Monday, 03 August 2015
Date night ideas
Once the baby arrives, it can be easy for date nights to fly out of the window. So if you fancy reintroducing a sexy spark, Naomi Reilly has a few ideas to fire you up
For sexy couples
Salsa! No, not the sauce, we're talking dancing. It's sensual, good for boosting your fitness levels and a great way to build better connections and regain intimacy. There are classes all around the country that cater for everyone from beginners (that'll be most of us, then), to the more advanced. Olé!
Why not turn up the heat with a bit of burlesque? Proud Cabaret Brighton is a glamorous and retro supper club with an authentic 1920s atmosphere. The evening includes a three-course menu and some of the best burlesque entertainment around. Oo-er, missus!
Do something fishy
Learning to make delicious (and healthy) sushi can only to be a good thing, right? Taught by top chefs in eight locations around the UK, these classes are fun and result in you going home clutching a very full bento box packed with miso soup, wasabi, ginger, soy sauce and all the sushi you've made. Just don't forget to share. From £49 per person.
For bored couples
Find your inner Beyoncé
Karaoke can be just the tonic for stressed parents looking for lighthearted fun. Book a room, put in a drinks order (always good for loosening up the vocal chords) and take to the mic. Edinburgh's Supercube has seven rooms for three to 25 people, and more than 29,000 songs to choose from – so something for everyone, then. From £20 per hour.
Anyone for cocktails?
BYOCBYOC (London and Brighton) is a cocktail bar with a difference – it doesn't sell alcohol. Don't panic, instead, you bring your favourite booze and one of the mixologists will create incredible drinks using a massive selection of syrups, fruit and vegetable juices, spices, herbs, salts, seasonal fruits, homemade cordials and bitters. Don't fancy schlepping to London or Brighton? Hey, it's summer, grab a pitcher of Pimm's and get out in the garden. £25 per person for two hours.
Have fun at the flicks
Fancy a cinema date? Why not go the extra mile and make it a Secret Cinema one – they specialise in screenings in extraordinary venues accompanied by interactive performances and exhibits. The summer presentation in London is The Empire Strikes Back, and they claim that it will be the most ambitious and dreamlike Secret Cinema experience yet. We've got a good feeling about this... Adult tickets for £78.
For cultured couples
There's nothing like mooching around a gallery on a Sunday afternoon to rid you of all the stresses of attending to the needs of children. The Whitworth Art Gallery reopened this year after a £15 million development and is a must-visit. New spaces include a 'café in the trees' with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Whitwork Park, and an art garden – both romantic in the extreme.
See the fat lady sing
If you haven't been to the opera before, a date night is the perfect excuse to try it. In the capital we suggest Carmen, the dreamy story of a femme fatale and a naïve army corporal – the perfect tale to incite a bit of passion. Or in Buxton there's Louise, about a French seamstress and a poet – it's also described as a love letter to romance and to the city of Paris. Carmen, from £94. Louise, from £15.
Go back to school
Edu-dates – where you take a class together – are all the rage right now (yes, really). Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts offers loads of talks and arts events where you can be inspired about anything from writing to photography. After, you can continue your musings in the café.
For sporty couples
Get your skates on
Fancy a bit of nostalgic fun? Head to Dreamland Margate. The UK's oldest amusement park is right on the seafront and has now been reimagined with Wayne Hemingway in charge of design. Among the many attractions is a fabulous roller disco, and when you're done boogying, grab a double milkshake at the vintage diner. It doesn't get more retro than this.
Bit of a daredevil couple? Then listen up: the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK's tallest sculpture (262 feet), and one of the stars of the Olympic park in Stratford, is offering occasional abseiling experiences. And while you're up there, don't forget to take in the stunning panoramic views across the capital. From £85.
Yes, yoga for two really is a thing. Using yoga to physically connect you to your partner, you'll also be taught connection techniques such as 'eye-gazing' and 'touch exercises'. New-fangled? Yes. A good way of putting fun and novelty back into your relationship? Absolutely.
For romantic couples
Pack a picnic
Laid out in the early 18th century, the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury must be one of the oldest picnic areas in the country. With 29 acres of parkland to choose from, set right by the River Severn, you can guarantee a quiet spot. So gather up some yummy treats, shake out your blanket and kick back. Now, who's got the Prosecco?
Relive your first date
Whatever it was – hanging out at a gig, having drinks in a pub or going to the cinema – make the effort to recreate your first date. Wear the same perfume/hair/clothes, and go back in time to when it was just the two of you. Guaranteed laughs all the way...
A summer's evening is a great time to go on a guided city walk. Not only is it a chance to check out a part of the city you don't know so well, it's also inspiring, affordable, romantic – and comes with a nice pub at the end. What's not to like? London-based walks at walks.com; create your own city walks around the UK at walkit.com.
For knackered couples
If the thought of a night out just sounds too much like hard work, then have a morning out instead. Liverpool's Alma de Cuba Gospel Brunch has a menu that ranges from tapas to roasts, all while a live gospel choir sings. It also boasts stained glass windows, chandeliers and deep booths.
What better way to relax after all those sleepless nights than a couples' massage? The Twin Treatment room at Nottingham's day spa Beautification is luxurious and lets you enjoy the experience together. From £80 for two 45-minute massages.
Have some cheesy fun
Some of the best ideas really are the simplest – like an at-home cheese and wine night. Visit your local artisan cheese shop, stock up on a range of faves and new flavours (grab some fancy crackers too), lay it all out on a blanket on the floor and eat by candlelight. Bliss!
For adventurous couples
Be a tourist for the day
Riding in an open-top bus – or maybe an amphibious vehicle (check for life jackets, maybe) – in your own city puts you on an instant route to fun. Buy a day pass to hop on and off, snuggle together and take in the sights. Don't forget to make the most of copious selfie opportunities.
Candlelit dinners are all well and good, but dining in total darkness (served by blind people) is supposedly the ultimate sensory and culinary experience. At Dans le Noir in London you can do just that with a choice of one of four surprise menus. There's also a lit bar serving wines and cocktails before and after your 'blind' meal. From £44 per person.
Go for a paddle
A kayak trip is a lovely way to enjoy some peace and quiet. At the Wye Valley Canoe Centre, on the unspoilt River Wye, you can paddle up to the picturesque town of Hay for lunch. And should you feel a bit too wobbly to kayak back, they can organise for you to be picked up. Phew! From £20 each.