Top 20 winter date ideas

Warm your cockles with these romantic date ideas for the colder mon

Winter doesn’t look like the ideal season for romance. It’s too chilly and dark for picnics or country walks… and let’s not even think about sub-zero skinny dipping.

But the winter months are full of ways to turn up the romantic heat, especially around Christmas. Here are our favourite ideas for love in a cold climate.

1. Go ice-skating

Outdoor ice skating is glamorous, graceful, seductive… unless you’re a mere mortal, in which case it’s cold, clumsy and likely to end in a bruised bum. But you and your date will cling to each other and laugh your lungs dry as you try getting round in one piece.

Find an outdoor ice-rink: www.thisistheatre.com/iceskating.html

2. Hunt for ghosts

Ghost-hunting tours are springing up all over the place. What better excuse to wrap yourself in your other half’s arms?

Among our favourites are Mercat Tours, who specialise in spook-searches around Edinburgh’s candlelit dungeons and underground vaults (www.mercattours.com).

Find a ghost hunt: www.ghosttoursuk.co.uk

3. Enter a pub quiz

Pub quizzes are brilliant fun with a group of friends, but they’re also perfect for a date. You and your companion can have a laugh, get to know each other and test each other’s brain power. Bonus points for grabbing a table near the roaring fire.

Find a pub quiz: www.pubsquiz.co.uk/pubs/listing.asp

4. Stay late at the museum

Many museums and galleries hold special adults-only late nights, allowing you to browse in peace after work. Many late openings, such as those at the Tate galleries (www.tate.org.uk), include music, food and drink.

Find a late-night museum: www.24hourmuseum.org.uk

5. Raise a beer glass

German beer festivals are fast becoming as much a part of the British winter as in-store Santas. Clink your giant glasses and, if you’re brave, dance on the wooden tables.

Find a winter beer festival: www.beerintheevening.com/beer/festivals.shtml

6. Get a room

Dirty weekends are why winter was invented. Book a room in a seaside hotel and lock yourselves in until check-out time. If you get cabin fever, stroll along the deserted beach and feast on roasted chestnuts.

Find a hotel room: www.laterooms.com

7. Have a spa treat

A rub-down is guaranteed to get the blood flowing through your limbs. Many spas offer couples massage sessions and his n’ hers spa days.

Find a couples spa session: www.goodspaguide.co.uk

8. Sample the wine

A wine-tasting session allows you to stay indoors, have a drink (or 10) and learn something. Giggles guaranteed.

Find a wine workshop: www.wineunearthed.co.uk or www.vinopolis.co.uk

9. Have a DVD marathon

Winter weather is an excellent excuse to kick off your shoes and snuggle into the sofa for a popcorn binge and a movie marathon. Don’t blame us if your wandering hands make you miss all the good bits.

Find a DVD rental site: www.uk-dvd-rental-guide.com

10. Have a laugh

There are plenty of cheap comedy clubs and free open-mic nights bursting with talent. Great value, especially when you can pay more than £30 to see a big-name comic in the West End.

Alternatively, get free tickets for a TV show. Harry Hill’s TV Burp and 8 out of 10 Cats are currently filming in front of live studio audiences.

Find a comedy club or TV recording: www.chortle.co.uk

11. Shop ’til you drop

Winter adds a romantic sparkle to window shopping. Wrap up warm, snuggle close and take advantage of the shops’ extended Christmas hours.

Find late-opening shops: www.shoplocally.co.uk

12. Browse the stalls

Christmas markets offer another excuse to wrap up in your woollies and your man whilst splashing the cash. Fill up on mulled wine and home-made mince pies.

Find a festive market: www.christmasmarkets.com/UK.html

13. Have your drinks on ice

Judging by the popularity of ice bars, whose indoor temperatures would make a penguin shiver, you really can have fun at five degrees below zero.

For example London’s Absolut Ice Bar is so cold that you have to wear a duvet-like thermal cape, and you’re only allowed in for a maximum 40 minutes. The walls, bar, tables and vodka glasses are all made out of ice.

Find an ice bar: www.beerintheevening.com

14. Head for the tropics

Get out of the cold and into an indoor winter garden, where the temperature is perfect for exotic plants and romantic dates.

Find a winter garden: www.personal.u-net.com/~treetops/ukguide.html

15. Relax with a coffee

Happiness is vegging on a coffee shop sofa with your partner, a supersize latte and the papers. Easy like Sunday morning after a late Saturday night.

Find a cool coffee shop: www.cosycoffeeshops.co.uk

16. Enjoy a movie matinee

Avoid the evening crowds and enjoy a movie matinee. Max out the romance by choosing an independent cinema that serves coffee and cake.

Find an independent cinema: www.britinfo.net/cinema

17. Cook dinner

Show off your culinary skills, break out the vino and turn the lights down low. It’s the perfect date idea if you’re feeling the pinch – and you don’t even have to venture outdoors.

Find a foolproof recipe: www.deliaonline.com

18. Singalonga Christmas

Carol singing is karaoke with tinsel. Make sure that your lover has heard you caterwaul at least once before – you don’t want to drive them away just before you get your pressies.

Find a carol service in your area: www.direct.gov.uk

19. Go salsa dancing

Most salsa classes are a mix of beginners and enthusiasts, so don’t feel shy about your lack of footloose finesse. Salsa is sexy, great for your body, and a real laugh. The more you laugh, the more you’ll fancy each other…

Find a salsa night: www.uksalsa.com

20. Place a cheeky bet

A night at the dog races is loads of fun and very inexpensive – many greyhound stadiums even offer half-price beer. It’s also a dying sport, so catch it while you can.

Find a greyhound stadium: www.dogracing.co.uk