6 first dates during London’s festive season

My article has also been featured on Match.com’s dating advice website! Take a look! http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/general-dating-advice/6-first-dates-during-londons-festive-season

With no cliché intended, winter is truly the best time of year. Winter is packed full of opportunities to buckle down and find someone you want as part of your life. We all love snuggling in front of the fire with mulled wine in one hand and a mince pie in the other. But what most of us fear, is taking the next step when you can call someone your other half. Though winter can be tough for us singles, what is forgotten, is that it is one of the most magical and natural ways to ooze romance with little fuss and (imagination – if you find yourself lost for activities).

It takes a lot of consideration and planning when organising dates in winter and though you may be required to think slightly outside the box, it will inevitably bring out your creativity. Whether you decide to be a culinary sensation, with a touch of home cooking or visit an art gallery or one of London’s many Christmas festivals, there is something for everyone for first date ideas. Remember, less is more and for the majority of activities available throughout the festive period, whether it be ice skating or Ice bar, physical activities have proven to make people feel more bonded together, with little effort required.

I have teamed up with Match.com with 6 ideas for first dates during winter to maximise romance with little trouble and to make it one to remember (and maybe a future relationship may be on the cards!)

For cocktail enthusiasts

ICEBAR LONDON is a sensational experience, where every wall, table and bar is entirely made of crystal clear Torne River ice and derived from the purest winter wonderland of Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden. The ICEBAR LONDON is a wonderful spot for first dates, for those looking to enjoy a unique experience, that can be shared. Each session is 40 minutes long, so if you find yourself lost for topical starters, then you need not worry. But it is a perfect way to break the ice (excuse the pun) and enjoy a cocktail in an exclusively designed atmosphere for winter. Tom Hunter, head of marketing adds that if there’s a rapport ‘we have an adjoining warm cocktail bar and restaurant to keep the date going strong. But if not at least, you’ll hopefully get lots of spectacularly ice selfies as a memento!’

Standard ticket varies from £13.50. Visit: http://www.icebarlondon.com/

ICEBAR LONDON
ICEBAR LONDON

For a taste of the sweet life

It’s time to conquer your inner chocolatier and join Hotel Chocolat for the opportunity to make your own silky-smooth chocolate with their Bean to Bar experience. The experience is a great way to get to know each other, with an activity where you can learn and be creative at the same time. You will learn how to use freshly roasted cocoa beans to develop a bar of chocolate that has an intricate and delicate taste. To start off with, you will have a glass of Prosecco and an introduction to what happens on the cocoa plantation. For those who love getting their hands dirty, you will be get your aprons on and get to work to produce your very own hand-piped chocolate bar and a goody bag. Not only is it a fun and exhilarating activity, it also breathes a touch of romance.

Adult £65.00 per person. Visit: http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/experiences

Hotel Chocolat Tasting experience
Hotel Chocolat Tasting experience

For those who love lit up London

Lumière London, taking place 14-17 January is designed to chase away your New Year blues. For four days only, from the West End to Kings Cross, London will be lit up in a spectacular way like you’ve never experienced. Creative producers Artichoke have welcomed 20 international artists, who will razzle and dazzle the streets of the capital with an impressive illumination, using an exotic array of colours and patterns that invade London’s architecture. It truly is a natural location for romantic exuberance, so why not grab yourself a cappuccino and find yourself getting lost under the lit-up skyline of London.

14-17 January 2016, 20 locations across Kings Cross and the West End. Visit http://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere

Lumiere London festival, Garden of Light Tilt
Lumiere London festival, Garden of Light Tilt
Lumiere London 1.8 London Janet Echelman
Lumiere London 1.8 London Janet Echelman

For those who love winter with a view

Bompas & Parr have pioneered their latest installation at the View from The Shard. The enchanting winter experience is to continue until 31 January 2016 at the highest summit of London. If you have never been to the Shard, but want to see something new, this sensory pop-up is one way of invoking a touch of romance. You will truly feel on top of the world with gem-studded snow dunes, glowing crystal benches, super-scaled crystals, touch-responsive iridescent grotto and carolling plants! Not only will you experience winter with an unrivalled view, you will be treated to edible treats, including Snow White hot chocolate, mulled champagne and Christmas candy floss. If you are looking for something different at the highest heights, this may well be the best way to begin the new year.

Standard entry until 31 January 2016. Tickets are priced from £25.95 per adult, available to book online at www.theviewfromtheshard.com

The Height of Winter at The Shard
The Height of Winter at The Shard

For those who love bustling markets

Running until 17 January 2016, Winter at Southbank Centre is packed full with entertainment from award-winning theatrical performances including La Soiree and Slava’s Snowshow and other festive concerts and choirs. Raising money for charity, this event is a wonderful way to give back this winter and enjoy a romantic walk along the River Thames. The area will be transformed with twinkling lights and a bustling market and the team at Southbank recommend the winter festival as a great choice for first dates. They recommend the BUMP roller disco, offering a wintry alternate activity. Not to mention, get into the festive spirit with a pint of cider at the cosy and traditional Scandinavian bar.

Free event, until 17 January. Visit http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/winter-festival

Winter at Southbank Centre credit Jason Alden
Winter at Southbank Centre credit Jason Alden
Winter at Soutbank
Winter at Soutbank

For a Winter Wonderland spectacle

Winter Wonderland has become a staple addition to London’s festive season, with a variety of activities, including market stalls, fairground rides, delicious crepes and a fantastic ice rink. Winter Wonderland may sound too idyllic for most first dates, but the Magical Ice Kingdom, a sub-zero fantastical snow and ice sculpture experience could be the ticket to a successful date. Situated next door, is Bar Ice, an intimate arctic environment where you can enjoy a chilled cocktail and in plummeting temperatures. The Ski Zillertal Ice Rink, is a fantastic day-to-night activity and a great way to bond quickly. Finished skating and need something to do, the Angels Christmas Market offers a unique shopping experience with traditional Christmas gifts and antiques. And it that’s not all too much, the Bavarian Village can offer you a seat in the warmth, with a glass of mulled wine and hot food to warm you up on a cold crisp day. If this doesn’t scream romantic fun, then I’m not sure what does!

Until 3 January. Visit for tickets: http://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park