There are a few things as exciting as embarking on a first date. You declare it in your WhatsApp group chat, your mates ask what you’re wearing, where you’re going, is it drinks or dinner (or more,) and you find yourself without an answer or maybe you timidly reply back “oh yeah…haven’t really thought about it”. Match UK is here to help. First dates are not a one-size-fits-all and depending on your location, age and personal interests, your first date will fit one of many vibes. Whether you plan on having a date at home or out on the town, in the daylight or at night, here is a diverse list of romantic date ideas that will ensure a romantic setting for a first date and beyond.
- Cocktail Bar
There is something suave, sexy and mysterious about ordering your cocktail of choice and sipping and chatting under a sensual blue light. Remember to be responsible with alcohol consumption – eat something before and try not to exceed two drinks – especially if it’s a very first date, as you want to stay composed with someone who is a relative stranger. Pick somewhere with a great playlist for that added ambiance.
- Coffee Date
The daytime version of the above option. Coffee dates are ideal for the introverted among us. They can last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and are the perfect way to get that first sense of what your date is like, particularly if you’re not too keen to commit too much time or energy too soon. Opt for an independent coffee shop over a chain as it feels more intimate and creates the sense for romance if you choose to opt for that vibe after the first fifteen-minute impression.
- Dinner Date
Most people prefer not to go straight in for the dinner date on the first date but it is the perfect liaison for the second date. You know the basic information about each other and you’re ready to commit at least 90 minutes of deeper conversation over a delicious meal. Dinner dates are also a great way to talk about cultural interests – if you both speak French, try a French bistro, if you both have an interest in Moroccan culture, try a Moroccan café.
- Brunch Date
There is something so comfortable about brunch: it’s not too early, but the sun is shining and there’s a sense of the day beginning which creates an optimistic aura. Because of this, brunch leaves the possibilities of the day and thus the date open. So chat over a cappuccino and pancakes, and enjoy.
- Movie Date
Movie dates are great for the shy among us and there is something so tense, sensual and romantic about sitting next to each other in the dark. There is always the possibility to chat about the film afterwards over a coffee or drink, allowing you to share interests, thoughts and perspectives. Independent cinemas in cities often offer Zoom or live Q+As with the film director or lead actor after the screening, and this can also be a great segue into getting to know your date and their artistic perspective.
- Walk in the Park
For nature lovers and those on a budget, a walk in the park never misses. Again, this one can be as long or short as you like, and is a great way of taking in some fresh air while you catch up on what’s going on in each other’s life. No frills, no pretences, no pressure, just nature, you and your date and some great conversation.
- Art Exhibition
The art exhibition date sits somewhere between the cinema date and the coffee date. There isn’t complete silence but not every moment of silence needs to be filled. Conversation is easily and often stimulated by an array of visual mediums, and then can be expanded in the gift shop and coffee shop afterwards. Even if your date doesn’t go too well, you’ll feel inspired and enlightened for the rest of the week.
- Wine Tasting
For the connoisseurs among you, couples wine tastings are a great way to open conversations to many topics from food to travel, and the olfactory nature of wine is sure to bring up a few stories to be exchanged. Check out Eventbrite, Facebook and other event sites for wine tasting near you.
- Pottery Making Date
Your mind, like mine, may go straight to the 1990 film ‘Ghost’ with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, which essentially labelled couples pottery as one of the most sensual activities. Taking a pottery class together can open up laughter and enlightenment and the worst you’ll get out of it is a homemade mug – rock on!
- Go Roller Skating
If only roller skating was as popular as it was in the 70s! Roller skating possesses an eternally nostalgic charm which adds to its romantic feel. Thanks to growing sustainable attitudes towards mobility, roller skating is growing in popularity. Head to the park or a skating venue if there is one near you and learn new roller skating tricks together. In winter, try ice skating for a festive feel!
- Go Rock Climbing
Rock climbing has been proven to not only be great for physical fitness but for mental health. The literal climbing upwards can feel very metaphorical as the task presents your body with challenges and hurdles. Embarking on this together with a date is a great way to connect to somebody in a way that doesn’t feel too intense nor require too much deep conversation. Essentially, it is a great doorway to feeling more comfortable around each other.
Beloved in Japan and worldwide, karaoke is immediate fun. Sing some throwback tunes from your childhood and start sharing embarrassing stories from your college prom or primary school disco. It may at first feel embarrassing but the great thing is that your date will feel equally awkward and this sharing state of vulnerability is sure to come across as tender and authentic from both sides.
- Fun Fair
Another nostalgic and romantic 80s-style date, going to a funfair, particularly in the height of summer, is a great way to laugh, let your hair down and have fun as you witness your date’s lovable and childlike side. From bumper cars to helter skelters, bring out your competitive side as you both fill with adrenaline.
- Go to IKEA
Okay, this may sound super weird but it’s actually super fun. Go to IKEA, get yourself a veggie dog and just browse – you’d be surprised how fun this can be and how many weird and wonderful things you’ll find. This may not be ideal for a first date but once you get each others’ humour, go for it!
- Wetland Centre or Zoo
For animal lovers, finding a sustainable wetland centre or zoo can be a great way to birdwatch together and see a few farmland animals. Take pictures of each other, read about animal facts and even take a tour. Zoos also feel very nostalgic and tap into our childlike tendencies.
- Berry Picking
If you and your date are based in the countryside, find a berry picking site. This is a great way to get back to nature and can feel old-timey and intimate. Put your phone on silent, take in the beauty of the harvest and then maybe bake a blackberry pie together afterwards.
- Go to a Gig
Music lovers will all agree that going to a gig for a date is one the most romantic settings. Depending on the music genre it can lead to a dance together and you may discover a new favorite artist together. It’s a great way to get a sense of your date’s fun side and you can talk all things music at the bar.
- Go See a Play
It’s been a while since we have made the most of going to see plays. Sometimes improv plays can feel sort of cringey or humorous and other times they can be profound and intriguing – either way, you are sure to share in receiving such emotions and going to see an independent play can create a very niche and special memory.
- Bake or Cook Together
You can even have a bake-off where you bake a similar cake at the same time and do a tasting test at the end to see which is tastier! This may not be ideal for a first date, as you are inviting someone into your personal space, but for a third date it’s a great way to have more fun and tickle each others’ funny bones.
Open Air or Drive-In Movie
Channel your inner Danny or Sandy from Grease at a drive-in movie. Share some popcorn, pop a bottle on a picnic blanket and watch an old classic. Does it get any more romantic than this?