When planning a date, it’s easy for our minds to go straight to those first-date clichés, like dinner and a movie. And while these are nice ways to spend an evening getting to know someone and enjoying their company, there are times when you might fancy doing something different.
However, settling on exactly what you’d like to do isn’t always easy. So, to inspire you, we’ve come up with 17 unique date ideas. From visiting a stately home to taking a cooking class, we hope these can help you plan your next rendezvous.
1. Visit a stately home
Here in the UK, we might not always have the guarantee of great weather for a first date – but we do have hundreds of fascinating and beautiful historical buildings and houses to explore, and visiting a stately home is a lovely way to spend some time together.
From grand and imposing mansions to dinky, quirky cottages with compelling histories, the National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular buildings in the country, so check out their website to find some near you. Alternatively, you can read our article 14 stately homes to visit across the UK.
While visiting a historic site can be a great date for a rainy day, many of these houses have gorgeous gardens that are perfect for a romantic stroll – so this is a date that can be enjoyed throughout the year, come rain or shine.
2. Go rock climbing
If you and your date have a sense of adventure and like a challenge, then why not try going rock climbing together? Rock climbing is exciting and enjoyable – plus, hanging from a wall as you figure out where to grab next is a totally unique way to get to know one another!
Rock climbing is also an excellent workout for the mind and the body, so there are many advantages to this date. Unless you both have prior experience, you’ll want to start your climbing adventure at an indoor climbing centre, where you can hire equipment and get plenty of instruction.
You can find your nearest indoor climbing centre here.
3. Listen to live music
Going to a live music event is another great idea for a date. Music has the power to bring people together, and live music can touch you in a unique way. Plus, because there are so many live music events, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you and your date.
You can get tickets to a big-name act, head to a pub to discover local bands, go to a classical music concert, or attend a musical event at your local park. Listening and watching live music together also takes some of the pressure off, as you won’t have to fill the time with constant talking, but you can still enjoy feeling connected.
4. Take a cooking class
If you and your date are passionate foodies and want to do something that feels more special than heading to a restaurant, why not take a cooking class together?
Whether you consider yourself a cooking pro or can barely boil an egg, there’s a cooking class for all abilities and taste preferences – and doing it with your date just makes it even more enjoyable.
Not only will you learn new culinary skills as you get to know each other better, but you’ll also get to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal together at the end of the class.
You can check out some of the best cooking classes across the UK in our article here.
5. Visit a novelty museum
Visiting a museum or gallery together can be a fun and informative way to spend time with someone, especially if you’re both into art, history, or science. But if you’re just getting to know each other and aren’t entirely sure of each other’s interests yet, why not visit a novelty museum?
The UK is packed with small, unusual, and totally bizarre museums that can be great fun to explore together. From Cornwall’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic to the Dog Collar Museum in Leeds and London’s Cartoon Museum, you won’t be far from a novelty museum, wherever you are.
Novelty museums are a unique date idea that can be as funny as they are fascinating – and you might even come away with a great set of photos too.
For more museum inspiration, why not check out our article; 14 UK museums you won’t want to miss?
6. Go to the theatre
Going to the cinema to watch a film together is a classic first-date activity, but heading to the theatre to see a play is far more original. You can both get dressed up and enjoy yourself – plus, during the interval, you can chat and get to know each other over a drink rather than sitting in the dark in silence the whole time.
Plus, it’s a great way to support local arts – and watching real actors perform in person can be a more memorable experience than watching a film in a cinema. Perhaps you could see a comedic play, a musical, or a ballet.
7. Go on a street food tour
Another great date idea for the food lovers among us is to forget about that restaurant booking and go on a street food tour of your city instead.
If you don’t have a regular street food market in your town, you could head to a local farmer’s market or find out when and where some pop-up food vendors might be opening up. Strolling from stall to stall, trying delicious new dishes, and supporting local vendors while enjoying interesting conversation is a date you’ll both probably remember for a long time.
8. Take a dance class together
Taking a dance class together can make for the perfect date.
Before a first date, you might feel some pressure and maybe even worry that you can’t keep the conversation going. But by going to a dance class, you can keep the energy up and enjoy laughing together – and if you make mistakes, that’s all part of the fun. Plus, everyone likes music, and most of us can enjoy dancing (even if we’re not very good at it!).
Between learning something new, having a laugh at any missteps, and enjoying the music, any nervousness can soon disappear, and you’ll end up on a fun and unique date.
If you’d like to brush up on your dance skills before a date, you might want to check out some of the best online dance classes.
9. Go on a city day trip
Many of us don’t take full advantage of the places we live, so exploring your city in a whole new way can help you discover a new side to your home town, as well as forge a meaningful connection with your date.
Why not become a tourist in your own city for the day and check out all the ‘must-see’ sites and historical attractions that visitors flock to? Museums and monuments can be good places to start.
If you’ve already been on a few dates together and feel comfortable in each other’s company, you might want to think about taking a day trip to another city near you and exploring a new place. Sharing new experiences and discovering new places can go a long way in bringing people closer together.
For some inspiration, check out our article; 16 of the best UK city breaks.
10. Make your own pizza together
If you’re comfortable enough to have a date at home, then a great way to spend some quality time together – and enjoy a delicious, low-key meal while you’re at it – is to make pizza together.
Being in your kitchen (or your date’s kitchen) is an easy way to break the ice, and making some DIY pizzas over a glass or two of wine is a fun, laidback way to get creative while enjoying some stimulating conversation.
You can make your pizzas for yourselves or each other, challenge your date to come up with the tastiest and most inventive toppings combinations, and even go all out and make your dough from scratch.
If you’d like some tips, check out our article on how to make the perfect pizza at home.
11. Go antique hunting
If you love digging around antique shops, why not introduce your date to the joys of finding second-hand treasures and spend a morning or afternoon wandering around antique markets, flea markets, or antique fairs?
From furniture and clothes to jewellery and crockery, flea markets and antique fairs are a haven for vintage enthusiasts – and they’re also a great way to consume more sustainably. You don’t even have to buy anything – just looking and chatting can be the best part – but you might end up with a special memento of your day.
12. Learn a new skill together
Whether it’s painting or photography, learning isn’t only a fun way to improve your confidence and boost your wellbeing, but it’s also a great way to gauge your compatibility with your date.
You don’t have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment to try something new – and you don’t even need to go to a class in person, as there are countless creative skills that you can learn from home.
Even if neither of you is very good at whatever new skill you try, you can bond over that and have a laugh at your efforts. And if one or both of you discover that you’re a bit of a natural, you might have found a new hobby that you can enjoy for a long time.
13. Volunteer together
One unique and wholesome idea for a date is to volunteer together. Helping others is a perfect way to get to know each other without putting any pressure on your date, and knowing that you’re doing some good while you’re at it can make it feel all the more meaningful.
You could volunteer at your local shelter or soup kitchen, or, if you’re both animal lovers, spend some time at your local animal shelter or sanctuary. Or, if you live close to each other, you could join a community beautification project, and if you’re interested in the environment, you could volunteer for a nature charity or service.
For more ideas, check out some different types of volunteer roles.
14. Go hiking
If the weather’s fine, there are few better ways to enjoy spending time together than going for a hike. Setting off for a good walk always feels like the start of a new adventure, and knowing that it could be the start of a new relationship makes it even more exciting.
There are all kinds of walks and hikes you can enjoy together. You can head to your nearby woods and hit a nature trail, visit a country park and pack a picnic, or, if you’d rather stay local and keep things a bit more low-key, you can even do a city walk or a historical or cultural walk around your hometown.
Check out our article on 10 different types of walk to enjoy for more inspiration.
15. Go wine tasting or on a brewery tour
If you or your date enjoys a nice glass of wine, then going wine tasting together can be a fun and romantic way to spend some time together. You can choose to take an organised wine tour, visit any local wineries by yourself, or even join a wine-tasting class near you.
This November, Naked Wines are offering wine tastings all over the England. So, if you live near Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford, London, or Ipswich, you could spend the day sampling some of the best wines they have to offer. Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two from the expert winemakers and head home with a couple of bottles to enjoy later.
Alternatively, if you and your date prefer beer, why not think about a beer tasting or visiting a local brewery? You might get lucky with timing and find out that there’s a beer festival in town, and because they often feature local bands, food stalls, and art vendors, too, there’ll be plenty of ice-breakers along the way! Just be sure to check your date drinks first.
16. Go cycling
Just like walking, cycling together is a really enjoyable way to get to know each other – and it’s especially good if it’s a first date and you feel nervous about making conversation the whole time.
Cycling requires minimal small talk, and by the time you stop for a break, you’ll probably be feeling much easier in each other’s company.
If it’s a first date, it’s probably a good idea to stay local and cycle around your city or on a nearby cycle path – and you can always rent bikes if you don’t have one.
It’s always good to have a destination in mind, whether that’s cycling along a particular route or to a specific pub or cafe for a refresher. Plus, if the date goes well, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and extend the experience.
17. Sit beneath the stars
If you’re looking for a fun and unique date idea that’s also incredibly romantic, then what about doing a spot of stargazing?
There’s something awe-inspiring about staring up at a vast night sky filled with glittering stars – and sharing that experience with your date can be especially meaningful and memorable. You could even have dinner under the stars on a warm evening – and even if it’s not, perhaps you could light a fire pit and grab a few blankets.
For some tips on what to look out for, take a look at our introductory guide to stargazing.
If you’d rather stick to a daytime date for now, you can still enjoy stargazing – just head to your local planetarium and gaze up at the entire solar system together! As an added plus, you’ll probably learn a lot while you’re there too.
Whether it’s your first date with someone or your one-hundredth, there are all kinds of unique and enjoyable activities that can help take the pressure off and make it feel relaxed and informal – from making pizza and visiting stately homes to visiting novelty museums and volunteering together.
If you’d like to get back into dating – or perhaps even start for the first time – you might want to join our Rest Less dating site.
Do you have any other ideas for a great date, or are you inspired by any of our suggestions? We’d love to hear about your dating experiences in the comments below.