How to Date in London

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There are 8.3 million people in London. That fact alone might leave you feeling slightly perplexed as to why dating in London in so difficult. If you’re reading this and you’re in a longterm relationship, you probably don’t fully appreciate the challenges that face the city’s singletons. Well, believe it. Dating is hard. 

Here at Bateaux London, we’ve witnessed our fair share of first dates. Some go very well, some go...let’s just say awkwardly. So what are the do’s and don’ts of dating in London? What should you do on a first date? Which restaurants are bound to impress?

Meeting new people in London    

In a crowded city, how exactly do you find that special someone who is on your wavelength? How do you pick out ‘the one’ from a sea of strangers? Here are a few pointers to help narrow down your search.

Get yourself out there In order to meet a potential date, you have to put yourself in situations where you’ll actually talk to people. Lounging around your apartment with a microwave meal for one isn’t going to work. Blaming your hectic career and lack of time to go on dates won’t help either. 

Use your contacts Ask your friends if they have any single mates that you have may have things in common with.

Be brave and try speed dating There’s plenty of events for singletons in London. So when we say speed dating, don’t picture a forced two-minute conversation. There’s quiz nights, games nights, wine tasting, Christmas parties to name but a few. All specifically hosted to help singletons of all ages and sexuality find love in the capital.   

Use dating apps- everyone else does!  Don’t be afraid of using dating apps. After all, there’s so many of them nowadays, there’s bound to be one that suits. For time-poor Londoners, dating apps can be a valuable lifeline when it comes to meeting new people.   

Fun First date ideas in London

So you have a date lined-up but now you’re not sure where to go or what to do. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Check out our different date ideas, there’s something for everyone.

Picnic in Hyde Park Keep it traditional with a picnic in Hyde Park- weather permitting of course! Take a romantic walk through the gardens or challenge each other to a game of tennis. If you want to keep things low-key this is a perfect choice.

Head to South Bank If you’re really not sure what to do, meet at South Bank and see what takes your fancy. With iconic attractions such as the London Eye in the area, along with a great mix of traditional pubs, street food and live entertainment, you’ll find something to suit you both. 

All Star Lanes Bowling shoes at the ready! Head to All Star Lanes and get to know each other as you go head to head on the bowling lanes! Finish the date with a bite to eat in the onsite restaurant. 

Late night Museum If you want to do something a bit more cultural, check to see if any of the museums are hosting late night openings. They often include talks, performances, films, food and drink. 

Columbia Road Flower Market Keep it romantic and pay a visit to the Columbia Road Flower Market. Browse the colourful blooms before heading for coffee and cake at one of the local cafes. 

The London Shuffle Bar Try something you’ve never even heard of before! Give shuffleboarding a go. It’s a mash-up between ten pin bowling and curling… If that doesn’t go well there’s always the DJ, cocktails and pizza to enjoy. 

Ballie Ballerson Maybe you’ve been on a few dates and the initial awkwardness isn’t there anymore. Why not go on a bizarre date to Ballie Ballerson. A cocktail bar and restaurant with a UV ball pit. It’s not for everyone...but an option for the extroverts. 

Picnic at Hyde Park

Best date restaurants in London 

Maybe you want to keep things traditional and head out to dinner. Fear not here’s some great restaurants to take your date. 

Bob Bob Ricard Head to Soho and indulge in the sophisticated Bob Bob Ricard. This all-booth dining room is perfect if you want to impress. The elegant menu which boasts English and Russian dishes has something delicious for everyone. Oh, and there is a button for champagne... 

Bateaux London If you’re looking for a romantic restaurant we can help you there! There’s no better backdrop than dinner on a Bateaux London experience. Enjoy modern British cooking as you float down the River Thames under the stars.  

Dans le noir If the thought of maintaining eye contact over a romantic meal for two makes you feel nervous, why not dine in the dark? Dans le Noir is based in Islington and has a private dining room where guests can experience a different approach to food. The renowned restaurant enables guests to enjoy tasting their food, listen to the conversation and appreciate the challenges of blindness and disability. 

Galvin at Windows This rooftop restaurant serves Michelin starred French cuisine that delights those who dine there. With a hand-picked wine list and panoramic views of London, its a recipe for a successful date. 

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Are you a fan of some top-notch dim sum? Book a table at Hakkasan Hanway Place, a Michelin starred restaurant that serves up more than your average Chinese cuisine. Get to know each other while sharing a selection of small plates. You won’t be disappointed. 

Best places to go for a drink on a first date in London

Thankfully, in London, you’re spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a nice spot for a nightcap or leisurely drinks. There is no end of great places to try, however, we’ve picked out these gems that will help you to hit it off on the right foot. 

Gordon’s Wine Bar It’s is one of the oldest wine bars in London and it’s Dickensian style decor and candlelit tables certainly add to the atmosphere. Not only does it have an impressive wine list, but the cheeseboard is also to die for! 

Bloomsbury Club Bar  Inspired by the 1920s and 30s, this place takes its roots from writers, artists and intellectuals. Gentleman's club meets library, the cocktail menu delights and surprises guests. Cosy, atmospheric and a great location for a date. 

Disrepute Book in advance to secure yourselves a private booth and table service at this speakeasy in Kingly Court. Every cocktail tells a story and this unique Soho set-up will guarantee a memorable evening. 

The Blind Pig In the upstairs of Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House, you’ll find The Blind Pig. It’s worth a visit if you’re both fans of literature, as they have a story-inspired cocktail list!

Ruby’s Dalston Situated in East London under a large cinema billboard in Dalston, you find the not so secret speakeasy, Rubys. It is an intimate cocktail bar, that will definitely impress.

Finish the evening with a cocktail

There you have it. Bateaux London’s top tips for dating. The rest is up to you...  

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