Sick of the old dinner and drinks routine, when going on a date? Check out these quirky date ideas in London. You just might end up having the best date of your life…
So, you’ve managed to nab yourself a hot date in London and you’re keen to impress.
You don’t want to stick with the tired, old formula of dinner and drinks or just drinks. Yawn.
You want this night to be memorable, or lead to a second date, at least.
Or, you’re already in a long-term relationship and you’re looking for some romantic things to do in London (or not so romantic, as it were).
Your other half has enlisted you in organising the next date. They’ve heavily hinted that if you take them out for one more dinner and a movie routine, it may be the last date you ever go on.
With them, at least.
Either way, you’re looking to mix things up a little bit. And holy moly – are you in the right city, or what?
Here are some fun and unusual date ideas in London, whether you’re single and ready to mingle with a special someone, or in a long-term relationship.
Quirky London date ideas for a fun day or night out
Fun date ideas in London by day
Off for a day date with your love? Here’s a few options to keep you both entertained.
1. Go for an afternoon tea cruise
If you’re after a bit more of a romantic London date ideas, consider taking your date for a cruise along the Thames River, with a spot of afternoon tea to accompany the ride.
This 1.5 hour journey will take you past landmarks such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.
You’ll sit there together, sipping on tea, nibbling on sandwiches and cakes and taking in the sights while the resident solo pianist plays accompanying tunes.
Sounds blissful, no?
Afternoon tea in London can be quite a fun affair and this makes for an easy, relaxed but enjoyable date option.
2. Indulge in a little bit of Taxidermy
Nothing says “I love you” more than “I love you enough to go to taxidermy class, stuff a dead mouse and arrange it into questionable poses and shapes”.
If you’re looking for a more quirky date idea for London, a taxidermy class will certainly hit the spot.
The British Academy of Taxidermy offers up a range of classes, the most popular being the anthropomorphic mouse class and squirrel taxidermy.
I’ve attended the taxidermy mouse class (and plan to do the squirrel class when I’m next in town) and was both surprised and delighted by how many couples were in attendance.
One in particular who were sat opposite us, were determined to take their new skills to taxidermy (taxidermise?) the stout that they’d had chilling in their freezer for the last two years.
It had apparently been road kill, but was in great shape.
3. Attend an early-morning rave
Although waking up early is never fun (unless, I guess you’re a morning person or something), attending an early morning rave is anything but a pleasant way to start the day.
You scramble out of bed, put on your dancing (or raving) shoes, journey to the venue, chug a green smoothie or knock back a shot of espresso and dance your heart out before heading off to work.
And yes, all of this is done sober.
It’s actually a lot of fun and will keep a smile on your dial for the remainder of your working day.
4. Explore a city farm
London truly is home to everything and anything… including multiple city farms.
Many people cite Spitalfields as being particularly good.
I haven’t been there myself, but did visit the small farm at the Horniman Museum a couple of years ago, I guess technically on a date with my then boyfriend.
If your date is an animal nut, they’ll love it. If they aren’t… well, I don’t really know what to say to that.
5. Spend eons with neons at God’s Own Junkyard
You might have seen images of this London attraction illuminated across the internet.
God’s Own Junkyard is a collection of neon signs – art pieces made for movies, salvaged signs and old displays.
The gallery is open to the public Friday to Sunday and there’s a cafe/bar onsite.
6. Explore abandoned tube tunnels
Do you and/or your date consider yourselves history buffs?
Dive into hidden areas of London’s Tube network.
Explore the shuttered Aldwych Station, see original Central Line design features at Shepherd’s Bush and explore Euston Station’s lost tunnels.
Tours are held regularly throughout the week.
7. Dare to do the Skywalk Experience
Get both your and your date’s hearts pumping at The Dare Skywalk Experience.
You’ll step out on a glass walkway almost 47 metres above the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium football pitch. Grasp hands, take in the views and have a photo snapped together by a professional photographer.
As far as London date ideas go, this one is certainly memorable.
8. Gorge with someone gorgeous on a cheese barge
‘They’ say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. And this quirky date idea in London is bound to be brie a winner.
Located in Paddington, the Cheese Barge is quite possibly London’s most intriguing floating restaurant.
This 96 foot double-decker boat is moored on Regent’s Canal.
You can pick from a seasonal cheese focused menu, paired with delicious wine.
If the weather is fine, dine on the roof terrace. Or take your date along to ‘Fondue Thursdays’ or ‘Afternoon Cheese’.
While this experience is only available spring through to late autumn, other offerings such as the Cheese Bar are open all year round.
9. Or stretch your legs on a cheese walking tour
More of a landlubber? Keep your feet on dry ground and spend an afternoon exploring London’s cheesiest places.
Dive into dairy, as you sample cheesy treats and learn about the city’s relationship to the Gouda stuff.
10. Jump on a street art walking tour
London is known for its vibrant street art.
Meet your date in the East End, to explore one of the city’s most colourful corners.
Follow a knowledgeable guide to discover the works of and stories behind dozens of artists.
It’ll make for a fantastic afternoon’s adventure.
11. Impress with a secret British food tour
Let the pheromones fly on a three-hour food tour, which takes you through historic pubs and the fantastic Borough Market, to uncover secret and surprising dishes.
You’ll learn the history of each area and see renowned London landmarks along the way.
Come with an empty stomach and open heart.
12. Walk with dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park
Pack a picnic, grab your date and head south to Crystal Palace, to dine with dinosaurs.
Artist and sculpture Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins created 33 life-size concrete models of various extinct animals (not only dinosaurs), the last completed in 1854.
The dinosaurs pre-date Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by six years, so they’re based on what Victorians supposed dinosaurs looked like, than solid scientific fact.
They weren’t too far off the money. Head to the park to experience the dinosaurs for yourself.
13. Visit the secret botanical garden at the Barbican Conservatory
Grab your date and explore a hidden gem of the UK capital – a giant botanical garden, in the middle of the complex.
It’s a wonderful cheap date idea in London as it’s completely free. You just need to book in advance.
So grab a ticket and relax together in a tropical oasis.
14. Steam things up in a ‘hot tug’
And now for something completely different, definitely a quirky date idea for London.
Pop on your bathers and take your date for the ride of their life in an electric, self-driven, wood-fired hot tub.
You’ll cruise London’s waterways in 38°C water, no matter what the weather.
15. Get into a GoBoat
Or alternatively, keep your clothes on as you captain your own boat around Canary Wharf.
You’ll push off from Bellmouth Passage and explore London Docklands.
Pack a picnic to enjoy on the boat, as you drift across the water.
This is a truly quirky London date idea that’s sure to be a lot of fun.
16. Frolic in the heated waters of Hampton Pool
Love outdoor swimming? The open air Hampton Pool is heated all year round, making it the perfect destination for a date, no matter what the season.
The pool faces onto a woodland area and there’s plenty of grassy area to laze around on between swims.
Fun date night ideas in London
Here are some things you can get up to in London in the dark of the night.
17. Paddle to Crate Brewery
Discover what’s brewing at a hip, hop and happening bar in Hackney Wick.
Jump into a kayak and paddle your way through London’s oldest cabal to Crate Brewery.
These adventure tours are available during the warmer months only, when the daylight hours are long and the weather (sometimes) fine.
18. Enter into an axe-throwing tournament
Here’s one of the more unusual date ideas for London.
Forget ten-pin bowling, axe-throwing is the new group craze. It’s also proving to be popular amongst couples.
It is what it sounds like – you go to the venue and hurl axes at a target.
Whoever gets the axe to hit the target the most (and gets the most bullseyes from there), wins.
If you’re single and looking to mingle, Whistlepunks also organise speed-dating axe-throwing nights.
Meeting the love of your life at such an event would certainly give you a story to tell the grandkids.
19. Jump for juniper at a gin cocktail masterclass
Join your date in creating some colourful cocktails at one of London’s best distilleries.
You’ll create three cocktails to sip on, as you’re introduced to the art of cocktailing.
If the date is a flop, at least you’ll have acquired some skills to impress your next lucky love interest.
20. Kayak down the Thames at night
If you’re after something a little more low key – why not take your date or other half on a lovely kayak to see London’s biggest landmarks from the water?
Paddle down the Thames in double kayak, past the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and more.
The city is gorgeous by night, so this is sure to get two thumbs up.
It’s maybe not a great idea for a first date in London however – remember that if things don’t quite go as expected, you’re sort of stuck in a kayak together until the very end of the date.
21. Eat a meal in the dark
Most of the best dates revolve around food, but I personally like the venue to have a bit of a twist.
Dans le Noir? perfectly fits the bill.
It’s a restaurant where all food is served to patrons in the dark and you’re not told what you’re eating until, well, after you’ve consumed your meal.
When you arrive at the restaurant, you’re asked to lock all your valuables and phone away, before you’re given menu options. There’s all vegetarian, seafood or meat (or a mix), two courses or three.
A blind server then leads you through pitch darkness to your table, where you sit knee to knee with your date.
You’re given the meals, left to guess what you are putting in your mouth. Eventually, you’ll abandon the use of cutlery, as no one can see you and presumably everyone else in the vicinity is doing the same.
At the end of the meal, you’re shown what you ate. You discover you put your most hated food, tomatoes, in your mouth. You chewed and you actually enjoyed them.
You leave the venue questioning everything you know.
22. Visit a champagne bar
Okay, I know that this post was meant to be filled with suggestions other than your standard “let’s meet at a bar, have a drink and get to know each other, winky-face”.
Champagne bars offer a nice twist in this regard, mostly because they just look so darn cool.
Yet, this might be one of the more romantic things to do in London at night, at least as far as this list is concerned.
I’m operating purely on the decor, here.
23. Play a game of ping pong at Bounce
There’s something delightfully cool about ping pong, in a nerdy way.
It’s particularly enjoyable when both food and drinks are on offer, too.
24. Visit the Peter Harrison Planetarium in Greenwich
I have actually been on a date to the Planetarium. As a space nut, I loved it.
There are generally multiple shows going on at the Peter Harrison Planetarium at once.
Some are seasonal as well or planned for special events, like Valentine’s Day. Keep an eye on the program for these sort of shows!
25. Have a go at swing dancing at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley
If you and your date are keen dancers, head down to the last intact ballroom in London, the Rivoli.
The venue holds regular swing nights, along with other special events, such as concerts and movie screenings.
I kick myself for not heading there for a screening of “The Shining” one Halloween – I can’t imagine a better venue for witnessing that Kubrick classic
26. Attend pottery classes & late night boozy pottery painting
Reenact that famous scene from ‘Ghost’ (or don’t maybe) at a clay making class.
You’ll learn the basics of hand building clay and have the opportunity ti learn how to throw pieces on a potter’s wheel.
Or combine painting with drinks at a late night boozy pottery painting.
Bring your own vino, settle in and get those creative juices flowing.
27. Join a Supper Club
Supper clubs offer more than just a meal.
You get to experience a unique evening in an intimate setting, something sure to impress your date.
28. Dine in a restaurant with a view
Take your love to new heights, with dinner and drinks over the city.
29. Take in the sights during a six-course luxury dinner bus tour
Or let the sights come to you on a luxury dinner bus tour.
You’ll enjoy six-courses, cooked on coach as you travel past some of London’s best-known landmarks.
The experience starts and ends at the Victoria Embankment.
30. Attend a late night museum opening
Traditional museum opening times don’t work for everyone.
Fortunately, some of London’s best museums open after-hours:
- Tate Modern Lates: last Friday of every month
- Friday Lates at the V&A: last Friday of most months
- British Museum: open every Friday until 8.30pm
- Barbican Art Gallery: open until 11pm Monday to Sunday
- ICA: open until 9pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
31. Learn how to brew sake in Peckham
Peckham in general has become one of London’s coolest neighbourhoods, so it’s no surprise it’s home to the city’s first sake brewery.
Head to Kanpai to learn how to brew your own sake or opt for a tour of the brewery with tastings.
Definitely one of London’s most quirky date ideas.
So, there you have it – a good mix of strange activities that will either impress your new flame, or mix things up a bit for you and your current half.
Either way, these are definitely fun date ideas in London and even if your night (or day!) is a stinker, you’ll probably have a good time, regardless.
So, what do you think of these quirky London date ideas? Have you done any of these activities? What’s the oddest date activity you’ve been on? For more, check out my guide to moving to London.
Where to stay in London on your trip