So you live in London and you’d love to take your date away for a weekend but you’re either not at that stage yet or you only have half a day to spare. Try the following for a unique and sporty London date.
1) Go white water rafting at the Lee Valley White Water Center
If you are both competent swimmers and your date doesn’t mind getting their hair wet, try an exhilarating session at the official white water venue for the London 2012 Olympics. Activities on offer include white water rafting, tubing and hydro speeding. If open, try the inflatable Water Wipeout course. You will lose all your dignity negotiating the course, but it will leave your date keeling over with laughter. Until it’s their turn, that is.
Costs: Hydro speeding from £50 for two persons. Tubing from £40 for two persons. White water rafting from £50 per person.
Dinner and drink recommendations: Head back to Kings Cross for dinner at Dishoom, a buzzing restaurant modelled on the old Irani cafes of Bombay, or share Ethiopian dishes served on large steamed flat-breads at Addis Restaurant
2) Ice climb in Covent Garden with Vertical Chill
Impress with a thrilling ice climbing lesson right in the center of London. Vertical Chill is an 8m high ice climbing wall based in Ellis Brigham’s Covent Garden store. At -5°C to -7°C, your date will be keen to warm up again after the hour long session. This is definitely on my wish list.
Cost: Sessions cost £50 per person including equipment hire and tuition. Book early as sessions can be fully booked up to three months in advance.
Dinner and drink recommendations: Fully commit to the ice theme by heading to Ice Bar London, a bar sculpted entirely out of Swedish ice. If you are looking for something closer to Covent Garden try miniature tapas at Pix or pizza at Sartori. Follow up with drinks at the Experimental Cocktail Club, a hidden gem behind a shabby, unlikely looking doorway in Chinatown. This secret bar makes some of the best cocktails in London and the bar staff are always happy to whip up something special to suit your tastes.
3) Hire a Boris Bike or take a Vogue-recommended spinning class at Psycle
The Telegraph’s top recommended cycling routes include sights to see along the way and bike pick up and drop off points for each route.
If it is raining, test each others stamina at a Vogue-recommended spinning class at Psycle on Mortimer Street. Follow up with an intimate dinner at Italian In Parma off Charlotte Place, which serves a selection of cheese and meat platter alongside sparkling wine in bowls.
Costs: There is a £2 access charge per Boris Bike for up to 24 hours. The first 30 minutes of each journey is free. Longer journeys cost £2 for each extra 30 minutes. Psycle has an introductory offer of £20 for two. Subsequent sessions are from £15.50-20 per person per session
4) Set a picnic in Hyde Park then hire a pedal boat or go horse riding
One of my favourites – take a picnic blanket and hamper (in my case a Moroccan carpet and Fortnum and Mason hamper) and enjoy a picnic in Hyde Park before renting a pedal boat on the Serpentine. For something a little different and certainly more indulgent, book in for a horse riding lesson at the Hyde Park Stables.
Costs: Boats £12 per person per hour. Horse riding from £89 per person.
Dinner and drink recommendations: Head to Ognisko on Exhibition Road for modern Polish fare and a dizzying (literally) selection of flavoured vodkas on the summer terrace. Continue drinks at the intimate and cozy Gore Hotel bar, once a haunt of the Rolling Stones.
5) Introduce your date to climbing at Clip and Climb
There are twenty vertical challenges to negotiate at the Clip and Climb centre. You don’t need any previous climbing experience and you won’t spend time belaying each other since the automatic belay devices guide you safely to the top of each wall.
Cost: £19.50 per person
Dinner and drink recommendations: Sample wines poured from Enomatic wine dispensers at the Fulham Wine Rooms. Combine with dinner.