Is there any better time to fall for someone than around Christmas? When the weather is crisp, the streets are filled with lights and open fires roar in the hearths of cosy pubs across the country.
There’s every excuse to get swept away in the romance of it all, even if you’ve only just met your match after a few clicks of the mouse and some casual chat.
It’s easy to get stuck in a dating rut, meeting your prospective partners at the same bars, coffee shops and cafés. But the best way to really get to know each other on a first date is to do something together, be it falling with style in the middle of an ice rink or getting pine needles stuck in your hair during an afternoon fashioning a festive wreath.
Here, we’ve picked some of the best activities across the UK for you to try out for truly memorable experiences, whether your date turns out to be "the one" or just another one. If you’re not blasting out Mariah and sipping on mulled wine afterwards? We doubt you ever will.
Click through to discover 5 festive date activities that'll impress your date...
Ice skating is a classic festive date for a reason. A good rink, preferably located near a historic landmark, makes an idyllic setting to glide around. Plus, there’s every opportunity to slide closer, whether you’re huddling together for warmth post-skate or, slightly less alluringly, scraping each other off the surface.
Let’s face it, we’re all probably a little more Bambi on ice than pirouetting Jayne Torvills, but that’s half the fun of it. And it’s a great way to subtly gauge what sort of person your date is. Do they whizz off and leave you clinging to the side, or patiently risk a sore behind, guiding you round backwards as you wobble like a newborn giraffe?
In London, head to
Somerset House for its spectacular setting, or the Natural History Museum for the added bonus of a free and slightly warmer peruse of the galleries afterwards.
Meanwhile in Manchester, the Cathedral Gardens have a wonderful rink – and a
new ice village, which includes an ice grotto, bar, and scores of carefully carved sculptures of winter creatures.
the Christmas Ice Festival has a rink at Pier Head, as well as several festive food chalets and warming winter bars.
And in Edinburgh, glide around a ring-shaped rink with a cider lodge in the centre in
St Andrew’s Square. More
If you fancy something a little warmer and slightly less hazardous (though do look out for those pine needles), book you and your date into a wreath making class.
There’ll be plenty of opportunities to discuss your hopes and dreams as you wrestle to twist various pieces of foliage into a festive arrangement, perhaps staring into each other’s eyes over sprigs of holly and bundles of cinnamon sticks.
Or you could just make a complete mess of it, tie a ribbon around it, and laugh your way to the nearest bar. Either way, you’ll leave with smiles on your faces – and knowing a little more about how creative your date really is.
This is an incredibly popular activity and there are tons of classes out there to choose from. Head to
Columbia Creative in London to work on a rustic and wild wreath, with fresh foliage, pine cones and slices of lime.
In Birmingham, there’s a
wreath making workshop set in the cosy confines of a Victorian studio, which comes complete with festive refreshments.
Up in Leeds, you can learn to
make a willow wreath, which can be kept and used for years to come, in the incredible 18th-century home and gardens of Nostell.
Or make your way to
the Bullitt Hotel in Belfast to design a luxurious spruce wreath with top florists and light refreshments. More
Nothing says Christmas like cuddling up in front of the screen with someone gorgeous and a box of popcorn bigger than your own head.
For a truly festive first date, however, avoid crowded complexes and head to one of these incredible pop-up boutique cinemas instead.
Showing a range of seasonal movies, from Will Ferrell’s
Elf to black and white classics like It’s A Wonderful Life, they offer a series of soul-warming experiences in unique settings – and the opportunity to really scrutinise your date’s taste in films. Are they a rom-com crier or terrified of the Grinch?
In London, there are several different options, including
a rooftop cinema in Camden showing everything from Love Actually to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Or head over to St Katharine Docks for a floating film festival on the Thames.
Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow there’s a special screening of Love Actually with a live orchestra.
head to the Passenger Shed to see a movie in the immersive world of Wonkyland, where everything has been made to look like chocolate and sweets. They are showing everything from La La Land to Frozen.
And in Edinburgh you can watch a particularly atmospheric screening of
Scrooge in the impressive walls of Lauriston Castle. More
Okay, we admit it – a little Dutch courage on a first date can do wonders for the nerves, and serve as ample lubrication through any awkward moments. But meeting up for a drink in a bar is just, well, a bit boring. So why not make the date as fun and festive as you possibly can by taking part in a Christmas cocktail class.
Whether you’re a regular mixologist or an absolute novice, you can learn to shake, muddle and pour some classic seasonal drinks – and take your newfound skills home to recreate on Christmas Day. Besides, favourite flavours can say a lot about an individual. Does your date prefer to sip on a whisky sour or down jugs of woo woo in your local? It’s worth finding out sooner rather than later.
We’re particularly taken with this
chocolate-themed cocktail workshop in Brighton – they’ve apparently had guests licking the glasses, they’re so good.
In London, the Clock Tower in Peckham is hosting an
excellently priced cocktail masterclass which includes learning how to make a winter negroni and espresso martini to the sound of Christmas music.
The Alchemist has bars in most of the main cities in the UK –
including Nottingham, Oxford and Leeds – offering the chance to make a number of magical concoctions while learning about the history of cocktails.
Or if you’re in Manchester, why not try out Lola Lo, a
tiki-tavern overflowing with inventive tropical cocktails to master. More Story continues
Gingerbread House Making
They look incredible, they taste incredible, but they are surprisingly tricky to engineer. If ever there were a true test of relationship potential between two people, it would be working out how on earth to put a gingerbread house together.
Will it feature gumdrop windows and a marshmallow door? Or be peppered with pink Smarties with a candy cane floor? This may well be the only home you’ll ever afford – let alone decorate together – so make the most of this sweet construction task while you can.
Chances are, your icing will be too thin and the whole thing will fall in on itself. But will you see the funny side and tuck into the collapsed walls, or be there for hours refusing to give in?
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can learn to make the whole thing from scratch at a
two-day course at the Cooking It school in Bristol.
Danish Bakery in Cardiff constructs the thing for you, so all you have to do is show up and decorate it with whatever sugary embellishments you think it needs.
Katie’s House in Sunderland, which also provides you with a fancy wrapping to take it home in afterwards. Or leave it in the pub. The decision is yours. And if you're without a date, why not try uk.match.com? More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Sorry To Bother You Review: Messy, Weird, & Always Riveting Hannah Gadsby Is Tired of Hearing Good Men's "Hot Takes" On Misogyny Kevin Hart Steps Down As Oscars Host In Wake Of His Twitter Controversy