Whether it’s because I’m slightly *too* obsessed with organised fun or because I’m a great big romantic I just don’t know, but there’s one thing for sure: I love planning dates.
I spend so much of my day trawling through Visit Bristol and other local blogs that I’m not sure how I haven’t been caught out by my bosses yet, and my boyfriend’s constantly complaining that I’ve booked up our weekends so far in advance that he doesn’t remember who he is or where he’s going half the time.
But, in a city as thriving as Bristol, there’s simply no way I plan to spend every evening and every weekend sat at home. There’s something happening everywhere you look, making it one of the best cities ever when it comes to planning unforgettable dates.
Whether you’re seeking inspiration for a first date you’ll never forget or it’s time to spend some quality one-on-one time with your best friend, here are five date ideas to try out in Bristol.
When you live in a city, sometimes there’s nothing better than escaping the smog and surrounding yourself with as much greenery as you can. Bristol Botanic Gardens, tucked away in one of the quieter parts of Clifton, is the perfect place to do this.
Entry is just £6.60, which is perfectly reasonable considering we spent a good couple of hours there without getting bored. It’s also free for under 18s and the students/staff of the University of Bristol, as UoB actually owns and maintains the gardens themselves.
My boyfriend and I were lucky to visit the botanic gardens on a rare sunny day, which put them in a particularly special light. There are some truly beautiful plant collections there, both outdoors and in the gardens’ greenhouses, which you can peruse at your leisure.
Or, if you’re keen to learn about the plants themselves, you can also book a tour through the UoB’s website.
There’s also a charming little cafe nestled in the heart of the gardens, where you and your date can bond over a cup of coffee or a snack from Chandos Deli.
When I asked my boyfriend to start planning more dates for us, he surprised me by booking tickets to the Everyman Cinema in Clifton. At first, when I realised the tickets for It 2 (romantic) were £15 each, I was confused as to what could make this cinema so special.
However, there’s honestly no cinema cuter than the Everyman – it really is the ideal place for a date. With a grand interior offering an almost 1920s feel, the Everyman is charming, sophisticated and much more exciting than any other cinema I’ve been to.
Instead of Tango Ice Blasts and stale popcorn, you can expect snacks such as honey roasted cashews, honeycomb bites and dark cherry & almond cake, not to mention hot sharing plates, burgers and pizza, all brought to your seat in time for the film to start.
You can even enjoy a glass of prosecco or a chilled beer during the film, with arm rests large enough to act as mini tables.
And, you can forget about the uncomfortable seats you typically find at cinemas (the kind that don’t allow you to cuddle up together, unless you want an arm rest digging into your ribs). At the Everyman, you can even book sofa seats for that cosy, date night feeling.
Don’t forget to grab a blanket on your way in!
The movies would have you believe that no date is quite complete without an evening of stargazing. However, in the heart of bustling and – let’s be honest – light polluted Bristol, this isn’t always possible.
That’s why heading to the Planetarium at We the Curious is perfect for date night. Hidden away in what looks like a giant silver ball, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the planetarium is open to the public – or that it even existed at all.
But, We the Curious run a series of events throughout the year, meaning you can surprise your date with an evening under the stars no matter what time of day or night it is.
For a list of their events, it’s best to check out their website. The prices vary depending on the tickets you’re buying, but from my experience they tend to be under £10 per person.
For a truly space-themed evening, why not head to Under the Stars for a cocktail or bite to eat before your trip to the planetarium?
If the idea of making a packed lunch and going for a woodland stroll sounds like your cup of tea, then a walk to Abbots Pool could be your idea of a perfect date.
Nestled away in Abbots Leigh, a local nature reserve, Abbots Pool is a beautiful landscaped pool used by monks during the medieval period.
While it’s no longer used for fishing, it’s still a popular spot for the people of Bristol. During the summer, groups of teenagers, families and couples flock to the pool to dip their toes in the water and watch the ducks swim by, but you’ll be pleased to know it’s just as gorgeous in the winter.
While Abbots Pool may feel a million miles away from the traffic-infested city of Bristol, it’s actually fairly easy to access. In fact, you can park just five minutes from the pool in the car park just off Manor Road. From here, you can also explore the woodland itself, which has plenty of routes perfect for walking and cycling.
This is ideal for a lazy Sunday date, especially during the autumn when the trees surrounding the pool turn a beautiful shade of copper. Just don’t forget to wrap up warm!
They say that if you want to find true love, you should avoid playing games – but that’s not exactly true. In fact, I actually think we should play games. After all, what better way to check your compatibility than over a friendly round of Snakes & Ladders?
If this sounds like your idea of a great date, then Chance & Counters is the place for you. Hidden away on the picturesque Christmas Steps, Chance & Counters is one of Bristol’s best board game cafes, and while I’ve never actually been there, I’ve heard it’s a brilliant place for a casual date.
As it’s so popular amongst the gamers of Bristol, it’s recommended that you book a table before you arrive. It’s just £5 for a 4-hour slot and you can reserve seats for up to 8 people, if for some reason you decided to invite your friends along!
The cafe has over 600 games to choose from, so while four hours may seem like a long time to spend rolling dice, you’re well-equipped to keep yourselves entertained.
They also offer a fairly extensive menu, so why not order a couple of toasties or small plates while you work your way through their games catalogue?