Best date ideas in London: from candlelight concerts to cooking masterclasses
Call us ‘Cupid’ because we’ve hand-picked the best date ideas in London to romance your other half, whether it’s your first date or 50th.
Love isn’t the only thing that’s up in the air — sometimes your plan for the perfect date is, too! Whether you’re organising a first date for a prospective love interest, or you’ve been with your other half a while and would like to plan something special, it’s not always easy to think of something to do.
While going out for food and drinks is a safe option, it can be fun to step outside the box and plan something truly unique, particularly if you’d like sparks to fly. Below, the RadioTimes.com team have found some fun, quirky, cultural and romantic date spots, with suggestions ranging from anything such as cooking classes and pottery painting to outdoor cinemas and exploration games.
If you’re sceptical as to why you should put love in the palm of the RadioTimes.com team’s hands, let us remind you that this is not our first rodeo! We love scouting out the best things to do in the capital city, just take a look at our top London walking tours and best London immersive experience guides. Plus, we like to review the things we recommend, and you can take a look at our 2:22 A Ghost Story review, BBC Earth Experience review, and more on our Going Out section.
But for now, in the words of Elton John, are you ready for love?
- Fun date ideas in London
- Cultural date ideas in London
- Quirky date ideas in London
- Romantic date ideas in London
Best London date ideas at a glance:
- Paris Is Burning at the Barbican, from £10
- Greenwich Exploration Game, £15
- Ghastly Ghost Tour of London Bridge, £16
- Pottery Painting Experience,
- West End show like The Crucible, from £24
- Candlelight: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra, from £25
- Frameless, from £25
- West End show like Cabaret, from £30
- Notting Hill Walking Tour for Two, £30
- Seize The Cheese! An Evening of Cheese, Wine & Theatre, for £35
- The Mixologist Experience for Two, £60
- Get Creative with a Fun Painting Class for Two, £64
- The Art Of Candle Making Workshop for Two, £90
- Highlights of The National Gallery Official Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea, £99
- Two Hour Dim Sum Making Masterclass for Two,
- Three Course Meal at Searcys, £139.99
The Mixologist Experience for Two
Just when your other half thinks they know you — boom — you impress them with your skills as a secret mixologist. Head on down to Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge for this next London date activity; you’ll meet the resident mixologists who will tell you all about the must-have components for cocktail creation while you sip on a welcome drink. Next, they’ll shake and stir their way through three signature cocktails, all the while telling you how to recreate them at home, then it’s your turn! Create your own unique cocktail.
The Art Of Candle Making Workshop for Two
Let us introduce you to another activity date idea which is sure to get your creative juices flowing. Dai-KOR is set in the bustling area of Shoreditch, and the teachers in the studio will walk you through how to create a scented soy wax candle with a custom sticker. As well as creating your own masterpiece, you’ll also enjoy refreshments and cupcakes.
Pottery Painting Experience
You might not get to live out your Ghost movie pottery wheel fantasy, but this pottery painting experience is sure to bring out your and your date’s creative side.
Based in Southwark, in the heart of London, Token Studio is super simple to get to, and gives you the opportunity to paint whatever you fancy — whether that’s a portrait of your cat on a plate, some flowers on a vase, or perhaps a Picasso-style rendition of your other half on a bowl. With this experience, you can also bring your own booze.
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We liked this experience so much that we included it in our best pottery classes piece.
Two Hour Dim Sum Making Masterclass for Two
Searching for an out-of-the-ordinary date idea? Look no further than this Dim Sum Making Masterclass at Ann’s Smart School of Cookery. Expert chefs will teach you the art of authentic Asian cooking, and you’ll spend a few hours creating mouth-watering bites using only the freshest of ingredients.
On your masterclass menu are crispy salt and chilli squid, vegetable gyoza, chicken and prawn dim sum with a sauce, and beef tataki complete with wasabi mash. This experience is the gift that keeps on giving as you’ll learn invaluable skills to recreate the date experience at home.
West End show like Cabaret
The Kit Kat Club is home to the West End production of Cabaret — a musical which follows the story of young writer Clifford Bradshaw (played by Nathan Ives-Moiba) as he meets and falls in love with performer Sally Bowles (Euphoria’s Maude Apatow). The seven-time Olivier Award winning musical features the hit songs Don’t Tell Mama, Maybe This Time, and Money, and is sure to be a memorable date night experience.
For more great theatre shows, take a look at our best West End shows guide.
Highlights of The National Gallery Official Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea
If you’re looking to pull out all the stops on your date, then you’ve come to the right place; may we point you in the direction of The National Gallery guided tour, complete with afternoon tea for two?
The National Gallery is home to some of the world’s greatest paintings, such as The Ugly Duchess, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, and Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers, and this experience offers you and your date an intimate hour-long tour of the gallery led by a true art expert.
After the tour, you’ll both head to Ochre in The National Gallery for some delicious sandwiches, scones, pastries, and hot drinks.
For more cultural day out inspiration, take a look at the best London art exhibitions.
Paris Is Burning at the Barbican
The 1990 documentary by Jennie Livingston is perhaps one of the most important pieces of queer cinema we can watch. Paris Is Burning records ball culture in mid to late 80s New York; it documents the various communities which were involved in drag balls, and is hailed as a brilliant exploration into race, class, gender, and sexuality.
Paris Is Burning is showing in the Sculpture Court at the Barbican as part of their Pride 2023 series, and us regular folk can buy tickets for £18 today, and it’s £14.40 for Barbican members, and £10 if you’re 25 or under.
West End show like The Crucible
The RadioTimes.com Going Out team were lucky enough to be invited to watch The Crucible at The Gielgud Theatre. The play, which stars House of the Dragon’s Milly Alcock, is mesmerising, and an interesting look into the true story of the Salem witch trials. The Crucible is very intense, however, particularly the last scene, so this might be a show to see with a fellow theatre-lover or a long-term partner — it’s not exactly light-hearted, first date material!
Greenwich Exploration Game
Visiting a café or a pub for a first date is a tried-and-tested date idea, but how about a drinks trip with a twist? The Greenwich Exploration Game is guaranteed to break the ice: you and your date will work together to solve clues on your phone which will lead you through unusual London spots, with plenty of pubs, bars, and café recommendations as you go — solving riddles is thirsty work, you know!
Fancy an art exhibition with a twist? This immersive experience showcases what would happen if famous artworks, like ones from artists such as Salvador Dalí, Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet, stepped out of their frames and leapt onto giant digital landscapes.
Frameless is situated on the corner of Hyde Park, and comprises four different galleries: Beyond Reality, Colour in Motion, The World Around Us, and The Art of Abstraction. This is a truly unique date activity.
Seize The Cheese! An Evening of Cheese, Wine & Theatre
What could be a more brie-lliant date idea than cheese, wine, and a theatre show? Head on down to POSK Hammersmith to indulge in artisanal cheeses perfectly paired with delicious wine. In between pairings, you’ll enjoy scenes from the brand-new musical, Seize The Cheese.
You can experience Seize The Cheese! An Evening of Cheese, Wine & Theatre on either Friday 7th July or Friday 4th August.
Ghastly Ghost Tour of London Bridge
This spooky experience has won the award of the best ghost walking tour in our top London walking tours guide. Like a lot of old London locations, the area around London Bridge was home to criminals, killers, and plenty of other lawless folks, and this tour tells you all about the grisly stories.
Although it’s not your typical date night idea, a ghost walk is the perfect way to instigate a cuddle or a hand hold — you were so scared by the gruesome tales that you needed someone to hold you, right?
Get Creative with a Fun Painting Class for Two
In our opinion, one of the most daunting parts of a first date is the initial meet-up — so what if you choose an activity that specialises in making you feel at ease? We’re talking about having some music playing, good company nearby, and a bar, too. Well, that’s exactly what Brush Party offers. With studios in multiple London locations (Putney, Twickenham, Chiswick, Harrow, Ealing, and Wimbledon), Brush Party provides everything you need to release your inner Salvador Dalí, and create a stunning piece of art.
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Notting Hill Walking Tour for Two
What movie is more romantic than Notting Hill? The 1999 classic, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, is a love story between a British bookseller and a famous American actress, who just so happens to walk into his bookstore on Portobello road.
The Notting Hill Walking Tour will take you and your plus one to iconic filming locations not only in Notting Hill, but also in other romance movies such as Love Actually and Sliding Doors.
Candlelight: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra
The RadioTimes.com team were lucky enough to attend a candlelight concert earlier this month, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more romantic evening than an orchestra playing beautiful music in a stunning hall surrounded by the glow of candlelight.
The Tribute to Frank Sinatra candlelight concert showcases one hour of Sinatra’s greatest hits, such as New York, New York, Fly Me to the Moon, You Make Me Feel So Young, and many more which are yet to be announced. The concert will take place at Glaziers Hall, and will be performed by the talented James Hudson Band.
Three Course Meal at Searcys
The Gherkin is one of London’s most famous landmarks, and it’s where our next date idea takes place. At Searcys restaurant, you’ll not only enjoy a three course meal, complete with a side dish and cocktail of your choice, but also panoramic views of the capital city — what could be more romantic?
Enjoy the sunshine with some of the best London rooftop gardens.