I often hear people complain that there just isn’t anything to do in London. But, I find so many fun and interesting things to do here in the Forest City. These budget-friendly summer date ideas will give you some options that are perfect for an afternoon or evening out with your significant other.
With inflation, rising gas, and grocery prices, you might be looking for some ideas that are frugal and yet still, fun (and dare I say it, even romantic?). The ones I have rounded up here range from free (yes, free!) to low/medium cost (some as low as around $6 and extending to about $20 per person).
>>>>>>>>>>FREE THINGS TO DO IN LONDON ONTARIO<<<<<<<<<<
Budget Friendly Summer Date Ideas London Ontario
Attend an outdoor concert together. *FREE*
Exciting news!! The 2022 Springbank Garden Concert Series announces its lineup of incredible live music performances on Sunday afternoons from July 3-August 28. Admission is free.
Concerts from 2-4 p.m. at the Guy Lombardo Pavilion, Springbank Gardens, 285 Wonderland Road. Presented by London Musicians Association and Woodshed Concert Series.
Sunday, July 3: Nevin Campbell – Ken Foster Quartet. Easy Listening Jazz
Sunday, July 10: Tom McInerney’s Privateers. Featuring the music of Stan Rogers, John Denver, and others
Sunday, July 24: HiLife. 5-piece classic rock
Whether you want to spend some time taking in some beautiful music, getting some fresh air and outdoor activity, or appreciating some art and history, there are plenty of activities to choose from here .
Sunday, July 31: The Stetson Brothers. Country & Western and more
Sunday, August 7: Larry Smith. London’s favourite balladeer
Sunday, August 14: Journeymen of Soul. Best of Rhythm & Blues
Sunday, August 21: Uptown Affair. A Swingin’ Jazz Affair
Sunday, August 28: Quintessential Quintet. Cool Jazz in the Summer
Western Summer Shakespeare *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
Western Summer Shakespeare is a longstanding tradition in the London community. It is outdoor theatre, staged on campus at Western University. The first Western Summer Shakespeare performance took place on 4 August 1981, making it the longest running campus, or indeed outdoor, Summer Shakespeare in Canada.
This year, they will be performing Comedy of Errors. Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins who were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and their servant, Dromio S, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin siblings, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio E. Throughout the show, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and even demonic possession.
The shows will be in-person, outdoors in the Beryl Ivey Garden in early August. More info to come! Tickets typically run about $15 each.
Go to the drive-in. *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
The Mustang drive-in is located at 2551 Wilton Grove Road. It offers a double feature each night for $26 per couple. On holiday weekends, they typically offer a triple feature for $31 per couple.
Half-price movie nights for select showings, every Wednesday during July and August.
Take in an exhibit at Museum London. *FREE-LOW*
Museum London is located at 421 Ridout St. North, in downtown London, Ontario at the intersection of Dundas and Ridout Street overlooking the Forks of the Thames River. Admission is by donation.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm, Thursdays until 8 pm.
Take me out to the ball game! *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
London Majors baseball is a lot of fun (they’re a great team!) and really economical. My daughter and her husband attended a game recently and they had a great time. They said that the food was even reasonably priced.
Tickets start at $10-12.
Paint your own pottery.*MEDIUM-HIGH COST*
Note: This is not one of the most economical options. Prices vary according to the pieces you choose. Expect to pay between $20 to $50 each.
At Crock a Doodle, you can paint your own pottery pieces. Reservations are recommended, but drop-ins are always welcome! Pricing is all inclusive of the pottery painting process.
Located at 671 Wonderland Road Unit A5-104.
|Monday||10 AM – 06 PM|
|Tuesday||10 AM – 06 PM|
|Wednesday||10 AM – 06 PM|
|Thursday||10 AM – 08 PM|
|Friday||10 AM – 08 PM|
|Saturday||10 AM – 06 PM|
|Sunday||11 AM – 05 PM|
Take a tour of a working brewery. *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
Labatt brewery tours are available year-round – usually. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they are currently closed for tours. When they do open it back up, this can be a lot of fun!
I added this to the list so you have the information about them in case this is something you want to pursue as soon as they open up again. The tours must be pre-booked by email (email@example.com) or by phone at 519-850-TOUR(8687).
The tour takes about 2 hours to complete and includes a full guided tour of the brewery, and samplings. The tour costs $12 per person (cash only) and everyone on the tour MUST wear closed toe, closed heel and flat footwear (running shoes preferred).
Go browsing for books. *FREE-LOW COST*
If you are avid readers, head to one of the two Chapters Indigo locations here in London and browse for books together. They have a Starbucks located inside so you can browse for books and then chat over a cuppa and some goodies.
Sometimes Starbucks has guest speakers – author visits, book signings, and that sort of thing. I’m not sure if those have resumed in person yet, but it’s something to look out for.
Head to the races. *MEDIUM COST*
If you’re car or racing afficionados, head to Delaware Speedway to get in on the action. Races are only $20 per person, $25 for VIP seating.
Located just 15 minutes West of one of Canada’s fastest growing metropolitans, London, Ontario, Delaware Speedway is nestled in a natural ampitheatre beside the Thames River between the towns of Delaware and Komoka.
Famed for its unique asymetrical shape, the half-mile track is Canada’s longest running asphalt race track, operating since 1952. The facility offers something for everyone with a wide range of seating options, top-notch concessions, and a variety of different events from May-October.
Go hiking together. *FREE*
The 109-kilometre Thames Valley Trail runs along the Thames and North Thames Rivers. The trail is paved and passes through a few of London’s parks, including Gibbons Park and Springbank Park.
The trail runs from Delaware to St. Mary’s, passing through London along the way. It is well-marked at regular intervals, making it easy for you to find your way.
The Thames Valley Trail is a lovely hike and is a great way to spend a beautiful day. It offers spectacular views of the valleys and other elevated areas. Group hikes are offered, or you can enjoy it on your own.
For a less challenging walk, you could head to Sifton Bog, Meadowlily Woods, Westminster Ponds, or one of the other Environmentally Significant Areas in London.
Take a guided walk through the city. *FREE*
Download the ‘Heart of London App’ onto your phone and let your personal tour guide lead you around the city, telling stories along the way. Stroll along the riverside and through the city centre, seeing all of the main sights.
The app has 90 minutes of commentary, which includes 28 stories on the history of some of London’s finest sites. These include the Eldon House, the Middlesex County Building, the London Museum and Labatt Park.
The app also tells you stories of historic moments that took place in the city, like the Battle of the Atlantic and the city’s first ever hanging! It is a fun and informative way to tour around the city on your own.
Go dancing! *FREE-LOW/MEDIUM COST*
Fred Astaire Studios often offers one free ballroom dancing lesson for newcomers and frequently has a deal on for 5 lessons for $20. If you and your partner love to dance, this could be a great series of date nights for you.
Take in a yoga class. *MEDIUM COST*
Go to a drop-in yoga class together. At Shangrila Studios, their rate is $20 per class. The studio is located at 111 Mount Pleasant Ave. They have both indoor and outdoor classes.
Visit the oldest house in London. *FREE-LOW COST*
Eldon House is the oldest home in London. Virtually unchanged since the nineteenth century, Eldon House is London’s oldest residence and contains family heirlooms, furnishings and priceless treasures of the Harris Family.
Eldon House is an historic site in downtown London that has been preserved and maintained since 1960 when it was donated to the City of London. It was home to four generations of the Harris family, and is an excellent example of Georgian and Regency architectural styles. Its gardens are considered among the most beautiful in the city.
Located 481 Ridout Street North. Head there for a visit and marvel in days gone by. Admission by donation.
Have afternoon tea together. *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
Or you can register for afternoon tea on the beautiful lawns of Eldon House, overlooking the Thames River. Enjoy an afternoon sipping tea, surrounded by the grounds and gardens of London’s oldest residence. Choose either a “light tea” or a “full tea”. Guests are required to purchase their tickets online in advance at least 72 hours in advance.
Description of the tea types are:
Light Tea is $15.00 (incl. HST) per person, and includes a scone with butter and jam, fresh fruit, one small dessert item, and a selection of one of our loose leaf teas.
Full Tea is $26.00 (incl. HST) per person, and includes a scone with butter and jam, fresh fruit, an assortment of small French pastries, one savoury chilled mini vegetarian quiche, and a selection of one of our loose leaf teas.
Wander through Wortley Village. *FREE-LOW/MEDIUM COST*
Immerse yourself in history. *LOW/MEDIUM COST*
Make a visit to Fanshawe Pioneer Village.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village tells the story of rural communities in the former townships of Westminster, London, North Dorchester, Delaware, West Nissouri and Lobo in Middlesex County from 1820 to 1920 and the founding and development of the City of London up to 1840.
Enter at 1424 Clarke Road
(Veterans Memorial & Clarke Road Intersection)
Open Saturday, May 21, 2022 to Monday, October 10, 2022, Wednesday to Sunday
10:00 am – 4:30 pm with final admission to the Heritage Village at 4:oo
Admission is $10 per adult
They also hold special events such as art classes, plays, and reenactments in the Village . These are available for a separate fee.
Outdoor movies *FREE*
The City of London holds free outdoor movies throughout the summer. Most of them are geared towards family/children’s movies, but there are a few you might enjoy.
Movies include: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, Shang-Chi, Encanto, Space Jam A New Legacy, and more.
Each movie night will start at dusk, approximately 8:30 p.m., in the locations listed below. No registration is required to attend a movie night. Bring your own snacks, drinks, chairs and blankets to complement this great film experience.
Enjoy an afternoon listening to jazz.*FREE*
The London Ontario Jazz Hub and Dundas Place present “Sunday Jazz in Market Lane”. Stroll Covent Garden Market or visit your favourite shop or downtown restaurant, then head to Market Lane for some live, local jazz!
FREE entertainment! Different local jazz ensembles each weekend!
WHEN: Sunday afternoons 2:00-4:00pm. June-September.
WHERE: Market Lane Park at 137 Dundas St., just North of Covent Garden Market
Browse through one of London’s flea markets. *FREE TO LOW/MEDIUM*
Go stargazing at the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory. *FREE*
The Observatory is currently closed for regular viewings due to the pandemic, they do open up for special events now and then (such as on Canada Day). Check their website or Facebook page on a regular basis to stay up to date.
Located on the Western University campus, they generally have evenings open to the public on summer weekends. You can book a private viewing for yourselves or a group up to 20 people for $150 an hour if you want to splurge.
Take a walk through the gardens. *FREE*
The Civic Gardens are a lovely place to take an afternoon stroll. Located at 625 Springbank Drive with plenty of free parking. There are picnic tables and benches available too in case you want to bring along a snack or picnic.
If you want to visit the conservatory as well, admission is also free as long as there are no private bookings in it. To schedule a time to visit the Conservatory, please contact Kelly Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org
London’s only large-scale conservatory, full of exotic plants and trees. The conservatory is pesticide free. Australian ladybugs are used to control unwanted insect population.
Go on a picnic. *FREE*
We have some beautiful parks here in London and they are the perfect locations for a lovely afternoon picnic. One of our favorites is Springbank Park, home of Storybook Gardens. Located at 1085 Commissioners Road West.
Take a walk along the river, bring out your inner child and play on the swings and play structures,or simply relax and enjoy a beautiful day.
Or take your dog(s) to the dog park. *FREE*
Take your dog for a walk together or if you both have dogs, let them play together at an off-leash dog park.
Attend your local bar’s karaoke or trivia night. *LOW-MEDIUM COST*
Some bars have begun resuming such activities so keep an eye out for notices at your local favorites. This can be a lot of fun and other than buying a couple of drinks or some nibbles, there is generally no other cost involved.
Do some volunteer work together. *FREE*
There are many volunteer opportunities available in London. You could help sort or put together boxes of food at the Food Bank, walk dogs at the animal shelter, serve meals at Ronald McDonald House, and so much more!
Go swimming. *FREE TO VERY LOW COST*
You could head to Port Stanley or Grand Bend or some other nearby beach or check out one of the local pools. Both indoor and outdoor pools are available. Recreational swims are available for $6.25 per adult.
If you live in the area for Thames Pool and Glen Cairn Pool (both closed this summer), you can get free recreation swim passes and scheduled bus rides to South London Community Pool for free recreation swim sessions.
Attend a festival. *FREE TO LOW-MEDIUM COST*
London has many summer festivals. Most are free admission – the money you pay will be for food or in some cases, some special events and activities they have at the festivals. Take your own picnic and enjoy the music and ambiance for free!