Our advice for successful dating

Article 16

Tips and ideas for springtime dates

Sunshine is the magic ingredient that turns a good date into a great date. It puts a smile on your face and a bounce in your step, especially if you're past the stage where a night in a sweaty club sounds like a fun idea.

The longer days and brighter skies give a seasonal boost to your confidence, so this is a great time of year to start dating again. Maximise that confidence by dressing to fit the season: crisp shirt sleeves if you're a man and a splash of colour or floaty feminine fabric if you're a woman.

Making a good first impression isn't all about what you wear, of course. If you want to impress someone, plan a date that matches their interests and promises plenty of good memories. Here are a few ideas for relaxed but memorable springtime dates.

Lunch on a terrace

A good outdoor spot can be just as cosy as a table for two indoors, and sharing a meal is a great getting-to-know-you experience. A well-chosen restaurant or cafe terrace is also the perfect place to show off your social skills, table manners and generosity. Impressive examples include Porthminster Beach Café in Cornwall or the Cardiff restaurant Garçon, which overlooks Tiger Bay. See www.squaremeal.co.uk/news/alfresco-dining for nationwide listings.

Antiques fair

Antiques fairs and flea markets set up shop up and down the country during the spring months. As you roam the stalls with your date you can suss out each other’s tastes, chat as much or as little as you want, and if things are going well, maybe even buy each other a small gift. See www.findersfair.com for listings.

Springtime stroll

A leisurely wander on a spring day allows you to chat easily whilst showing off your favourite part of town, visiting your much-loved bluebell woods or exploring new territory together. It’s relaxed, inexpensive and stress-free, giving you plenty of freedom to chat and grab a beer or spot of lunch as you pass a cosy-looking pub. For ideas and maps, click 'find a walk' at www.walkingbritain.co.uk. The Woodland Trust also has a guide to bluebell woods here: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/our-woods/visiting/Pages/bluebells.aspx

Make your walk really special by setting it in the grounds of a grand stately home. If the heavens open, dash indoors and explore the sumptuous rooms until the showers pass. The National Trust's website is full of fabulous examples of places to visit (www.nationaltrust.org.uk).

Steam train journey

If you’re looking for ways to get to know each other better, many of Britain’s 100 heritage railways run steam trains through spectacular countryside. And you won’t find any commuters bellowing “I’m on the train” into their phones! Try Peak Rail (Derbyshire, www.peakrail.co.uk) or North Yorkshire Moors Railway (www.nymr.co.uk).

Seaside promenade

When the weather's fine, there's nowhere quite like the seaside for capturing the joys of spring. Get to know each other as you stroll along the prom, and duck into a seaside pub or cafe when you fancy a rest. For the best of Britain's beaches, take a look at www.blueflag.org

Matinee movie

There are good reasons for the cinema's popularity as a date venue. There’s no pressure to keep up a conversation, but you have a ready-made topic to chat about afterwards. Matinee audiences tend to be smaller than during the evening, and you may even get the cinema to yourselves. For a really romantic date, find an independent cinema that serves coffee and cake. Check the listings at www.britinfo.net/cinema

Picnic in the park

A picnic is a fun, inexpensive and very romantic date idea. It gives you the chance to relax together, laughing and chatting without worrying about where the waiter has disappeared to or who should foot the bill. You can take as long as you like over your food, and head off for a gentle stroll afterwards. Venue choice is easy: just choose a sheltered spot in a park you know well, or get some ideas at http://picnicspots.co.uk.

Zoo

Zoos aren't just for kids! They're a wonderful date idea, because they give you plenty to chat and giggle about together – and there's often a park and cafe within stumbling distance. If you don't fancy a traditional zoo, try a park with free-roaming deer, such as Richmond Park in Surrey or Burley Park in Hampshire's gorgeous New Forest.

Boat ride

There’s a real buzz to being out on the water on a sunny day. Sit back and feel the fresh sun on your face while your partner rows or pedals you down a river or around a boating lake. See www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating for maps and info.

Pub garden

A secluded pub garden can feel like an oasis of calm after a frustrating day at work, making it the ideal spot for a date with someone new or a quiet afternoon with your partner. The evenings can get chilly in spring, so remember your jacket – or make sure to sit near a heater! If you don't have a favourite pub garden in mind, check the listings at www.beer-gardens.com.

Farmers' market

Have a picnic on the move as you enjoy sampling the fresh food from the stalls, and then head home to cook dinner together. There's a directory of certified UK farmers' markets at www.farmersmarkets.net.

The races

Watching a sports event can make for an enjoyable date if you're both into the same type of sport, but a day at the races appeals to just about everyone. It doesn't just have to be horses – a day at the dogs is fun, exhilarating, inexpensive and a fast-dying British tradition, so catch it while you can. For listings and info, see www.dog-track.co.uk or www.britishhorseracing.com.

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