London is one of the best cities in the world for dating, but it can also be a minefield.
Whether it’s arranging where to meet, suggestions for where to go without spending a small fortune, or how not to attract looks that could kill on the escalators, here’s our guide to 15 things you should know before dating someone from London.
1. Think carefully about where to meet
A man just accosted me at covent garden tube thinking I was his blind date. This may or not be the most embarrassed he/I have ever been.
— Olivia Sinclair (@olivia_sinc) September 25, 2013
If you arrange to meet at Covent Garden tube after work, there will be hundreds of people with the same idea. Which is fine if you know what each other look like. A bit less fun if it’s a blind date.
2. Don’t set your heart on the latest pop-up
— Andrew Campbell (@gourmond101) April 25, 2015
You might think it’s a great idea to go to the new pop-up restaurant everyone’s talking about, but be aware that it probably doesn’t take reservations. And that there’s a 90-minute queue on a Friday or Saturday night. And queuing has never bought out the best in anyone.
3. They’ll probably have to get the last tube home
— Harriet Adams (@HarrietOAdams) December 11, 2015
You might have visions of late night drinks and dancing and be excited about staying out til the early hours exploring the city, but bear in mind that taxis in London are dear. And the night bus can take hours. Best to assume your date will need to get the last tube home, and plan accordingly.
4. Know which zone they live in
And which side of London. Barking to Putney Bridge is a long way to go when they suggest a casual drink in their local. You’d better be a fan of the District line.
5. Plan ahead
Londoners are busy. There’ a lot to do and see in the capital. Two nights notice isn’t enough – you need to plan ahead.
6. Sometimes the tourist attractions can be fun
When you live in a city, it sometimes means you’re less likely to do the obvious touristy things. You sort of assume you can do them any time, and then never get round to it. So don’t be afraid to suggest the London Eye, or the Aquarium, or Natural History Museum lates, or a walk along the Thames, just because they seem too obvious.
7. Be prepared to walk fast
I walk so ridiculously fast as soon as I get off the train in London – for no reason!!! #London
— Emily Allen (@Em140480) January 28, 2016
Why are you stopping in the middle of the street to look at things? It’s far too busy for that. Just stop it.
8. Know which branch or exit of the station they want to meet at
Don't get me wrong #Tottenhamcourtroad new tube station is beautiful, but is now so large it took me a good 3 hours to walk to the exit…
— Lauren Samuels (@Laurensamuels88) February 4, 2015
Meeting at Edgware Road tube for a thrifty dinner? Cool. Wait – did they mean the District, Hammersmith & City and Circle Line branch? Or the Bakerloo Line branch? Because they’re not the same station. Also, check which exit.
9. Don’t try to kiss on the escalators
PDAs are embarrassing enough anyway when there are tons of people staring, but when there’s a queue of angry commuters building up behind you because you’re taking up both sides of the escalator so you can stand hand-in-hand? Yeah, that’s not romantic.
10. Or the tube
If kissing on the escalators is bad, then kissing on the tube is the worst. People are too polite to say anything, but they don’t think it’s cute.
11. Be imaginative when it comes to drinks
— Jennifer Jewell (@JenniferJewellx) December 13, 2015
Londoners have some of the best cocktail bars in the world on the doorstep. From Frank’s Campari Bar on a Peckham rooftop to Prohibition style libations at The Nightjar in East London or rum at the swanky Artesian bar at The Connaught, let’s do something a bit more fun than a pint at a chain pub?
12. Look out for special offers
— hot-dinners.com (@hotdinners) January 30, 2016
London rents aren’t cheap, and spare cash is a rarity. We won’t think you’re a cheapskate if you happen to know which restaurants are currently running a 50% off soft launch deal, or that you can eat at Michelin starred restaurants for a fraction of the price if you go at lunchtime.
13. Street food can be a great option
— Bleecker St. (@bleeckerburger) January 2, 2016
If you’re not sure what your date likes to eat, then a street food festival can provide a wealth of tasty treats that won’t break the bank, as well as giving you the chance to try something new. Plus it’s much less stuffy than eating in a formal restaurant. Try Street Feast in Dalton Yard, or the stalls at Southbank or Borough Market.
14. Try suggesting an outdoor date
— Helenmichellej (@HelenmichelleD) January 10, 2016
When you spend half your life in an office, or trapped on the crowded tube or in noisy shops and bars, it’s sometimes nice to spend some time outdoors and be able to hear each other. How about deer-spotting in Richmond Park, the beautiful Kyoto Japanese Garden at Holland Park, or celeb-spotting whilst admiring the gorgeous views across London from Primrose Hill?
15. Don’t brag about how much more flat you get for your money outside London
Think I will stay up north and buy a nice 5 bed for £320,000 instead of a tiny London studio flat 😁👍🏼 #TheApprentice
— Harrie (@harrieharb) December 2, 2015
You’re painfully aware when living in London that a huge proportion of your income goes on your rent. And that owning your own place sometimes seems like a distant dream. So don’t tell us how much cheaper it is to live in basically anywhere else in the UK. We’ve chosen to live here because it’s one of the best cities in the world – and that costs.