Is there anything more nerve-racking than a first date? The thought of meeting a relative stranger in a pub or for a coffee and being forced to be your most charming self normally in an environment that has as much atmosphere as a school canteen. But surely this isn’t the way it has to be? There must be some first date ideas that don’t leave us browsing the beer and burger menu when we’ve run out of things to say?
As someone who has been single longer than Nick Grimshaw’s been a Radio 1 Breakfast host, dating has become as much of my lifestyle as seeing friends or going to work. Whilst my married pals spend their weekends swanning off on city breaks, I am sat in a Wetherspoons drinking diet coke and attempting to make small talk with Barry. When dating is part of your day-to-day life, do you really want to be wasting it in places you wouldn’t take your Nan to, just because it’s cheap and you know where the exits are? Shouldn’t dating and first dates be a fun addition to your day and perhaps if they were a bit more exciting we might be able to be our best selves a little easier?
So I have compiled my favourite first date ideas below and I am heading over to Tinder to try to bag myself a subject to experiment these on.
First Date Ideas for the Belly Laughs:
My number 1 no! no! for a first date is to go any place where talking is impossible. I know we all hate those awkward conversations, but how are you going to know if theytickle your intellectual pickle if you aren’t able to hear them speak in the first place? So I would normally say anything like a cinema date is definitely out the window, however, there is one place I think you can go, and not talk but still learn if you connect, and that’s at a comedy club.
I know sitting in a comedy club means there will be 2 hours where you’ll be listening to someone else’s bants rather than each others, but it can still be a perfect place to learn everything you need to know about someone. Do they laugh at the same things as you? Were they chuckling a little too loud at that Brexiteer’s bants? If the saying is “you can laugh them into bed” then comedy shows do all the hard graft for you.
Pop in a couple of beers, a well-timed interval and one or 5 plates of nachos, and you close to hitting my dating G spot. My favourite place to belly laugh with a stranger is Komedia in Brighton (they have a club in Bath too), it’s the right level of comfortable without being seedy, and they sell beer by the jug, which gets a ‘Yes’ from me.
First Date Ideas to increase the Heart Rate
Is it even a 1950’s rom com if you aren’t at a drive thru, watching a scary movie and waiting for the right moment to slide in for a cuddle when you’re both pooping your pants over Christopher Lee in a Dracula costume? The belly flips and heart flutters of being excited and scared aren’t hugely different and nothing is more likely to encourage me to get physically close to someone then being terrified and ready to throw my date’s body in front of the psycho killer. A little spooking is a great way to create a connection between you and a first date, but pop your Freddie Kruger mask and knife down, hun, there are less disturbing ways to get the adrenalin flowing and hopefully the love-a-making (is there a clearer reason why I am single?).
There are tons of haunted theme parks and attractions and you don’t just have to wait until Halloween to book them. Merlin Entertainment have dungeons up and down the country (London, York, Blackpool, Warwick Castle and Edinburgh and world-wide), where you will find all the live action thrills and some valuable history teachings (dating doesn’t have to be dim, yo!). Nothing like being followed by a spook to encourage some hand holding, heavy breathing and racing hearts whilst still keeping your clothes on. If you do happen to find a Tinder match in October, then the possibilities for pant wetting experiences are unlimited. The most famous being Shocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm (Europe’s largest scream park) where the organisers assured me they have hosted many a first date and inspired a few relationships too. Go get your scream (and snog) on.
First Date Ideas for the G.O.A.T:
Have you ever just swiped right on a potential only because they’re cradling a cute puppy in the profile pic? Guilty! There is something about animals that makes most people go a bit gooey and emotional. All those love hormones firing left, right and centre, at this adorable little fluffy thing we want to snuggle and adore. What if you could have a date where some of those serotonin particles rubbed off on you?
Sure, you could head down to your local zoo, or the petting farm, but honestly, is there anything more of a boner killer than trying to have a romantic moment whilst a coach load of 5 years olds wipe snot on their jumpers beside you? No, what you want is adult animal fun, and I am not talking about heading to your nearest furry club night for a rub down. I suggesting a bit of Goga, or Goat Yoga if you will. It’s a yoga class with kid goats, where you find your inner zen whilst cradling a baby goat. My ovaries. If you’re down south I have found the perfect class for you (and if you aren’t, just click on the link for the photos). I might not even wait for an animal loving Tinder beau, take me to the goats now.
First Date Ideas for the Travellers:
If I matched with Chris Pratt, I imagine he would send a car for me, tell me to bring my passport and he would whisk me away to the Maldives where our first date would be all scuba diving and champagne. Much romance. But until then, grand gestures and trips away with complete strangers is a definite no no for me. Like Dave, you’re cute, but your lucky I am sharing this Uber with you without doing a full police check and 20 hour trawl of all your social media.
However, I do like a bit of an adventure, seeing new places and trying new things, and often I can’t do that in the city I was born in (or without bumping into everyone I know, including a few exes along the way). I also love a bit of travel. I like the bit of travelling everyone hates, the journey to the destination is as exciting for me as the event itself. I also love trains. I know, grab your binoculars and anorak’s people, I’m a train geek. I’m not saying I know anything about trains, but there’s something about going on a train journey that always gets me a bit excited. Maybe it was being forced to watch ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ a thousand times when I was little, or that train journeys always represented going further than the local shops, but I love trains.
I once had a first date where we met at a train station, as we both fancied going to a different town and we had both decided that alcohol was essential and driving not so. Getting on the train together, grabbing a ticket, chatting as the world rushes past you at 100 mph, it felt like a super relaxed way to start to get to know one another. By the time we’d hit the pub, we had already been chatting for 45 minutes and everything just felt more relaxed and natural.
If you don’t fancy just climbing on your next Virgin train, what about a date which revolves around the train journey itself? Hitch a ride on a steam train, drink champagne, eat dinner and make the journey the date. It’s vaguely romantic (I am thinking 1920’s Orient Express vibes here), communal (so much safer than a ‘Taken’ trip to Paris) and you get to a see a bit of beautiful Blighty on the way. Choo Choo the 10:40 from Tinder will be arriving into your station in the foreseeable future.
So there are my top tips for the best first date ideas for people who love dating. Have you ever been on any adventurous fun dates? Did you trying something different from my suggestions above? Let me know through my socials or in the comments below. Happy Dating.