The Complete Guide to Dating in London (& Finding Real Love)

Dating in London can often feel impossible and a struggle at the best of times. Sure, there are millions of people living in the city, but that can be a challenge in itself. How are you supposed to find the one in a sea of so many?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Finding The One, we’re what you might consider experts when it comes to dating in London.

From being in and around the dating scene and speaking to Londoners who are currently dating, we’ve picked up a thing or two about what it takes to successfully date in London

If you’re at the start of your dating journey, or you’ve been struggling for a while, our complete guide to dating in London is here to save you from any other bad dates. Let’s get into it!

First, Find Someone to Date!

You can’t go on any dates if you haven’t got anyone to date, so you’ll need to start your search. There are lots of ways you can meet people, from dating apps to dating events and even just on your daily commute.

Dating apps are most certainly the most popular way to find someone in London, but there are so many that claim to be the best that it can seem a little overwhelming.

Find the One with Finding The One

Finding The One is an up-and-coming dating app that’s focused on helping London singles (much like yourself) find their perfect partner. What makes us a little different is we cut out all the endless messaging and encourage you to get straight to the date.

After all, there’s only so much you can learn about a person through a screen; the true connection happens in real life.

We’ve all been stuck in the dreaded ‘talking phase’ that seems to last months, years even! But with us, you can make the most of your time and find someone that’s right for you, fast. 

And since we’re targeted towards London singles, you don’t have to worry about discovering your perfect match is 200 miles away.

Register for early access to the app and be one of the first to experience a more efficient way of meeting people. Who knows, it could be the start of something amazing!

Date Ideas in London That Are Actually Good

A simple Google search for ‘date ideas London’ will bring up an extensive list of activities and experiences you can enjoy with your potential match, but not all of them will be worth your time (take it from us).

If you want London date ideas that are actually good, we’ve curated a list of our top 20. We’ve narrowed these down based on how likely they are to make a great impression and give you the opportunity to get to know your date better.

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Top 20 London Date Ideas

Whether you’re after fun date ideas, cheap date ideas, outdoor date ideas or whatever you’re after, here are our top 20:

  1. Private Viewing at The Sky Garden: Experience London from above during an evening private viewing, with the city lights and a bottle of bubbly.
  2. Attend Sports Events: Whether it’s football, rugby, cricket, or any other sport you both enjoy, cheering on your team can be a great way to bond.
  3. Thames Evening Cruise: As the sun sets, take a romantic river cruise with views of the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and the Shard.
  4. After-hours Museum Tour: Some of London’s top museums offer late-night openings or private tours. Enjoy the art and history without the crowds.
  5. Gourmet Picnic in Hampstead Heath: Source fresh produce from local markets and find a secluded spot in the vast park, followed by a swim in the Hampstead ponds.
  6. Interactive Theatre Shows: Join an immersive theatre production like those by Punchdrunk or Secret Cinema, where the line between actor and audience is blurred.
  7. Historical Pub Crawl: Navigate centuries-old taverns and inns, each with its own story, from pirates to literary legends.
  8. Hidden Cinema Experience: Discover Backyard Cinema or Electric Cinema for a luxury movie date night, or attend a Rooftop Film Club screening.
  9. Candlelit Dinner in Eel Pie Island: A private island in the Thames with an intriguing music history, hosting a handful of pop-up dining events.
  10. Cocktail-Making Class in a Speakeasy: Hidden bars like The Nightjar or Cahoots offer cocktail masterclasses in a vintage ambience.
  11. Private Capsule on the London Eye: Experience breathtaking views of the cityscape with a champagne toast.
  12. Ride in a Vintage Car: Hire a classic British car, like a Mini Cooper, for a nostalgic drive through the city streets.
  13. Borough Market Tasting Tour: Sample gourmet foods, cheeses, wines, and chocolates at this bustling market, one of the oldest in London.
  14. Visit the Seven Noses of Soho: An eccentric art hunt around Soho, finding the sculpted noses created by artist Rick Buckley.
  15. Ghost Walk in the East End: Dive into the haunted tales of Jack the Ripper or other infamous characters from London’s murky past.
  16. Pottery Class in Greenwich: Get your hands dirty in a couple’s pottery class, followed by a walk through the Greenwich market.
  17. Bike Ride along Regent’s Canal: Rent bikes and explore the scenic route from Little Venice to Camden, stopping at quirky cafes en route.
  18. Afternoon Tea with a Twist: Experience themed afternoon teas like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party or a vintage bus tour tea.
  19. Visit God’s Own Junkyard: This neon wonderland in Walthamstow is a visual treat, with a café to discuss the vibrant artworks over coffee.
  20. Take a Graffiti Art Class in Shoreditch: Learn the art of street painting and explore the graffiti-laden streets of East London.

What you consider to be a ‘good’ date idea is obviously subjective and will depend on your and your date’s interests, but we think there’s a good bunch to go at here.

Choosing the Perfect Date Outfits

Once the stress of choosing the date is out of the way, a whole new challenge arises – what to wear?

The key here is to look good and be comfortable, but not over the top – unless that’s your thing! Essentially, what we’re saying is to wear whatever you want to wear. Showcase your true style and who you are right off the bat. It gives confidence. And that’s attractive.

But you should probably take into consideration where it is you’re going on your date.

It might not be the best idea to wear your little black dress to Thorpe Park or your trackies to a five-star restaurant. So do keep the location in mind when you are deciding on what to wear. Plus, a lot of places in London require a bit of walking, so make sure you have comfortable shoes.

Pinterest is always our go-to if we’re really stuck. Create yourself a Board of ‘Date Outfits’ and get pinning. You’ll find some great ideas of what to wear for different occasions, from smart-casual day dates to dressy evening wears. Plus, it’s fun! And you can take inspiration from the looks you like the most.

Dating Etiquette & Maintaining Good Vibes

There’s nothing worse than a rude date. It’s a serious ick. So, make sure you’re on your very best behaviour, even if you’re not necessarily feeling the person you’re on the date with.

You should still have a good time regardless of whether you feel the romantic spark or not, and maintaining good dating etiquette and manners is important.

Here are our top 5 tips to keep the date vibes positive and polite:

Active Listening

Paying close attention when your date speaks shows genuine interest. This means putting away your phone, avoiding interruptions, and not preparing your response while they’re talking.

Active listening is a sign of respect and makes your date feel valued and understood.

Avoid Controversial Topics

Especially on early dates, steer clear of heavy or polarising topics such as politics, religion, or personal financial matters.

It’s best to keep the conversation light and engaging to avoid unnecessary tension or disagreements.

Be Punctual

Arriving on time or even a few minutes early is crucial. Being late can send the message that you don’t value the other person’s time or that the date isn’t important to you. Give yourself plenty of time to get an Uber or the Tube, and aim to show up at least 5-10 minutes early.

If something unavoidable comes up, make sure to communicate and let them know ASAP.

Mind Your Body Language

Non-verbal cues can speak louder than words. Maintain appropriate eye contact, avoid crossing your arms defensively, and lean in slightly to show engagement. Positive body language can make your date feel more comfortable and connected.

Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Whether your date organised the evening, picked you up, or even just took the time out of their day to meet you, expressing genuine appreciation shows good character.

This doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with praise, but a simple ‘thank you’ can leave a lasting positive impression.

Dating Conversation Starters to Get the Flow Going

Everyone has experienced that initial awkward silence on a first date, as cringy as it is. To avoid feeling like you’re stuck in an uncomfortable situation, think of a few conversation starters ahead of time.

You don’t have to find out every detail of their life, like what their star sign is (although, that might come in handy…) or what their childhood pet was called.

Instead, opt for questions that get to the heart of who they are as a person. Ask about their interests, hobbies, and passions – you’ll soon find something to connect over.

At the same time, don’t forget to give them a chance to ask you questions, too – this will help break down barriers and let both sides speak openly, rather than you prying for information.

Some of our go-to conversation starters include:

  1. Dream Destinations: “If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?” This can open up discussions about travel experiences, cultures, and personal aspirations.
  2. Book Recommendations: “Have you read any good books lately?” Not only can this lead to talks about personal tastes, but you might also get a good reading suggestion out of it.
  3. Music & Concerts: “What’s the last concert or live performance you went to?” Music is a universal topic and can reveal a lot about someone’s tastes and experiences.
  4. Passion Projects: “Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn or try?” This can spark discussions about ambitions, hobbies, and personal growth.
  5. Memory Lane: “What’s a childhood memory that always brings a smile to your face?” This can lead to light-hearted stories and shared nostalgia.
  6. Ideal Day Off: “How do you usually spend a free day when you have no obligations?” It’s a relaxed way to find out about someone’s interests and how they value downtime.
  7. Culinary Adventures: “Have you tried any new cuisines or restaurants recently?” Sharing food experiences can be a delightful way to bond and maybe even plan a future date.
  8. Favourite Fictional Character: “Who’s one of your favourite characters from a book or movie?” This can then lead to your favourite shows and books.
  9. Film & TV: “What’s the last movie or series you watched and loved?” It’s an easy topic that most people can contribute to and can reveal personal tastes.
  10. The Hypothetical: “If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?” A classic. This fun hypothetical can lead to intriguing conversations about history, culture, and personal heroes.

Remember, the goal isn’t to interrogate but to engage in mutual discovery. Being genuinely curious and attentive will make your date feel valued and encourage open sharing.

Dating Safety Tips to Live & Date By

Dating is, without a doubt, a really fun experience, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down completely. Unfortunately, there are a select few people who may not have the best intentions in mind, so always being conscious of your safety is key, especially in a city.

Whether you’re online dating, speed dating, event dating…whatever it is, always put yourself first. 

With that in mind, here are some of our top dating safety tips:

Meet in Public Places

For the first few dates, choose a public and populated location, such as a popular cafe, park, or restaurant. Avoid secluded places or private settings until you have established a stronger bond of trust.

Tell Someone About Your Plans

Always inform a trusted friend or family member about where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and what time you expect to return. You might also consider setting up a check-in time with them.

Stay Sober

While it might be tempting to have a drink to ease nerves, avoid consuming too much alcohol or any substance that could impair your judgment. Always keep an eye on your drink to ensure no one tampers with it.

Use Your Own Transportation

Having your own transportation (whether it’s your own car, a taxi, or public transportation) ensures you can leave whenever you want and decreases the risk of feeling stuck or pressured.

Limit Personal Information Sharing

Avoid sharing too much personal information too quickly, like your home address or other identifiable details. Ensure that your social media accounts have strong privacy settings, especially if sharing your full name.

Trust Your Instincts

If something feels off, trust your gut. You’re never obligated to stay on a date if you feel uncomfortable. Prioritise your safety and well-being over social niceties.

Research Your Date

While you don’t need to conduct a full background check, it’s a good idea to at least Instagram of Facebook the person (if they’ve shared that information) before meeting up. It helps to have an idea of who they are and to ensure they’ve been truthful.

To Second Date or Not to Second Date…

You’ll know pretty quickly if you think you’d like to go on a second date with someone. It goes without saying that it’s important to trust your gut feeling when deciding whether or not to meet up again.

If you feel comfortable and safe, then great! However, if something doesn’t feel quite right or you’re having doubts, then don’t be afraid to say no

There’s no pressure to go on a second date, and if you don’t feel comfortable letting them down face-to-face, just say you’ll text them later when you’re ready.

Hopefully, though, the sparks will be flying, and you’ll already be planning on what to do and where to go next.

There’s no ‘special sauce’ when it comes to perfecting the second date; just let things flow naturally. We do have a blog post that’s full of our second date tips, so be sure to check it out before the day.

Above All Else, Work on Your Self-Confidence

One surefire way to ensure you bag yourself a great date is to throw yourself into the world of dating with confidence. Confidence is attractive, and it’s important.

You attract what you put out there, and if you’re putting out positive vibes, you’ll attract someone who likes that kind of energy.

And if you’re lacking in confidence, work on yourself first. As the iconic RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”. Build up your own self-love and confidence before you go feeding it into someone else. That way, you’ll be able to attract someone who respects and appreciates what you have to offer.

How to Gain Confidence in Dating

One way to gain confidence in dating is to practise being more assertive and direct

Speak up for yourself, take charge of conversations, and show people that you know who you are and what you want. This will help to exude a powerful presence that draws people in.

It’s also important to learn how to handle rejection gracefully. Rejection can be a difficult experience, but it’s an inevitable part of dating. Remind yourself that there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and focus on the positives of the situation.

Finally, remember to take care of your physical and mental health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough rest will help you feel more in tune with yourself and your surroundings. This will help to build confidence in dating and in other areas of life.

Dating in London 101: Our Roundup

Whether you’re a new fish in the London dating pond, or you’re looking to dive back in, dating in London doesn’t have to be difficult.

There are so many opportunities to find love; you just have to know where to look. Use all our tips to your advantage, and with a bit of luck, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Sign up to Finding The One today and start your journey to love.


Is Dating Easy in London?

Dating in London can certainly feel intimidating at first, but it can actually be a lot of fun. Rather than thinking of the millions of people you could meet, focus on the ones you do meet. When it comes to dating in London, remember to be yourself and keep an open mind – that way, you’ll find someone who really appreciates you for you.

What is Dating Culture Like in London?

There’s no denying that London does have a lot of people looking for short-term or one-night flings, but that really doesn’t speak for everyone. There’s a huge pool of people looking for a range of different relationship dynamics; it’s just a case of finding someone who’s on the same page as you. 

Is London a Good Place to Date?

We say so! It’s full of people from all walks of life, so there’s something for everyone in terms of finding someone you connect with. Plus, it’s a vibrant and exciting city – perfect for those looking to make the most out of their dating life.

How Do You Find People to Date in London?

Dating apps, like Finding The One, are definitely the most popular way to meet people in London. Speed dating is another popular choice as many events are tailored, for example, by age groups, hobbies or professions, but some people are intimidated by the idea. 

There’s also a whole host of other ways to meet people, including events, parties and clubs.

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