A date at the pub will always be a staple because it allows you to relax with a drink, chat and get to know the person sitting in front of you. But let’s face it, sometimes the conversation doesn’t exactly flow, and always meeting in a bar only lets you see one side of your love interest’s personality.
Mixing things up and taking part in an activity you’ll both enjoy might lower the pressure and let you have fun, while getting to know your date better.
Matchmaker, dating expert and founder of Love Collective Global, Sarah Louise Ryan says: “Having a diverse range of dates will undoubtedly show you different sides to someone’s personality and, as your experiences with them with be different on each date, it gives almost a 360 degree look at what spending time with them might be like.”
And branching out might even boost your chances of finding love. Ryan adds: “Having immersive dates can spark connection, which leads to emotional intimacy.”
We asked dating and relationship experts to suggest interesting dates outside of the pub.
1. A walking tour
In the dark times of lockdown, walking dates became the norm, but they can feel like an interview if you don’t click instantly. A walking tour is a good way to stimulate conversation, fill any awkward silences, and maybe even learn something new.
Ryan says: “If you are into history or architecture, then trying a walking tour of your city or a new city can be a really fun thing to do and engage in conversationally. When you create a focus on an activity, singles take the pressure off dating and create an experience for themselves, whether the chemistry is there or not.”
2. A cooking class
If you both enjoy a particular kind of food, taking a cooking class together could be a special date. Ryan says: “So many singles put pressure on themselves and the connection they want to feel that they forget to create an incredible experience.
“Something such as a cooking class which is immersive and with other people will enable both parties to see how each other connects and communicate with others. An experience such as this promotes engagement, fun, teamwork and playfulness.”
3. Star Gazing
Star-gazing together can open up new, interesting conversation topics – and it can be very budget friendly too, as staring at the night sky comes free. Add in a picnic and perhaps even a bottle of wine, and you’ve got yourself a memorable date.
Rachel MacLynn, founder of matchmaking agency The Vida Consultancy, says: “What can be more romantic than a journey across the night sky? A star gazing experience can transport you to a different time and place and allow you and your date to really focus on the two of you.”
4. Comedy club
Tina Wilson, Relationship Expert and Founder of dating app Wingman suggests sharing laughs by attending a comedy club – and even taking part if you’re feeling brave – since “this one is a great way to see if you have the same sense of humour”.
She continues: “Open mic nights are fun, you can have a drink if the nerves hit you, and if you both laugh at the same things it’s a great sign for your compatibility. Any activity that has a timed session is perfect as you can use the excuse that you must get back to work or have a prior meeting to get to. If you’ve had a great time, you can always grab a coffee afterwards and continue to chat.”
5. An escape room
If you want to see how your date reacts to pressure, booking an escape room game – where you have to solve puzzles, discover clues or accomplish tasks in a limited amount of time to unlock the door – should tell you all you need to know.
Wilson says: “This is one where you should work together and can be a great insight into whether someone it too bossy for you or takes the lead, whilst still listening to your ideas, and is another great insight into your potential long term dating prospects.”
6. Climbing or skating
An “adrenaline-filled” date like rock climbing or ice skating will get the heart racing and the blood pumping, Wilson says. “This can lead to a feeling of excitement and subconsciously make you feel the person that is with you is making you feel this way so can help to get the sparks flying.
“Dates like this also help you to make eye contact and encourage tactile behaviour (such as on the arm, back or hand) which can cause a surge of feel-good hormones. The hormones are vital for finding someone attractive, so essentially these types of dates, give love a helping hand.”
7. Go to a pottery-making class or a kiln room
There are many affordable classes dotted around the country aimed at beginners, and it is an activity that will keep you talking and likely laughing.
“Some of the best dates are when two people engage in an activity neither have tried before, as the novelty lends itself to a form of teamwork. This enhances the bond between them,” MacLynn says. “Also having fun increases feel-good hormones which contribute to feeling close to one another, great foundation-laying for any relationship.”