Three years into my relationship, Netflix in bed is still our number 1 couple activity. It seemed a shame though, living in London, not to explore what the city has to offer, so I set out on a mission to uncover some of the most unique and fun date venues in London. Budget is a major factor when it comes to most outings in London but these 5 experiences are reasonably priced for the experiences you get in return. Please note these are all 18+ venues as they all involve fairly copious amounts of alcohol! 😉
Film & Fizz at One Aldwych
Film & Fizz takes your classic cinema date and ups the ante. Not only do you get to watch a new release in a private screening room, but you’re treated to complimentary popcorn and champagne too! If that wasn’t enough, your film and fizz is followed up with a sumptuous three-course meal with a special set menu at the Indigo restaurant in One Aldwych.
If you’re the sort of person that quakes at the idea of organising a great date themselves then this is the perfect option for you as you get a sort of fancy “package deal”. From 6:30pm til around 10:30pm your whole evening is planned out for you, all you need to do is order two tickets online and turn up on time.
Whilst each ticket costs £55 per person, which at first seemed rather steep to me, I did a bit of quick maths and realised that if you were to go to any normal cinema in London at the weekend, order popcorn for two, a glass of champers each, followed by a three-course meal in a 5 star hotel, you’d be spending at least £55, if not more. As such, this is actually very reasonably priced for the experience, which is in a private movie theatre and a completely catered experience with lots of friendly staff on hand.
This date location is perfect if you’re looking to seriously impress with very little effort on your part.
Swingers Golf has quickly become a favourite amongst city workers and they’ll soon be opening up another branch in the West End. The name might raise eyebrows at first but this is in fact a CRAZY GOLF venue and has nothing to do with the other kind of swingers you might be thinking of.
Tucked away opposite the Gherkin in London, Swingers is a super trendy underground golf and drinks venue. There are two golf courses to choose from, each with 9 holes. Both of which are designed in a way to be both fun and challenge, especially when some drinks have been thrown into the mix! Think large wheels you’ve got to get round, tunnels you’ve got to travel through, bridges you’ve got to cross.
The golf itself will probably only take you half an hour to forty five minutes depending on how many people are ahead of you so you’ll probably end up spending more time at the bar. To be honest, I would happily come to Swingers for the food and drink alone as there’s a stylish bar area in the centre of the venue that serves up many sumptuous cocktails. There are funky options such as a kale and matcha cocktail, which I was rather dubious about but they somehow managed to make these two superfoods into a deliciously sweet concoction!
There are also three popular restaurant stalls to choose from too including: Patty & Bun, Pizza Pilgrims and DF / Mexico. The great thing is that if you wanted to, you could get a little something from each and then bring them all over to your table. I opted for Patty & Bun, which has always been recommended to me as one of the best burger restaurants in London, and it did not disappoint. A very juicy burger and crispy fries were very well received.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend coming here as a huge group unless if you’re willing to split into slightly smaller groups when playing your nine holes. The first time I visited Swingers I was stuck behind a large group of nine and we had to wait for all nine people to finish the hole before they’d move onto the next one!
This is definitely a location favoured by people on first dates in London which was clear from a quick glance around. It’s the perfect venue to get to know someone in as there’s a fun activity to complete as well as a cheeky tipple or two to take the edge off.
Perfect for: first dates, double dates, and people that like to find all they need under one roof.
Bonus: There’s a free cloakroom for you to leave your stuff in as you go round the golf course!
From £13 pp
8 Brown’s Buildings
Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg’s Residence
Afternoon tea has become hugely popular over the past few years but few of them offer a truly unique experience. My Fogg’s Residence is tucked away in the back streets of St James Park and inside you’ll find a wonderfully eccentric venue and bar.
Prices start at £40 and this will get you 1 full teapot of your cocktail of choice as well as mini sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats. There’s a large range from salmon buns to chicken wraps followed by chocolate brownies and red velvet cake followed lastly with an mini egg tart. Whilst the food is very good, there isn’t anything particularly unique about it. What you come here for is the buzzing atmosphere, the live music and the sense that you’ve been transported to another world. Just look at the decor ⬇
The venue is full of old-fashioned plush sofas and armchairs, empty bird cages, old artefacts, stuffed animals, portraits and more. It’s a real eclectic mix that is just so strange and striking that it just sort of … works? The staff are all dressed as if they come from another era which just adds to the whole idea that you’ve somehow stepped back in time.
Your afternoon tea experience begins with a complimentary tipple as you peruse the menu. There are three different packages to choose from depending on how much you want to drink. You can opt for one pot of cocktail tea, as I did, for £40pp, or you can go for the bottomless champagne option, which is £72pp. There are then 6 drink options you can choose from: three spirited teas and three champagne teas. We both opted for spirited teas on this occasion, “Ladies that Lapsang” and “A Tropical Tincture”. The latter seemed significantly stronger and had a distinct tea taste whereas the latter was more like an alcoholic fruit cocktail mix.
The staff are very attentive throughout your experience at Mr Fogg’s, always ready to give you a helping hand or top up your drinks. What’s more, there’s a live piano player in the corner who plays modern pop songs in a classical style, which is something really special.
All in all, this is the sort of place where you could easily while away a couple of hours pretending you’re in the comfort of some gentleman’s manor as opposed to a bar in central London. The decor really is on another level with a gorgeous bar area, decorated shelves and an eclectic mix of souvenirs.
Perfect for: couples, double dates, group dates.
From £40 pp
15 Bruton Lane
Flight Club Darts
I’ve been to Flight Club Bloomsbury twice now, once for a business social and once for a more intimate date. I had huge amounts of fun both times and so Flight Club ranks highly on my list of recommendations for things to do in London no matter how large your group is. Initially I was worried that it might be a bit weird going here on a two person date as it’s generally seen as a very social location but it was actually still bags of fun. As there were only two of us we got to play each of the four different games several times through and had fun competing against each other.
I’ve always thought that darts is a pretty boring sport and I politely declined anytime my friends were playing in the college bar. Flight Club, however, offers an incredible fun and interactive experience that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of. There are four different playing modes, each with a different objective. They’ve created four different games which make darts much more interesting such as a knock out game where you need to hit a certain number in order to “kill” your friends.
Flight Club is definitely the most reasonably priced place on this list as you pay per oche, per hour, rather than per person. At off-peak times, the whole oche costs £15 per hour, at peak times, this goes up to £30. If you’ve got a big group, you can see how the cost per person rapidly decreases making the darts experience very cheap. Of course, there are plenty of drinks and food available to buy, which are typical “London” prices. An alcoholic drink costs around £10 and you can get a large pizza to share for £15.
The decor is absolutely beautiful with a fairground inspired bar. Each oche is surrounded by a large leather sofa and there’s plenty of space for food, drinks, coats etc. If you’re looking for a fun and interactive date then Flight Club should be near the top of your list!
Perfect for: first dates, fun dates, double dates, triple dates, quadruple dates etc. etc.
Off Peak: £15 per oche
Peak: £30 per oche
55 New Oxford Street
Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing
Axe throwing is something I included in my Christmas Gift Guide for Men a couple of months ago and it’s the one gift that caught most people’s eye. Axe throwing? As a date? How romantic… You might be skeptical at first but I visited Whistle Punks on a double date and at least half of the other people there were also on dates! Its a real conversation starter so if you’re someone that’s often lost for words or a little awkward when first meeting someone, this could be the perfect activity for you.
This is a less intimate date idea than the others on this list as everyone signed up to your session is separate into four groups of around 10 people at the beginning. As such, you’ll inevitably end up with strangers in your group but if you don’t want to interact with them and would rather just talk to your date that’s perfectly fine and seemed to be most people’s approach!
At first you are taught the basics of axe throwing and some health and safety precautions. You’d think it would pretty easy to accidentally throw one of these over your shoulder or down into your foot but in reality this is really rather unlikely.
Once everyone in the group has got the hand of the one hand throw and the two hand throw, the competition begins. You are put into pairs and compete to get the most number of points. There are three rounds and then at the end the four people with the highest scores are put forward into the semi-finals. The top two are then pitted against each other in the finals and the winner gets to keep their very own little wooden bullseye as a keepsake.
This game is neither violent nor dangerous and is actually a huge laugh because it’s quite difficult to throw the axe so it actually hits the wood and sticks. What will most likely happen is the axe will hit the wood at the wrong angle and clatter loudly to the floor. There’s much opportunity for mocking and banter and it’s all round a super fun and unique bonding activity.
Perfect for: first dates, group dates, competitive couples
Off-peak: £22 pp
Peak: £29 pp
Handel Business Centre
So there are my top 5 date ideas in London for people who want to do something a little more interesting than just dinner or drinks! If you’re up for something even more adventurous, you might even consider these kayaking and canoeing adventures near London!
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