I’m a big fan of the Solo Date. Alongside the couple date, the girly lunch and the family adventures sits the ‘Solo Date’ at the top of my list of things to do. Now before you grab your tissues and hit me up on speed dial, hold fire. This is not about being lonely. Oh no! This not about swiping left or right on a screen. It’s about pure unadulterated time to yourself. Me time. Not needing to follow any agenda, just my own.
I mean – being your own cup of tea – is it even a thing??!! Just writing this post is a bit risky – because it could catch on! Imagine that, a flash mob of solo daters! A herd of Norman’s!! People actually read this blog – I kid you not!
Lunch for one?
The funny thing about doing things by yourself is that you can almost feel the need to conform to the societal norm and explain yourself. Explain why you are doing something alone. Reassure people that you aren’t lonely and that you rather enjoy choosing to do things alone.
My daughter would put this more simply (and bluntly!) and utter a single world …………………..’LONER’.
Of course, if I wind back to the teen years and her age, I would say exactly the same. The mere thought of doing something ‘alone’ as a youngster would have been a perfectly good reason not to do something. To miss out. Rather miss out than be thought of as a loner!! And no phone to bury your head in either! I would rather have starved than gone into a restaurant by myself. Heaven forbid.
But fast forward a few years and who gives a stuff about all that. So, is it a ‘midlife’ thing? Being more comfortable in your skin? Possibly. Liking your own company? Definitely. Liberating? Most certainly. Would I flake on myself? Never – unless it suited me to do so. What’s not to love?
From a practical perspective, busy lives often mean that time is short and diaries don’t always match up. We all have different tastes and our free time is sporadic. But why miss out when there’s no need. Hence the solo date. Or choosing to do something by yourself.
There are so many things that we can do by ourselves. I’ve popped a list below. This post was actually inspired by someone asking me for recommendations of things to do on ‘solo dates’, so I’m guessing I’m not alone on this. Oh, the irony!
So here are some of my top places for a ‘Solo Date’ should you find yourself tempted. In fact, the list grows by the minute.
The keeper of so many lovely events and exhibitions. My favourite in recent years has to be McQueen. Simply outstanding. I stayed and pondered for hours and then sat for more hours just looking at the showcases. You can see why sometimes these things are best experienced alone. I just couldn’t be rushed on this one.
The Design Museum
Another place that has some fabulous events. My favourite here being the Louboutin exhibition. This one was really special. So much to learn about Christian Louboutin’s craftsmanship and flamboyant style. Again, I stayed for hours, just wandering and taking it all in and learning about this fabulous designer. A delightful walk along the river too.
The Tate Modern
Fabulous location on the Southbank and a great mooch along the way. The Picasso Exhibition has just opened and that is on my list for sure. In fact I’d have been there already if it wasn’t sold out this week. I also love the walk back across the bridge to St Paul’s and the glorious view of the City that you get – especially on a lovely clear day.
The Royal Academy
The favourite has to be the Summer Exhibition. The walk down Piccadilly on a Summers Day and the sheer joy of this magnificent place is a delight before you even get to the exhibition. Add in an hour or so of sitting in the Courtyard and enjoying a coffee whilst watching the world go by and you’ve got yourself a top date. I am also a bit partial to a ‘spot’ of photography too, so that all takes time. I do love a photo.
Such a lovely spot with the beautiful gardens and The Orangery for a decadent bit of lunch. High on my list is the ‘Diana Her Fashion Story’ Exhibition. Can’t believe I haven’t been already but it’s pending.
In London, Time Out is a great place to look for up and coming events that may float your boat. I am sure there are similar listings for places further afield.
Cinema & Theatre
For all those movies that you don’t always get a chance to see as a parent. Babysitting services are always saved for what I call ‘premium’ nights out so getting childcare for a few hours at the cinema isn’t a practical option for a couple date. So, if the girlfriends aren’t up for it, then off I trot. No popcorn sharing required!
Likewise with the Theatre. I haven’t done this yet but on the basis that it costs a fortune for us as a family and that you can get pretty good deals for single seats, it’s going on the list.
Preferred with a friend or a group but there are no limits with this one. I count ‘mooching’ and ‘wandering’ in this category. And getting lost. Another of my favourite past times. A must for all of those undiscovered treasures that you only discover when on foot. This one applies to anywhere. And the photo opportunities are endless. Particularly in London because you never what is around the next corner!
And a date is not a date if it doesn’t include a bit of lunch or a glass of wine somewhere a little bit lovely. Because around every corner …
A firm family favourite but Greenwich also lends itself wonderfully well to the Solo Dater! From the market to the independent shops and restaurants and then the wonderful open spaces and historic buildings – there is no shortage of things to get stuck into. You can even travel there by boat! Just not the Cutty Sark.
Lose Yourself in your Favourite Shop
As you know I love a bit of Home & Design and I love nothing more than to wander around a fabulous interiors store. My current favourite shop for this very purpose is Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden, The perfect spot for an interior drool. When it comes to home furnishings, I could quite happily stand and stare at gorgeous objects for hours. I imagine how they may work in my home or with a theme that I have in mind for a home project. I take pictures, I make notes.
In fact, if you were with me, you would probably find my ability to look at one thing for an inordinate amount of time quite painful. Hence, not wanting to put anyone else through it! But this is definitely one of my favourite things to do.
Are There Any Benefits to ‘Solo Dates’?
Plenty! But then I guess I’m biased. Firstly, I think you notice more when you are on your own. Going at your own pace means just that. Doing things in your own time. If you happen to be a ‘lingerer’ when it comes to exhibitions, then you can linger away without the feeling that you are holding anyone up.
No guilt (see holding people up). In order to enjoy a solo date to its maximum potential, there is no guilt allowed. No feelings of ‘I should be doing this, that or the other’, otherwise there is no point in embarking on this past time. I can guarantee you will feel totally refreshed and energised and so very grateful for your own company, that you’ll just want more and more of yourself.
Another important point is that there is no phone action. Photos only. For everything else, there is a notepad and pen.
So, are there any fellow solo daters out there or am I tempting you!!??? I would say join me – only it’s a solo date, so you can’t really!
Or you may well be a seasoned solo dater and have some suggestions to throw my way too?
Either way I’d love to hear from you.