We all know that London has an extremely expensive reputation, but as the capital, it features some of the most beautiful restaurants and bars in the entire country. Here, a date can set you back at least £120, which many of us don’t have laying around. So here is a list of the top 30 best cheap date ideas in London that will cost less than half of that exorbitant figure.
The best cheap date nights in London
From museums and parks, some of which are date ideas you can do for free in London, to affordable restaurants and activities, the capital city has lots of great cheap date night ideas you can use to keep things romantic but realistic.
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG
A famous art gallery located in the borough of Southwark, Tate Modern hosts nothing but amazement and flair. Perfect for an art-loving couple, you can tour the gallery that showcases paintings, illusions, and sculptures for the price of… nothing! With free entry to view the contemporary talent, Tate often hosts many other exhibitions such as Andy Warhol and Kara Walker for just £5 a person, making this an absolute must for a date night in London.
2. Stroll around Regents Park
Address: Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR
Boasting beauty and serenity, this 395-acre park is the perfect spot for a quiet and intimate picnic. Located in central London and with free entry all year round, this Royal Park showcases magnificent fountains and flowers ideal for a picturesque date night. With the only cost being food, grab a meal deal and a blanket and perch on the grass surrounded by the best view (and I’m not just talking about the park).
3. Up the restaurnt romance at Coppa Club
Address: 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames St, Tower, London EC3R 6AH
Coppa Club is a beautiful restaurant situated next to Tower Bridge and serves an array of European food ranging from healthy salads to sourdough pizzas and even vegan burgers at incredibly affordable prices, with main courses starting from £7.50. Coppa also gives you the option to be seated in one of their private igloos, a large outside ‘bubble’ draped in plants and blankets, allowing for the ultimate private dining experience at no extra cost. This is definitely one of the best cheap date ideas in London.
Fancy a more adventurous date night? Well dotted around London are Santander bikes that you can hire for only £2 per 30 minutes of use, and as long as you return them to their original spot within 24 hours, they’re all yours! Take a trip to Oxford Circus to admire the city lights, or along the Thames during sunset for a more tranquil view of the capital that never sleeps – your choices are endless. This is perfect for the couple that love exploring together, and for such a low cost, you simply can’t beat it.
At 215 miles spanning across southern England, the Thames is a hotspot for seeing the most iconic landmarks in London including Tower Bridge, the Shard and Canary Wharf with prices starting from £5 for the river bus. So hop on and see the blinding lights of the city from the boat itself without exhausting your legs and especially your wallet. Or why not walk along the Thames instead, which can be quite romantic in the evening. The Thames Path offers views of iconic London landmarks like the Tower Bridge, the Shard, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Start at the Tower Bridge and make your way to the picturesque Greenwich Park, where you can take in the city skyline and visit the Royal Observatory. It’s not just one of the most scenic cheap date ideas in London, it’s also free!
6. Dress up at Brasserie Zédel
Address: 20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED
A French restaurant located in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, Brasserie Zédel offers an elegant dining experience for an intimate date night out. Decorated with an original 1930’s interior of grand marble pillars and traditional French embellishments, Zédel serves nothing but the highest standard of food and service for an incredible price. With appetisers (or hors d’oeuvre as they would say) starting at just £3.25 and a set three-course menu for only £14.25, this restaurant belongs in the top 10 list, making it one of the best cheap date nights in London.
7. Unleash your inner child at BOXPARK
Address: 18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0JT
Head slightly out of central London to the bustling borough of Brent, and you will encounter ‘BOXPARK’ in Wembley, a venue that hosts plentiful bars and restaurants, live events and even glows in the dark ping pong. If you are a picky eater, have no fear as the food choices range from Thai to Indian street food to classic Caribbean all in one place at an affordable price – with curry’s starting at just £8 and two burgers for £10. How could you ever say no? In addition, located on the first floor is what’s known as a ‘PlayBox’ – a single room filled with pool, shuffleboard and football tables that allows you to let your inner child out whilst sipping on a cocktail that only costs £7. This is the perfect location for a fun-loving couple looking for cheap date ideas in London.
8. Play golf at Swingers
Address: 8 Brown’s Buildings, London EC3A 8AL
Address: 15 John Prince’s St, Marylebone, London W1G 0AB
Despite what the name suggests, Swingers is actually a crazy golf venue packed with a variety of courses, street food and bars with one located in central London and the other in the West End. Not only can you play a round for just £10, but they also do package deals that further includes a specific tee off time and two premium drinks for only £26 a person, making this another of the perfect cheap date ideas in London. So grab your competitive trainers and head on over for a fun evening before I get too jealous!
9. Visit the Sky Garden
Address: 1 SKY GARDEN WALK, London EC3M 8AF
Fancy a skyline view without a skyline price for a date night in London? Well, Sky Garden is the perfect venue. Soaring 525ft above the city, this 38-story building provides panoramic views of the capital perfect for a quiet, romantic evening with a view that will never be forgotten. You can step outside onto the balcony for a more surreal gaze of London without spending a single penny. That’s right, as long as you book a time in advance, this date night will cost you nothing, but if you are feeling slightly thirsty or peckish, there are a handful of places you can dine in whilst admiring the beautiful sunset of the city.
Address: 24 Great Windmill St, Soho, London W1D 7LG
Did someone say steakhouse? Cocktails for £5? Ah yes, ‘The Blacklock’ did, and rightly so because it’s absolutely true! An eatery and bar all in one hosted in an atmospheric basement, this place has it all and more, for an incredible price. Not only are cocktails £5 (plus wine on tap for all my grape lovers out there), but they also offer an array of food from steaks to burgers to lamb chops starting from just £4.00. With a true Zone 1 experience and a distinguishable reputation, there’s no wonder ‘The Blacklock’ makes my top 10 list, not just for price, but an overall experience perfect for a date night.
11. Picnic in Hyde Park
Address: Hyde Park: London, W2 2UH, UK
Grab some snacks and a blanket and enjoy a lovely picnic in one of London’s most iconic parks. Hyde Park offers a serene atmosphere with beautiful gardens, fountains, and the Serpentine lake, where you can hire a pedal boat or rowboat for a romantic ride.
12. Visit the British Museum
Address: British Museum: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3DG, UK
Explore the world’s history and art for free at the British Museum, housing a vast collection of over eight million objects. You can discover ancient artefacts, like the Rosetta Stone, and marvel at the museum’s stunning architecture, including the Great Court’s glass roof.
13. Explore Camden Market
Address: Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London, NW1 8AF, UK
Camden Market is a bustling destination with a mix of unique stalls, vintage shops, and delicious street food from around the world. Spend an afternoon wandering the market, trying exotic dishes, and watching the boats on Regent’s Canal.
14. Get some culture at the Southbank Centre
Address: Belvedere Rd, Bishop’s, London, SE1 8XX, UK
The Southbank Centre is an arts hub that often hosts free or inexpensive events, such as music performances, poetry readings, and art exhibits. Enjoy an evening of culture before taking a walk along the Thames, with views of the London Eye and Houses of Parliament.
15. Free comedy nights
Address: The Camden Head: 100 Camden High St, Camden Town, London, NW1 0LU, UK
Enjoy a night of laughter without breaking the bank by attending free or cheap comedy nights at venues like The Camden Head or The Bill Murray. These events often feature up-and-coming comedians, offering a fun and relaxed atmosphere for a date night.
16. Go on a street art tour in Shoreditch
Address: Shoreditch Street Art: Shoreditch, London, UK (Specific location varies as the street art is scattered across the neighbourhood)
Discover the vibrant street art scene in the trendy neighbourhood of Shoreditch, where you can find works by renowned artists like Banksy and Ben Eine. After admiring the colourful murals, head to Boxpark (see idea number 7) or Brick Lane for an affordable meal from one of the many food stalls.
17. Explore Covent Garden
Address: Covent Garden: London, WC2E 8BE, UK
Covent Garden offers a lively atmosphere with street performers, unique shops, and charming cafés. Visit the Apple Market for a range of antiques, jewellery, and unique crafts, or enjoy an affordable meal at one of the nearby pubs or restaurants.
18. Movie Night at the Prince Charles Cinema
Address: Prince Charles Cinema: 7 Leicester Pl, London, WC2H 7BY, UK
Catch a classic or cult film at the Prince Charles Cinema, an independent cinema in Leicester Square known for its affordable tickets and eclectic programming. Enjoy a cosy movie night with your date in this unique and intimate setting.
19. Hampstead Heath stroll
Address: Hampstead Heath: London, NW3 1BP, UK
Take a leisurely walk through Hampstead Heath, a vast park with woodlands, ponds, and meadows. Enjoy the stunning views of London from Parliament Hill, and visit the historic Kenwood House, which often hosts free art exhibitions.
20. Borough Market food tour
Address: Borough Market: 8 Southwark St, London, SE1 1TL, UK
Sample a variety of delicious foods and treats at Borough Market, one of London’s oldest and most renowned food markets. From artisan cheeses and fresh produce to international street food, there’s something to satisfy every palate. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about different cuisines and share a foodie adventure together.
21. Attend a free lecture or talk
Address: British Library: 96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB, UK
You might be sick of lectures, but they can actually be great cheap date ideas in London. Institutions like the British Library, University College London, and Gresham College often host free lectures and talks on a wide range of subjects. This could be a thought-provoking and stimulating date for those who love to learn and discuss new ideas.
22. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum
Address: Victoria and Albert Museum: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 2RL, UK
This free museum offers a vast collection of art and design, including textiles, ceramics, and fashion from various periods and cultures. The V&A also features a beautiful courtyard garden where you can sit and enjoy a peaceful moment.
23. Walk the Regent’s Canal Towpath
Address: Regent’s Canal Towpath: Little Venice, London, W2, UK (The path continues to Camden and further east)
Starting in Little Venice, follow the scenic Regent’s Canal Towpath through Regent’s Park and towards the vibrant Camden Market. The walk is peaceful and picturesque, offering a different perspective of London.
24. Visit the Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Learn about the city’s history, from prehistoric times to the present, at the Museum of London. The museum is free to enter and offers interactive displays and exhibitions, making it an educational and interesting date. Why not check out some other free museums in London that also make great cheap and free date ideas.
25. Explore Notting Hill and Portobello Market
Address: Notting Hill and Portobello Market: Portobello Rd, London, W11 1AN, UK
Stroll through the charming, colourful streets of Notting Hill, and explore the famous Portobello Market, known for its antiques, vintage clothes, and street food. Don’t miss the iconic Notting Hill Bookshop, known from the movie “Notting Hill.”
26. Climb Primrose Hill
Address: Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8YH, UK
For a free date with a spectacular view, climb up Primrose Hill, one of the six protected viewpoints in London. Enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city skyline, a perfect backdrop for a romantic moment.
27. Visit the Science Museum’s Lates
Address: Science Museum: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD, UK
On the last Wednesday of every month, the Science Museum hosts a free adults-only late-night opening. Each “Lates” event revolves around a different theme and includes workshops, talks, and interactive activities, offering a fun and educational date night experience.
Address: Crossrail Pl, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
The Crossrail Place Roof Garden delivers on many points: views, nature, warmth, shelter, and if you go during weekdays, privacy. Everyone enjoys the novelty of being in a garden in what is one of the busiest districts in the city. There’s also an Alice in the Wonderland themed display on now only adds to the experience. This is also just a short trip away from Canada Square, which is beautifully lit up every night.
29. Head to the rooftop of the Madison
Address: Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, London EC4M 9AF
As one of our top 10 hidden gems in London, this rooftop offers stunning views of St. Paul’s as well as sweeping views of London. Entry to the rooftop is entirely free making it one of the best cheap date ideas in London, but you can also enjoy a cocktail at the rooftop bar as you take in the skyline. This is the perfect way to feel expensive on your romantic day and forget that you’ve been surviving off of pesto pasta for a month
30. Go to the Tower Bridge Viewing Platform
Nothing says romance like standing 42 metres above the Thames on a glass roof. You can enjoy watching London from above, followed by a viewing of the Victorian Engine Rooms, for 10.60 a ticket. This is one to save for post lockdown. Although we should warn you, partners with a fear of heights may never let you plan another outing.
The capital may seem expensive on the surface, and I can’t deny that sometimes it can be, but these are just a few of the hidden gems that I have found perfect for a cheap date nights and date ideas in London. Whether you’re planning something more intimate and romantic or fun and active, these should all be put in the couple calendar and ticked off one by one. What are you waiting for!