They say it's the most romantic time of the year.
As we enter the festive season, with the nights getting longer and a lot, lot colder, many of us will be looking for love - or at the very least, someone to kiss under the mistletoe come Christmas Day.
Before all that though, you've got to impress on the first date - and we all know how tough it can be to think of fun and imaginative activities to do to help break the ice.
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Luckily, we've got you covered, with Cardiff offering a host of potential first date venues to suit everyone, whether you're looking for a laid-back evening or something a bit special.
There's no need to break the bank either, with the capital full of activities for couples that cost very little or even nothing at all. You can read more about the best things to do in the city for free here.
From quirky cinemas to leisurely strolls and delicious meals, here are our picks for the best first date spots in Cardiff.
Get into the festive spirit at Winter Wonderland
Bound to a be a popular destination for couples in Cardiff this Christmas, Winter Wonderland has returned to the capital after a year's absence, and runs until January 3, 2022.
This year, the fun is split across two sites in the city centre, with visitors able to enjoy the fun on the lawns outside City Hall as well as in Cardiff Castle, where you can impress your date (or not) on the ice rink, or shuffle along the 150m Ice Walk set within the beautiful grounds.
And if you want to keep things chilled, where better to go next than the attraction's exciting new Ice Bar? Dubbed "an Instagrammer's heaven", visitors can enjoy a drink in temperatures as low as -10 degrees, with everything in the bar made out of ice.
Elsewhere, the giant wheel at the funfair outside City Hall also offers picturesque views of the city, while festive food and drink - from mulled wine to Yorkshire pudding wraps - is available at both sites. You can find out more here.
If that's still not enough for you, across the road in Bute Park, you can stroll hand-in-hand through the biggest Christmas lights trail Wales has ever seen.
Christmas in Bute Park takes visitors on a magical festive tour of the beloved landmark, with the park being taken over by laser shows, flickering fire sculptures, huge illuminated trees and an enchanting fairy tree avenue. You can read more about the illumination event here.
Roll the dice at a board game cafe
If you're looking for a relaxed environment for your first meet-up, look no further than Chance & Counters.
Located on High Street in the bustling city centre, you can escape to the light, airy space above Prego Wine Bar and lose yourself in the world of board games.
There's over 500 to choose from, ranging from old classic to new titles, while a range of tasty food and drink options- including wings, loaded fries, burgers and six draught beer and cider lines - is also on offer.
It's great value too, with a cover charge of just £6 per person for a four-hour session playing as many games as you'd like, or £3 per person for up to two hours.
With many of the games requiring more than two players, it's also a great option if you're looking for somewhere to go on a double date.
Tee off at Treetop mini golf
It's a classic first date activity - cheap, cheerful and with huge potential for mutual embarrassment to quash any lingering awkwardness.
At Treetop Golf, found upstairs at St David's shopping centre, players have the chance to try their hand at two challenging 18-hole courses - the rainforest-themed Tropical Trail and the mystical Ancient Explorer - and can even win a free round by taking on the bonus 19th hole.
There's plenty on offer to help you refuel after you finish the course, with handmade pizza, local beers and exotic cocktails all available at the in-house bar and cafe.
Prices for one round are £9.25 for adults and £7.75 for students, while 36 holes costs £14.50 and £11.50 respectively.
Level up at a retro arcade bar
If you want your date to have a retro feel to it, a new city centre bar may be exactly what you're looking for.
Underground arcade bar NQ64 opened its first Welsh venue on St Mary Street in November, having already opened bars in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh.
The bar offers classic arcade games operated by tokens, alongside free-to-play classic consoles including N64, original PlayStations, Game Cube and Super Nintendo.
Excitingly, it also serves beers and spirits from local brewers and distilleries as well as their own game-themed cocktails, including 'Princess Peach' and 'Pacs a Punch'.
Hit the lanes at a boutique bowling alley
If golf's not your thing, bowling is another safe bet - and one of Cardiff's hidden gems is an alley with a difference.
Nestled in the Hayes shopping district in the city centre, Play at Pins is a boutique bowling alley that also boasts an extensive cocktail bar, as well as four escape rooms, karaoke and classic arcade games.
One game on the venue's state-of-the-art lanes is currently £9.50 per person, while an hour in an escape room for between two and eight people starts at £25 each.
If your date goes well and you want to come with a larger group, you can take a cocktail-making class, which is £29 per person.
Dig out classics at the world's oldest record shop
A visit to Spillers Records is an absolute must for music fans in Cardiff - whether you're with company or by yourself.
The iconic Morgan Arcade store claims to be the oldest record shop in the world, dating back to 1894, in which time it has witnessed the birth - and decline - of vinyl.
There are rows of CDs and vinyl for you and your date to flick through, as well as boxes and shelves overflowing with latest releases, new orders and popular reissues.
And if you're looking for gift ideas - why not purchase one of the store's retro t-shirts?
Watch the latest releases at a luxury cinema
Everyman Cinema is a movie-going experience like no other, found in the heart of Cardiff Bay's Mermaid Quay.
There are no sticky, uncomfortable seats here, with visitors able to watch films from the comfort of an armchair or even a two or three-seater sofa, making cwtches easier than ever.
With waiter service to your seat, you can order pizza, hot dogs and the cinema's signature Spielburger - a burger named after the celebrated film director.
You can enjoy a selection of the latest releases, while the cinema's festive billing including classic Christmas films such as Home Alone, It's a Wonderful Life and the Muppet's Christmas Carol.
Enjoy a fancy cocktail on the High Street
If you want to keep it classy, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to glamorous cocktail bars on Cardiff's High Street.
Whether it's the speakeasy, retro vibe of Pennyroyal that you're after, the huge rum selection and quirky decor across the road at Rum & Fizz or the funky concoctions on offer at The Libertine, there's no shortage of classy venues to enjoy a quiet drink or two.
Of course, it's the not the only city centre street with an exciting range of venues, with a new gin ba r and Scandinavian beer hall both being set up on the iconic Mill Street, just a short walk away.
Try some of the best street food in the city
Food can be the way to each other’s hearts, and luckily Cardiff boasts some of the most popular and unique restaurants in Wales.
Sharing can be a good way to break the ice, making spots like Mowgli Street Food on Church Street a great choice for a first date.
The restaurant offers authentic Indian dishes - with plenty of vegan options, while its romantic interior, complete with rope swing seats, fairy lights, pretty trees and birdcage lighting make it one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city.
If Indian’s not your thing you can share dishes at plenty of other venues across Cardiff, including Santiago’s tapas, La Pantera taco bar and Sticky Fingers in Cathays.
Explore a fairytale castle
If you fancy taking a trip outside of the city centre, Castell Coch is a perfect first date location.
Built above Tongwynlais, the 19th-century castle rises up from the ancient beech woods of Fforest Fawr like a fairytale castle.
Its impressive towers are only bettered by its stunning interior, with dazzling domed ceilings and lavish furniture a display of the third Marquess of Bute’s vast wealth.
Admission costs £7.40 for adults and £5.20 for students. An audio tour is available, while you can also enjoy a walk in the woods behind the castle before or after your visit.
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