Traditional date night ideas, like going out for a fancy dinner or heading to the theatre, are classics for a reason – though, they can be quite expensive. So while you might want to indulge occasionally, perhaps you’re keen to explore new ways to date without breaking the bank.
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a date. Whether you’re on your first date or 100th, the secret to a memorable and enjoyable romantic experience is to do something that helps you connect. And, wherever you live, there are plenty of things to do that cost little to no money at all.
To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together this list of 20 affordable date night ideas.
1. Go fruit picking
The UK is home to hundreds of ‘pick-you-own’ farms, where you can wander amongst orchard trees or along hedgerows, and collect your own produce. Perfect for a date in the sun, you can pick all kinds of fruit and vegetables – from plump pears to succulent strawberries.
Check out this list of 10 of the best pick-you-own farms from Country Living for some inspiration. Alternatively, why not head out for a hike and pick some wild blackberries?
2. Start a two-person book club
Book clubs don’t have to be big. In fact, if you and your partner love to read (or perhaps you’re aspiring to read more), why not start a two-person book club?
Book club sessions make for perfect date nights because they provoke engaging and interesting conversations that you might not have otherwise – so whether you’ve been together for 10 years or 10 weeks, you can learn something new about your partner.
All you need to do to start a two-person book club is to pick a book, read it (or part of it; say, a chapter at a time), and meet every now and then to discuss it. This is a particularly good date idea if you’re in a long-distance relationship, as you can host sessions over video calls.
3. See a comedy show
Getting tickets to a big-name comedy tour can set you back a fair bit. But luckily, there are many spots up and down the country where you can see hilarious shows for just a few pounds, or even for free.
From newbie comics looking to get their start to veterans testing out new material on unsuspecting audiences, you might be surprised by how much is on offer.
Use Chortle’s handy search engine to find cheap stand-up gigs near you.
4. Dine out at a food truck
Food trucks are becoming more and more popular way to deliver a range of cuisines to the streets of villages, towns, and cities across the UK. And while their food is typically no less tasty than what’s served at a restaurant, they’re usually a little easier on the wallet.
Whether it’s a fish and chip van that stops in your village every week or a fleet of trucks at your local food festival, dining out at a food truck can be an excellent affordable date night idea. So why not grab some food on the go and enjoy it at a local romantic spot like a beach or lookout point?
5. Go on a city walking tour
If you live in or nearby a city, then a walking tour can make for an adventurous date. Amusing and intriguing, walking tours can offer you the chance to learn something new with your partner – whether you’re familiar with the city or not.
You can look into guided walking tours, which either have a fixed price or take donations (so you pay what you can). Alternatively, if you’d like something completely free of charge, why not download the GPSmyCity app, which has an impressive collection of free, self-guided city walking tours?
6. Take part in a pub quiz
Win or lose, pub quizzes are always a laugh. From coming up with a unique team name to working together to figure out the answers to all kinds of cryptic questions, they can also be an entertaining way to bond with your date.
Lots of pubs run weekly pub quizzes that are only a couple of pounds to enter, so it’s worth going down and asking at your local. Alternatively, you can search for local quizzes using this handy tool from Pub Quizzers.
7. Visit a spectacular lookout point
A good lookout point inspires quiet contemplation but it can also provide plenty of opportunities for interesting conversation. And it’s this delicate balance that makes staring out over a stunning vista one of the most romantic things you can do.
Whether you want to admire unrelenting natural beauty or an impressive cityscape, there are plenty of places to catch a great view here in the UK – most of which are free to access. For some inspiration, take a look at this article from Hotels.com.
8. Get creative at home
If you’re looking for a night in, then having a creative date at home can be entertaining. Not only is this option relatively cheap, but doing arts and crafts can help you both to express yourselves, which can create deeper conversation and bring you closer together.
So whether you’re learning an entirely new craft together or simply having a go at something like drawing, painting, or collage-making, you’re sure to have a date to remember. Why not take a look at the learning section of our website to get some craft inspiration?
9. Attend an open mic night
A beloved tradition, open mic nights give unknown musicians a chance to perform in front of a live audience, whether it be their own original material or covers.
The atmosphere at an open mic night is generally warm, friendly, and inclusive. Plus, it’s typically free to attend – so it can be a good idea if you’re into live music but want to avoid the hefty price of a typical gig. And if you’ve got musical talent, you could always step onto the stage yourself.
Interested in finding an open mic night near you? Why not use this search engine from Open Night Finder?
10. Go mini-golfing
Inexpensive, lighthearted, and entertaining, mini golf is a date night classic for a few reasons. For first daters, it can give you a chance to get to know one another all while focusing on an engaging activity – which takes the pressure off the conversation.
And for long-time partners, mini-golfing is a very ability-inclusive game, so whatever your sporting ability level, you can always give your loved one a run for their money!
Use this handy tool from Crazy Golf UK to find courses near you.
11. Volunteer together
A slightly more unconventional approach, why not use your together time as a way to do some good? By volunteering together, you’ll not only feel a sense of achievement and reward, but working together towards a common goal or purpose can help you to develop a deeper and stronger connection.
For some popular volunteering date ideas, take a look at this article from Good Deeds Day. And to search for roles, why not head over to the volunteering section of our site?
12. Go stargazing
Spending some time looking up at the stars can make for a memorable date. It can be fun to work together to spot planets, constellations, and other phenomena, or simply to sit back and admire the overwhelming beauty of our universe.
Our introduction to stargazing can give you some tips for making the most of your experience.
13. Go for a scenic drive
There’s something comforting and intimate about a driving date. In a car, we can often feel like we’re in our own little world and watching the scenes go by can inspire all kinds of interesting conversations.
Here in the UK, you’re never too far away from a scenic driving route – whether it’s through twisting country lanes or along windswept coastal roads. To get inspired, check out our article on some of the best road trips in the UK.
14. Visit a museum or gallery
From the Natural History Museum in London to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, the UK is home to some of the most fantastic museums and galleries in the world – many of which are completely free to enter.
Whether you’re learning about ancient Egyptian artefacts or admiring Impressionist masterpieces, there’s no shortage of things to talk about when visiting a museum or gallery. Plus, you’ll most likely feel a little more knowledgeable or cultured by the end.
15. Learn a new skill together
Who said you can’t use your date time for self-improvement? Learning a new skill isn’t just beneficial for our brain health but it can also be a unique and enjoyable way to forge a meaningful connection with someone.
What you learn is completely up to you. There are loads of free online courses out there on sites like Skillshare and Future Learn. You could start learning a new language or even creative skills like crochet, origami, or drawing – none of which require any expensive equipment.
Take a look at our guide to learning at home for free for more information.
16. Head to the beach
Sun, sea breeze, and the sound of the surf; what’s more idyllic than time spent at the beach when the weather is nice? One of the benefits of living on a little island like the UK is that wherever we are, we’re never too far away from a stunning coastal spot – whether that be a shingled cove or a white stretch of sand.
Pack a picnic and time your visit for sunset for some extra romance.
To help you decide where to visit, you might want to take a look at our article; 16 of the best beaches in the UK.
17. Go for a hike
Hiking is a fun, free, and uncomplicated date activity. Not only does it boost our mood and inject a sense of adventure into the proceedings, but according to scientists, the increased blood flow to our brain when we walk can make us better communicators. This can lead to more interesting conversation and therefore makes it easier for us to develop a strong(er) bond with our companion.
So why not strap on your hiking boots and explore an area of natural beauty on foot with your date?
18. Have a game night
If you’re looking for something to do on an intimate night in, you could consider playing a few games.
There are loads of board and card games out there that are specifically designed for two people – this list from Dicebreaker suggests some of the best.
Or, if you’d like to keep things especially cheap and don’t want to invest in a whole new game, why not try one of these ideas from Mom Junction, which utilise objects from around the house?
And for those who’re into murder mysteries and puzzles, case file games like these are a favourite amongst the Rest Less team. In these packs, you’ll be presented with a murder scenario and provided with lots of physical evidence to sort through. It’ll be up to you and your date to work together to uncover the killer. It’s an ideal activity to get stuck into over a glass of wine.
19. Visit a public garden
If you’re looking to spend some calm and contemplative time outside amongst nature, you could plan a visit to a public garden for your next date.
There’s something enchanting about sharing a stroll between dazzling flower arrangements and under looming trees. Plus, if allowed, they’re a perfect place for a romantic picnic!
Some public gardens charge a small fee for entrance, while others are completely free. Check out this article from The Guardian to find out about some of the best free ones.
20. Dine out with a discount code or voucher
If you’re looking to keep things conventional while sticking to a budget, why not dine out with a voucher code?
There are hundreds of voucher codes available online that’ll knock a good sum off your cheque at high-street restaurants like Bella Italian, Cafe Rogue, Las Iguanas, and many more.
From fruit picking to mini-golfing, we hope that this list of affordable date ideas has given you some inspiration for your next romantic day or evening.
For more advice and information on dating and relationships, why not visit the relevant section of our website? Here, we have a variety of articles, including 7 tips for a first virtual date and 10 recipes for an at-home date night.