Look, we’re just going to put it out there: lockdown has been very tough for single folk. We’ve been forced to swap catching the eye of a gorgeous stranger across the bar for swiping through apps, our charming personalities reduced to flat one-liners.
“So what have you been getting up to during lockdown?” you ask again. “Baking sourdough/learning to do headstands/meditating,” comes the inevitable reply. Really? ‘Cos newsflash, we’ve been making our way through Aldi’s frankly excellent wine selection and practising our sexy dance moves in the mirror, ready for our grand relaunch into society. Just us? Really?
But once in a while you’ll find a gem, one worthy of a real life date. Maybe you’ve waited until lockdown rules have relaxed to meet up or maybe you’ve been seeing them on sly. Either way, it can feel like you’re running out of ways to woo your boo, and fast. Fear not! We’ve come to the rescue with a whole host of off-piste outdoor activities that will knock their socks (and possibly their pants) off.
Be warned though: new-found freedom, good weather and a potential new squeeze make for a heady mix. Is that Zoom wedding bells we hear?
Cycle through Walthamstow Marshes
On yer bike for a leisurely cycle through Walthamstow Marshes. Frolic in the river, laze in the long grass, bond over wild wees, and if you make it all the way to the Olympic Park (which isn’t actually all that far) you’ll be rewarded with fresh beers from Mother Kelly’s taproom. Bonus points if you hold hands while you pedal.
Go boating on the canal
(image: Uwe Aranas)
... And tour the romantic waterways of Little Venice and the Paddington Basin in a canoe. Serious romantic kudos for this one – and more if you pack some nice booze. The ideal way to see if you float each other’s boats, right?
Watch the sunset on Waterloo Bridge
So there are heaps of places to watch the sunset, but one of our favourites is from Waterloo Bridge, when you can take in the London skyline and its shimmering reflection in all its glory.
Play table tennis
OK, so you will need a table for this one, but we’re sure you can get creative in the park. To make sure you absolutely thrash your partner, take our online table tennis masterclass (and you get the table tennis kit thrown in, too).
Eat your way ‘round Borough Market
(image: Malcolm Cartledge)
For serious foodies. Many Borough Market favourites are reopening for takeaway, so you can graze and gobble to your heart’s content. Make sure you come early so you don’t need to queue.
Do a gin-tasting masterclass
Take our virtual gin experience outside and do it in a park to up the romantic ante.
Go to a drive-in cinema
(image: Markus Distelrath)
Klaxon!! From early July, outdoor cinema experts Luna Cinema are hosting drive-in movies in Allianz Park (North London) and Printworks (South London). There’s loads to choose from, but we’re particularly looking forward to Jurassic Park and Dirty Dancing. You bring the milkshakes, we’ll pack the popcorn.
Go to Barnsbury Wood Nature Reserve
(main image: Dudley Miles)
Can you keep a secret? At 0.35 hectares, this wood is London’s smallest nature reserve. You’ll have explored every nook and cranny within minutes, but all the more time for chatting, right? Note: Only open Tuesdays and Saturdays 2-4pm.
Stroll through the Isabella Plantation, Richmond
Richmond Park is old news, so up your cool credentials by taking your date to the Isabella Plantation, a park-within-a-park in, er, Richmond Park. The vibrant rhododendrons and peaceful ponds are bound to make an impression.
Go for a picnic
But not just any picnic: take The Indytute's brilliant Italian-inspired picnic. Impress with your kite-flying skills and spoon limoncello posset into each other's mouths. Saucy. Want to go somewhere a bit different? We've got London's best secret picnic spots, too. Why yes, we are great. We know.
FURTHER READING: Made it to date three? Here's how to recreate a romantic restaurant at home.
(main image: Free-Photos)