Whether you’re aiming to woo your latest Hinge date or keeping the romance alive with your partner of many years, date ideas can be a difficult thing to think up - especially if you’re trying to keep off the sauce.
Seriously, if you Google ‘things to do on a date’, we bet that around 99% of results involve alcohol. And, even worse, the couple of sober date ideas you do get are –let's face it – pretty boring.
We’re firm believers that all dates should be fun, regardless of whether you’re having a tipple or not. So, whether you’re T-Total, you don’t drink for health reasons or just fancy mixing it up a bit, it’s always good to have a bank of booze-free date ideas.
Go on a theme park date
Nothing says romance like hurtling down a rollercoaster track, screaming at the top of your lungs, and squeezing each other’s hand until your knuckles are white. Right? A theme park is a solid choice if your significant other loves an adrenaline rush.
Thorpe Park is the go-to for you lot down south, with rides like Stealth, SAW – The Ride and Colossus (you’ll be glad you’re not drunk after being spun around its ten loops).
If you’re based further up t’north, give Blackpool Pleasure Beach a go. Ride ICON (the UK’s only double-launcher), if you pay a little bit extra, you can experience ENSŌ too. It’s a modification to the back row of seats that allows them to spin and twist freely for double the thrills.
Fancy turning your date into a romantic getaway? Alton Towers Resort has loads of accommodation options and rides like The Smiler, Oblivion and Wicker Man. One more tip: remember to pose for the camera. You’ll want that photo to show the grandkids.
Have a day at the zoo or safari park
We could learn a lot about love from the animal kingdom. Penguins search for the perfect pebble to gift potential monogamous partners, otters hold hands to ensure they don’t drift apart while sleeping and, if you’ve ever watched an Attenborough doc, you’ll have seen the grand displays birds put on to woo a mate. And to think we can barely get a text back.
If it’s a first date you’re going on, the thought of filling the silences without a bit of Dutch courage can be daunting. Spending the day wandering around the different enclosures at the zoo is great as each animal you stop off at provides new talking points. Bringing a picnic is sure to ramp up the romance factor.
A safari park date is always going to be a sober one because you’ll be driving through the park instead of walking around it. Luckily, a monkey attacking the car is quite the ice breaker.
Go on a date somewhere with amazing views
Some things in life are just innately romantic, like flowers and Marvin Gaye songs. You can’t deny it, they just are. We are firm believers that beautiful views fall into that category. So, what better date idea than to go somewhere you can see for miles.
For London dwellers (or if you fancy taking a trip to the city with your beau), it doesn’t get much better than the London Eye. You’ll tick off all of London’s biggest sights during the 30-minute rotation and, if you really want to push the boat out, book the Cupid Pod experience. You’ll have the pod to yourself, perfect for declaring sweet nothings to one another.
More of a seaside kind of person? Blackpool Tower Eye has beautiful beach views on steroids. When the weather’s good (granted, that’s not often), you can see all the way down to Liverpool and the Isle of Man. Step out onto the SkyWalk, a glass walkway (380ft up), and take in the panorama. You might want to hold hands for that bit. You’re welcome.
Try something new together
As bonding experiences go, throwing an axe for the first time together seems like a pretty cool one. Sure, it may be risky because it’s not your traditional date but high risk, high reward, we say.
The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham is a one stop shop for new activities to try – all of which are a hell of a lot safer when alcohol isn’t involved, like talking climbing and high ropes experiences. you can give Cupid a run for his money with archery lessons (please don’t aim your arrow at your date though, you’ll probably be asked to leave) or try your hand at indoor skydiving.
There’s an escape room there too. You need 4 or more people though, but good for a double date. It’s the biggest test for relationships since building IKEA flatpack furniture together.
You can even dive with sharks here (yep, real ones) - we told you it had it all. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, you’ll learn all the basics of scuba diving (and get a certificate to prove it) then it’s into the tank with Nurse Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks and whole host of tropical fish. Pretty memorable, if you ask us.
Go on a roller skating date
Let loose and be ready to make a fool of yourself – a roller skating date is the perfect quirky activity for a sober date night. With plenty of opportunities to laugh and channel your inner roller disco queen, what’s not to love? Some roller rinks have bars in them, so if you’re comfortable in that environment don’t forget there’s no need to drink to enjoy this activity it’s even better enjoyed sober, so you have (slightly!) better balance.
Maybe get some practice in or watch a few YouTube tutorials before the date so you can enjoy it rather than spending the whole time on the floor – and of course play it off as ‘raw talent’.
If you’re based in or around Manchester, you’re spoilt for choice with Good Life Skates and Paradise Skate World opening in 2022.
Go on whatever the weather picnic
Bar torrential rain or a Met Weather warning, a picnic is a great alternative to a traditional dinner date. “Even in the winter??” You may ask. Yes, even in the winter. We’ve got you with our winter picnic guide.
Impress your date with all their favourite homemade snacks and soft drinks. The genius of a picnic is that the vibe is completely up to you. A romantic sunset beach picnic? Check. A frosty winter forest picnic? Why not. If the idea of eating al fresco is still not appealing, you can even flip the location and have a perfect indoor picnic – blanket and all. And they say romance is dead.
Take in some culture at an art gallery
While an art gallery date might seem a bit serious and stuffy, it doesn’t have to be. Turn it into a people watching activity – come up with back stories for all the other people at the gallery. Pretend a fire alarm is a piece of modern art and get really into it theorising what it means (bonus points: if other people start to look at it too). Find your least favourite bit of art in the gallery and go on a rant of all the things you hate (avoid this one if the artist is within earshot, oops).
Get competitive with bowling or mini golf
Trust us no alcohol is needed to have a brill date bowling or playing mini golf. Getting uber competitive with a forfeit for the loser definitely helps (loser pays for dinner?)
This date idea is great for both well-established sober couples and first dates. It provides a fun and relaxed atmosphere for you to get to know each other with plenty of laughs being provided based on your skill levels.
Be prepared for the odd spat – you’ve been warned. You never know what a bit of competition will bring out...
Cook up a storm in a cooking class
This is a great opportunity to expand your culinary skills and it something a bit different to a traditional dinner date. It allows you to spend time together and bond over a shared activity, cooking (especially if you’re no Gordon Ramsey) can lead to plenty of laughs and a great way to get to know each other while creating a memorable evening.
If you’re at the beginning of your dating journey a date with a bit of structure can really help if you’re feeling nervous or unsure of what to talk about. You’ll have the task of cooking plus instructions from the teacher which can help shake off any awkward silences.
Lots of cooking classes are also specifically for couples which can help build a more romantic atmosphere than a regular class.
Visit a market or food festival
Another change of pace to typical dinner date – markets and food festivals are the perfect way for foodies to bond over great new food. Food festivals tend to have a live music and entertainment making the perfect atmosphere for a sober date.
Feeling the date jitters? Loads of food markets and festivals tend to be set outside you’ll have a chance to walk and talk which often makes conversation flow much easier – thank us later.
Some of our favourite foodie festivals include Porthleven Food Festival (a three-day event filled with chef's theatres and the vital pasty lounge) and the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (obviously).
At daysout.com, you can book the UK’s best attractions (y’know the proper FOMO inducing ones?) -- we know where’s perfect for you. Find your next adventure.