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The Best and Worst UK Cities for Love

Did you know that a recent study found that couples who enjoy a ‘date night’ once a month are more likely to stay together? And, that two in five Brits would be willing to uproot and move somewhere new, all in the hopes of finding ‘true love’.

With that in mind, tombola looked at the costs* associated with a date night, including taxi fare, cinema tickets, food and more. We then analysed which UK cities offer the cheapest and most expensive date nights to reveal the best locations for love – whether you are in a relationship or searching for ‘the one’.

The Cheapest UK Cities for Dating

Stoke-On-Trent crowned the cheapest UK city for dating

Those in a relationship or looking for love are best-placed in Stoke-on-Trent. In contrast to London, Stoke-on-Trent claims the award for the cheapest UK city for dating. Romance is in the air, with a day and night in the city costing just £92. That’s 61% cheaper than it is in London.

While the city may not, typically, be considered romantic when compared to other UK cities, there’s no denying it’s great value. Stoke-on-Trent is home to the cheapest hotel stay, as well as one of the best dinner date options. Plus, you can spend the day at their best budget-friendly attraction, Westport Lake and take in the lush surroundings.

The Midlands city, Leicester, takes second place for the cheapest British city for dating. A day and night for two costs as little as £112; £100 less than Preston and Norwich. Their budget-friendly attraction, Social Climbing, is also one of the cheapest options.

Nottingham, Plymouth and Kingston upon Hull are the third, fourth and fifth cheapest cities for love - costing £120, £122 and £124 respectively.

The UK's Most Expensive Cities for Dating

London and Preston are the most expensive cities for dating

However, it’s bad news for romantics in the capital and Lancashire. London and Preston are the most expensive cities for dating.

In London, you can expect to spend £240 for one day and night. This includes a visit to the most popular budget-friendly attraction – The National Gallery - a meal for two, cinema tickets and a taxi back to your hotel. Similarly, going on a date in Preston will see you dig deep into your pockets, costing £211 for one day and night in the city. However, Preston does offer one of the cheapest attractions – The Lanes.

Perhaps surprisingly, three Northern cities make up the top five priciest dating cities. Norwich, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield are third, fourth and fifth most expensive cities to date.  

The priciest dinner dates are in Brighton and Newcastle

While Brighton is not the most expensive city for dating - placing eighth priciest overall in the UK - it is home to the most extravagant meal for two. Sitting down for a main meal in the city’s most popular restaurant will set you back £43. That’s almost half of the entire cost of a one night stay in Stoke-on-Trent.

Newcastle, once named the number one place to visit by Rough Guides largely due to its restaurant scene, boasts the second most expensive option for a meal for two. Dinner for two - minus drinks - will cost you an average of £38.

Surprisingly, London does not make it in the top five most expensive restaurants - despite coming first as the costliest city for dating.

In London, you can dine out for just £25 in the most popular budget-friendly restaurant voted on TripAdvisor.

Dating in London can cost £2,160

With the average dating costing Brits £154 across the UK, just how much are we willing to spend on romance?

For those who are looking for a partner, it’s said to take the average Brit nine dates to meet ‘the one’. If that is the case, Londoners could potentially spend a staggering £2,160 in the search for love. To put it in perspective, that’s a huge 6% of the average wage in the capital spent on dating alone.

Those who live in Preston can also expect to spend £1,899 in the pursuit of love, or 8% of the average wage in the city. At the other end of the scale, however, romantics in Stoke-on-Trent can expect to spend £828 over the course of nine dates - considerably less than Londoners.

Jen Kaarlo, a Relationship Expert, believes dating is a “serious investment – in both time and money.”

She says that “in general, people are spending more on dating as we are looking for more genuine connections. I once went on a first date where we both spent around £100-£150 that day/evening and it ended up being the best date I’ve ever been on. That’s not to suggest money spent on a date correlates to enjoyment, however.”

So, there you have it. For those looking for love or a budget-friendly date in the UK, you need to head to the West Midlands where Stoke-on-Trent takes the crown at almost half the price of a date in the capital.


To reveal the most expensive and cheapest UK cities for dating, tombola analysed the price of:

  • Taxi fare in city centre (5 miles)
  • 2x cinema tickets
  • Main meal for two in the number one rated, mid-range Trip Advisor restaurant (excluding drinks)
  • Visit to the city’s number one rated, budget-friendly Trip Advisor attraction
  • One night stay in the number one rated, mid-range hotel on Feb 14th - Feb 15th 2020.


Sources are Expatistan and Trip Advisor. Data correct as of January 2020.