One of the best things about summer has to be discovering new outdoor gems where you can eat, drink and while away the hours.
As we all know, a great setting can get a date off to an exciting start, plus choosing somewhere a bit different really says a lot about you. Add in to the mix someone that gives you butterflies, and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable romantic rendezvous (whether it’s your first, second or twentieth date!)
eHarmony have this year launched their Great Date Guide featuring 60 fantastic venues as voted for by their members, and share the 10 hottest date spots to check out this summer.
Under the Sails, Spitalfields Market, London E1 6AA
Dirty Dancing proved that the way to a girl’s heart is through her dancing shoes and Strictly Come Dancing proves that you don’t need to be Patrick Swayze to enjoy the odd twirl across a dance floor. So whether you’ve got two left feet or were born to jitterbug, a dance class could be the best way to get to know your date a little better.
Swing Patrol will be taking their fun, friendly swing and blues dance classes to the streets over the summer, with free outdoor events taking place at Spitalfields Market in East London. There will be taster lessons, games and demonstrations with dancers of all abilities welcome.
For more information, visit: http://www.swingpatrol.co.uk
Kew The Movies
Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, London, TW9 3AB
Kew’s pop-up open-air cinema is fast becoming a summer institution, running for the last three years. The evenings follow a simple formula: take a classic film and put it on a big screen in a stunning location. If you and your date are film buffs but don’t want to miss out on the great outdoors then this is the ideal compromise.
On top of the venue and entertainment, filmgoers can bring their own picnics too, which certainly gives popcorn a run for its money and offers a wonderful opportunity to prove your culinary prowess to impress your date. With Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet showing on the 4th September, book tickets now for the ideal date.
For more information, visit: www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/kew-the-movies
72 Upper Street, Islington Green, London, N1 0NY
There is little that is better suited to a hot date than tasty tapas, mojitos and lively Latin atmosphere and Cuba Libre has all three in abundance. The light bites mean that you can have a dinner date without the pressure of a three-course meal and are good too if first date nerves have suppressed your appetite.
A neighbourhood favourite since opening all the way back in 1990, the restaurant also has the added benefits of an outside terrace, quirky décor (like the papier-mâché model of Che Guevara, Kruschev, Kennedy and Castro playing cards) and a bustling bar at the back in case you want to fire up your Salsa dance moves.
For more information, visit: http://www.cubalibrelondon.co.uk/
On The Waterfront
9 The Quay, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AP
Water and good weather go together like delicious Italian food and dating, which is why On The Waterfront is a great, relaxed venue for a romantic dinner in the South West. Although known for its quality pizza, fresh fish and salads, the restaurant’s real selling point is its location.
The best lunch or dinner date venues are the ones that offer an easy way to continue the date if all is going well and Exeter’s charming quayside, with its regular events and peaceful waters, is the ideal place for a walk in the summer.
For more information, visit: http://www.waterfrontexeter.co.uk/
Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP
If you are looking to add a little refinement to your date, then we recommend Chatsworth House for Regency-era romance - sideburns and chaperones not required.
The real star here in the summertime is the 105 acre garden, perfect for walking arm-in-arm with your date. The grounds include a maze, waterfalls and sculptures, ensuring that there are plenty of talking points and things to do. With the Queen visiting Chatsworth in July this year, if it’s good enough for royalty it’s sure to be a hit for a date.
For more information, visit: http://www.chatsworth.org/
Tintern, Gwent, Wales, NP16 6SQ
Literary types and outdoor adventurers alike will love Tintern Abbey. The majestic centuries-old site inspired William Wordsworth to write a 160-line poem about the area. Taking a tour with a guide from the gift shop proves a great icebreaker too.
As well as the abbey itself, this venue lays in the beautiful Wye Valley, with its cliffs and rivers creating a truly striking location for a date. There are plenty of trails for walkers of any experience, whether strolling or hiking, meaning Tintern is a must-see while the weather is at its best.
For more information, visit: http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/tinternabbey/?lang=en
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Clarkehouse Rd, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S10 2LN
The Sheffield Botanical Gardens are perfect for those who want a quiet, scenic place for good conversation. Between the stunning selection of plants from all over the world and the beautiful Grade II listed glass pavillions, this is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon with a date.
The site also offers refreshments, with The Curator’s House Café Bistro in a great location overlooking the gardens. The Café offers tea and coffee but is also licensed, meaning you can end your date with a glass of wine or beer should you wish.
For more information, visit: http://www.sbg.org.uk/index.asp
1 Spinningfield Way, Manchester, M3 3AP
Australasia Bar offers the perfect blend of smart and casual – with a variety of expertly crafted cocktails and an impressive wine list supplemented by a top-notch Asian fusion menu.
The modern glass entrance feels more like the Louvre’s pyramids than your average drinking hole and the interior doesn’t disappoint either. With grand ceilings, a soothing but contemporary colour scheme and a seriously classy set-up it’s a very modern take on Australian culture.
For more information, visit: http://www.australasia.uk.com
Visitor Centre, Rakewood Road, Littleborough, OL15 0AQ
Once voted one of the top ten country parks in England, the 2.5-mile walk around Hollingworth Lake makes for a picturesque start to a relationship. You don’t need to be a seasoned walker to enjoy it either – it’ll only take you about an hour at a normal walking pace.
The path also passes by a nature reserve, so bird-watchers might want to bring binoculars. Or if you’re after something a little more extreme, there’s a water sports centre for you to try your hand at sailing, windsurfing or rafting. Prefer to stay dry on your first date? Summer visitors can hire a rowing boat and explore the lake from the water.
Beach Esplanade, Aberdeen, AB24 5NS
There’s nothing more summery than the seaside and sandy Aberdeen Beach is the perfect place to enjoy the refreshing sea breeze. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife too – you might even catch sight of dolphins out at sea. Wildlife cruises are on offer too for a closer look, or if you’re a keen bird-watcher there’s plenty to see if you continue on to Donmouth Nature Reserve.
If the weather’s warm, a picnic on the beach makes for a romantic date, or in the (likely) event that the Great British summer produces rain, there are plenty of restaurants along the esplanade to offer you shelter from the elements.
For more ideas, check out the full guide for free here: http://www.eharmony.co.uk/relationship-advice/the-great-date-guide