By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Photos by Chris Barber Photography
Looking to spice things up, keep the romance alive and find some new, creative day or night date ideas? I completely understand (having been with my husband for 17 years and counting) that it’s so important to take time for one another.
I don’t know about you, but 99% of our evenings are plonked on the sofa, watching tv with a cup of tea. The weekends are a blur of chores, seeing our lovely family and friends, entertaining our two children and running errands or doing chores. Nothing wrong with that at all, in fact, it makes me feel pretty good. That is our busy life together, our happy home.
Photo: Chris Barber Photography from my own engagement shoot!
However, we do need to make sure we have quality time together. To actually talk, to have fun, to make memories on our own and have shared experiences.
If you’re here then you are looking for the same thing, whether you’re an engaged couple, newly married, celebrating an anniversary or are in the honeymoon stage. These date ideas are sure to inspire your own romantic adventures.
I’ve also got some great date ideas for parents, that won’t need a babysitter at the ready. Why? Because these dates are at home, and many are very cheap, if not totally free. So you literally have no excuses not to mark that date night in your calendar.
It’s not always going to be possible to head out on a date. Perhaps you have a delivery you’re waiting on? Someone you care for or a pet to look after. Maybe you’re in lockdown, self isolating or have Covid (get well soon!). That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great date so here are some dates ideas for your home and garden.
Photo: Faith Dwight Photography via Pillow Fight Engagement
If the weather is set to be pleasant and you have a free afternoon, fill a hamper with goodies, lay down a rug and grab something lovely to drink. You’ll only need an hour and you could even sneak some time out of working from home on your lunch break.
Create some romantic, atmospheric lighting and play your fave playlist together. Make sure to include your song.
Photo: Bloom Weddings via Contemporary Pastel Barn Wedding
Rustle up your fave board games and some snacks, switch off the TV and find your inner competitor for some fun and games.
Photo: Oxi Photography via Pennard House Wedding
A spot of alfresco cooking is a nice way to shake up mealtimes. It can be fun and interactive cooking together or one of you can take the lead and let your other half relax.
Photo: Parkershots via Relaxed BBQ Homemade Wedding
An oldie but goodie. Rent a film, grab the popcorn and cosy up ready for movie date night.
Love a spot of The Great British Bake Off or just have a sweet tooth? Why not head to the kitchen and bake up a storm together?
Quite an indulgent treat, but did you know you can hire hot tubs? It would be a lovely way to celebrate a special anniversary or Valentine’s Day in your own garden.
Grab your disco ball, dress up to the nines and have a good old fashioned boogie. Maybe you met dancing, or perhaps it’s something you only feel comfortable doing privately. Dancing can be a lovely way of bringing out your fun side.
Find your controllers and set up a two-player computer game date. It may bring back some nostalgia, or just ignite some fun conversation.
Photo: Carolyn Scott Photography via Video Game Engagement
It’s a classic, but it’s a classic date idea for a reason. Set the right mood and cook something special to surprise your love.
If not a couples massage, then any other treatment of your choice by hiring a beautician to come to you. You’ll have space to chat and be left feeling relaxed.
Treat yourselves to take out and have a night off of cooking… and washing up!
Sit out and toast some marshmallows together, there’s always something romantic and cosy about being close to a campfire.
Photo: Anna Pumer Photography via Rave Tipi Wedding
You could always try to recreate your first date or how you met at home. It may be a giggle as you try and set up a restaurant or cinema, a park or a workplace. But it’ll also bring you close together as you relive those memories.
Snuggle up in your bed and have a special breakfast together – dates don’t always have to be in the evening.
Jump in the hot water together and have some intimate, relaxing time.
A spot of stargazing can be very peaceful, calming and connecting. The perfect date idea – and it’s free!
If your budget is tight, why not pamper one another? Grab some facemasks, nail polish and massage oil, then treat one another to a well-deserved treatment.
Crack open that special bottle of something you’ve been saving and have a conversation about your future dreams. Don’t forget to raise a toast.
Photo: Meghan Lorna via Blush Pink Wedding Ideas
How often do we actually sit and look back through our photo albums or camera roll? Make an afternoon date out of relaxing and reminiscing.
Feeding each other treats is an intimate and fun date activity, which also helps you to make eye contact. Be prepared for food fights if you get silly.
No explanation is needed here. I will leave you to your own imagination.
If you love crafting and making, why not buy yourselves a craft kit to complete together at home. A simple, but sweet date idea with a memento to keep afterwards.
Photo: HBA Photography via Baking Engagement
Take some time together to do some travel research, whether that be with brochures or on the internet. This is a fun one for those of you who are engaged and planning a honeymoon.
Surprise your partner by organising a fun treasure/scavenger hunt in your home or garden. You could use insider jokes or private references to make it super personal too. Your partner will love the thought and effort put into it.
Sometimes painting together or gardening can make for some fun memories. Put on some upbeat tunes and work next to each other for some one-to-one time.
How about spending some time together creating a memory book, adding photos, tickets, quotes, flowers or any other treasured keepsakes to look back on and show the grandkids.
Be totally decadent and hire a chef to cook you a luxe meal. No babysitter needed, no need to even dress up, or wash up after! YES.
Grab some time to make a playlist that you can use on your next date, on a roadtrip or even at your wedding for those engaged couples. Wedding songs are always best when they come from the heart and have meaning.
Write a love note, letter or poem to make your love laugh or cry (in a good way of course) and then make a date to read them together. Cue all the emotions.
Food and dating go hand in hand right? Well not always. Perhaps you feel too nervous to eat, maybe it’s tricky to find suitable eateries for your diet (I’m coeliac I totally get it) or perhaps you want a more lighthearted activity to break the ice and add some fun. Well these high energy and romantic date ideas will be perfect for your couples treat.
Photo: CJ Williams Photography
Find your local escape room challenge and head there for an unusual date idea. Test your teamwork and have a celebratory drink when you’ve completed it.
Trips to a local farm centre can be lovely, cute animals, feeding time, plus usually a cafe for lunch. This is an especially lovely day date for Spring when it’s lambing season. Top tip, try to go inside of term time to avoid it being super busy.
Having a walk around stately homes and gardens is always relaxing. Also, it’s great if you are a National Trust or English Heritage member to make the most of your membership. Another date idea could be discovering your local flower farm, flower festival or lavender field, great photo opportunities!
A good old fashioned night at the pictures is always a favourite for date night. Be sure to choose a film you both agree on, and don’t forget the pic n mix.
Head off to a theme park for a day date, just the two of you. Get the adrenaline rush from fast rides or take things at a slower pace with more serene rollercoasters.
Photo: Binky Nixon via Fair Engagement
Hit up the bowling alley, wear your coolest outfit (preferably that matches those bowling shoes) and get in the drinks as you go head to head bowling.
Visit a safari park or zoo to take in all the sights and sounds of the animals. You could even book a special experience, such as meeting animals or feeding them to make it extra special.
For something a little more high octane, a game of laser tag or paintballing will bring a touch of unique to a date. Bring on the fun.
Go on, treat yourself to a night away. Getting out of the house and changing up the setting can do wonders for your mood and the atmosphere.
Perfect for thrill-seekers and car fanatics, you could head to the go-kart track. Or better still, book a supercar driving experience or head to watch a race.
Photo: Babb Photo
You really can’t go wrong with hitting the spa, can you? Bubbles, hot tubs, treatments, cute swimwear, swimming, all the perfect ingredients for a day date. Be ready to feel refreshed and revived.
Why not go dancing at a club or you could book in some dance lessons if you fancy yourself a spot of Strictly Come Dancing? Dance lessons are also a great way to build confidence if you’re engaged and looking to up-level your first dance.
Ever feel like your photos are a bit, well, rubbish? Why not book in a professional photographer for a special couples shoot? It can be super low key and a great photographer will bring the giggles and romance, so much so you won’t notice they are there. Plus you’ll get cute snaps to keep forever. Win win.
If you love the outdoors then why not plan a camp out for the night? Sometimes going back to basics and keeping things simple, makes the most important things in life come alive.
Wander around town and meander through your fave shops together. Hand holding is essential.
Go for a swim, or hang out goofing around in the shallow end. A perfect wake-me-up morning date before work or at a weekend.
It can be really lovely to head out for a date with another couple, still romantic yet super fun times indeed.
How about trying a new sport together, something neither of you has tried before. Learning something together can really help with bonding.
Photo: Wilton Photography via Fishing Engagement
Go to the theatre to see a show, play or comedy act. Not only are you supporting theatre, but you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere and emotions of the performance.
Whether you are a keen rider or a complete novice, horse riding can be really fun. Often with great views and your horses can ride side-by-side so you can have great conversation.
Music can be a really big part of making memories, so think about heading to your favourite artists live show. Or you could even grab a day ticket for a music festival.
A trip to the funfair just brings those Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook vibes, am I right or am I right? There really is a special atmosphere to funfairs and The Greatest Showman feel of a circus.
Whether you fancy a classic outdoor game of crazy golf, or a more modern take, the indoor adventure golf bar. This can be a really enjoyable date idea.
Photo: Maxine Howells Photography
If you’re not afraid of heights a trip to your local climbing wall could prove to be a memorable date.
There are loads of fun assault courses and high ropes centres such as Go Ape to try out. An adventurous date which you could also turn into a charity appeal if it’s more on the challenging side of things.
Or outdoor, real-life sky diving. Doing something scary and anxiety-inducing, is a great way to support one another and bring you even closer.
Bounce of some steam together at a trampoline park – almost like soft play for kids. It’ll leave you giggling for ages. Plus you’ll get some exercise in too.
Take a trip through time on a romantic train trip. The steam, the views, the sounds, are all reminiscent of those romantic old movies. Swoon.
If you’re a keen fan of a certain sporting team, many stadiums do tours now. Not quite a staduim, but a studio tour which is also a great date idea is The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. Ideal for any non-muggles.
Book in a watersports centre and enjoy a range of activities together. Paddleboarding for more relaxed vibes and jet skiing for a more exhilarating date.
Hot air balloon rides are known for all the romance, peaceful skies, incredible views… maybe even a proposal?
Head to your local lake or river for an afternoon of rowing. A slow-paced and quiet date where it really is just the two of you.
Photo: Koman Photography via Lake Engagement
There are lots of sea life centres in the UK which can make for a special date idea which is just that little bit different too.
If you love a tipple, you could head to your favourite brewery or distillery for a tour. Plus you may even get some samples. Yum!
Snag some tickets to a sporting event and make a date out of it. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and try something new too.
Yes you read right, book in a walk with these cute furry animals. An alpaca walk can elevate a typical walk into something super cute.
For a total opulent treat, book a helicopter tour or ride for one another. A total once in a lifetime experience to share.
If you live in a city with tourist attractions, but never actually visited yourself, it’s time to head out to them for a date.
Photo: Esme Ducker Photography
If you’re a total foodie and want a dining experience here are some food based date ideas beyond the classic meal. Or at least to mix things up a little for however often you eat out.
Does it get anymore timeless than a candlelit, romantic dinner date for two?
How about a sweet and tasty afternoon tea. Scones, sandwiches and lashings of tea.
Photo: Sofia Plana Photography via Cafe & Picnic Engagement
Try looking for local fruit farms where you can pick your fruit and enjoy the fruits of your labour when you get home.
Mix up the evening meal out and opt for a breakfast date instead. Take a paper and if it’s warm sit on a table outside in your sunnies.
Sometimes the tastiest meals or treats can come from street food markets or an ice cream truck. Make a date for when your local food fairs are and take a trip.
Photo: Jonathan Ellis via Food Market Engagement
If you want to up your cooking skills and get to eat the results, a cookery date may be just the ticket.
You can’t go wrong with a cosy country pub, a roaring fire and a Sunday roast. Total romance date vibes.
For a touch of sophistication how about a spot of wine tasting? Perfect for summer evening dates.
Let’s get real. Dating can be expensive and we can’t all afford to have extravagant day dates, nights away or luxe date nights. So keep things simple and remember with these free, or cost effective date ideas, that it’s all about the simple pleasures and great company.
Photo: Miss Gen Photography via Edwardian Engagement
A relaxing walk somewhere lovely together, hand-in-hand, is a wonderful way to connect and unwind.
Garden centres can be real hidden gems for a trip out. You can browse plants and gifts, as well as grab a cuppa in the onsite cafe.
You really can’t go wrong with a drink, whilst soaking up the atmosphere around you. It’s just nice to be out right?
A day date at the beach can be really soothing on the soul. Meander through quaint towns, head to the arcades, walk to the end of the pier, eat fish and chips and of course chill out in the dunes.
Photo: Miss Gen Photography via Chilled DIY Beach Wedding
Why not cycle somewhere lovely? You could even cycle to a picture-perfect spot with your lunch to take in the sights.
Inspired by a rom-com or two, why not find a bench that you could define as your bench. Rock up with a blanket, warm drinks and a good book. A low-key and sentimental date idea.
I love a road trip, and sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. So hop in your car, blast out the tunes and go for a ride together.
If you have a pooch why not head to the woods for a cosy walk together. Autumn is lovely time to head to the woods, with golden leaves, low light and you can wear all the knits.
Museums can be free to enter for you to enjoy the exhibits. So search out your local museum and you may just stumble upon a hidden treasure near you, perfect for rainy day dates.
Photo: Babb Photo via Natural History Museum Engagement
Keep an eye on your local Facebook group pages or local paper for free events near to you. If they aren’t free, many small shows and fete’s have a minimal fee and make for an entertaining afternoon.
Head to a market, you could get up early and venture to a flower market (take coffee with you!) or a food market where you could grab fresh produce for your dinner later.
Art galleries are often free to go to and you can really soak up the artistic atmosphere and enjoy the serenity of a gallery together. Perfect date material.
Why not take some time out together to give back to your community? Sign up for a volunteering project and help a charity near you. Doing so together will really cement your bond and make you feel like you’ve really helped someone too.
Find a local hotspot for hiking, be it a mountain or a hill and plan an adventure. Don’t forget walking boots and a rucksack for essentials.
Photo: Christopher Ian via Isle of Skye Engagement
Geocaching can be a fun way to add a new dimension to a walk. Go hunting for hidden treasures and discover new places along the way.
Birdwatching can be a chilled out date idea that is also a very mindful activity. The RSPB is a great place to find tips on how to start birdwatching, but also to find local spots for you.
Going back to where you first met or had a first date (or your proposal/wedding) can be a nostalgic and happy place to have a date.
Go foraging together for ingredients to make something special when you get home. Not only is the food well, free but the experience can be really fun too.
If you are gym members, why not head there together for a gym date? Perhaps you could compete against each other, or maybe you could have a more relaxed session.
If you love to take a dip and feel water confident, why not try wild swimming? Exhilarating and free to do, you could have a total blast together exploring waterways.
How about a book date? You could head to your library or book store and pass the time by cosying up in an armchair to read together.
If it’s the festive season and you are looking for some romantic Christmas dates, look no further than these cute ideas.
Photo: Valo Studio via Rainy London Engagement
You could head to your local Christmas light switch on, jump in the car for a tour of your local residential light displays or go on a light walk at an organised event.
There are lots of Christmas markets you can visit, and often they are free to attend. Of course, you could also try Winter Wonderland in London for something extra special this Christmas.
How wintery and romantic is ice skating? Grab a hot chocolate, wrap up warm and soak up the atmosphere. At Christmas there are quite a few pop up ice rinks, so you should be able to find one for your date.
Why not go and visit Father Christmas? A bit cheesy, but fun all the same.
If your Christmas day is hectic, or you can’t be together due to other commitments. Why not plan your own Christmas dinner for two?
If you know the location and activity for the date, be sure to dress appropriately so you are comfortable and practical. Don’t wear something that doesn’t feel like you, instead you want to feel confident and that you are being true to yourself.
Speak to your partner and suggest you’d like to plan a date. Have a look at the date ideas above and choose one, then find a time that works for you. The key thing is making sure you actually put it in the diary and book what you need to, to ensure you commit to it. It’s great to have the date idea, but it can get lost in the busyness of life. So book it in!
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing how often to go on official dates. It all depends on how much time you have together as a couple, whether you have enough spare time to have downtime together and other commitments you may have.
It can be nice to come up with a plan together such as one date per week, one date per month or one date per season, to spur you into the habit of going on dates.
So there we have it 101 date ideas to enjoy as a couple. No matter your budget, no matter your location or how much free time you have. There should be something there to suit you as a couple. Happy dating!
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