The London dating scene can be overwhelming. For such a huge city, there can still seem to be a shortage of people you feel like you can really connect with. When you do find someone you want to get to know, the first date is all-important. While compatibility has everything to do with it, a great location that promises fun and excitement can really break the ice for both of you. Here are five classic London first date locations:
1. The South Bank
Weather permitting, the South Bank is a stunning location to get to know one another. Walk along the river as the sun sets, stop for aperitifs and get cosy as the nights get longer. It’s a great, inexpensive way to spend time together in beautiful surroundings.
2. The Theatre
The theatre’s not for everyone, but it’s nonetheless a must-do activity that surprisingly few Londoners get a chance to experience on a regular basis. If you can find them, there are lots of deals out there for half price or reduced seat-filler tickets that you can snap up a few days before your date, especially midweek. If you’re one of those people who loathe musicals, there are plenty of comedies, thrillers and dramas to choose from without a jazz hand or crescendo in sight or earshot. If you go and both of you dislike it, you’ll have that in common, too.
3. Boating on the Serpentine
If you’re lucky enough to have nice weather on the day of your date, boating on the Serpentine is more than enough fun to overcome any cheesiness from the activity itself. Go to Harrods Foodhall and pick up a posh picnic, then choose a boat (or pedal-operated Swan) and soak up the sunshine on the lake. Boys can act macho while steering their dates around the lake, and girls can just sit back and enjoy living out a fantasy straight out of Bridget Jones.
4. The Ledbury
Touted as one of the best restaurants in the world, The Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill is where to take your date if you want to well and truly knock their socks off. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and is formidably impressive inside with white walls and creamy leather chairs, with food almost too beautiful to eat, but the staff members aren’t glossy and cold to match. They’re friendly, chatty, and have expert knowledge about the food they’re serving that they take you through in great detail, which all ads to the experience. It’s definitely on the big spender end of the scale, but if you’re looking to really treat someone then I’d keep it in mind.
5. Secret Cinema
The worst kept secret in London is also the most fun you can have in a costume in the capital. Book your tickets well in advance as they sell out every season, and enjoy the build up in the weeks leading to the event. You can have a pre-date date by shopping for matching costumes (you usually have to dress up) and spend the evening together in the event space solving puzzles, accepting missions, then finally watching the film in breathtaking surroundings that match the film.
Abbey works for Courtisane in Mayfair, London, where she has built an encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s hotspots.