12 Alternative Date Ideas In Glasgow & Edinburgh

First dates are tough but honestly so are 57th dates. No matter what stage you are at in your relationship it’s always difficult to think of something a bit different for an exciting date.

You don’t want to go too extravagant and book a tandem bungee-jump, only to discover your date’s previously unmentioned crippling fear of heights. However, you also don’t want to play it too safe and find yourself out-yawning each other over a pizza before heading to the cinema.

So with Valentine’s day now upon us and the pressure mounting to provide an excellent date night, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite alternative date ideas, some might seem a bit odd but that’s part of the fun, it’ll be a guaranteed conversation starter.



Deep down everyone loves bingo. Even if you’ve never played in your life, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll love it. However, the bingo night that takes place at Hillhead Book Club on the fourth Wednesday of the month is definitely raunchier than your local, old-lady-loving bingo hall.

The lovely Misses Bee Fiarse and Acid Taint are in charge of Ball Drag Bingo at Hillhead Book Club and along with providing plenty of laughs for your date night, you’ll also be playing for a £500 cash prize. Imagine heading home £250 better off (assuming you’re both polite and split the prize), it wouldn’t matter how bad their chat was, you couldn’t call that a bad date.


If you and your date are the ‘outdoorsy’ sort, then wakeboarding will be right up your street – or if you’re not it’ll allow you both to leave your comfort zones and have a good laugh.

Luckily you won’t need to travel far to indulge in a spot of wakeboarding because Glasgow is home to Scotland’s first ‘urban wakepark’.

The park is based at Pinkston Watersports Centre at the Port Dundas Canal – just a five 5 minute walk from Cowcaddens underground station – and offers a ‘Learn To Ride’ package to help ease beginners into the sport, you never know it could be a great bonding experience and become your new “thing”.


Ideally your date should be the one to make your heart race but if not the zombies at Dread Glasgow should do the trick.

This fairly new interactive horror attraction has received rave reviews for its ability to terrify the s**t out of pretty much anyone who dares enter, so maybe not the best idea if you’re still early in the relationship and not willing to show off your high-pitched shriek yet.

However, if you’re both up for a laugh it’ll be a fun date and you’ll definitely spend lots of time clutching each other as you run from the undead, what could be more romantic?


The team over at the Glasgow Film Festival always manage to outdo themselves with the brilliant special film events they put on each year and 2017 looks set to be no different.

A trip to the local cinema is all well and fine for a bog-standard date night but ask yourself this, how many times can your date claim to have watched a special 30th anniversary screening of The Lost Boys, at a secret location in the company of a real Transylvanian vampire?

Also, when was the last time your film screening was followed by an after-party hosted in association with London’s leading fetish club? If that’s your kind of thing, take your date to the 15th anniversary release of Secretary, dubbed the “sweetest BDSM film ever made”, at SWG3 on 24 February and definitely stick around for the events that follow, Torture Garden performers, dancers and a specially curated playlist will make this a very sexy date night.

“Hundreds of carved figures and pieces of old scrap perform an incredible choreography to haunting music and synchronised light, telling the funny and tragic stories of the human spirit as it struggles against the relentless circles of life and death.” Sounds cheery doesn’t it?

Despite the macabre sounding description, the
reviews for this strange show in Trongate rave about it: “Very gripping theatre”, “Unforgettable experience” and “International Genius” are just a few of the high praises it has received and as one redditor put it: “Definitely unlike anything else I’ve ever done on a date and if neither of you like it, it’s not terribly long either and it’s an instant conversation starter.


If you’ve ever survived the frustration that ensues from building furniture together, you can survive a date night at one of Glasgow’s many Escape Rooms.

These games have been sweeping across the city in recent years and there’s now plenty to choose from for your date night but they all follow the same kind of idea – you must work together as a team to recognise hints and clues hidden throughout the room before deciphering them, finding the key and setting yourselves free, all within the allotted 60 minutes.

Team sizes of 2-5 are usually recommended and speaking from experience, it’s pretty difficult in a group never mind as a couple, so this might be a good shout for a double-date. Also, if there’s more people there, it’ll distract you if the date’s going terribly.


Remember earlier when I said some of these date ideas might seem a bit odd? Well this one is by far the strangest.

Hidden away in an unassuming church in The Gorbals lies the bones of St Valentine, the 3rd century Italian martyr known as the patron Saint of love. In 1886 a wealthy French family asked the Franciscan Friars of St Francis Church to take responsibility of the remains of St Valentine’s, they accepted and for more than a century the remains lay untouched.

However, in 1999 when the friars moved to the Blessed John Duns Scotus Friary in Ballater Street, the 3ft chest containing the ancient remains were rediscovered and now they have a prominent position at the front of the church. Although the real identity of who the remains belong to has been disputed – there are three people that historians have claimed as the original Valentine and 10 different places around the world all claim to house Saint Valentine’s remains – romantics still flock to the church around Valentine’s Day.

In the week leading up to February 14th a statue of the Saint is placed beside the remains and the chest is decorated with flowers and some have proposed at the church. Special services are also held for those in love, while prayers are said for those seeking it, so no matter what your relationship circumstances around this loved up day, it may be worth a visit.



A bit of rest and relaxation is always welcomed, so enjoy a very chilled out date at one of the last remaining operational Turkish baths in Scotland – there’s only three operational Turkish Baths remaining across the country now, feel free to use that fun fact to impress your date.

The Edinburgh baths are hidden away inside Portobello Swim Centre and are a perfect way to relax after a hard workout (obviously working out is an optional part of the date) or just to de-stress from the pressures of life and to escape from work, study or home-life stresses.

You can work your way around from the steam room, which opens pores and eases tense muscles, to the   various pools which vary in temperature before cooling down in the frigidarium.


Granted there’s nothing overly exciting about heading to a cocktail bar or two for date night. However, we have a soft spot for the strangely romanticised concept of “speakeasy” bars – the secret drinking spots hidden away across the city.

They are usually quite dark, sultry and intimate. So in other words, a perfect spot for a romantic date.

We suggest heading to Panda & Sons on Queen Street, which looks deceptively like a barber’s owned by a sweet family of Pandas or Heads & Tales, which is nestled within Rutland Place and features the two Edinburgh Gin stills, Flora and Caledonia.

Oh and it’s fine by us if you want to pretend your friend owns the place and that’s how you know about the secret bookcase entrance, your date never needs to know it’s a legit speakeasy.


If you’ve done your research and know that your date is a massive JK Rowling, Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fan, score some major points by organising a trip around the city to take in some impressive literary landmarks.

You could visit The Elephant Café where JK Rowling wrote early drafts of Harry Potter or The Surgeons Hall Museum, where Conan Doyle first met Dr Joseph Bell, who’s best known as an inspiration for the character of Sherlock Holmes. The city is full of interesting locations that will delight the bookworm in your life.


If you’re looking for something really different, why not suggest wild swimming? You could head to the Musselburgh Lagoons, Portobello Beach or the reservoirs at Threipmuir near Balerno and take the plunge into the freezing Scottish waters.

Think less leisurely afternoon swim and more quick (safe) dip to prove your bravado and follow it up with a cosy brunch and plenty of hot choc.

If you can convince someone to try this for a first date, hats off to you both, what a way to get to know each other. Visit www.wildswimming.co.uk for safety info.


The big chain cinemas are fine for casual dates but if you’re looking to push the boat out a bit and want to plan a special night out, check out the Dominion Cinema.

This family run business offers a night at the cinema like no other. Say goodbye to horrendously uncomfortable standard cinema seats and annoying rude folk putting their feet up by your head and hello to their new first class screen. With huge reclining armchairs, gourmet hot dogs, crystal glasses as standard, table service and nachos in real bowls (no annoying plastic rustling, hallelujah!) it’ll certainly be a film you won’t forget.

They’re also opening a new gin and wine bar early this year, so there’s pretty much everything you could need for a dream date/mate night.


Before you head anywhere near Maison De Moggy, check if your date is a cat or dog person. If they have a huge aversion to cats they’ll probably not be keen on this delightful café in West Port.

However, if you’re dating a feline lover, head along for a cuppa and enjoy the therapeutic qualities cats can offer. This “custom built paradise” for cats lets you cuddle and play with their ‘Moggy Stars’ and also offers plenty of cake, what more could you need for a chilled afternoon date?


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