Dating 101: 16th October
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Romance can be coerced in various ways, but there comes a time in every wooing regime when the socks of your potential partner ought to be blown right off. When you want their eyes to be widened in wonder, unable to believe that this place exists and, by default, that you exist. Of course, you're not made of money, so here are some options for maximum impressiveness for minimum expenditure.
Here we have the UK’s only intact 50s ballroom possessing the kind of intoxicating deep-red opulence that will have your honeypie in a dreamy daze, ready to fall right into your awaiting arms as you twirl about the place. The interiors here have remained intact since the swinging ballroom era of the 50s - can you even imagine how many sparks have erupted on that maple dance floor? We can: a lot. Head here for cabaret nights, pop-up film screenings, salsa dancing and jive parties.
How's about an airborne voyage above a glistening London at night, sipping some prosecco and eating some cheese. You'll have to provide the food and drink yourself but the rest comes courtesy of the oft-forgotten Emirates Air Line: open until 9pm every day and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays when the flight time is extended to 25 minutes. That feasibly gives you ample time for some hanky panky and 20 minutes to enjoy those views. It's a mere £7 for the round trip.
Hill Garden and Pergola is the staple outdoor date pick - a magnificent Edwardian extravagance with the overgrown, faded grandeur of the wisteria-covered pergola, bountiful flowers and many a secluded spot for a bit of smooching. It's magic escapism and a fine place to take your S.O. - you can also watch many a stilted wedding photo taking place, mocking the happy couple whilst secretly wishing it was you and boo.
'Where the frick are you taking me? The upstairs of a Spar supermarket?!'
'Oh, just wait sweetie.'
And then, blam! You're in a dimly lit bar with speckled mirrors, a sweeping curved ceiling, copper pineapple bar lamps and plush, chesterfield benches; transported through time and space to 1920s Hollywood and a rendezvous with someone glamorous. Castle Cinema is a delightful place to watch a film and/or go for a date. And on Monday tickets are £5 - though you don't need to let your date know that.
Providing hoarders everywhere with legitimacy since 1808, this is the house of 19th century architect John Soane: a three-house-wide labyrinth of curiosities and a London gem if ever we saw one. On display are an incredible array of famous artworks, sculptures, furniture and artefacts; perfect if the convo isn't flowing and you need something to look at. There are also moody Friday lates when you get to wander about this place by candlelight - the next one is October 26th.
It might be a little played out but God's Own Junkyard is still a dope spot to inject a little 'wow this is abnormal and cool' into a date. Discreetly tucked away in an industrial estate in Walthamstow, this is London's oldest signmaker with thousands of neon signs and props creating a psychedelic visual neontopia. In short, it's pretty cool. Take in the sights, enjoy some cake and a coffee. Those are the foundations for any healthy romance - the rest is up to you.
Yes this incredible Hindu temple really is in London and it's going to shock the pants off bae. Especially when you inform them how it was created: 5,000 tonnes of stone were hand-carved by more than 1,500 skilled artisans at 14 different sites around India into 26,300 pieces. They were then assembled like a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle within two and a half years.
Take your boo here and show them the intricate marble and wooden carvings whilst informing them that it was the first temple of this kind to be built outside India. Remember - facts are the keys to the sack.
Going to a bar for a drink might not immediately hit your date with shock and awe, but this isn't just any bar. This is the oldest Victorian music hall to survive anywhere in the world - grand, shabby-chic and goddamn beautiful, with all kinds of creaky, cosy nooks made for snuggling and whatnot. The Mahogany Bar dates back to 1690 and, consequently, has a storied history of exceptional dates to prove its credentials. If magic can't occur here, can it occur anywhere?