus a Japanese style e-kart track in south London), read our guide to the 10 best tracks for go-karting in London for dates and mates >
22. The Dickens Inn
A first date at London’s Dickens Inn will be one to remember – hopefully for all the right reasons!
This former 18th warehouse in Wapping was never actually ever frequented by Charles Dickens himself, but this doesn’t stop The Dickens Inn in St Katharine’s Dock (Tower Hill) being one of the most popular pubs and most Instagrammable places in London.
It is however one of the prettiest pubs in London with its cottage style exterior and rows of flowers and hanging baskets adorning the frame. It almost rivals The Churchill Arms in West London for its floral facade.
There are plenty of outdoor areas and flower laden terraces at The Dickens Inn making it a good spot to chat and get to know each other.
The views of Marble Quay and the River Thames from the upper levels of The Dickens Inn are pretty special (certain sections are dining only) so if you can bag yourself a coveted outdoor spot, stay for sunset and gaze longingly at your first-date and the multi-million pound yachts on display in the dock.
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Our Final First Date Idea in London / First Dates in London :
23. St Pancras Champagne Bar by Searcys
Located on the upper concourse of the Victorian Gothic London St Pancras International train station is this elegant bar which is also the longest Champagne bar in Europe!
For a classy champagne date night in London, take a seat in one of their cosy leather booths decorated with Art Deco lamps, and order a glass of bubbles, a meal from the full restaurant menu or afternoon tea.
If the date goes incredibly well and you’ve found your soul mate, you can be impulsive and jump aboard the Eurostar to Paris or Brussels together for your second date – you’re welcome!
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Other London posts you might like
- The ultimate guide to the Bermondsey Beer Mile
- The best north London brewery taprooms
- Leytonstone Beer Mile guide
- Top London Games Bars and Arcades
- Best pubs & bars in Shepherd’s Bush
- Walthamstow Beer Mile Ultimate Guide with map
- Things to do in Hackney Wick, east London
- Best riverside pubs and bars in London
- Things to do near Cannon Street Station, London
- Top things to do in King’s Cross, London
- Ultimate guide to Tottenham, London
- Maltby Street Market in London
- Top things to do in Brixton, South London
- Borough Market guide – London’s most famous food market
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