Really good first date ideas in London
We're great at getting people together. In fact 100s of couples have first dates as a result of meeting at our speed dating events and parties every year. Here's some inspiration if you're trying to think up really good ideas for what to do on your first date.
Sir John Soanes Museum
The former home of neo-classical architect, Sir John Soanes, it was designed both as a residence and a place to store his works of art and collection of antiquities. Not only is it a beautiful and fascinating building stuffed to the rafters with exquisite curiosities - brush up on your knowledge and enjoy showing off a little - the first Tuesday of every month sees the museum lit solely by candlelight. Myriad mirrors adorn the walls allowing you catch the flickering glow of each other arm in arm. And should the date be a disaster there is too much of interest to consider it a wasted trip.
Next candlelight opening is Tuesday, December 4th between 6-8pm. Just make sure you get there VERY early. Tickets are collection only and will be gone by 5:30pm at the latest.
Oh, and it's FREE!
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP
Perfect for a romantic winter stroll or perhaps a trip aboard a long boat. Wrap up warm and take in the colourful sights and sounds of Little Venice at the intersection of The Grand Union and Regent Canal's.
Most of the country is accessible from this point via Britain's extensive canal network - our first motorway system - and you can take a breather in one of the many quirky pubs in the area while planning a slow, meandering water based escape from the big smoke together.
The London Eye
London doesn't quite have the same romantic allure as cities such as Paris or Venice - There's something to be said for surrender after all - but for thirty minutes you and your potential paramour will be spellbound by the 25 mile round view of the capital. There is something quite breath taking about rising slowly above the Houses of Parliament on the opposite bank and watching Europe's largest city and its surrounds unfurl majestically before your eyes.
And the South Bank is jam-packed with food and entertainment so no reason to head home early.
Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB www.londoneye.com
Gordon's Wine Bar
It's cramped, smells, they don't serve beer and it's often full of tourists. What isn't there to like about this subterranean cellar? This is one of my personal favourites. I know it's not cool or hipster styley. There isn't a hint of irony in its slightly damp walls. But surprisingly few Londoners have taken the time to indulge in its dark, candlelit brick built cellar. There's something slightly illicit about being crammed in among strangers without really being able to see anyone too well. And the wine list is to die for. Give it a go for a date and then try and tell me it shouldn't be on this list.
47 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NE www.gordonswinebar.com
Chelsea Physic Garden
Ditch the ridiculously overpriced roses someone sold you in a pub and instead head to the Chelsea Physic Garden. Originally established in 1673 as an apothecarys garden, it holds over 5000 plants displayed amongst a dazzling array of greenhouses, pathways and small plots. It's a fascinating and quirky place that also boasts a surprisingly good gallery of prints and paintings. It smells pretty good too.
66 Royal Hospital Road, London, London SW3 4HS
The Phoenix Cinema
If it's a movie date you're after, there's only one venue for me. With its barrel vaulted ceiling and art deco décor The Phoenix Cinema must not be missed. It's one of the oldest purpose built cinemas in the UK - The ceiling dates back to 1910 - and all profits are used to maintain its historic interior.
And as a wholly independent venue it's able to screen first run features at leisure. Try an afternoon date to take full advantage of its 1930's style café and usually sunny balcony.
The Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ www.phoenixcinema.co.uk
Somerset House Ice Skating
You can't really go on a date in the winter in London without trying one of the many ice -rinks that seem to pop up like odd frozen pimples across the capital. For my money only two really capture the beauty of their surrounds - Hampton Court and Somerset House. I've gone with Somerset House simply because of its convenient location but both are breath taking.
With pop up shops, a rink side lounge and the occasional club night this really is a rink to romance even the coldest of hearts.
Somerset House, The Strand, London,WC2R 1LA
Contemporary Key London Art Tour
For art lovers, galleries are always popular but why not impress your painterly date with a unique tour of not just a gallery but artist's and curator's studios as well. The Contemporary Key London Art Tour takes place on the last Saturday of every month. Groups are limited to 15 people so plenty of space to impress your date - or submit your ignorance for analysis - and the focus is on young, contemporary artists. Tours last two hours and cost 15. And most importantly, all tours begin in a café and end in a bar. Perfect.
So it's a little touristy but there's still nothing like taking a boat along the Thames to historic Greenwich, with many operators offering significant concessions when using an oyster card. The cruise is often accompanied by a free (donation) historic talk by a Freeman of the River.
Once there, eat as much as you can while browsing the cramped stalls for art of varying quality and still more food at Greenwich market. Follow this with a stroll up the hill to Greenwich observatory or a tour around the newly opened Cutty Sark. Grab another bite to eat in one of the villages many restaurants and bars and top it off with a night at of comedy at the justifiably famous Up The Creek.
This is a full day trip so make sure you like each other first.
The Wallace Collection
If you fancy a bit of French 18th century romance in London you simply can't go past the Wallace Collection. In an astonishing London Townhouse sits one of the grandest collections of 18th Century painting, furniture, porcelain - and the odd coat of amour - this side of, well, 18th Century France.
Minutes from Bond Street station yet tucked away in Manchester Square, it's not often overrun with people so a leisurely stroll, hand in hand, gawping at the sheer splendour of its rooms is really the way to go. And finish up in the magnificent glass roofed restaurant in the centre of the building.
And it's another freebie!
Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN
Got any more great London first date ideas? Please leave a message in the comments below.