The best date ideas in South London

Next up in our series of blogs looking at the best date ideas in the capital is South London. Heading south of the Thames offers a mix of urban and village-like areas with plenty of great things to discover together while you get to know each other better. We’ve shared our top picks and tips for making the most of first dates and romantic date nights in this thriving part of London.

Explore vibrant markets 

Borough Market is the perfect place to spend a relaxed few hours exploring the variety of stalls and then sampling your favourite cuisines. Don’t miss Humble Crumble for tempting desserts and The Black Pig for huge toasted ciabatta sandwiches. There are plenty of great bars and restaurants to sample when you feel like resting your feet, as you soak up the atmosphere of this historic food market.   

Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey is a popular weekend destination offering delicious food from a variety of traders. It’s in a gorgeous flag-lined alley where you can seek out your favourite street food and sample new dishes. Tooting Market offers an interesting mix of food, drinks, independent retail, and homewares which gives you plenty to explore. 

Nights out

Boxpark in Croydon is bound to have something that suits. There’s food to suit all tastes and plenty of events, from match screenings and live music to comedy nights and speed quizzing.  

Another interesting area to explore is the new shopping and leisure development at the iconic Battersea Power Station. There are a range of restaurants and bars overlooking the river and tucked under railway arches, plus plenty in the power station itself. Browse the shops if you fancy some retail therapy, or enjoy a boutique cinema experience at The Cinema in the Arches. Make sure you stop by Searcys Champagne bar to experience their extensive menu of bubbles.    

Along the river in Putney, you’ll find The Boathouse which offers British classics and seafood dishes with river views over three floors with a patio and balcony. Then head on to Tequila Mockingbird to try their tempting cocktails in the secret garden by the riverside. 

Over in Peckham it’s worth visiting Forza Wine, a rooftop bar and restaurant with great views.

Take a stroll

There are plenty of great green spaces to explore together if you fancy an active date or a romantic picnic. Clapham Common offers 220 acres of open space and is home to the SW4 Festival in August, if electronic and dance music is your thing. Greenwich Park offers majestic views of London’s skyline in a spot which often isn’t that crowded. You can pay a visit to the Royal Observatory to see the famous Prime Meridian line and stop by the National Maritime Museum as well. Rest your legs with a visit to Greenwich Picturehouse to watch a movie and enjoy a drink in The Crows Nest bar, which offers views of Greenwich and the surrounding area. 

Battersea Park is another peaceful spot, and you can extend a relaxed first date that’s going well by grabbing a drink by the water at the Pear Tree Café.  

If you both enjoy shopping then Clapham is known for its vintage and charity shops, so take a look around and dip into the stores that take your fancy. 

Try something new

Sometimes it pays to plan an activity to help break the ice when you are meeting somebody new. Gravity Max in Wandsworth offers a range of activities to take on, including e-karting, urban street golf and augmented reality bowling. There is an exhilarating high ropes course with zip lines over in Battersea Park with great views as you take on the challenge. If your romantic interest is into climbing, try Substation in Brixton which offers indoor climbing facilities with routes to suit all abilities.  

We’ve love to hear your top tips for the best places to head in South London – share them on our Facebook or Instagram page! 

Our dedicated matchmaking team are ready and waiting for your call to help you with your search for love. Get in touch today to find out more!


How to deal with being stood up

It’s a dating scenario that everybody dreads. You turn up at the agreed date venue at the time you expected to meet your date, but nobody is there. The clock slowly ticks as you anxiously wait for the text saying they’ve been delayed. You hope to look up and see your date arriving flustered, and full of apologies. Only, nobody turns up. It soon becomes clear you’ve been stood up. 

It can be a devastating scenario to realise your date is a no-show. You can feel exposed, sitting in a venue by yourself with a sinking feeling the other person isn’t coming. Rejection can be incredibly hurtful but it’s important not to take it personally. Thanks to the ease of planning dates via dating apps, it’s not uncommon for people to flake without the courtesy of letting you know. We’ve examined what to do if you fear you’re being stood up and share our techniques for how to handle this situation. 

Firstly, check you are actually being stood up: There are plenty of reasons your date might be running late and unable to make contact. They may be driving or travelling on public transport with no signal. Emergencies can come up as well, or they may have simply forgotten it was tonight you were meeting. It’s worth giving them a buffer of time to arrive, waiting around 15 minutes to see if they are indeed running late. At this point you can send them a text to check if they’ve got mixed up about the venue or the time and date you’re meeting. You don’t want to inadvertently appear to have stood them up, if one of you has headed to the wrong venue. You can always pre-empt any problems by texting the day you are due to get together to casually confirm they are still up for meeting that evening. If they ghost you or cancel, it saves you the bother of heading out. 

Beware of repentant daters: After standing you up, somebody may come crawling back with a pathetic excuse for why they didn’t show up. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to end things there – you deserve some basic respect and somebody who toys with your emotions is unlikely to have the potential to become a reliable partner. If they are genuinely remorseful or have a plausible excuse, then it’s up to you to decide whether to give them another chance. But remember, there are plenty more people out there who will be genuinely excited about meeting you in the future, so don’t waste your time if you are unsure if somebody is worth getting to know better.  

Dealing with the aftermath of being stood up: OK, so it’s clear they are not going to show up. If you have the opportunity then don’t waste all the effort that went into getting ready for the date and call a friend to meet you, turning the tide to make the most of the evening. The important thing is to ensure you don’t go home and wallow. Call a friend or, even better, carry on your night solo, enjoying the benefits that can come with solo dating. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know what has happened, even if you’ve been bragging about the amazing date you had planned. They are on your side and want the best for you.  

Be cool: If you hear from the person who stood you up again, or bump into them, hold your head up high and be polite, but don’t give them anymore of your precious time. 

The most important thing to remember if you are stood up is not to take it personally. You don’t know what is going on in somebody else’s life and they don’t know you, so the rejection really isn’t personal. Try and focus on the positives and realise that this person probably would not have been right for you anyway if they are disrespectful enough to leave you waiting alone with no explanation. Dust yourself off and carry on with your dating journey – you never know who you might meet the next time around!   
Are you looking for love? Why not give the experts at Ignite Dating a call today. We work hard to find you the perfect partner, using our expert mix of personality profiling, experienced matchmakers, intuition, and our extensive private network. Get in touch today to find out more!


Top tips for dating after divorce

Once the ink is dry on the decree absolute (or sometimes way before then), many of us start to think about meeting our next person. How wonderful it will be to be in love again, we decide. 

However, between now and that wonderful goal stands the dreaded dating scene. For many divorced people, dating can seem nothing less than traumatic. We worry we won’t find anybody who likes us and that we won’t find anybody we want to date. We fret about what to talk about on a date, what to wear, where to go.  And what about dating etiquette? Will we have to flirt? What are the new rules? It can all seem terrifying, especially if you have not dated in many years.

But with the right preparation, dating after divorce can be great fun and an enormous confidence boost. So, if you are thinking about dipping a toe in the dating world after divorce, there are some important questions to consider.  

When is the right time?

This is probably the most frequently asked question I hear from my divorce coaching clients and it comes in various forms. 

Am I ready? Is it too soon? Am I on the rebound? What will people say?

The thing is, there is no right answer. The right time is different for everybody, so you are ready when you are ready. Nevertheless, it’s important to think about why you are considering dating to test if you are doing it for the right reasons. Many people start dating because they don’t want to be alone, or because they want to hurt their ex and make them realise what they are missing. Clearly these are not good reasons to be putting yourself out there.

You also need to know your own worth and be prepared to ignore or walk away from people who will not value you. Divorce can leave you lacking in self-belief, so it’s best to invest the time in developing a firm belief in who you are and what you bring to the table. 

Be honest with yourself to judge if your resilience is low. No matter who you are, what you look like, how interesting you are, dating WILL involve knockbacks and confidence blows. Are you strong enough to take those right now? 

You are ready to date after divorce when you are doing it for yourself, for the right reasons. You know why you are dating and you are clear on what you are looking for. 

Why am I dating?

Some may think it’s a silly question but when I ask it of my clients, the disparate answers include:

  • To meet my soul mate
  • I need financial support
  • For sex
  • For companionship
  • I don’t want to be alone forever.

Knowing your “why” is important because it will clarify what you are seeking. If you are just interested in short-term dalliances right now, then maybe similar values and interests are less important than physical appearance and proximity. Conversely, if you are only interested in a long-term relationship, then looks may take a back seat to certain personality traits.

Your “why” will also impact where you look. Casual dating is more prevalent on certain apps but if you want a long-term committed relationship, you may want to consider a professional matchmaker. Remember, your motivation for dating can, and probably will, change over time.

What do I want?

This is more tricky.

Some dating experts advocate drawing up a specific list of criteria and then deciding what is non-negotiable, and what is less important. There are many factors people use to filter their choices. Physical appearance, geographical proximity, whether they have children, occupation, education, interests, and background are just some of the things that are important to people when they are deciding who to meet. 

However, the nature of dating is that even when somebody ticks every box, you may not have any chemistry between you. Of course, without chemistry you have nothing.

So, it is a good idea to understand what is important to you because it helps you understand what to look for, and what to avoid. However, the romantic in me also believes that we should remain open-minded because who knows what the next “one” will be like?


So you’ve decided you are ready to date, so, it’s time to get started. Depending on what you’ve decided you want to get out of your search for love, your options include online dating, local singles’ events, asking friends for introductions, joining clubs, or professional matchmaking.

Dating after divorce is like any other new experience. You need to understand it and what you want from it – and then you can see if you enjoy it. 

The very best piece of advice I heard was to remember that everybody is in the same boat. The people you are dating are just as terrified, just as unsure and just as keen to meet their person. So be brave, dive in and enjoy!

Amanda Gardiner is a Divorce Coach who runs a Facebook group offering support and advice for people experiencing separation and divorce. 

At Ignite Dating, your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.


Should there be chemistry on a first date?

Are you quick to write somebody off after a first date that didn’t lead to an instant connection? Some single people can feel dejected if an initial date did not spark instant chemistry. They can see it as a sign that it’s not worth pursuing another meet-up with this person, especially if the first date was decidedly mediocre, because they feel it won’t lead anywhere. Of course, if the first date was excruciatingly bad, it’s clear that you won’t be spending any more time together. However, there are many good reasons to give it another shot if somebody has potential, but the first date just didn’t set the world on fire. 

Firstly, it’s worth considering how nerve-wracking first dates can be. There can be a lot of pressure on that first meeting, and being nervous means people won’t relax and be themselves. Nerves can make that first encounter awkward, which is why some don’t follow up with a second date. However, the person you meet might be having a tough week or they just struggle to make an easy-going, relaxed first impression. 

While an instant spark does happen, it certainly should not be expected. Many great relationships start with a slow burn, and it can certainly take more than one date to build chemistry. The key question you need to ask is whether you think there is enough there to make it worth seeing this person again. A lot of experts agree that, unless you encounter major red flags, you should give it two more dates to see if there’s enough there for you to consider a future together. 

Here are our top tips for deciding whether it’s worth investing more time to see if you have a true connection. 

Remember, a second date can be a lot more relaxing: The first time you meet you are essentially strangers. With the second date, you can naturally be a lot more authentic as you relax and just concentrate on getting to know each other better. If your first date was grabbing a quick coffee, then consider an activity-based date to further break the ice and see how the person acts in a different situation. First dates can end up feeling like job interviews, with all the questions flying back and forward, so it does pay to try again to get a better idea of what somebody is really like. With a second date you can really show your true personality and feel a lot more like yourself. 

Think about what you enjoyed about the first meeting: While there might not have been an instant attraction, consider what you did like about the time you spent with this person. Did you have fun? Did they make you laugh? Was the conversation interesting? Then you have good foundations for seeing them again. 

Remember, instant chemistry is not necessarily a good thing: Rapid-fire romance does not necessarily translate into a happy relationship. The love-at-first-sight feeling often isn’t sustainable in the long run as you can overlook those all-important characteristics of a person when you are blindsided by your initial feelings for them

Make sure your date is respectful: Did they show up on time? Listen properly and ask you questions? Or did they talk non-stop about themselves and were rude to the waiting staff? It can sometimes be clear who is and isn’t worth investing more time in. 

More time can help you assess signs of compatibility: Great relationships are often built on shared values, interests, and lifestyle aspirations. The more you get to know somebody, the more likely it is you’ll grow to like them based on what you learn about them. If there are signs you may have a good chance of compatibility, then it might well be worth pursuing things further. 

While attraction might not be there from the outset, you may well like the person enough to consider meeting again. Having a couple more dates should give you a much clearer picture of whether your values align and whether a connection may grow. You might just remain friends or go your separate ways, but, without any obvious dealbreakers, it can be worthwhile to invest more time in a person who may turn out to be perfect for you. 

We would love to hear your thoughts – how many dates do you go on before you decide whether you share a romantic connection with somebody?

Are you looking for love? Why not give the experts at Ignite Dating a call today. We work hard to find you the perfect partner, using our expert mix of personality profiling, experienced matchmakers, intuition, and our extensive private network. Get in touch today to find out more!


Date ideas in North London

London offers a wealth of choice for fantastic first date ideas. There is so much available it can be hard to narrow down where to head with a new love interest. Whether you are looking for something on your doorstep or you’re both up for exploring what’s on offer in a different neck of the woods, there is always something available in the capital to suit all tastes and interests.  

We’re launching a series of blogs aimed at highlighting the date venues on offer all over London. We’re starting with vibrant North London, easily accessible by train, or if you lucky enough to live elsewhere in the capital then it’s an area well worth a visit to seek out great places to explore together. 

Here are our top tips for interesting and varied venues which provide the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better: 

Stroll around Coal Drops Yard: The cobbled streets and brick arches of Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross are a foodie hotspot offering an impressive range of cuisines and dining experiences. Try the delicious gourmet doughnuts at Longboys, tasty tacos at Casa Pastor or a relaxed weekend brunch at warehouse-style restaurant Caravan. You can stroll along the canal on a nice day, as well as sitting and watching the world go by, or hit the independent shops if you both enjoy a bit of retail therapy. 

Enjoy the views: Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath offers great views of the iconic London skyline. Grab a flask of coffee on a cool day or a picnic when it’s warmer and enjoy spotting some of London’s top landmarks. There are also great views from Primrose Hill, and it can be a great spot for romantic star gazing on a clear night. Alexandra Palace is good place to watch the sunset over the London skyline once you’ve explored the 196 acres of parkland. You could also enjoy ice skating while you are there! 

Have a relaxed dinner: You are spoiled for choice when it comes to great places to eat. Trullo in Highbury is the ideal date-night spot offering tasty Italian cooking with a daily changing menu. Jolene on Newington Green also offers a daily menu and delicious baked goods if you visit in the daytime. Fancy a bit more spice? Try Sambal Shiok, a Malaysian laksa bar in Holloway Road, which offers highly rated dishes. If it’s your sweet tooth you’d like to indulge, then check out Hans and Gretel in Camden Market, a dessert venue which offers deliciously innovative sweet treats. 

Explore interesting bars: If open fires and cosy backdrops are your thing, then head to grade II listed The Holly Bush in Hampstead, a cosy gastropub which is the perfect spot for sharing a bottle of wine. Book lovers will enjoy checking out BookBar, an independent book shop and wine bar in Blackstock Road.

Do something awesome: The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks is currently showing at The Lightroom in Kings Cross. It uses powerful projection and audio technology to offer an immersive experience exploring voyages to the moon. There are a range of live music events on offer at the Jazz Café in Camden, while The Pleasance offers great comedy and theatre shows in Islington. If museums are more your thing, then there’s always something to discover at the Wellcome Collection near Euston station. 

Take a dip: Cool off on a hot day with a swim in Hampstead Heath Ponds. There is a mixed natural swimming pond alongside the Ladies’ and Men’s ponds. You can also try the Parliament Hill Lido, a 60 metre-long open-air swimming pool which is open 365 days a year! 

We’d love to hear your top tips for amazing things to do in North London, whether you are meeting somebody new or sharing a date night with your significant other. Share you suggestions over on our Facebook or Instagram page!

Ignite Dating is an elite matchmaking and introductions agency that helps busy professionals across the UK find a life partner. Our experienced matchmakers offer guidance and support to provide clients with a dating journey that leaves them feeling confident, energised, and safe. Find out more about our award-winning service and how it can help you here.