Once upon a time, when I was a lot younger, going on a date usually involved meeting up for a few drinks in a bar or pub, followed by dinner at a nice restaurant. It was all very nice, and something I enjoyed doing at the time. But now that I’m getting older I like to plan dates that are a little more, well, exciting.
Living in Nottingham means there’s always something different to see or do on a date. And today I thought I’d share my top 20 date night ideas for those of you who live in or around the city. I hope you guys enjoy it, and it gives you some inspiration for something to do on your next date.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in …
01. ENJOY A RELAXING AFTERNOON AT THE CLIFFORD DAY SPA
Around a 20 minutes drive from Nottingham City Centre is the Clifford Day Spa, an all-in-one health club and spa solution. A spa day can be incredibly romantic as you and your loved one can relax together, experiencing soothing massages and leaving with newfound energy. Clifford is particularly good because they almost always have special offers available, regardless of the month or season. Consider your spa day a combination of a romantic getaway and a relaxing gift for that special person in your life. They’ll love it!
02. HAVE A PICNIC AT NEARBY CLUMBER PARK
I don’t think there’s anything more romantic than going for a picnic. So next time the sun comes out why not pack up a basket full of your favourite food and drink and head to nearby Clumber Park for an intimate afternoon for two? Don’t forget to take a nice big blanket so you can lie down and have a chat (or a snooze) once you’ve eaten. I highly recommend having a walk around the woodland, hand in hand, as the scenery is just beautiful. You’ll love it!
03. TAKE A SALSA CLASS AT REVOLUCION DE CUBA
What can be saucier and allow you to get to know each other on a more intimate level than a sexy salsa class!? Right in the centre of Nottingham is a lovely little cocktail bar called Revolucion de Cuba, which offers a taste of Havana and is the home of Cuban-style celebrations. Revs de Cuba offers cheeky salsa classes every Wednesday evening from 6 pm. And once you’ve learnt a few steps, you can dance the night away at their salsa social from 9 pm till 2 in the morning. It’s brilliant.
04. HAVE A NIGHT OUT AT THE THEATRE
I don’t know about you guys, but I love nothing more than a night out at the theatre. I really enjoy getting lost in the music and story of the show I’m seeing. But the theatre can be quite the romantic setting for a date too. Especially if you pair it with a pre-show meal and drinks.
There are 3 theatre’s that I know of in Nottingham itself: The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, which are just across the road from Nottingham’s Cornerhouse, where there are loads of different places to get something to eat and drink before the performances. And The Nottingham Playhouse, which is situated on Wellington Circus. I’ve seen countless shows at all 3 venues and I’ve never once been disappointed!
05. ABSORB SOME CULTURE AT THE NOTTINGHAM CONTEMPORARY
For the more arty couples among us, the Nottingham Contemporary is the ideal place to head to for a date night. It has a variety of events and exhibitions all year round, all of which are absolutely free to attend. It most definitely offers something a little different for your night out. And you never know, you might discover an awesome new artist you knew nothing about. How cool is that!?
06. HAVE AFTERNOON TEA AT THE PUDDING PANTRY
Afternoon Tea is big news right now. And I don’t think anywhere in Nottingham does it as well as The Pudding Pantry! Afternoon Tea here is served from 2 pm till 4:30 pm daily (5:30 pm on a Saturday) and there are 3 different options you can choose from:
- Classic Tea, which includes 2 mini scones, homemade jam & clotted cream, 4 individually designed cakes, and sandwiches.
- High Tea, which includes 2 mini scones, homemade jam & clotted cream, 4 individually designed cakes and sandwiches, and a glass of bubbly Prosecco.
- Sweet Tea, which includes 2 mini scones, homemade jam & clotted cream, and 4 individually designed cakes.
The Pudding Pantry’s Afternoon Tea’s are second-to-none. Everything here is absolutely delicious, and the cakes are super imaginative, so you won’t forget about eating here in a hurry. If your date is the sort of girl (or guy) who loves their afternoon tea, I highly recommend you take them here at least once. I promise they’ll love you for it forever!
07. GET COSY WITH POPCORN AND A MOVIE AT THE CINEMA
A foolproof date idea is the classic cinema date. And with Nottingham being such a big city there are loads of different cinemas to choose from! Personally, I love going to Cineworld, as it’s situated in The Cornerhouse, a big building with a variety of restaurants and an arcade; perfect for pre or post-movie entertainment. Whenever I go on a movie date I always suggest seeing something scary as it allows you to snuggle up to your partner during all the scary parts (whilst sneakily stealing their popcorn). Yikes!
There’s also The Savoy Cinema in Nottingham which is different from Cineworld as instead of sitting on separate chairs you can share a red velvet loveseat — AKA, the height of romance and seduction! The Savoy Cinema also tends to be cheaper than Cineworld, with most movies costing just £4.75 for students.
08. ENJOY SOME LIVE MUSIC AT ROUGH TRADE
Rough Trade is a well-known name in the underground music scene and serves as a popular variety music shop with bases in London, Bristol and Nottingham. Since 1972, the business has grown and expanded by focusing on exploring every aspect of the music industry, stocking both LPs and CDs from artists across all genres.
The Nottingham store serves as both a record shop and a musical venue — making it a great location for a romantic date night. Unknown and underground artists play at Rough Trade regularly and the venue is small and cosy, allowing you to experience interesting new sounds with a loved one, without being drowned out by the screams of a huge crowd. If you’re both music lovers, then this is a great place to visit. You might even discover some new artists to enjoy together.
09. GO SKATING AT THE NATIONAL ICE CENTRE
Nottingham is well-known for being the birthplace of ice skating legends, Torvill and Dean. So why not head down to the amazing National Ice Arena in Hockney and have a go at skating, yourselves? You’re guaranteed to have lots of fun. And if you’re like me and you’re not very steady on your feet, you have a good excuse to cling on to your date for “safety”.
There are plenty of public sessions on throughout the week, and it will cost you less than a tenner each with skate hire. Bargain! The National Ice Centre is also home to the Motorpoint Arena, so if you’re lucky you might be able to catch a gig at the same time. It really is the place to go for a great night out.
10. GET COMPETITIVE AT THE LOST CITY CRAZY GOLF
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been on a date night to The Lost City, an amazing indoor jungle-themed crazy golf course, with alligators and colourful fountains at every turn. The Lost City is the perfect place to go to have a laugh and a bit of (friendly) competition with your partner. You can start by playing either 18 or 36 holes of adventure golf (which is situated in the basement of The Cornerhouse) and then head to the super romantic Tiki Bar for drinks afterwards.
The Tiki Bar has a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and it’s the perfect place to just sit and chat to your date with a drink. It almost feels like you’re in a whole other world while you’re down there, and I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it as a date idea to anyone looking to do something fun while they’re out and about in Nottingham. I just love it!
11. EXPLORE SHERWOOD FOREST ON HORSEBACK
Sherwood Forest is a great place to explore on horseback. Its green lanes and sandy tracks allow riders to get close to nature and connect with the ancient landscape. One of my favourite date ideas is to head to the Sherwood Forest Trekking Centre, saddle up and ride alongside my other half, taking in everything the local area has to offer. The staff at the yard are all really nice and friendly, and you can tell that all the horses are happy in their home. And don’t worry — they don’t expect you go out on your own. A leader goes with you to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I guarantee you’ll have a magical time and want to go back again and again!
12. SHARE A SUNDAE AT KASPAS DESSERTS
Kaspas is a dessert diner in Nottingham city centre, serving everything from waffles to sundaes. It’s designed to look like a classic American diner, making it the perfect place to get some cute Instagram’s with your date. Oh, and the desserts are pretty damn delicious too. You’re sure to enjoy them.
13. TAKE A CRUISE ON THE RIVER TRENT
One of my favourite things to do on a date in Nottingham is to go on a romantic cruise on the River Trent. Run by Princess River Cruises, there are two different types of cruise available to go on: a tranquil daytime one, and a more vibrant, exciting evening one.
The afternoon cruises tend to have more older people on dates, while the evening ones draw a much younger crowd. And it’s not hard to see why. As once the sun sets and the passengers are on board, the disco and the barbecue fire up and it’s time to party! You can dance the night away to your favourite sounds, relax with a drink from the bar or just enjoy the enchanting floodlit atmosphere of the River Trent by night. It’s the perfect setting for enjoying some quality time with a loved one.
14. HAVE A GAMES NIGHT AT THE ROXY BALLROOM
If you were to talk to any of my friends they’d think I was on commission for Roxy Ballroom as I talk about it so much. But I promise I’m not — I just really love the venue and think it brings something much needed to Nottingham’s bar scene. Whether pool, shuffleboard or beer pong is your game, Roxy’s got you covered.
Set in a super cool venue with some serious loft vibes, it’s a great place to head to for a super cool date night. And if all of the competitiveness makes you feel a little peckish then I highly recommend trying out the food. In particular the pizzas and the mac and cheese balls … I’m drooling just sitting here thinking about them!
15. VISIT A SEASONAL EVENT IN OLD MARKET SQUARE
Right in the centre of Nottingham is Old Market Square, where a wide range of seasonal events are held. Lounge on the artificial beach during the summer months, ride the ghost train at Halloween or do some Christmas shopping at the Christmas Market in December. I absolutely love visiting the Christmas Market each year — it’s super festive and romantic and has a variety of yummy delicacies (think Nutella crepes and waffles etc) on offer. There is also an ice rink and an outdoor ice bar (with heaters)! It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. I just hope all the autumn and winter events don’t get cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
16. CLIMB THE WALLS AT CLIP ‘N CLIMB NOTTINGHAM
If you enjoy a more energetic date night then why not give Nottingham’s Clip ‘n Climb a try? Clip ‘n Climb is an amazing space filled with loads of different climbing walls to try your hand at and is just a two-minute walk from Cinderhill Tram Stop. Sessions run every half an hour and cost £12.50 per person, regardless of age. Sessions are suitable for anyone age 4 and over, and you can try your hand at any of the 20+ climbing walls in the main arena. Each session includes a 20-minute introduction, harness fitting and safety briefing, followed by a full 55 minutes of climbing. I think this is the perfect amount of time as climbing can get tiring after a while. But it’s still a lot of fun, and I always find myself powering through till the end whenever we go. It’s most definitely a fab place to go on a date at least once.
17. HIRE A ROWING BOAT AT HIGHFIELDS BOATING LAKE
What can be more romantic that hiring a rowing boat for the afternoon and sharing some quality time on the water with your significant other? Situated near the University of Nottingham campus, Highfields Park is well-known for its boat hire on the lake, adventure golf and the variety of events at the Lakeside Arts centre. It costs just £5 per adult per hour to hire a boat, and you can choose from canoes, rowing boats and KataKanu’s. With easy access and plenty to keep you occupied, you can soon while away the hours at Highfields, making it the perfect date idea for summer.
18. TAKE A ROMANTIC WALK OR BIKE RIDE ALONG NOTTINGHAM CANAL
Nottingham Canal goes on for miles and miles and is a lovely place to go for a romantic walk with your significant other. Or, if you prefer a more energetic date, you could even go for a cycle together. Along the canal you’ll find a variety of beautifully decorated canal boats and pubs, so you’ll have the perfect excuse to stop and take a break when you start to feel a little tired. Bliss!
19. TRY OUT ONE OF NOTTINGHAM’S ESCAPE ROOMS
If you’re feeling up to taking on a challenge with your other half, I’ve got just the date idea for you — escape rooms — and thankfully, Nottingham has an abundance of them. With the newest kid on the block being one called Cave Escape. Based within a unique site — a sandstone cave system once used as cellars — Cave Escape aims to bring you some seriously immersive escape games, packed full of riveting twists and turns, puzzles and conundrums!
Escapalogic offers a fab range of themed-rooms with movie-quality special effects and completely realistic sets and sound design — choose from the clever, the curious, or the downright creepy. With the trickiest of puzzles and the most fiendish of riddles, iLocked uses state-of-the-art simulation software to create a unique world of imagination, adventure and discovery, making for a truly unforgettable experience. And over at Logiclock, you can expect pirates, professors and Mafia-themed rooms, from which you and your plus one will have just one hour to escape.
20. GET HISTORICAL AT NOTTINGHAM CASTLE
Taking a walk around the historic Nottingham Castle and having an obligatory photo beside the Robin Hood Statue outside is an absolute must for at least one date in Nottingham. And it also offers an opportunity to visit Nottingham Caves for the more daring couples among us. Nottingham Castle also hosts a food festival once a year, which is great because who doesn’t love food!? It’s actually closed to the public at the moment due to some redevelopment work that’s taking place. But all-being-well it should be reopening at the end of the year. I’m keeping everything crossed!
And there you have it — my suggestions for 20 fantastic places to go on a date in Nottingham. Have you ever been to any of them? Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below!