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10 great cheap date ideas for couples on a budget

Lorna Cowan / 01 February 2016 ( 18 September 2018 )

Going on a great date doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Read on for some free and cheap romantic and fun days out for couples watching their budget.

Couple laughing in kitchen
Learning new skills and experimenting can be a fun way to spend time together

Stuck for cash as well as ideas on what to do on your next date? Look no further. Here are 10 great dates that you’re sure to enjoy.

Cook a meal together

An easy idea to start with. Remember the great scene in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp where the dogs share a plate of spaghetti and end up sharing a kiss? Why not re-enact the pooch smooch in your kitchen. Or open your favourite cookbook at a random page and turn up the heat as you follow the recipe. Just don’t argue over who does the washing up!

Browse our food and drink section for delicious recipe ideas

Make a movie or photo story

With many of us owning a phone with a camera and video, it’s never been easier to take photos and make films. So write a script, take centre stage, and ask your date to direct. Take turns, post both on Facebook and have a competition to see who gets the most likes. Alternatively, film your dog (or someone else’s!) looking cute or doing a trick.

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Be wild at heart

Apply online for the RSPB’s free Give Nature a Home pack and learn how to encourage wildlife to your garden. At Nature’s Calendar online, you’ll also find free fact packs to take on walks – the Hedgerow Tipples pack includes a recipe for Hawthorn schnapps!

Find out how to create a wildlife-friendly garden

Partner up for some exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, or expensive. Outdoor gyms with adult exercise equipment are popping up in parks nationwide, see The Great Outdoor Gym Company. Or find your nearest free table tennis table at Ping! England. Can you borrow roller skates? It’s a good excuse to hold hands. And for under a tenner, you can hire a bicycle made for two.

Bring the cinema to your home

Draw the curtains, grab some popcorn and settle down in your living room to watch your favourite romance – Brief Encounter, Dirty Dancing, take your pick. If it’s a sunny evening, get your deckchairs and laptop out, and enjoy a film alfresco. If you’d prefer a horror movie, it’ll be twice as scary if you watch it in a tent. And you can cuddle up too.

Browse our film reviews for ideas.

Attend a free event

Look for free events in your local newspaper or listed on tourist board websites. Museums give free talks and tours, charities organise fetes and festivals, and pubs put on quiz nights and music. You also get free entry to historical buildings on certain days of the year - on St Andrew’s Day in Scotland. Openhouse London and National Trust operate similar open days.

Enjoy a romantic ramble

Some of the best romantic novels were set in glorious countryside – Lorna Doone in Exmoor, Wuthering Heights in Yorkshire – so search online and see if you can follow in the footsteps of literary lovers near you. And if you pass through a kissing gate, make the most of it! Time your walk right and you may witness a stunning sunset, or simply stargaze together.

Read our guide to the country's top literary hotspots

Relive your childhood

Think back to when you were a kid – you had lots of fun, but not lots of money. So revisit those days and recall the games you used to play. Find a kite to fly, twigs to play Poohsticks with and chalk for hopscotch. If it’s raining, there’s sure to be Scrabble and Monopoly lurking in the back of your cupboard. You may even come across Twister!

Bond as beginners

Think of a topic you know nothing about or an activity you’ve never tried before and agree to learn together. Discover more about bats on a free park walk, how to create a garden pond with a DIY store’s free guide or a magic trick courtesy of YouTube. Want to get closer? Learn how to dance. Classes start from as little as £5. See Dance Near You.

Find out about getting started with dance.

Organise a treasure hunt

Tease your date and keep them guessing on a fun treasure hunt. Hand (or text) them a clue and see if they set off in the right direction for the next one. Be inspired at Treasure Hunt Ideas. If you have a GPS device you could also try Geocaching, an outdoor treasure hunting game. Find out more and sign up free at

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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