The summer season is the perfect time to get outside and impress your significant other on an oh-so-romantic date.
Whether you’re meeting up with a fresh Tinder match or are finally going on the date night you’ve promised each other for the past two months, this roundup of summer date ideas will be sure to give you some ideas. We’ve got something for the activity-lover, the foodie and the person-who-loves-a-bit-of-everything. Happy wooing!
1. Take a canal boat made for two…
Or eight, as it turns out. In Merchant Square, you can hire an electric canal boat and go pootling through Little Venice. (Get cheap weekday tickets for that here.) Or in east London, you can hire your own two-person canoe and paddle gently along the area’s many man-made waterways. (You may have to schlep your boat around the occasional lock, but that’s someone’s opportunity to show off how brave and strong they are.) Pick up passes for that here.
2. Cosy up in front of an outdoor film…
It’s al fresco cinema season and there are outdoor film screenings all over the capital! Snuggle up with your S.O. in front of a loved-up romcom, a clinch-inducing horror or heart-stirring drama: check out Pop-Up Screens series of showings in parks around the city, or explore alternative open-air cinemas in London.
3. Catch some theatre al fresco
If you prefer the Bard to Legally Blonde – or just want to convince your date that you do! – why not check out some outdoor theatre together instead? From Regents Park Open-Air Theatre to Shakespeare’s Globe, there are several romantic places to enjoy plays, musicals and stand-up comedy in the city on a balmy evening.
4. Pedalo to a mastaba
Take a trip to Hyde Park with bae (are people still saying that?) and take a mini-voyage out towards the giant floating ‘mastaba’ in the middle of the Serpentine, demonstrating your toned thigh strength and aesthetic sensibilities all in one go. Indisputably, a barrel of laughs.
5. Go for cocktails at a fabulous rooftop bar
There’s nothing quite like a few martinis and a view over our fine city to make it seem like all things are possible. We’re not saying you have to propose (like this fella at Aldgate’s Jin Bo Law) but it might help you get a snog at least. See our list of rooftop bars in London.
6. Have a lazy Sunday by the water
Watch the world go by (when you aren’t making eyes at each other) at a waterside restaurant or bar one sunny weekend afternoon. Head along for brunch – and mimosa your way through to sunset. See our guide to canalside bars and restaurants and pubs and restaurants on the Thames.
7. Take in some art in a park
Look pensive, place a finger strategically on the chin and nod amicably. Congratulations, you’ve just fooled the art world into thinking you have a deep, meaningful understanding of modern art. Courtesy of Frieze Sculpture 2018, art needn’t be all that daunting. Taking place from July 4th until October 7th, it’s completely free and allows you to discover 25 leading artists from around the world.
Check out their website for more information.
8. Check out each other’s putts
How about a bit of flirtatious competition to spice things up? London is full of indoor and outdoor crazy golf courses, including this choice spot on an east London rooftop – perfect for a sunny summer’s day.
9. Make a splash together
Head to one of London’s outdoor swimming pools for a date aquatic, followed by much lounging about in the sun. You might want to go there early or late to avoid the crowds on a hot weekend, mind you! (Alternatively, head to this pool for a moonlit midnight swim...)
10. Take a trip to ‘the country’ (not the real country obviously)
You don’t want to get too far from home, but luckily London is full of spots with a bit of a wilderness vibe. From Hampstead Heath to Walthamstow Wetlands and Ruislip Woods, set off on a sunlit stroll, hand-in-hand, pausing only to take selfies where you refer to each other as ‘this one.’ Plus, you’ll be close to home if the fancy strikes you.
11. Catch a sunset to remember
Watching the low, red sun set over our beautiful city is guaranteed to stir the passions, or at the very least, make you feel quite nice. See our guide to places with great views of London, and remember that southerly locations facing north-west enjoy the best perspective on a summer sunset – Greenwich Park is a particular favourite.
12. Explore somewhere new together
Sometimes we all need a little sense of adventure, but easy now: Zone 6 ought to do it. From gothic castles to ruined pergolas and crystal grottos to purple fields of lavender, there’s no shortage of magical places to visit you’ll at least briefly enjoy before sodding off home to watch some Netflix and make out.
13. Find out what they actually like to eat with this one simple trick
He’s a gluten-intolerant flexitarian, you’re a spice-averse paleo-faster: what’s a courting couple to do? The answer, of course, is to head to one of London’s street food market halls, where you can pick your preferred cuisines from up to 20 different vendors before dating your faces off in the corner of a sun-kissed courtyard.
14. Hire a bike and show ’em your riding skills
No date is complete without something cumbersome and unresponsive between your legs, so why not hire some Santander Cycles together? There are 750 docking stations around the city which will let you pick up a bike, using just your debit card, from £2. (More ambitiously, you could hire a tandem!) See our guide to some of London’s prettiest cycle routes.
15. Have a perfect picnic in the park
The classic summer date – and so many places to choose from! London is one of the greenest cities in the world, with over 111 parks to choose from – plus a few secret gardens. Grab a blanket, some Pimm’s and quality snacks and have a lovely old time of it. (If you want to be extra fancy, you can grab a pre-made hamper from Fortnum & Mason‘s near central London’s Royal Parks, or indulge in Duke’s Hotel’s deal at Green Park, who will top up your champagne supplies with their on-hand butler!)
16. Get out of town
Are you ready to make that next leap of, like, actually leaving the city together? More power to you two! Check out our guide to beaches near London and fun seaside towns; get cosy in one of these romantic treehouses or woodland retreats; or pick a number between 1-100 and then see where you end up on our list of 100 day trip ideas from London!
Also published on Medium.