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15 First Date Ideas in UK Cities

There is a lot of pressure on Valentine’s Day to make the night especially romantic – and this can be seriously awkward on a first date. While you want to have a romantic evening, as a first date, you are getting to know each other and so too much of the pink and red lovey dovey stuff might be cringey!

It is important not to treat a first date like an audition – the key thing is to find an activity that is fun in itself – things might work out with your date, or they might not – but ultimately  you will have had a good time.

Check out these ideas for a first date on Valentine’s Day which won’t be uncomfortable:

A comedy night

A comedy night is the perfect way to relax and unwind those first date nerves. Laughter decreases stress hormones and triggers the release of the feel-good chemicals – endorphins. You will also have something to giggle about after the show as you talk about your favourite jokes. Most comedy clubs put on a special evening for Valentine’s including meals and drinks.

Whistle punks axe throwing

For an alternative date how about axe throwing in London or Manchester? Channel your inner Thor and have a go! If anything, this will be something to talk and laugh about after your date. It is unlikely that either of you will have done this before, so you can bond while sharing a new experience.        

All Stars Lanes

All Stars bowling lanes have a difference. No tacky lighting, screaming children, sticky carpets and stale cigarette smoke here. If you need a smoke, have a vaping break and chat outside. The lanes take you back in time to 1950s America (minus the cigarettes) and they serve retro food and drinks – how about a rootbeer float to sip while you bowl. Where else can you have fun bowling with your date and then sit and eat lobster and drink cocktails? Check out the lanes in London and Manchester.

Climbing up the O2, London

For an adventurous date, climb up to the top of the world’s number one entertainment venue. They are putting on special Valentine’s Day climbs, including champagne when you get to the top. You can book a twilight climb and then watch the sunset together from the viewing platform. Even if your date doesn’t set your heart racing, the views will!

Drinks at The Shard, London

One of the most glamorous locations in the capital, this is somewhere to tick off your to-do list whatever the day. A first date on Valentine’s Day provides the perfect excuse. Enjoy drinks at The View from The Shard, London’s highest champagne bar. A saxophonist will be walking around as you enjoy the 360 degree views, and you can sample luxury chocolates from Charbonnel et Walker. After some drinks you can go up to the open air skydeck.

The theatre

A Valentine’s theatre date is an ideal choice for a first date whatever city you are in. In London’s West End you can see Mama Mia, Phantom of the Opera, or The Great Gatsby. Alternatively, The Woman in Black provides a spooky performance if you want to get away from too much romance on your first date. Take advantage of the interval for some drinks at the bar. Many restaurants to pre-performance dinner deals, especially on Valentine’s Day, so check out the surrounding area.

Rock climbing

Most big cities have rock climbing venues, and if you are an active couple this is perfect. Have fun, burn some calories and then refresh yourselves with a meal and drinks afterwards.

A jazz club

Take your inspiration from La La Land – a jazz club is uber cool and timeless. If in London check out the famous basement jazz club Ronnie Scott’s complete with retro interior and moody lighting and listen to some of the world’s best musicians. Alternatively, Le QuecumBar and Brasserie in south London offers an enchanting evening with live jazz and traditional Parisian decor.

Cabaret with your food

One of the tricky things about a first date is getting past those nerves and awkward silences – entertainment while you eat will provide the perfect backdrop. Check out Circus in London – a decadent and glamorous restaurant where skilled, glittering performers do acrobatics on the tables and on hoops suspended from the ceiling.

Albert’s Schloss in Manchester provide some of the most entertaining evenings in the city offering cabaret nights in a fun, kooky and eccentric environment.

A cooking class

Almost every major city has a couples cooking class. There will be classes on making sweet treats, sushi, or even chocolate focused. This will be a shared experience, which is powerful when it comes to making memories and cultivating a fledgling relationship. The benefits also include not messing up your own kitchen and having to clear it up – a killer for romance.

 Arcade games

Stranger Things made arcade games cool again. As a first date you want it to be relaxed and fun, so head to your local arcade games with pocket fulls of change and compete with each other on some retro games and maybe a dance off arcade game to break the ice. Treat your date to a Slush Puppie for the ultimate nostalgic refreshment.

A board games bar or pub

There is a huge fashion for bars with board games, so get googling where you can go locally. Everyone has a favourite board game, and what more fun to play with your date. Nothing is worse than self-consciously sipping drinks thinking up what to say next – laugh about Cranium over cocktails, put a draught board between you, or giggle over Cluedo.

Ghost tour

If you really want to get away from the tacky Valentine’s Day decorations, research local ghost tours in your area and hold on tight to your date’s hand. There can be something romantic in a gothic ivy covered graveyard for the bohemians amongst us. Many ghost tours offer a special Valentine’s deal.


For a date to quicken the senses and get the adrenaline pumping, try trampolining. Trampolining parks have sprung up all over the UK – giant spaces with wall-to-wall trampolines. Most are offering special deals this Valentine’s. Bring out your inner child and bounce the night away with your date – it’s impossible to bounce and not laugh!

Art galleries and museums

Continuing on the theme of doing a fun activity to take the pressure off – check out your local art galleries and museums as many put on special events for Valentine’s Day. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery offers a special Valentine’s meal with live music after you have browsed the exhibits.