The sun is finally out, so why not make the most of our top summer date ideas

In the garden
Big, grand parks are all well and good, but there is nothing better than a simple back (or front, or balcony-style) garden for you to host the picture-perfect date. Find a blanket, get your radio playing, and maybe even invest in a paddling pool, before you both sit back and relax knowing you don’t have to bother with other people getting in the way, Frisbees hitting you on the head, or having to tramp half an hour when you need the loo. Home sweet home means sweet romance too.

On the beach
Yes, we’re in Britain, not in the Maldives. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invent your own version of romantic gambolling down a beach. Grab your car or jump on a train and set off to the nearest sea-side resort. You may have to replace sand with pebbles, pineapples for candy-floss and bikinis for waterproofs, but the magic of being by the seaside will still give you and your partner a healthy, sea-air sprinkled dose of romance.

Under a pub garden umbrella
Whether it’s shading off the sun, or an incoming storm-cloud, there is nothing like sitting under a pub garden umbrella. You can’t help but feel safe and protected against the elements, and with that comes a lovely cosy feeling towards whoever you’re with too. So grab some Pimms, scramble your way to the nearest seats, and toast your perfect date.

On a bike
A bit of exercise doesn’t just flex your leg and arm muscles; it flexes your heart muscles too. Yes in the aerobic blood-pumping way, obviously; but more importantly, in that ‘falling in love with your partner in a new light’ way. It’s easy to get a bit lazy if you’re in a relationship, and stop bothering to get out and about, but by going on a cycle ride together and seeing them being fit and active again is a great way to remind yourself why you might have fancied them in the first place.

On a picnic rug
There can’t be many people in the world who don’t love picnics. Especially picnics in the sunshine, with the person you love. Forget about the annoying wasps, and focus on what really matters: the chance to share your food, share your wine, and share a gorgeous afternoon or evening under a balmy sunny sky. There’s something about being in the open that means you discuss things you perhaps wouldn’t discuss if you were having a meal in a confined restaurant or bar.

At a festival
Everyone says music gets you in the mood for love, so surely a whole day or weekend of it must be a pretty good date. Sure, there’s the danger of camping, mud, no showering and terrible toilets to mar things, but let’s not focus on that. Festivals are a great way to see what your partner is really made of too – if they get squeamish or moan too much at just a few days of festival-induced hardship, what do you think that says for the rest of the relationship? But if they laugh, shrug and just pull on their wellies, then continuing to date them is probably a pretty, um, sound idea.

On a bus
This might not start off as the most auspicious date suggestion, but stick with it. While the bus might normally be the bane of your commute, a bus in summer can also be your dating friend. Most cities in the country have open-top tour buses, so why not hop on board with your partner and start taking in the sights. The kitsch, retro appeal can’t help but bring out your silly side, which in turn, can’t help but bring about a very fun date.

With some friends
If you’ve just started dating someone new, and have hit that ‘ready to meet friends’ stage, summer is the perfect time. You can’t imagine a more relaxed and easy way for your partner-to-be to mingle with your mates than when everyone is chilling in the park. Think of all those lovely adverts showing big groups of people laughing together and clinking their bottles of beer/cider/organic fruit juice: that could be you.

With some culture
It’s quite easy to associate culture with the winter-time – surely dark museums and theatres are the preserve for bad weather dates? Not always. The summer brings about loads of great open-air concerts, plays and recitals, which doesn’t just give you a chance for fresh air, it gives you the chance to wow your date with your educated side too. Perfect.

On a boat
You don’t have to be a nautical expert to create the perfect water-based date. Britain is full of very safe and beginner-friendly boating lakes, so why not head down with your partner, grab a pedlo or rowing boat (depending how energetic you’re feeling) and set sail. When you’ve found the perfect spot to moor, crack open a bottle of bubbly too and sit back, relax, and raise your glass to spending the day floating about on the river (just don’t forget you have to row back again too….).