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Dates are for life, not just for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and you may be thinking about plans for a date night or day, a lovely meal, maybe a trip to the cinema or a romantic walk but perhaps you need inspiration? Whether you’re looking to spend quality time with a partner, friend or family, Love Basingstoke has you covered! We’ve pulled together a handy list of date ideas in Basingstoke and Deane this Valentine's Day and to see you covered all year round – make sure you’ve saved this one to your favourites tab!

‘Things to do’ dates:

For those that fancy something a little different, there are loads of options for ‘things to do’ dates in Basingstoke and Deane.

Let Love Basingstoke and Festival Place light up your Valentine’s Day at the Let’s Glow’ light trail in Basingstoke town centre. Between Monday 12 February and Sunday 18 February head to the unit next to Swarovski on the upper level of Festival Place between 9.30am and 9pm for some interactive light fun. You can also enjoy the street projections at the Top of the Town from 5pm to 9pm from Monday 12 February to Saturday 17 February. There’s more to love on Thursday 15 February to Saturday 17 February with light shows outside the Willis Museum and installations in War Memorial Park taking place between 5pm and 9pm.

Put your teamwork to the test with one of the escape rooms. Escape Hunt located in Festival Place has an adventure to suit any puzzle solver including Doctor Who, Aladdin and Alice In Wonderland themed games. Exciting Escapes, on Wote Street, has the choice of six authentic and historical rooms with a range of game modes including ‘Go Head-To-Head’ where you’re competing with your friends – perfect for a double date! Or find yourself trapped in a world of fantasy at ‘Trapped in Fiction’ located on Winchester Street.

Luke Dyson

Play a board game, take part in a quiz or just pop in for a coffee. The Dice Tower on London Street is a date location full of fun and flavour. On the menu are a range of treats including pizzas, brownies, nachos, cocktails and local beer and cider.

A date at Flip Out will have you jumping for joy! Bounce on the trampolines, race against your partner in the Ninja Tag area or battle it out in a game of laser tag.

Love is in the air, literally. If you’re looking for something completely different and a memorable experience, treat your loved one to the unforgettable sensation of flying with an indoor skydiving session at iFLY Basingstoke

Impress your date with your history knowledge at one of the museums in Basingstoke. Located at the Top of the Town, the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery contains local history from medieval times to the modern day. Explore the streets, shops and buildings from as far back as the Victorian era at Milestones Museum found at the leisure park.

Also located at the leisure park, grab some popcorn and a drink while watching the latest blockbuster film at Odeon cinema or for some healthy competition and to ‘strike’ another date, head to Hollywood Bowl for bowling, food, drink, amusements and pool, all under one roof!

Take a trip to the theatre to show your love. From comedy to musicals – Anvil Arts has something for everyone. Book your tickets in advance by visiting Anvil Arts' website for a date to remember.  

Book a ticket in advance to try out your artistic skills together, Azure Art Academy run events and workshops throughout the year including wine and paint evenings.

‘Grab a bite to eat’ dates:

If you’re planning a lunch date, a hidden gem in the borough is The Yard, a light-filled space offering indoor and outdoor seating and takeaways, with local Moon Roast coffee, toasties, salads, cakes, juices and more. Open Thursday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

There’s a saying that ‘cake is the answer, no matter the question’ if so then an indulgent afternoon tea at The Parlour Tea Room in Viables Craft Centre is definitely the answer.

Festival Place has all the ingredients for a date fit for a foodie. You’ll be sure to find something you fancy at one of the many restaurants they have to offer including BrewDogCosy ClubCote Brasserie and Tapas Revolution. If you want to make your date’s heart melt, The G Factory and Scooperb located in Basingstoke town centre are the perfect place for an ice cream.

There are some great independent restaurants at the Top of the Town including Turkish restaurants Meldiz and The Olive HouseThe Lime Leaf if you enjoy Thai cuisine and for South Indian dishes visit Elai.

Woo your date with dinner at The Wellington Arms, award-winning country pub, in Baughurst. Featured as one of the filming locations for the Channel 4 First Dates Christmas specials, The Wellington Arms is the perfect place to find or celebrate love.

Enjoy an evening of good food and drinks at Silchester Farm who are offering a winter feast menu on Wednesday 14 February. There are other events available around this date including farmers lunches, Friday feast and bar nights and Saturday brunches.

The Lime Leaf

‘Drinks’ dates:

Basingstoke and Deane has a vast variety of bars and experiences for a ‘drinks’ date whether it’s an afternoon tea or something stronger to help with those first date nerves or if the baby sitter is booked and the parents are ‘out-out’ on the town.

Explore the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill and take part in a masterclass to create your own cocktails. During February 2024, there are three special events planned. Stir your creativity with a ‘Sip and Paint Experience’ on Friday 9 February at 7pm, craft a piece of artwork to take home while sipping cocktails. Enjoy a Valentine's cinema night on Saturday 10 and Wednesday 14 February each ticket includes welcome and interval cocktails, popcorn and a chocolate dipping sharing platter for two. With a bus stop located just outside and buses running regularly from Basingstoke and Andover, you can both enjoy a cocktail (or two!).

Andwell Brewery is a micro-brewery found alongside the riverside in the hamlet of Andwell. Enjoy a freshly brewed beer in the taphouse and if you fancy a bit to eat, there is a new menu and it’s famous ‘pop up food Friday’ is back for February 2024, including Funky Pickle on 9 February and Leather and Willow on 16 February.

There’s also plenty of choice at the Top of the Town in Basingstoke town centre. New to Winchester Street is Alchemy Bar and Lounge, serving organic coffee in the day turning into an over 21’s cocktail and wine bar in the evening . Duck & Tipple located on Wote Street has almost 30 cocktails on the menu, plus a variety of mocktails, soft drinks and juices and hot drinks as well as some . The Tea Bar on London Street offers afternoon tea during the day and has regular live music in the evenings so you can dance the night away. Also on London Street is Gabardine Bar.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for a vast range of events including cheese and wine tasting.

‘Romantic walk’ dates:

Romantic walk and picnic dates are great for the spring and summer months and an excellent option when you’re looking for a cheaper date idea.

Take a walk around the Green Flag awarded Eastrop Park before enjoying a picnic on one of the picnic benches or hopping on a boat for a row around the boating late. A short walk from Festival Place means you can stop off for a coffee, a bite to eat or a cocktail after.

You could also download the Overhear app to explore the poetic side of Basingstoke. Tune into the words of local playwright Rebecca Lyon, read by local voice artist Naomi Escott. Walk to the locations pinned on the app to unlock the recordings.

The National Trust offers a joint membership, for two adults who live at the same address, which is brilliant for those who enjoy regularly exploring beautiful walking locations together. This includes Sandham Memorial Chapel, world famous chapel holding Stanley Spencer's paintings and The Vyne, former Tudor powerhouse surrounded by gardens and woodlands both based in Basingstoke and Deane.

The Vyne ©National Trust Images/John Miller

These are just some of our favourite date ideas in Basingstoke and Deane. If any of your ideas are missing from our list, we want to hear about them! Send us your suggestions to @LoveBasingstoke. 

Updated February 2024

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