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56 First Date Ideas for Every Budget

A good first date will help you break the ice, spark conversation and make some fun memories with your beau. Not sure what to do? We've rounded-up our favourite first date ideas for every kind of couple

First Date Ideas

First dates are magical and exciting. There's the good kind of butterflies as you begin to get to know someone; there's the flirting and teasing; and, of course, there might even be a kiss at the end of the night. 

Ok, we know all first dates don't go like this, but if you plan a good first date, you're guaranteed to have a fun time even if that person isn't the one for you. That's where our brilliant first date ideas come in.

Forget the cliched dinner and a movie and choose an enjoyable activity that breaks the ice and makes some fun memories. We've got cheap first date ideas, unusual first date ideas, fun first date ideas and outdoor first date ideas for you to look through.

Whatever you decide, fingers crossed you find that spark! 


Cheap First Date Ideas

First Date Ideas

1. Go for a Walk

First, we have to give you a little warning on safety. Much like we don't recommend going to someone's house or inviting someone to yours for a first date, we recommend you stick to relatively public places if you're on a first date and always tell someone where you're going. Better safe than sorry!

A walk is a brilliant first date idea for active people, just make sure it's in a park where people will be around or on a popular hiking route. You'll can grab a drink (coffee or pick up a can of G&T) and discover a new part of your city together, or head out into the countryside with a picnic.

2. Pub Quiz

Let's show that competitive side early on! Pub quizzes are a great ice breaker as you've got the questions to discuss and you can both show off your areas of knowledge. If you want to keep it casual, invite them as part of a wider group, but a pub quiz team of two is just as fun (although less likely to win). Most cost about £2 per person, so it's a really cheap date idea that's bags of fun.

3. Visit a Museum

There's no awkward silences at a museum because there's always something to talk about - perfect! Find a museum neither of you have been to before - there are lots of unusual and quirky museums around the country - or ask them what museum they love and would they show you around it? You'll get a great understanding of their passions and outlook on life as they talk you through art, science, natural history and more. 

Don't forget to stop at the museum café or gift shop to make the date last a little longer or get a souvenir of a great first date.

4. Eat Your Way Around a Street Food Market

Either set yourself a budget and buy dinner for the other person based on what you think they might like, or - and we love this first date idea - you alternate buying rounds and end up with the fusion meal to end all fusion meals. One person buys a starter, the next the main, back to sides and finally a dessert - think how many cuisines you could tick off!

First Date Ideas

5. Attend an Open Mic Night

This is especially fun if you know someone performing! Whether a friend is doing a song or some comedy, or you don't know anyone on the bill, an open mic night is a great conversation starter. You don't know what you're going to get so if it's terrible or great, there's something to laugh at. You'll find out a great deal about what they enjoy too...

6. Volunteer at an Animal Rescue

Smaller animal shelters are often desperate for volunteers to walk the animals or socialise with them before they head off to new homes. If you're both animal enthusiasts, contact your local rescue and see if they'll let you volunteer. It's a heartwarming date idea that shows off your soft side to each other. Plus, puppies!

7. Go Charity Shopping

Stop at your local charity shop ahead of dinner. Each person has 20 minutes to choose an item or whole outfit for the other one to wear to dinner: the wackier, most embarrassing, the better. it's fun, sustainable and shows how well your date can laugh at themselves. 

8. Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt

Print off a list of things you both need to get photos of and see who can get the best pictures for each prompt. It could be the best billboard, blue door, park bench, person walking a dog, yellow car, outdoor clock, pot hole, police car - honestly, whatever you want. You'll find it hilarious to look back o each other's pictures. Make sure there's a forfeit for the loser.

First Date Ideas

9. See a Fireworks Display

Around bonfire night, there are loads of fireworks displays which are either free or cost a few pounds to enter. You'll get to snuggle up with each other next to a big bonfire, watch a gorgeous display and drink mulled wine or hot choc as the night draws in.

10. Find a Free Performance

Local parks, street markets and outdoor festivals often have free performances advertised ahead of time. You can grab some food or a drink and find a spot to listen to a new band, hear poetry or watch an unpublished play. It's a completely free way of getting a bit of culture into a date and exploring all the things going on in your city. Sign up to a local area newsletter to find all the unexpected 'what's on' events.

11. Go Somewhere You Haven't Been Before

Anywhere from a neighbourhood in your city to a major tourist attraction that's always passed you by. Meet your date there and get exploring.

12. Fake Shop Around IKEA

For those who aren't easily freaked out, how about building an imaginary future home out of all the furniture and rooms in IKEA? Great for working out your date's taste! When you're all fake shopped out, go to the restaurant and eat meatballs and cinnamon buns. What a great day.

First Date Ideas

13. Go to a Bookstore

If you're both literature lovers, how about going to a book store or a second-hand bookshop? You can talk through the books you love and can each choose a book for the other person and share your tastes.

14. Drink at a Cool Bar

Your classic Tinder first date is to meet for a drink, but why not take it a step further? Instead of a pub, go to a cool themed local bar. From tiki to speakeasy, there's something much more playful about a quirky bar and you'll have plenty to chat about as you go through the weirder drinks on the menu. 

15. Take a Ghost Tour

Do you love spooky films? Bring it to life with a ghost tour or by visiting a haunted landmark. Most big cities have ghost walks or you can simply go to a site where there are reports of chilling sightings. Whether you spot anything or not, it's a good opportunity to hold your date close!

Unusual First Date Ideas

First Date Ideas

16. Try Life Drawing

Or any art class - it's up to you whether you want naked body parts in view on the first date. A pottery class is a great call if the two of you find you're both fans of Ghost.

17. Swap Hobbies

You basically get two first dates in one for this! Give each other an hour or so to show you their favourite hobby or outside work activity. It could be learning to roller skate, picking up a new DIY skill, brewing beer or wine tasting, yoga, cycling, photography, watching films, playing board games - the list is endless. You'll swap in the middle of the date so you both get to learn about the other person and what makes them tick. 

18. Escape an Escape Room

Your playful competitive spirit will come out in the high pressure but fun setting of an escape room. Work together to solve clues and escape before the clock runs out. It'll tell you instantly whether your brains work on the same wavelength. Escape rooms can be pretty pricey so choose your partner carefully; make sure it's someone who'll get into the experience rather than being freaked out about locked in a room for an hour.

First Date Ideas

19. Explore Geocaching

Geocaching is basically a GPS treasure hunt where you use your phone to find hidden "caches" at coordinates all over the world. There's millions hidden so you're guaranteed to find ones local to you and you never know what you're going to stumble on. Decide on an area with your date and start hunting for treasure!

20. Go to a Museum Late

Once a month, museums and art galleries across the country will stay open late and put on adults-only, after-hours nights with cool exhibits, films, workshops and lectures around their normal offerings. You can buy wine and watch everything from drag acts to political activists in locations you'd never expect.

21. Watch a Comedy Show

Nothing bonds two people like laughter which you'll get in spades at a comedy show. Google local comedy clubs or find out if there's a pub near you that puts on a comedy night; it's a great insight into your date's sense of humour and you'll have plenty to talk about afterwards.

First Date Ideas

22. Visit the Zoo or a Petting Zoo

From a city farm to a safari park, there'll be a zoo or petting zoo not far from your home. It's a really lively and cute date idea which you can make your own. How about choosing new names for all the animals based on people you know? Or playing a game to see who can make the best animal noises? Winner buys the ice creams.

23. Attend a Workshop

If you're already discovered you have a hobby in common, why not go to a workshop about it? Maybe you love gardening and want to learn to build a terrarium? Perhaps you both love writing and there's a song writing workshop or novel writing discussion group at a local college you could join? The right workshop or lecture can be fascinating and make for a unique first date.

24. Get a Psychic Reading

If you're into that kind of thing, it could be a fun idea to get a psychic or tarot reading done to find out your destiny. We recommend that you check with your date beforehand if they'd be up for it before booking. If your local pub is anything like ours, they've got a lady who reads tarot on a Tuesday night so it doesn't need to be an expensive date. 

25. Attempt to Break a World Record

Flip through a Guinness World Record book (you can find them at most libraries) and choose a world record you're going to take on. It won't be an official attempt, of course  - you need an adjudicator there for that - but it'll be serious fun trying to put the most socks on one foot in 30 seconds, blow the biggest bubble gum bubble, eat the most Smarties in a minute using chopsticks, or try the most keepy uppies. 

First Date Ideas

26. Throw an Axe

Axe throwing has become a seriously cool new activity across the country and it's ideal for a first date. There's a hint of danger (sexy), the chance to discover an unknown talent, and a good opportunity to get some stress out. 

Looking for something with less potential to lose a limb? How about playing darts at Flight Club?

27. See a Drag or Burlesque Show

Loud, sexy, boisterous - drag shows and burlesque shows are the perfect alternative first date idea for people who aren't shy. We're massive fans of a drag brunch too. 

28. Go to the First Dates Restaurant

If you're in London, why not book a table at the swanky Paternoster Chop House near St Paul's Cathedral and pretend you're on the Channel 4 show that's filmed there? You won't get Fred and Merlin, but you can have a whale of a time getting deep and open, before a debrief later, just as if you were in front of the cameras. 

29. Host a Dating App Dinner Party

Get a few of your single friends over and each person has to invite someone to dinner that they've been talking to on a dating app but haven't met yet. There'll be enough strangers at the dinner that no-one will feel singled out and it'll show if your date is up for a laugh and good at making friends. Who knows, you might find your date isn't the one, but your friend's date is. 

First Date Ideas

30. Do a Colour Run

If you both love running, why not sign up for a colour run? It's a fun 5k where you end up covered in bright paint powder and sometimes take on obstacles, inspired by the Hindu festival of Holi. They happen across the UK and are huge amounts of fun!

31. Book a Test Drive

You can book a luxury car for a test drive and go on fun cruise of your city trying out all its features. Petrolheads will adore this as a date idea!

32. Dine in the Dark

Dans Le Noir is a restaurant in London where you dine in complete pitch black, served by visually impaired waiters. Without all the stuff around to distract you, you'll focus on just each other, the food and the conversation. It's a truly unique first date idea.

33. Eat an Exotic Cuisine

Is there a cuisine that neither of you have tried before? Now is the time! A dinner date is a great chance to get to know the other person, but trying foods you've never eaten before adds an extra layer of interest. Will you like it, will you not? You can share in a small adventure without having to leave your town.

Fun First Date Ideas

First Date Ideas

34. Go Bowling

A classic date idea that never goes out of style. Bowling is good clean fun, but has the opportunity for lots of flirty teasing of your opponent. We get it can be a bit cheesy and the shoes are not sexy, but it's great for breaking the ice.

35. Play Mini Golf

Another classic date idea that can be done in or outside. A local pitch-and-putt is great fun, but you can also find themed, neon-light covered, crazy golf courses for adults across the country at places like Swingers. Best bit you can get pizza and cocktails at those ones.

36. Take a Cookery Class

Lots of bakeries have branched out into bread or doughnut making classes, while your local Italian might offer pasta classes. Have a look around your local area and see what's on offer as a cookery class is a fab way to bond. Plus, everything tastes better when you make it yourself. 

First Date Ideas

37. Join a Walking Tour

Whether it's a rambling group in the countryside or a walking tour around a city, there'll be lots of options you can tag along with. You'll learn loads of new information, have plenty to talk about during and after the walk, and might discover a hidden gem in your own home town.

38. Ice Skate

Winter dates tend to take place indoors as it's nice and cosy, but if you want a romantic outdoor date, look no further than ice skating. It doesn't matter if you're Bambi on ice, your date will love to help you stay upright and you can treat yourselves to a mulled wine at the end.

39. Meet for Breakfast or Dessert

Skip the usual lunch or dinner date and mix up the timings of your first date. A breakfast date just after the sun's risen is seriously romantic, as is meeting later in the evening to grab ice cream or a full-on dessert to share at a local restaurant. If you need to squeeze the date in around work or other commitments, think outside the box on timings.

First Date Ideas

40. Play a Board Game

Board game cafes are the perfect spot to meet for a first date if you're nervous. There's loads to distract you and to chat about, and the whole vibe is welcoming and friendly. The staff will point you in the direction of a great game suggestion, including co-operative board games where you work together if you don't want to get competitive too early.

41. Go to a Theme Park

Adrenaline junkies will love a theme park date where you'll bond over your passion for thrills and scares. It's quite an expensive first date idea, but you'll often find two-for-one ticket offers. If a theme park pushes your budget, how about a trampoline park or a fairground? There'll still be some excellent thrills and spills.

42. Dance the Night Away

Do you both share a love for dancing? Maybe Salsa or Swing? Whatever it is, you can be sure there's a night out somewhere dedicated to it that you can join. If you're both still learning, then what about a dance class?

43. Go Beer or Wine Tasting

Getting a drink is a standard first date activity, but why not make it more interesting by taking a brewery tour or going to a wine shop that does tastings? 

First Date Ideas

44. Book In for a Movie Marathon

See if your local cinema has any special screening events on - you get the fun of going to see a film together but it's that bit more first date-worthy. It might be a classic film, or a whole day (and sometimes night) of all the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter films. 

Look out for special showings of cult classics at outdoor cinemas in the summer or immersive cinema experiences like Secret Cinema.

45. Get an Adrenaline Rush

Be it paintball, go-karting or rock climbing, an activity that sends you adrenaline soaring is a great for a first date. Not everyone is up for something this active on a first date, so assess if it's your date's thing first.

46. Take a Compatibility Test

Online compatibility tests are a silly but seriously fun way to pass the time on a first date. If you're doing a casual meet-up in a park, this is a cute way to pass the time and spark some interesting conversations.

Outdoor First Date Ideas

First Date Ideas

47. Go Wild Swimming

Totally ok if you swap this one to a lido or swimming pool, but there's something so romantic about wild swimming. Find an area near you where it's safe (you can Google locations easily) and head off on a sunny afternoon. Bring a few drinks and while away the time until you can watch the sunset.

48. Watch a Sporting Match

Do you both like sports? Head to a football match, rugby game, cricket match or looks for something more quirky like an ultimate frisbee tournament, Quidditch or something crazy like Welly Wanging (check your spelling before you Google it).

49. Watch a Drive-In Movie

A drive-in movie is very different to going to a cinema on a first date. You'll be inside your own private car so you can chat and laugh through the movie, slurp on drinks and eat chips delivered straight to your car door. Due to Covid there's loads more drive-in events popping up across the country, from comedy shows to live musicals!

50. Go to the Beach

If you live near the sea, you've got one of the most romantic first date spots right on your doorstep. Play classic games in the arcade then eat fish and chips from newspaper on the seafront. In the evening, you could light a campfire on the beach and toast marshmallows to the sounds of the sea.

First Date Ideas

51. Have a Park Picnic

When the weather is nice, a picnic is seriously romantic. It's even cuter when you both cook something to bring along. Although a nice M&S cheese, crisps and dip will do us fine.

52. Hire a Bike

City bikes cost from around £2 for 30 minutes, so you can load your card up and take in some major sites of your city. It'll give you lots of talk about and cycling isn't too strenuous so you'll still be able to chat as you go. The best bit is you can drop the bike off and don't have to spend the rest of your date worrying if it's getting stolen.

53. Mediate in the Park

In summer, you'll often find meditation or yoga classes outside in your local park. If the two of you are into mindfulness and meditation, this could be a great even to bond over and you'll both come out feeling super relaxed.

54. Plant Something Together

Get your hands dirty and get planting. It could be volunteering at a local community gardening project or popping to a garden centre and planting a herb box for one of your homes. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses on any first date.

First Date Ideas

55. Go Fruit Picking

For a wholesome first date idea, go fruit picking. There are pick-your-own farms across the country where you'll be able to gather everything from punnets of strawberries to bags of apples. There might be sunflower and lavender fields too which make for gorgeous first date pictures.

56. Visit a Farmers' or Makers' Market

Try free samples, buy yourself some tasty treats and see what crafts are on offer at a farmers' or makers' market. Often there'll live music or other entertainment so make a day of it.

Looking for a date you can do during lockdown? Here are our 31 favourite lockdown date ideas.