Who doesn’t love a good date night? The perk of living in a city is the abundance of things you can do and there is no shortage of fun date ideas for Manchester. Whilst cinema and dinner is a classic, I hope to introduce you to some activities for couples in Manchester that you might not have thought of. Whether you’re a foodie, a history nerd or just a casual pub goer, this post should hopefully offer some good evening and day date ideas for Manchester. Alternatively, if you can’t decide on one thing, just try them all (but maybe not at the same time). Your date will thank you (unless you bring them to the life drawing class on your very first date).
The Pub Date
Few things are more British than pubs and it’s a great way to spend a casual first date. The city has a wide offer of drinking dens and for a fun Manchester date, I would suggest a mini pub crawl. My suggestion is a bit alternative but cheap and cheerful. There are obviously plenty of pub options to suit anyone’s taste, just have a look at Northern Quarter or Deansgate. One of my favourite date pub crawls, however, starts in The Temple and then follows a trail down to Whitworth Park. The Temple is a tiny pub located underground in an old Victorian toilet. Admittedly, telling your date you’re taking them to a toilet doesn’t sound overly romantic but at least it’s a talking point. I also like the intimacy of this pub, as it only fits a handful of people at a time.
After The Temple head to Font for a couple of cheap and cheerful drinks. Font is really popular with students as cocktails start from £2. It’s a fun place to spend an hour before it gets too busy. Your next stop is Kro Bar, where you can have a few drinks in their beer garden. Finally, your last stop is Big Hands, a hub for alternative music with a range of unusual beers. The main selling point of Big Hands is their upstairs rooftop garden that’s great for a nice chat and a drink.
The Foodie Date
To me nothing says date quite like good food. That said, it’s also the worst when you’re on a bad date and stuck in a restaurant for an indefinite amount of time. Instead, mix things up a bit with Manchester Food Walks. This guy offers great food tours around the city for about £30 per person. There are different themes you can choose between; Northern Quarter, Southern Manchester (uni area) or Corn Exchange to name a few. On each tour you get really interesting background information to the area you’re visiting and about 5-6 sample plates (so come hungry!). I’ve tried the Northern Quarter Taster One tour and can warmly recommend it! We had a great two hours and went to restaurants I’d never been to in Northern Quarter (even after 5 years in Manchester!). This is great both for first dates and as a fun day out for couples.
The Active Date
Before I begin, let’s all take a moment to admire my bowling technique in the above photo and contemplate how my arm didn’t dislocate. All done? Right, Parrs Wood is in Didsbury, South Manchester but easily reached by bus or tram from the city centre. It’s a small entertainment complex and ideal if you want something more laid back than the city centre places. I suggest you start by booking one of the bowling lanes at Tenpin Bowling and engage in some friendly competition. You can order drinks and snacks at the bar to munch on whilst you play. They even have Slush Puppies (yes, I’m an adult). If bowling isn’t enough, you can try your luck with the arcade games or play pool for a while. Finally, the complex has a really good cinema showing the latest films and a handful of restaurants if you get hungry.
The History Date
If you want to get technical, Lyme Park is in Stockport, not Manchester. However, with a mere 30 minutes on the train from Piccadilly Station, I say it’s close enough to be on this list. Lyme Park is an estate with a late 16th century mansion that’s Grade I listed. Surrounding the main house is a massive park with its own deer herd and a lake where BBC’s Pride & Prejudice was filmed. I repeat, Colin Firth has walked these grounds. The entrance fee for the mansion and beautiful gardens (definitely worth a visit) is £11 but the park is free to walk around. If you and your SO get peckish there’s plenty of lovely cafés on the ground including one in the old ale cellar. After food play dress up in clothing fit for nobility and then walk the mansion together before exploring the gardens.
The Outdoorsy Date
Sometimes simple is the best. Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, South Manchester are perfect for a Sunday afternoon date. Part botanical gardens and part wildlife park, you can make this walk as long or as short as you want. The gardens are really pretty but I prefer walking in the forest, occasionally bumping into cows. This area is huge and so peaceful that you can’t tell you’re only 30 minutes from Manchester city centre. If you want to continue your date I suggest you head for Sunday dinner at The Didsbury. This pub offers great food (although service can be a bit slow. Which gives you more time to talk!) in a really cosy setting.
The Creative Date
Life drawing will probably fall into the category of quirky Manchester dates. Whilst it may not be the ideal choice for a first date, it can definitely be a fun experience if you already know each other and have a creative streak. I really like the class in Chorlton which runs on Wednesdays between 7.30 – 9.30 pm. For £7 you get to use all the available materials and practise your drawing skills together. Afterwards the class usually goes for a drink in Chorlton, which you can join or head for a drink by yourselves. Just remember to show respect whilst you’re here, no snickering or loud talking whilst drawing and obviously no photos!
The Musical Date
Watching the musical Billy Elliot at Palace Theatre in Manchester might just be my favourite date ever. At a minimum, it’s in my top 3. Palace Theatre has a show on most nights and attracts really high class performances. Next year they are showing a range of well-known musicals including Wicked, Flashdance and The Sound of Music. Regular tickets range from £18 – £64 depending on seat and whether you want access to the VIP lounge. Regardless of what seat or package you choose, you’re both in for a great night that you can talk about for weeks after. One of the best ever date ideas for Manchester so take note.
The Sophisticated Date
Sometimes you just want to impress and do one of those typically romantic dates. Whilst I’ve done all of the above, nothing beats a really classy evening every now and again. Cloud 23 is probably one of the most famous drinking places in Manchester and is located in one of our most iconic buildings; Beetham Tower. This 23rd floor bar offers spectacular views of Manchester and an innovative (and expensive) cocktail list. I recommend Pixelated Porn Star to make you question what a cocktail is, but any of their signature cocktails is a good choice. So make sure you go all out and dress to impress before you head over to Beetham tower.
This is just a highlight of date ideas for Manchester and there are so many things for couples to do in Manchester and its surrounding areas. The city is really well-connected to places such as Chester, Liverpool, Southport and York which gives you plenty of day trip options. What are your favourite date spots in Manchester?