15 Unusual and Fun Date Ideas To Try in London

Sam Peet / © Culture Trip
Photo of Cajsa Carlson
Architecture & Design Editor26 September 2019

In a city as big as London, the opportunities for fun dates are pretty much endless. But where do you go when you’re struggling for inspiration for date choices? Whether it’s a first date with someone you meet on an app, a romantic night with a long-term love, or a friend date, trying something new is always fun. We’ve made a list of slightly quirkier date night alternatives – and if you end up not liking the date idea, at least you’re doing it with someone you’re really into.

Go for a London bike ride

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A lone cyclist in Richmond Park, Southwest London.
Richmond Park is a great spot to cycle | © Simon Turner / Alamy Stock Photo
London isn’t as cycle-friendly as, say, Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but there are some really nice places to go for a ride. The Greenway route from Victoria Park to Beckton in East London is lovely, or go for a leisurely cycle around Richmond Park. There’s Santander Cycles dotted all over the city, and if you’re after a nicer ride, try Tokyobikes.

Crank up the crazy golf scores

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Crazy golf course at Swingers
The crazy golf course at Swingers also offers street food and drinks | Courtesy of Swingers

At Swingers (yes, the name is a terrible pun, and you might have to explain it to your date in advance), try one of their crazy golf courses to see which one of you has the best putting skills. It’s a fun, unusual date, and the venue has some of London’s best street food names on-site, too – not to mention a huge drink selection, which may or may not improve your game.

Book a ping pong table at Bounce

Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, American, $$$
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If you’re one of those people who always end up playing table tennis in your parents’ basement/the office/that ping-pong table in the park, Bounce is for you. Inspired by table tennis venues in the US, Bounce offers table tennis, digital beer pong, happy hours and sharing food as well as pizzas. Perfect if you’re both competitive – maybe the winner can pay for the next date?

Watch the sunset over London

Park, Hill Station
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View of the city of London from Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath.
Grab a view of the city from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath | © Fotomaton / Alamy Stock Photo

Spendthrifts can head up to Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath. The beautiful parks offer a great view of London; bring your own carefully packed picnic for extra romance. If you’re after a more upmarket culinary experience, choose Aqua Shard or Searcys at The Gherkin to watch dusk fall.

Have an unusual film experience at Backyard Cinema

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Interior of Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema finds unique settings for its film screenings | Courtesy of Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema shows films in quirky settings, so you can watch Romeo and Juliet in a chapel or enjoy a Grease sing-a-long in a winter garden. The long-running event now boasts a permanent space in Wandsworth, as well as a series of regular pop-ups. A classic date night – with a twist.

Explore an old overgrown railway

Hiking Trail
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View of Parkland Walk
Take a stroll along the Parkland Walk | © Off The Roll / Alamy Stock Photo

The Parkland Walk in Haringey, north London, is a picturesque four-and-a-half mile walk along an old railway that’s now London’s longest local Nature Reserve. It’s overgrown and beautiful, with old railway structures and graffiti along the way. Start in Finsbury Park and end the walk with a cosy dinner in one of Highgate’s many pretty pubs.

Visit a food theatre

Food Court, Japanese, British, Italian, Pastries
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The ‘food theatre’ Arcade at Centre Point in central London is actually a gigantic food court. It’s got seven different kitchens, including cult bakery Popham’s, and three all-day and evening bars. The perfect place for a date when you’re not sure what you want to eat – mix and match!

Hang out among the greenery at Barbican Conservatory

Botanical Garden, Park
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Conservatory, Barbican, London
Discover the hidden Conservatory at the Barbican | © G Thomas / Alamy Stock Photo

The beautiful Brutalist exterior of the London culture centre Barbican not only hides art galleries, music venues and a cinema, but also the second largest conservatory in the city. A date and an exotic mini-holiday in one.

Pétanque, mademoiselle?

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, French, $$$
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Ramp up the va-va-voom at Baranis, where you can play pétanque or, if it’s a nice day, head to Cleaver Square in Kennington to watch locals play in deadly serious matches (while you sip pints from the square’s posh pub).

Cuddle up in the cinema

Cinema, Movie Theater, Building
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Interior of Electric Cinema
Snuggle into a sofa at Electric Cinema | © Soho House Electric Cinema

At the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, you can book a sofa (and enjoy the stylish diner with a French-American menu in the same building); meanwhile at Genesis in Stepney Green, you get a sofa, table and wine.

Have dinner in the Sky Garden

Building, $$$
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Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street in London
Sky Garden is located at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street in London | © Nathaniel Noir / Alamy Stock Photo

The view from Sky Garden is beautiful – it’s London’s highest public garden. As well as observation decks and an open-air terrace, it’s home to a number of restaurants, which is perfect for when you’re celebrating something special.

These recommendations were updated on September 26, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.