You are in Oxford. You’ve got a date. But where to go? If you look for first date ideas online, you will come across some pretty good lists of things couples can do to get to know their (potential, occasional) partner better. However, “have a picnic” or “go to an art gallery” can apply to so many different locations! If you’re new to the city of Oxford, you might be wondering where those date ideas could take you. So, where should you actually meet, and where should you go?
Luckily, Oxford has some incredible locations that are ideal for a first date. For example, if has some beautiful parks that look great all year round. There are also world-renowned museums, with tons of things to see and comment on. And, of course, dozens of great options for a romantic dinner or a get-to-know-you coffee. And yes, Oxford has a couple of cinemas too 🙂
So let’s explore all the different Oxford date ideas and find a perfect way to spend an afternoon, evening or night with your love interest.
General Date Ideas (that also apply to Oxford)
The problem when exploring date ideas in oxford… is that there are so many of them! I mean, picking an ideal activity to do with your potential significant other will depend heavily on what you both like. In general, most date ideas lists include the following:
- Have a picnic at a park or garden (in Oxford, the Botanic Garden is both beautiful and interesting)
- Have a drink at a historic pub (do you both like literature? You could sit right where professor Tolkien and C.S. Lewis sat and discussed Middle Earth and Narnia!)
- Check out a museum (one of the best archaeological ones is right here in Oxford – and we can even tell you a few interesting facts to share with your date!).
- Try some new food (there are SO many options to have lunch or dinner with your date in Oxford, even if you are on a budget)
- Explore a secret location (we have put together a list of places you probably have not seen in Oxford – ideal for a quiet first date to surprise you both).
- Chat over a good coffee (we have great options for those too. And tea. Or an ice-cream. Or a smoothie!)
But if you’re reading this, you are probably looking for specific date ideas. So below are our “Oxford best” suggestions.
Oxford Romantic Walks and Wanders
If the weather allows (or you’re feeling adventurous) walks and wanders can provide a great option for dating in Oxford. The city has many beautiful parks that are ideal for taking your date on a picnic, a walk, or to practise sports together.
There are several great green date ideas. For example, the Botanic Gardens and Arboretum have all sorts of conversation-starters for more nature-oriented people. You can explore the gardens and whisper secrets in the quieter, cosy glasshouses filled with tropical flowers. This corner of Oxford was also enjoyed by two famous writers: Lewis Carroll and J. R. R. Tolkien.
The meadows of Oxford (Christ Church Meadow and Port Meadow) are also ideal for a date or day out, as they have plenty of space to give you and your date more privacy while doing some people-watching, too. Just keep in mind these parks have different closing times, as you probably won’t want to become trapped in them!
Best Oxford Parks and Gardens for a Date:
Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is Great Britain’s oldest botanic garden and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded in 1621
Oxford University Parks
Oxford University Parks (or University Parks) is a large park area northeast of the city. The park is open to the public during the day.
Port Meadow is a large open space in the north and west of Oxford. The River Thames flows through the heart of this ancient area of grazing land, still used
Christ Church Meadow
Christ Church Meadow is open to the public all year round. This open space in the heart of Oxford is an ideal choice for recreation. The lower sections of the
Traditional Oxford Punting
Punting has been an Oxford tradition for hundreds of years. So why not join multiple past and future dates in this romantic activity along the River Cherwell? You can do the work yourself, or hire a chauffeured punt and give your date your full attention.
Thre are two main boathouses in Oxford that offer punts (of flat-bottom boats) for rent. You can see them here. If you’re early (around 10 am), you don’t need to make a booking. However, weekends can get a little busier, so make sure you call in advance to get a punt for your date.
Now, you might be wondering: Will I make a fool of myself if I invite a person for a punting date when I have never punted in my entire life? The answer is… practice makes perfect. Punting is not difficult, but if you’ve never tried it, you’ll probably nose and be nosed by other boats as you leave the boathouse. This is perfectly normal 🙂
More About Punting Dates:
Punting on the River Cherwell: Why, How and When to Do It
Punting on the River Cherwell is a timeless Oxford activity. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Oxford Museums and Dating
It’s not uncommon to have a date in a museum. After all, Oxford has some of the best in the world. The Ashmolean, for example, has incredible archaeological pieces and a beautiful rooftop restaurant to rest your feet after walking through its fascinating halls. And the History of Science Museum holds an incredible collection of medieval to modern instruments.
The Museum of Natural History is a great option too, as it has a variety of strange creatures to chat about. And if you want something a little more recent, why not try Modern Art Oxford? This gallery is, after all, one of the UK’s leading contemporary art spaces.
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford is Britain’s first public museum. It was founded in 1683, when the wealthy antiquary Elias Ashmole gifted his collection to the
Modern Art Oxford
Modern Art Oxford is a contemporary art space with exhibitions, events, projects, and online activities in the city of Oxford. The gallery holds regular activities and workshops in its creative
Oxford University University Museum of Natural History
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History or OUMNH displays many of the University of Oxford’s natural history specimens. It also contains a lecture theatre that is still used by the
History of Science Museum
The History of Science Museum holds a large collection of scientific instruments ranging from Middle Ages to the 19th century. The museum building is also known as the Old Ashmolean
Mini Golfing and Escape Rooms
A perfect date night can also be a challenge to share! Junk Yard Golf is a perfect entertaining option for a date night. Its vibrant atmosphere promises plenty of fun, while its bar offers a large selection of drinks for over 18s. Escape Rooms are also a great option. After all, who doesn’t want to get locked in a room with their date? Westgate Shopping Centre offers different rooms with themes such as Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Who, and Pirates. And even if you don’t manage to escape, their fully stocked bar will help you discuss the experience with your date.
All of Oxford’s Escape Rooms and Interactive Games
Escape rooms, or exit games, challenge teams of usually two to five players to discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish a specific goal (such as escaping) in a set period
Junk Yard Golf Club Oxford
Junk Yard Golf Club has three mashed-up golf courses in their awesome Oxford venue.
Oxford Taverns, Pubs & Bars Ideal for a Date
Oxford is filled with absolute gems of pubs and taverns. These offer quiet atmospheres with dimly lit vibes. For example, finding Turf Tavern already feels like an adventure. Another great option is The House, featured in many a magazine for its designer and cosy look. And one cosy locale, Art Cafe, will leave your date giggling. If you’re looking for a historical option, then head off to The Chequers, missed by many, although it’s just off the High Street. This traditional pub has a few board games to choose from as well. Another option is Sandy’s Piano Bar, where you can impress your date with cocktails and live music. See all of Oxford pubs and bars >
Sandy’s Piano Bar Oxford
Sandy’s Piano Bar is an Oxfordian live music venue offering original cocktails, spirits, beers, and wine by the glass.
Oxford Art Cafe Coffee Shop
Art Cafe Coffee Shop is a compact café in Oxford offering paninis and salads and regularly exhibiting local art.
The Turf Tavern in Oxford is hidden way and accessed only by two small alleys. However, don’t be tricked by its humble entrance. The Turf Tavern has been around since