Whether you’ve been together two weeks or two years, dates are a great way to spend quality time together away from the distractions of day-to-day life.
Never one to turn down the offer of alcohol, I love going for drinks and food with my boyfriend but dining out for date night does eventually get a bit… samey.
So I decided to make a list of unique date ideas that are local to Nottingham, to provide you (and me!) with some inspiration for future dates.
Maybe you want to impress someone new with a memorable first date, maybe you’re a serial dater looking for somewhere exciting to go next or maybe you just fancy doing something different for a change with your significant other — either way these 15 date ideas are guaranteed to bring the fun to your next date.
If you’re currently single and in no mood to mingle, why not find a friend and make it a mate date instead?
Stand-up comedy at Just the Tonic
Couples that laugh together stay together! Get those endorphins pumping and the drinks flowing with a Saturday night stand-up show at Metronome, Nottingham’s home of Just the Tonic Comedy Club.
Featuring three comedians and a compere, the weekly shows are an opportunity to discover up and coming talent on the comedy scene. Laughter is also a great way to break the ice if you’re still getting to know each other.
Someone once told me that a first date should always involve an activity, as it gives you something to do and limits awkward small talk. While I doubt they had urban axe throwing in mind, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, this definitely fits the bill.
Hatchet Harry’s recently opened in Nottingham city centre and I can’t wait to book a session there with my boyfriend. Maybe we’ve been binge-watching too much Walking Dead but it seems like an exciting way to blow off some steam!
Crazy golf is always my first recommendation when anyone asks for date night ideas. It never fails to provide a good laugh and a little flirty competition.
The two most popular crazy golf venues in Nottingham are Lost City Adventure Golf and Glory Holes, which you choose depends on the type of couple you are. The first has a jungle-inspired Tiki Bar that serves cute cocktails and the second has dildos as decor (seriously)… like I said, it depends on your vibe!
If you and your partner enjoy sharing a bottle of red, a wine tasting evening could be the perfect date. You can both get tipsy on fine wine and maybe you’ll discover a few cheeky numbers to take home with you.
Wine not your thing? Do a dessert tasting instead — Nottingham dessert gods The Pudding Pantry offer a tasting platter, allowing you to sample more of their mouth-watering menu in one sitting, and they now open late on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re strapped for cash, you could organise your own tasting at home.
Depending on your skills on the ice, this date idea is either a great opportunity to impress your crush with your elegance and grace or to spend an hour re-enacting that scene from Bambi where he learns to walk.
If you fall into the second category (guilty) at least you have an excuse for plenty of physical contact as you cling onto your date to avoid face planting the ice. Really, it’s a win-win date situation! The National Ice Centre is handily located in Nottingham city centre and a skating session will cost you less than £10 each.
Go to a gig
Nottingham is known for its thriving music scene and the city has a variety of knockout venues, each with its own packed line-up of gigs. There’s Nottingham’s most famous venue Rock City, or if you’re looking for a more intimate setting head over to independent bar The Bodega.
For NTU or UoN students, Metronome is a good shout, as their free-to-join student membership gives you access to discounted tickets (yay) and drinks (even bigger yay).
If you and your date have similar music taste or a shared passion for live music, a gig is definitely a fun way to spend time together.
Discover olde Nottingham
On first impressions, exploring Nottingham’s gruesome history might not seem like the most romantic idea but if you or your date love true crime then visiting the National Justice Museum is a must. Keep an eye on their events page for one of their ‘Cocktails and Crime’ murder mystery nights!
The Original Nottingham Ghost Walk is another unique experience to try if you’re interested in the spooky and supernatural. If you prefer your history with less murder, venture to Nottingham Castle to learn all about the thrilling legend of Nottingham hero Robin Hood.
Jump parks aren’t just for kids! Local, family-owned business Planet Bounce is a space-themed, indoor inflatable park and a two hour jump sesh only costs £5.50 per person.
You might want to pack a change of clothes though, as jumping is surprisingly good exercise and you don’t want to be left feeling sweaty if you want to grab food together afterwards.
Going to a pub quiz is a cheap and cheerful idea for a date and works well as a double date with mates. The Playwright 38 on Shakespeare Street has a quiz every Tuesday with free alcohol up for grabs for the winning team.
This is a chance to show off your brain power, giggle over inappropriate team names and tease each other about your abysmal lack of geography knowledge (there’s always someone who sucks at geography — in my relationship, it’s definitely me!)
Explore a local park
A stroll through the park with a coffee to keep you warm is a good opportunity to get to know someone better after you’ve got past that first date awkwardness, or, for long term couples, to reconnect with each other.
Fortunately for us Nottingham folk, the city has plenty of green spaces, both in the centre itself and surrounding suburbs. My personal favourites are Wollaton Park (Batman’s home), the Arboretum (a Victorian era park in the city centre) and Highfields Park (you can go boating on the lake!)
Take a trip to the farm
Did you know there’s a farm in the middle of Nottingham? Stonebridge City Farm is entirely volunteer run. Entry is free but the farm relies on donations to stay open, so be sure to give generously during your visit!
From ponies to pigs, there’s lots of different animals to see and Stonebridge also has an onsite cafe. So pick up some animal food from the farm shop and spend an afternoon bonding with cute animals (and each other).
Go to the theatre
Most of us have been on a cinema date before but when was the last time you enjoyed a date at the theatre? The Theatre Royal and Nottingham Playhouse have a variety of productions on the programme for 2022, including drama, comedy, musicals and dance.
A trip to the theatre can feel more like a special occasion than going to the cinema, so why not use it as an excuse to dress a little fancy and really make the most of the experience. Nothing beats the atmosphere of a live performance!
Cheer on your local team at a sports match
I’m a lifelong Nottingham Forest fan so surprise tickets to a football match at the City Ground would definitely be a dream date for me. If you enjoy watching action-packed sports, there’s always a fantastic atmosphere at a Nottingham Panthers ice hockey match.
Want a more relaxed pace but still with plenty of alcohol? Try a cricket match at Trent Bridge (I’ve never been personally but have it on good authority that it’s basically an excuse for a summer booze up).
Tackle an Escape Room
Team up to take on one of Nottingham’s many escape rooms. Cave Escape on Mansfield Road is the world’s only escape room venue located within an underground cave system.
Choose from a Dracula-inspired challenge and a World War 2 mission, as you solve puzzles and find clues in your attempts to successfully escape a locked room in less than 60 minutes.
Get adventurous with outdoor water sports
Prepare for the illusion that you look anything like your Instagram selfies to be well and truly shattered — the good news is you’ll be too busy having a great time to care!
The National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont is the obvious date destination for outdoor sports, but Spring Lakes in Long Eaton has wakeboarding, open water swimming and (most importantly) an inflatable obstacle course on the water.
What’s the best date you’ve ever been on? Do you prefer to do something different or are you happy to just be wined and dined?
For local food and drink inspiration, have a read of my recent guide to Nottingham happy hour and my blog on the top 10 places to eat out in Nottingham.