Dating in a heatwave? Not fun. The opposite of fun. As far from the concept of fun as it’s possible to get. The antithesis of a good time; a far flung remove from a pleasant evening; a ‘would run a mile from the very thought’ sort of activity. Presumably, we’ve expressed our thoughts on dating during a heatwave; and yet…
‘And yet what?’, you ask, incredulously. An evening spent trying to look and sound attractive whilst trying to prevent the rivulets of sweat trickling down your back from being absorbed into your linen shirt — all while attempting to come up with small talk while feeling as though you’re sitting in a claustrophobic, crowded, pollution-filled sauna from which there is no escape — is not fun. There’s no denying that. And yet…
And yet dating in a heatwave offers up an array of activities that aren’t necessarily socially acceptable at any other time of the year — and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of more common date activities in a whole new (usually air-conditioned) way. Don’t let a small thing like a heatwave put you off dating; it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant, sweat-soaked occasion. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Read on for our humble suggestions on the best date ideas for a heatwave…
The early bird catches the romance worm
One failsafe way to beat the heat is to get out early, before the sun’s had a chance to rise in the sky. Why not suggest an early breakfast? Stay with us — an early morning breakfast date isn’t something we’d typically suggest. It doesn’t have the romance of — say — a sunset riverside stroll, with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a box of strawberries in the other.
But you’ll be cool. That’s the main thing. You’ll have beaten the heat — and it could be a great way to start your weekend in style. Plus, it’s unlikely alcohol will make an appearance: which means boundaries are less likely to be crossed, and perceptions less likely to be blurred. Instead, you’ll both be clear-headed throughout, which may give you an indication of how you actually feel about each other — and you’ll be fortified with an iced coffee and the eggs of your choice. What’s not to like?
Take advantage of London’s rooftop bars
Earlier this week, we established that London doesn’t do rooftops particularly well. But while the pickings may be undeniably slim, there are a few rooftop bars that will stand up better than their street-level counterparts during a heatwave. You’ll be party to a much-needed breeze, and the panoramic views should provide a welcome distraction to the rising temperatures.
Happily for you, we’ve got a handy guide of just such rooftops to get you organised; but while we’ve got you, we’re particularly partial to the Ham Yard Hotel roof terrace; and if you’re a member at White City House, it’s about time you took a plus one up to that rooftop cocktail scene.
While you’re on the roof, why not try out a rooftop pool?
Before we go any further, we should emphasise: if your date isn’t particularly keen to be seen in their swimming apparel in the early days of your courtship, that is wholly understandable. If that’s the case, don’t push the point — accept that the rooftop pool idea has flopped, and move on to something else.
However, if the rooftop pool idea is met with positive enthusiasm, a swimming date can be an excellent opportunity to cool down in style. The aforementioned White City rooftop bar boasts an aesthetically pleasing pool; other chlorinated gems with a view include The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, Shoreditch House or The Ned. It’s rapidly becoming apparent that a private club membership could be a good way to see you through the heatwave. And if you’re nervous about what your current swim shorts might say about you, never fear: these are the best swim shorts for summer 2021.
For a more relaxed occasion, keep it riverside
Of course, if it’s date number one you might be put off by all this talk of rooftops. If you’re a relaxed, casual sort of chap, you’ll want your date to know that — and the panoramic views (which unfailingly scream ‘romance’ at the top of their lungs) might give the wrong idea.
So if you’re after a cool date — in terms of both temperature and attitude — we’d advise sticking to the riverside. The River Cafe in Hammersmith is a failsafe option for some casually luxurious cocktails by the Thames; or you could pull out all the stops, and pack up a picnic hamper to be enjoyed by the water’s edge. If you’ve never put a picnic together in your life, our guide on what to include in your Glyndebourne picnic should ensure you arrive equipped with a wicker-clad masterpiece. The opera knows its stuff.
You can’t go wrong with nature
Part of the reason London can be borderline unbearable in a heatwave are those pesky urban fumes. It’s hard to cool down and relax when surrounded by puffing, swirling, smoky particles of smoke and dust; but, happily, London is blessed with more than a few lush green spaces, with ample shade and space to breathe.
Why not head south west to Kew Gardens; merging floral landscapes with a smattering of culture? Or you could venture in the direction of Hyde Park, and maybe even drop into the Serpentine Gallery if your date is hellbent on some sort of intellectual pursuit. Or you could simply take advantage of London’s fantastical park selections; either way, go green if you want to cool down.
Pay a visit to a beach
It may not be a holiday romance; by token of the fact that, if you’re in London, you’re presumably not on holiday. But beaches are by no means confined to the realm of the vacation; if the temperatures are soaring, the sun is blazing and you’ve forgotten a time when you didn’t feel as though you were reaching boiling point, the beach may be your only option.
By all means, pop off to Whitstable, Margate or any commutable beach of your choice — or sweep your date off their feet by taking them away to your country house in Salcombe (with their permission, of course). But if you’re London-oriented for the foreseeable, there are plenty of beaching options in the city. Head over to Fulham Beach if you fancy a taste of the cabana lifestyle; or opt for the London Secret Beach for a pair of sun-loungers and a cocktail sharing bowl. (On second thoughts — that’s not very Covid-friendly. Forget the sharing bowl.) You’ll feel cooler the moment your loafers hit the sand.