20 Free Dating Ideas For A Broke Londoner in 2017
We all know dating isn’t about where you go, it’s about who you’re with. Luckily, London has a spectacular offering of free dating locations so you’ll never be stuck in your room for lack of an interesting venue to get to know your date better, or hang out with your significant other. We’ve compiled an eclectic list of 20 free dating ideas to suit any couple from outdoor enthusiasts to museum aficionados. Get ready to laugh, wonder, cringe or unwind.
1. Primrose Hill
Where: Primrose Hill, NW3 3AX. When: Any Time
A timeless date location since the 1800s you’ve got history on your side at the summit of this iconic London hill. Spectacular sunrises, sunsets, city skylines and olden-days twinkling lamps are all up for grabs as you gaze into each other’s eyes.
2. Angel Comedy in Islington
Where: The Bill Murray and The Camden Head, Islington, N1 8QN. When: Any Evening
Hilarious comedians. You’re laughing. Your date’s in stitches. The mood is positively buoyant. This is going well. And it was a free date. Well, almost, you pay what you think the night is worth, which is a pretty miraculous occurrence in London! Based in Islington, Angel Comedy is a comedic institution who always put on a memorable performance, check out their events, on every night of the week.
3. NOW Gallery
Credit: Charles Emerson
Where: NOW Gallery Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ When: Mon-Fri 1000-1900, Sat-Sun 11-1600
Unique and inspiring installations by designers, architects and artists are housed in this free Gallery tucked away in nearby Greenwich. Explore the gallery with your date and you might experience a thousand of hanging irses suspended in the air, be confronted by the startling curves of Alex Chinneck’s curled up pylon installation or whichever exciting piece of work fills the creative space. Once you’ve had your share of wonder, head out for a wander up and around leafy Greenwich Park.
4. Hampstead Heath Pergola
Where: Hampstead Heath NW3 7EX. When: 0830 – Dusk
If you want a free date which combines faded grandeur with secluded paths and benches in pristine historic grounds this is the one for you. A hidden addition to Hampstead Heath, this well kept secret is a dating paradise, perfect for wandering around before dropping into Hampstead for a crepe. Particularly spectacular as the sun sets.
5. God’s Own Junkyard
Where: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, E17 9HQ. When: Fri-Sat 1100-2100, Sun 1100-1800
Self described as ‘A Neon Wonderland in Walthamstow’, God’s Own Junkyard is the fruit of a labour of love for signs glowing exuberantly for the world to see. From Soho sex shop classics to iconic movie pieces, the space oozes a combination of history, creative expression and childlike fun for you and your date to immerse yourselves in. Free dating at it’s best!
6. Richmond Park
Where: Richmond, TW10 5HZ. When: Any time
A proper taste of the British countryside will make you feel like you’ve travelled hundreds of miles from our bustling metropolis, even though you only jumped off the overground in West London. Keep your eyes peeled for the infamous Fenton, David Attenborough and herds of roving deer. Breathe a breath of fresh air as you stroll through the enormous 12,000 acre park, or if you’re feeling energetic, jump on a bike with your date and zoom around the park (excellent coffee also available).
7. The Barbican Conservatory
10. Conservatory © Lee Mawdsley
Where: Level 3, The Barbican Centre, EC2Y 8DS. When: Sundays 1200-1700
Explore an exotic hidden oasis with your date. Nestled in the heart of the Barbican this is the perfect location to quietly tread through winding paths and and people-watch from terraces. Stumble upon koi carp ponds, the hidden cacti room and maybe steal a covert kiss. It’s the second biggest conservatory in London (after Kew), and amazingly, it’s a free date location.
8. Saatchi Gallery
Raffi Kalenderian, Spirit Guides and Sunflowers, 2008, Oil on canvas, 152.4 x 248.9 cm, © Raffi Kalenderian, 2008. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London
Where: Chelsea, SW3 4RY. When: 1000-1800
Interesting for both aesthetes and laymen, the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea specialises in exhibiting the contemporary artworks of young, lesser well known artists and famous international names. With regularly revolving exhibitions it’s the perfect place for you and your date to pick your brains and decipher mind bending sculptures, installations and artworks spread throughout a huge, airy building in the heart of London. Entrance is free for you and your date.
9. Horniman Museum
Where: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ . When: 1030-1730
A quick dive into our natural history, a glimpse into the aquatic underworld followed by ridiculously cute alpacas make for a hard to beat free dating location! Perched on the top of the grassy Horniman gardens you can also admire the view while sharing a well earned homemade ice cream.
Where: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 8AF . When: 1000-1800 Weekdays, 1100-2100 Weekends
Visitors are often surprised to find that this is actually a free dating location – you just need to book in advance. The recently-made-famous glass dome overlooking the city towers over the city is the perfect lookout point, surrounded by exotic foliage, to savour the city from above with your date.
11. The V&A Museum
Where: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL . When: Daily 1001-1745, Friday 1000-2200
Hosting a mix collections ranging from fashion and painting to modern photography and ancient textiles the V&A provides the perfect setting to while away the day and discover your date’s artistic tastes. Currently hosting free exhibitions featuring Beatrix Potter, Unseen City photography, the museum’s revolving schedule is worth keeping an eye on. It’s free dating spot which sometimes hosts exhibitions which you might have to pay to get into if they particularly tickle your fancy.
12. Debates At The Houses Of Parliament
Where: Westminster, SW1A 0AA . When: Weekdays Various Times
Definitely float this idea with your date before rushing in! Engage with the fiery world of politics and delve deep into the corridors of power at the House of Commons or House of Lords, where you can drop in and attend debates. Find a debate of mutual interest then get ready to put your intellectual and government policy hat on for a riveting exchange of views…or just walk out shaking your head in the most stereotypically British manner you can muster.
13. The Wellcome Collection
Delia Du Sol, Contortionist, performs in the Superhuman exhibition at Wellcome Collection (2012).
Where: 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. When: Tues-Sat 1000-1800, -2200 Thurs, 1100- Sun
A collection for ‘the incurably curious’ exhibiting riveting scientific and artistic wonders for you and your date to be baffled and enlightened. Currently hosting ‘Electricity: The Spark of Life’ featuring Frankenstein, the energy network and ‘Making Nature: How we see animals’ exploring our relationship with our living earthly buddies. Educational, fun and free dating – save your money for the gift shop!
14. 2016 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Where: Royal Observatory Greenwich, SE10 8XJ. When: 1000-1700
Be enraptured by spectacular photos of the twinkling stars, swirling auroras and distant planets as you and your date ponder our place in the glistening universe. This free dating location is the biggest exhibition of its kind featuring the best international talent showcasing exotic locations and artistic vision. Check out the skies in real time with Sky Map and seek out constellations with your date.
15. British Film Institute Mediatheque
Where: BFI Southbank, SE1 8XT. When: 1200-2000
Cosy up in a booth with your date and pick a film out of the eclectic British Film Institute’s archive from historical footage of ‘Birthday Procession of a Maharajah’ (1904) to London Street Scenes – Trafalgar Square (1910) to London: The Modern Babylon (2012). Your best bet is to be captivated by a flick totally at random. Afterwards, take a walk down Southbank by the river, check out up and coming skateboarders under the bridge and if you’re lucky you might even catch fire jugglers and hula hoopers perfecting their art on the sands of the Thames.
16. Stroll along Hackney Wick Canal
Where: Camden Lock When: Any Time
Meander with your date alongside the canal from Camden to Hackney Wick along quiet hidden paths throughout the city lined with sporadic cosy cafés, peaceful al fresco bars and possibly even a floating bookshop, where the manic bustle of London life seems like a thing of the past. Continue east and you’ll find yourself in the leafy Victoria Park or your can head up to London Fields for some delicious hip eateries.
17. Hunterian Museum
Where: Royal College of Surgeons WC3A 3PE. When: Tues-Sun 1000-1700
Not for the queasy or faint hearted, this free museum is simultaneously weird, wonderful and dark. Housing thousands preserved animals, skulls, surgical instruments and countless oddities which reveal the world surgery through history, neither you nor your date will probably have been anywhere quite like it.
18. Columbia Road Flower Market
Where: Columbia Road, E2 7RG. When: Sunday 0800-1500
A riot of floral colours and shapes which don’t need an Instagram filter or crafty angle to showcase their natural beauty! The hardest choice you’ll face strolling through the bustling flower market, which has been part of East London life since the 1800s, is picking out a glowing perennial or bold bouquet for your date.
19. Natural History Museum
Where: Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD. When: Sundays 1000-1750
This London classic doesn’t grow old. Majestic surroundings, the famous blue whale, diamonds and curiosities, whilst probably a feature of many Londoners halcyon childhood memories, provide an ideal free dating location where you can discover their spirit-animal, dream travel destination and favourite natural wonder. Check out late night opening hours on Friday for an after work date.
20. Keep your ears to the ground
Where: London When: Any time
Dating in London can add up quickly. However, the city is hard to beat when it comes to the sheer number of free world class art exhibitions, bustling cultural events, musical and theatrical performances on offer. From citywide parades like Notting Hill Carnival, small niche interests like London Friday Night Skate, the photography of Elton John at the Tate and countless others, stay curious, ask questions and research and you’re bound to discover the perfect location where you can go dating for free!