Fail-safe dates that won’t break the bank

Because courting doesn't have to be expensive

It doesn’t matter whether you’re testing the water with a potential new partner or looking to keep the flames of love burning with your current beau, dating need not and should not break the bank.

Romance is supposed to be about chemistry not economics after all, so while the occasional fine dining experience and expensive treat never go amiss it’s certainly not the be all and end all when it comes to enjoying the company of another.

Here’s a few fail-safe ideas for those both dating on a budget and lacking inspiration…

Take a stroll

Naturally if you’re going to head out for a stroll and want to package it as a ‘date’, it’s a good idea to have a route in mind. If you know a walk along the banks of your local river is likely to involve charting a course between teenage gangs and abandoned shopping trolleys then perhaps pick somewhere more picturesque. National Trust parks, houses, gardens and castles make for great venues to walk arm-in-arm, while historic city centres always offer up talking points. Coffee shops and pubs provide perfect respite for tiring legs while the allure of a stunning view or sunset could well be the perfect catalyst for a romantic clinch.

Art Gallery / Museum

For the culture vultures amongst you there are few better places to head on a date than a local gallery or museum. It’s over 12-years since government sponsored institutions began opening their doors for free, so whether you’re a fan of British portraiture, keen to learn more about medieval armour or just want to show off you’re understanding of the modernist movement you’ll not be short on choice. Granted, given the gentle ambience of such surroundings the chance for an in-depth conversation may initially be limited, but for those eager to share the odd quip or dry observation you can always playfully whisper in your date’s ear.

The big night in

With a little time and effort a no-frills night in together can be turned into something very special. Say no to illegally streaming pirated blockbuster movies on your laptop and instead hunt down a hard copy of a movie that means something to you and your date; whether it was the first film you watched together or just one that has you in stitches the sentiment will go a long way. Naturally over-sized portions of popcorn and a vat of fizzy glucose are a necessity, while hot dogs, nachos and packets of sweets should all be on the menu if you’re not fussed about moving for a couple of days. If you’re really feeling in the mood, you could even whip up a movie-related cocktail – couple of Manhattans perhaps? Finally, be sure to recreate that true cinema experience by dimming the lights, tutting at the teenagers making too much noise (we kid, we kid…), turning up the sound and nuzzling in close. Back row smooching optional.

Park life

There’s something about a good bottle of wine, a platter (or Tupperware box) of smelly cheese and a blanket that really works as a winning date combination. What’s not to love about food, drink and the great outdoors? In spring there’s sure to be blossoming flora and fauna to keep you entertained, in summer it’s a Brit’s right to bask in the sun with Pimm’s in hand, autumn is perfect for cosying up with a thermos of something warm and hearty, while in winter…well maybe in winter you should do something else; you don’t want frostbite! We concede that the above may all sound rather idealistic, but with a cucumber sandwich, a glass of red, decent scenery and willing company you’re bound to have fun.

Having forced him to stand in a river while she lay in a tree for two hours, Jane deemed Dave a keeper.

The local gig

These days it costs an absolute packet to watch a big name band, sporting team or comedian but if you keep your ear to the ground you may well find a local act well worth watching for a fraction of the price. Scan the local newspaper for upcoming events, ask your friends and social media followers for suggestions and check out long-standing publications like Time Out or edgier blogs for further recommendations and listings. It might not always pay dividends – there’s nothing quite so awkward as a horrifically bad comic act – but occasionally you might just stumble across the next big thing and you’ll probably learn something about your date’s tastes. Who knows in 30 years time you and he/she might just be telling your kids how you once had a ‘Beatles-in-The-Cavern’ moment.

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