We are currently experiencing a time when the cost of living is rising. From rent and groceries to public transportation, expenses are increasing. As a result, dating may seem difficult without straining your carefully thought-out budget.
But don’t worry! Our cities have plenty of free and affordable activities that are perfect for dates. In this case, we have explored the Capital City and compiled a list of 12 fantastic, budget-friendly date ideas in London.
Let’s get into it!
|Our Top Picks for Free & Cheap Dates in London:|
1. A classic picnic in the park
2. A day at the farm
3. Hang out with dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park
4. Take in the views from the Shard
5. Take a trip to Little Venice
6. Find all the noses and ears in London
7. Visit a comedy club
8. Climb the steps of The Monument for the Great Fire of London
9. Get your game on at a board game cafe
10. Cosy up in a cat cafeGet competitive at Flight Club
11. Go for a city bike ride
Free Date Ideas in London
There’s no getting around the fact that London is an expensive city, but it does have a few hidden gems that are perfect for providing free date ideas in the city. We’ve put together our pick of the best free date ideas to inspire your next date night.
A Classic Picnic in the Park
This idea might sound cliche, but it’s a classic date idea for a reason. You don’t have to do the whole wicker basket and checkered picnic blanket (although that does give it a whimsical, romantic vibe), you just need to get some of your favourite snacks, drinks, and a big blanket.
A Day at the Farm
Trips to the farm aren’t just for children. There are so many city farms and petting zoos in the city that you’ll be spoiled for choice on this one. Our personal favourite is Hackney City Farm where you can get up close and personal with a range of farmyard animals.
This is a super wholesome free date idea that’s perfect for all you animal lovers out there. The farm is open Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year, but it’s best to visit on a sunny day if you can.
Hang Out With Dinosaurs at Crystal Palace
Jurrasic Park is real! Well, not quite, but the collection of sculptures at Crystal Palace Park is as close as you’re likely to get. Although the sculptures are incorrect by modern standards, they make a great free date idea that can while away an afternoon.
The best thing about these dinosaur statues is that they present the opportunity to get some hilarious photographs to immortalise your romantic date.
Take in the Views From the Shard
Visiting a high-profile landmark like the Shard might seem like it’d be out of budget for a cheap date, but it’s actually a great option for a free date!
Obviously, the restaurants and bars within the building aren’t free (although some of them are surprisingly affordable), but the viewing platform on the 31st floor is completely free to get to. You can take in the breathtaking views of London with your date and even try and point out other places you’ve been together.
Take a Trip to Little Venice
Little Venice is one of London’s best-kept secrets, in fact, it even gets overlooked by locals most of the time!
Little Venice is a stunning, picturesque canal that features cute little boat cafes and some incredible pubs. You can enjoy a few drinks and a bite to eat, then take a stroll along the towpath which takes you right into central London. This is the perfect free date for a clear, sunny day.
Find All the Noses and Ears in London
This is a bit of an odd one, but it’s a great way to spend a few hours with your date, strolling around London and getting to know each other better.
There are seven casts of ears hidden around Covent Garden. The ears were made by Artist Tim Fishlock from a cast of his own ear. Some of them are much harder to spot than others so this activity can take a while!
There are also the Seven Noses of Soho dotted around the Soho area. The noses were hidden by artist Rick Buckley as a protest against the CCTV cameras that were being installed around London.
Budget-Friendly Date Ideas in London
Free dates are great for your wallet, but sometimes you want to put a little bit more effort in and spend a little bit of money to have a great experience with your other half. We’ve found some of the best budget-friendly date ideas to help you bring romance to London.
Laugh your Socks Off at a Comedy Night
Visiting a comedy club is a classic date night option, and best of all, there are plenty of cheap options available across London!
Some of our favourite comedy nights are held at In & Out Comedy @ The Marylebone. These amazing comedy nights are set in an intimate venue and tickets start from just £2 per person! You can also attend a live comedy podcast recording at the Backyard Comedy Club for about the price of a pint. Bargain!
Climb the Steps of The Monument
The Monument to the Great Fire of London is one of London’s best cheap date ideas. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a date idea that’s going to get you active and moving.
The Monument features 311 historical steps to climb to the top. Once you’re up there, you’re treated to stunning views of London. Heading up the narrow staircase will only set you back around a fiver which makes it the perfect cheap date.
Get Your Game On at a Board Game Cafe
The beauty of board game cafes is that they have extensive libraries of games for you to play so you never have to get bored. You can also choose games where you work with your date or against them. You pay for a block of time, usually a few hours, and you can order food and drink while you play.
Enjoy Cuddles and Coffee at a Cat Cafe
If indulging in competitive board games isn’t your idea of a fun, romantic date, how about a cat cafe? This is another niche of specialist cafes that’s taking off fast! Why wouldn’t you want to spend a couple of hours sipping smooth coffee and cuddling some adorable cats and kittens?
Two of our favourite cat cafes in the city are Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium and Java Whiskers Cat Cafe. Both of these cafes offer you the opportunity to adopt their rescue cats which can be the perfect way to end your date and take your relationship to the next level.
Get Competitive at Flight Club
A healthy amount of competition is good for a relationship, which is why taking a trip to Flight Club is a great affordable date idea.
Flight Club features an interactive darts game that’s sure to get your competitive juices flowing. Best of all, the food and drinks available are relatively cheap for London! They have multiple locations across London so you won’t have to travel too far.
Go For a City Bike Ride
As far as cheap date ideas in London go, a bike ride is right up there as a classic option. Of course, if you already have your own bicycle, this is a free activity, but if you don’t you can hire a Santander bike for as little as £1.65 per person for every 30 minutes.
If you’re an NHS worker or a student, you can get a discount on the hire of the bike which makes it even cheaper! Many of the parks in London are bike-friendly so you don’t have to ride on the roads if you just want a romantic ride.
Tips for Planning a Cheap Date in London
Now we’ve given you plenty of inspiration for cheap dates in London, we’ve got some tips to help you plan a cheap date that’s romantic and budget-friendly. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next date and it’s sure to be a roaring success.
Preparation is Key
The idea of a spontaneous romantic day out is romantic in and of itself. Unfortunately, life isn’t like the movies and you actually have to put some thought into what you’re going to do and where you’re going if you want to make sure the day is special.
Even if you’re going to free attractions around the city, things get busy and you might have to book ahead of time to avoid disappointment. It’s also important to check the weather to make sure the activities you’ve planned are feasible. No one wants to wander around a farm in torrential rain.
Get Some Local Insight
Even if you’ve lived in London for years, there are going to be places that you’re unfamiliar with. This means you might miss out on some of the free hidden gems that the city has to offer.
To avoid getting stuck in a rut visiting a free museum for every date night, check out this extensive list of free things to do in and around London.
Most green spaces in London are open to the public 24/7, but sometimes access can be restricted due to events or festivals. So it’s always a good idea to Google the location beforehand to make sure you’re in for a fun date!
If you’re looking for an even more affordable and less crowded experience, try visiting paid-for attractions outside of school holidays and during the week. It can help you plan a relaxing and budget-friendly date.
Focus on Quality Over Price Tag
It’s so easy to overspend when you’re brainstorming unique date ideas or trying to plan a memorable first date. We often get caught up in wanting to impress our date and before we know it, we’ve gone ahead and booked a private helicopter tour that’s way out of our budget!
But here’s the thing, what truly matters is the thought behind the date, not the price tag. Trust us, your date will be just as impressed (if not more) with a picnic filled with their favourite snacks while enjoying a stunning sunset at Hyde Park.
And you know what’s even better? The best date ideas often come spontaneously. Picture this: you start with a relaxed picnic at one of the Royal Parks, and then you stumble upon a local bar with pool tables and live music to keep the fun going all night long.
So remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but about the connection and laughter you share during the date.
Our London Date Example
If you’re still nervous about executing the cheap date ideas London has to offer, we’ve come up with a simple date example to help inspire you. Remember to make the date something your partner will enjoy!
- Meet at Oxford Circus Station – This is a nice, central meeting point that’s easy to get to without having to travel all across London.
- Hire a Santander bike to cycle around Hyde Park – At only £1.65 per 30 minutes (less if you’re a student or NHS worker), this is a great start to a cheap date. Cycling around the paths of Hyde Park is a great way to see the natural beauty within the city.
- Park up for a cosy picnic – All that cycling will help you build up the perfect appetite for an intimate picnic in the park. It’s also much easier to talk when you’re sitting down together rather than on a bike.
- Finish with a trip up the Shard – If you’re really on a tight budget, you can take a trip up the Shard for free to watch as the sun sets over your city. If you want to push the boat out a bit, you can grab a drink from the Aqua bar for a very reasonable price.
This example full-day date will set you back around £58.30, using the average price of a picnic in the UK, including travel costs to and from the date.
Rounding Up Our Favourite Budget-Friendly London Date Ideas
In a city as one-of-a-kind and fascinating as London, you won’t run out of wallet-friendly date night ideas. You’ll discover countless charming spots where you can truly impress your date without breaking the bank.
Remember, when it comes to romance, it’s the thought that really counts, regardless of the price. Explore these incredible date night ideas in London to curate your own unforgettable experiences on a budget.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and search for a lasting relationship why not sign up for early access to the Finding The One dating app, specifically designed for Londoners? If you’re already there, we have an even more in-depth guide to dating in London for you to check out.
How Do You Save Money on Dates in London?
There’s no need to break the bank on a London date! While helicopter rides may be tempting, they’re not a must-have to create a fun date. Check out our list of free date ideas to get started on saving money and having a great time.If you do decide to explore paid attractions, booking in advance is the easiest way to save some cash.
Are There Free Entry, Indoor Date Ideas in London?
Absolutely! There are loads of fantastic indoor activities and attractions in London that won’t cost you a penny. In fact, most of the museums and art galleries in London are totally free for everyone to enjoy, and they make the best first date ideas.We all know that British weather can be a bit unpredictable, so it’s always smart to have a few of these gems in your back pocket as a backup plan.
Does a Market Make a Good Cheap Date Idea?
Definitely! Wandering down to a London street market makes a great, cheap date idea. You can browse the stalls and enjoy some of the creativity and culture that this amazing city has to offer. Best of all, most markets in London offer delicious street food for extremely reasonable prices! You might even be able to snag a craft beer or two for under a tenner.
Which Areas of London Offer the Best Cheap Date Nights?
You might be thinking that certain areas such as Covent Garden, the West End, West London, or Primrose Hill should be avoided if you’re planning a cheap date night, but you’d be missing out on some absolute gems!Even though these are more affluent parts of the city, there are always little areas that offer free or cheap date ideas to help you create the perfect London date.