The £10 London Date Challenge

Twitter is a fabulous place to made both wild and reasonable statements and this week I discovered another hotly contested gem before I had even begun to make my morning coffee; “A £10 date in London is Impossible.” And thus, the £10 London Date Challenge was born.


At first I was ready to agree. London is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world, one where simply taking the tube to work takes up a massive chunk of your salary and you get no luxuries for the privilege.

So surely, if basic needs are a struggle, just imagine the scrap inside your wallet when you’re on your last £10 and you want to do something as extravagant as taking someone out!

Well luckily, there is a way to make this work and whilst the following suggestions are possible, I will warn you that expecting   take someone out your wallet is making imagine the scrap in your wallet if you had to fork out for something as extravagant as a date!

Well need not worry, here are my suggestions to making the £10 date work for you. All dates have received my own seal of approval- as being a struggling Arts student made all of these dates possible.

Before we begin, these dates have been suggested based on a number of assumptions.

One: As the person with the restricted budget, you have made the plans.


Two: Money already on your Oyster Card such as a Travelcard or Pre-existing Top-Up are not considered as part of spending your £10 since the amounts on your Oyster can’t be withdrawn to bolster your £10, nor do they take away from the amount you already have on there. Furthermore, in the case of a Travelcard- it’s prepaid, meaning you can maximise the ‘Free’ portion available to you such as the busses and since free doesn’t cost, it doesn’t take away from your £10. (Truthfully this doesn’t matter since these will include travel but it’s nice stipulation to include in covering myself.)

Three: It has been assumed that you are paying, so your date’s finances are not included in this £10 budget, meaning they are able to travel of their own accord. That being said, if you are both down to your last £5 and you’re pooling together to see one another; I’m impressed and humbled that even on what appears to be the verge of destitution, you want to read my article. Thank you.

Four: That if the date takes a left and the plans are changed, you will admit to not having enough money for these new plans and that they will have to front the bill in the hopes of being reimbursed later in the day or repaid with a second date. If you both can’t come to an agreement, the date should be terminated immediately.
Five: You will be relying heavily on The Longest Pleasurable Route Theory.


For your Arty-Type

Buskers Crawl

Want to listen to live music but can’t afford a concert? Well you can always listen in at one of the 39 Official Busking spots at 25 Central London stations. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like what they’re playing, but each of these official buskers are Ambassadors for a brand and talents to their craft. So adapt what is the classic British night out staple that is a Bar Crawl and adapt it to your musical tastes. And with many of these spots already on the underground, you can station hop without having to touch in and out.
If staying underground isn’t to your tastes, tourist hotspots like Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square have become hotspots for unofficial busking and if you have the walking power, it is plausible for the two of you to walk about and visit a number of spots till you both grow tired and/or bored of each other’s company.

You will need: Oyster card Top up: £5-£7 (or existing travelcard) + Bottle of Water £1.20 (or bring your own from home) + Change for Buskers: (If you really want to stretch it, make all your change 20p’s)

For info on where to find Official Busking ‘platforms’

Arts Gallery

Gallery at the MAC

Picking up a copy of ‘Time Out’ should tell you just how popular Art Galleries are and if you’ve been following the thread on the topic, you would know just how popular Art Galleries are for those looking to score a cheap date.
And whilst I have spoken on the issue with Arts Galleries before (namely the pretentious nature these types of dates become an incubator for) If you know your art, have a passion for it and have someone you can share that mutual interest in- Arts Galleries are a fantastic way to express this interest.

If you’re particularly saucy, visit a local Gallery and pretend to be buyers for your new home. The Sales Assistant or Curator on hand will give you a personal tour of each of the pieces.
That being said, if you can’t afford it, this is a bit of a dickish move since you’ll be wasting time- but the confidence you will have to exude, imaginative role play and improv abilities on display will go down very well if the two of you can pull it off.

Plus, with no cafés on hand, usually these little ventures minimise the chance of you having to buy a coffee. That being said, with how much you aren’t spending, popping in for a coffee is still possible.


You will need: Oyster top up: £4-7 + The courtesy to at least buy your date a bottle of water.

For a list of FREE Exhibitions going on in London right now.


For the Humanities Enthusiast


Like Art Galleries, Museums should be reserved for those who have an interest in the topic or are willing to let you teach them about it.

So yeah, Spitfires might be cool, but if they don’t have an interest in the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon Engines or Aviation in general, taking them to the Royal Air Force Museum will probably be a huge miss.

But, if you both have a mutual interest in the almost certainly criminal past of the British Empire, taking a look at the free exhibitions at the British History Museum SHOULD  go down a treat- just give the gift shop a skip unless they want a memento pencil sharpener or something.

You will need: Oyster Top up.
Advised: Some change for the gift shop.

The British Library

96 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2DB

If a common interest in Literature is what you’re after, a trip to the British Library’s ground floor is more to your tastes. Since you aren’t able to visit any of the ‘library’ upper sections without due cause and a signed note, your expedition within this lovely building won’t go any further than the free exhibition on display.

Of course, if travelling to Kings Cross is something a little further than your budget allows, another great date idea is to visit your local library and pick out a selection of books you each think your date might like.

Hopefully, by ignoring the warning about judging a book by its cover, your options to open up a dialogue about impressions or even the chance to read to your date in a sultry tone should provide a great opportunity to prolong the date till an appropriate home time.

Another great bonus to the local library is that the usually local surroundings of these little oases of knowledge are commonly set in places such as high streets; making your local chicken shop your biggest threat to the budget. (Chicken shop date anyone?)

You will need: £10 for the bossman to bring you that protein supply from the Chicken shop.


For Sporty Spice

Local Sport

Watching local grassroots sports teams is a date idea that’s guaranteed to have free admission

For the sportier dates in your life, going to watch some local non-league football can be a very low cost way of watching one of our nations favourite sports. Football isn’t the only sport to enjoy however; as a number of Basketball, Hockey and Ice Hockey teams play during the season and with pretty much all admission to up to conference league (for football) done in public spaces, admission is completely free too.
If your date and the facilities allow, try getting them a little something from the food truck on site.

Match days and where they’re being played are available online; so get googling!


You will need: £10 for the extortionate food truck probably


Cycle Club

Probably one of the most controversial suggestions on here since Cycling in the city is hella dangerous and quite frankly your date getting run over is not something I want on my conscience. So for that reason Boris Bikes are not what I’m about to suggest.

Instead, what I propose is that if you both have bikes, going on a social ride in the residential and parkland spaces near your home can be a fun and safe way the two of you can travel and engage.

Riders have also reported improved sex lives due to the mental and emotional build up that occurs over a ride. If you share a bike, this is then increased due to the physical touching. However, if the two of you aren’t fans of riding around parts of your neighborhood and would rather elbow a Taxi Driver for your right to the roads; why not make it a budget Sight Seeing Tour of London and give your ride some purpose?

You will need: To dust off that bicycle in your shed. 

The Outdoorsy One

Nature Trails

London is one of the Greenest cities in the world and where there is greenery, there is parkland. But London goes one step further. Since it is built on the Floodplain of the River Thames and sections of the River Lea, parts of London have an abundance of Marshland.

Now if you or your date are keen observers of the Wildlife that dwells within cities, taking a nature trail through these Marshes combines the great outdoor activity of walking, with the other: looking at nature.
Hey, maybe the two of you will be able to take some pictures of the ducks for the gram?

You will need: Oyster Card Top up (if you live far from either of these rivers) £3-7 + Water £1.20. Choice to buy or bring food and make it into a picnic is your choice.)


You probably predicted this one from a mile off, but a Picnic has and will always be- THE go-to cheap date idea.

In my experience it’s cheaper than ‘chilling’ because babies and take away.

Some have jumped the gun and said that this only works if she’s really feeling you and to an extent I agree. Picnics are intimate affairs that usually involve one person feeding another and if you’re sat on a piece of cotton, fighting the need to sneeze; it can be a bit much for the other person if they’re not that into you.

Regardless, Picnic dates are great dates and if you already have the food at home this is an even cheaper idea still. If you don’t- Big drinks, crisps and various other snacks can be picked up on the cheap- plastic cups too!

Of course, if you’re the one bringing the goodies, this £10 budget has been blown before you’ve begun to get moving, so suggesting a park closer to you would be the only way you can make this challenge work.

You will need: Guts to blow 9/10th of the budget on shareable food and the rest on plastic cups for what you’re about to pour that juice into. 




What do you think? Have these date ideas missed the mark or hit the spot? Get in involved with the conversation #10PoundDateChallenge on twitter and give us a shout @GOADate or on Facebook, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

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