England dating site

Online dating and dating apps are now one of the most popular ways to meet a new partner and there are more than 1,400 sites in the UK alone, catering for people from all walks of life and interests. 

If you’ve never tried, now is the perfect time to log on. Ten years since the launch of Tinder, which redefined relationships for a whole generation, the range of dating sites has never been bigger – or more specialised. Whether you’re mad about dogs, passionate about green issues or a connoisseur of fine wines, you may just be a few clicks away from someone who shares your interests.

England dating site

The best dating sites and apps online from Tinder to Badoo, Plenty Of Fish, eharmony, Bumble and Hinge - including LGBT-inclusive and free dating sites

We’ve reviewed the 25 best dating websites and apps, including our very own dating.telegraph.co.uk, weighing up their pros and cons to help you decide which one is right for you. You’ll find the full details further down this feature but, if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick look at our top five:

The best dating apps and sites at a glance

What is the best free dating app 2022?

Hinge is the best free dating app. It’s for people who are looking for a serious relationship without wanting to set up an in depth dating profile focused on marriage. It’s got the best comprehensive free version, allowing you to swipe up to eight times per day, message to your heart’s desire and comment on other people’s profiles. 

By not paying for the premium version, you’re only missing out on unlimited likes, seeing who liked you, advanced filters (like height, children, education etc.), Hinge experts and seeing ‘standout’ profiles. They’re mostly unnecessary bells and whistles, if you ask us.

What is the best dating site for a serious relationship?

Eharmony is a dating site exclusively directed at people looking for a serious relationship. It matches people based on personality and character tests, meaning potential partners are suggested based on in-depth knowledge. There’s far more detail on eharmony about potential matches than the more superficial and casual dating apps like Tinder.

What are the best dating sites for over 50s?

Silver Singles is your best bet for a dating site if you’re over 50-years-old. In fact, that’s what it’s designed for. Silver Singles has been live for more than 17 years so you can trust its experience, and it’s full of single, divorced, separated and widowed senior daters. It’s a safe and accepting environment, though if you do prefer someone younger, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

How we chose the best dating apps and sites

To start with, we looked for the most popular dating apps with the most users and the best reviews on app stores and sites, which included Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, eharmony and Plenty of Fish. Then we looked at the best dating apps for different categories, including over 50s, serious relationships, casual dating, free and paid. There are so many dating apps and sites on the market now that each has to have a USP to survive. So you should fine one to suit your individual needs below.

The best dating sites and apps in the UK

1. eharmony

Best for serious relationships, 10/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 5 million users in the UK
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Modern matchmaking service eharmony claims over two million people have found love through their site. Users are required to fill out a short quiz to determine their core values in relation to others, and this powers many useful tools to help them find love (including compatibility scores, personality profiles, and relationship advice).

It’s free to register and download the app, send ‘smiles’ and pre-written Icebreakers to get the conversation started. However, you need to subscribe for customised messages and unlimited access to your match’s profile. Subscription costs from £7.95 per month for 24 months. 


2. Match.com

Best for getting back out there, 10/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 3 million users in the UK
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Synonymous with online dating, Match.com has someone for everyone. Create a detailed profile, then find your potential partner through a criteria search. You can go on “zen mode” to be only contacted by those who meet your criteria. 

It’s free to become a member but you can only send and receive messages if you are a subscriber. Subscription costs from £12.99 per month for six months. 


3. Plenty of Fish

Best for taking the awkwardness out of dating, 10/10

  • Free membership
  • 150 million users worldwide
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Plenty of Fish was one of the first free dating sites when it launched in 2003, and today around 800,000 people in the UK peruse the page everyday. The site offers a matchmaker feature based on a personality test, as well as forums, games like fill in the blank and in depth profiles. Along with the standard age and job, you’ll find information like the length of their longest relationship, and whether they have siblings. Bear in mind, the number of men on Plenty of Fish outnumber women by 20 per cent.

There’s also the option to pay for additional features, which starts at £9.99 per month. With this, you’ll be able to see extended profiles, view read receipts on messages, scrap adverts, see who has viewed your profile, send virtual gifts and be more visible in searches by other members. You can use the site online or on a phone app.


4. EliteSingles

Best for educated singles in their forties, 10/10

  • From £24.95 per month
  • 170,000 users
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Android Aptoide

Those averse to swiping left may enjoy EliteSingles – a site that uses a personality test to match users based on their compatibility. The comprehensive compatibility test takes into account looks, personality (with questions on how optimistic and ambitious you are, your social skills, how friends would describe you, and more), and what you’re looking for in a partner – including whether or not you want children. Most users are looking for a long-term commitment and intellectual match and 85 per cent of users have a degree and are between 30 and 55 years old. 

You need to subscribe to send messages to your matches as well as see all of their photos and leave comments. Premium membership costs from £24.95 per month for 12 months; or you can trial it for three months (£44.95 per month) or six months (£34.95 per month).


5. Silver Singles

Best for over-50s looking for love, 10/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 70,000 users in the UK
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

While Silver Singles is most popular in the States, it is starting to catch on in the UK, too. To register for the site, you must fill out a comprehensive personality test, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes and aims to partner you with your perfect match.

While profiles are quite detailed, they are kept behind a paywall. Likewise, you will need to pay in order to send messages to prospective matches. This premium membership costs from $24.95 (about £20) for 12 months.


6. Our Time

Best for meeting a variety of over-50s singletons in your area, 10/10

  • Free membership
  • 150,000 active users
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Our Time is a breath of fresh air for those who are tired of swiping and want to meet someone IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ in text speak). The site hosts regular events for mature singles in your area, where you can meet likeminded people. Feeling shy? You can bring up to three friends with you for moral support. 

The app is owned by Match Group, meaning your profile will appear on other dating sites – which widens the pool for meeting your potential partner. 

For more tips and advice on successful dating after 40, visit our Mature Dating section.


7. Telegraph Dating

Best for meeting like-minded individuals, 10/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 220,000 members worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

The Telegraph Dating site is a straightforward way to meet like-minded singles. As you set up your free profile, simply describe the type of person for whom you’re searching. Then, browse the site and view others’ profiles; once you find someone who you feel is a good match, send them a message.

A free membership allows you to read messages from potential matches and reply with a one-liner. Only paying subscribers can start conversations and write personal, customised messages. It costs from £12 per month for 12 months for a subscription. For an additional £10 per month, you can upgrade to Premium, where anyone can reply to your messages for free. 


8. Parship

Best for singles looking for a long-term commitment, 9/10

  • Free (limited)
  • 23,000 new members every week
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Parship has a scientific approach to helping you find love. Relying on 40 years of findings on how to build a successful relationship, the site categorises users into 36 personality traits, and uses a matching algorithm of 136 rules. The compatibility questionnaire is extensive, and covers everything from what you look for in a partner to whether you sleep with the window open.

There is a fairly even male/female split in the users, and 52 per cent of them are graduates. The site welcomes 23,000 new members every week, and almost four in 10 find their partner through Parship. However, whilst it is free to sign up, take the comprehensive personality test, view your matches and send them ‘smiles’, you have to pay to be able to message your matches. Membership costs from £14.90 per month for 12 months, but you can trial the site for six months (£19.90 per month) or three months (£29.90 per month), too. 


9. Original Dating

Best for singles who want a quirky way of finding The One, 9/10

  • From £10 per event
  • Over 250,000 users
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online

Tired of swiping right? Original Dating is unlike other apps in that it focuses on singles meeting up in real life. There are speed dating events (including virtual options) where you will typically meet between 15 and 20 people in one night. Unlike the speed dating events of old, Original Dating ensures there is an even ratio of men:women by asking all attendees to book online. You can subscribe for discounts and access to more exclusive events, or just give an event a go (prices start at just £10).


10. OkCupid

Best for quirky and open-minded singles, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 4 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

OkCupid has an extensive personality questionnaire, designed to increase compatibility. You can then inject personality into your profile by answering quirky questions, such as “Do you make your bed every day?”

Instead of being bombarded with messages, you can only message those with whom you have matched. Downloading the app and speaking to users is free but you can upgrade to Premium for extra features. 

In 2014, the OKCupid app was the first to introduce 22 genders and 13 sexual orientation options. This inclusive outlook has made OkCupid particularly popular, making 91 million connections every year according to their site. 


11. Bumble

Best for empowering women, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 22 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

To redress the gender imbalance of dating apps, women have to begin the conversations on Bumble. Profiles are not as detailed as on some apps, but you can make video calls and get to know your match before you meet.

Lazy users are penalised on Bumble, as you only have 24 hours to initiate a conversation before the match expires. The app is free to use but you can upgrade to Bumble Boost, where you can see users who have already ‘liked’ you, for £11.16 per month for 6 months or even just £2.49 for the day.


12. Muddy Matches

Best for meeting countryside folk, 9/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 300,000 users
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online

Muddy Matches was created by two sisters from farming backgrounds who knew the struggles of finding likeminded partners who would match or adapt to their lifestyles, and it wins a prize for our favourite name on this list. There are around 200,000 UK users on the site, and 60,000 of them are active every week. However the gender weighting is 60 per cent male. It’s a humble dating site, lacking many exciting features of the modern apps, but you can browse, read the blog, edit your profile, and even ‘wink’ at other users for free.

One downside is you cannot message other people unless you take out a paid membership. That’ll cost you £8 per month, if you commit to a year, or £12 for one singular month, with in between options.


13. HER

Best for meeting like-minded queer women, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 4 million members worldwide
  • Exclusively for queer women and non-binary people
  • Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play

HER is a much-needed breath of fresh air on the dating app scene, as it’s dedicated to helping queer, bisexual and lesbian women find their ideal partner. The app is free and you can view profiles, add friends and start chats at no extra cost. Upgrade to HER Premium to filter users by sexuality, see who is currently online and more.

HER also shares LGBTQ+ news and events taking place in your area, and there are smaller chat groups where you can meet other users.


14. Inner Circle

Best for young professionals, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 5 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

The adverts for Inner Circle look like promotions for Glyndebourne, featuring couples in black ties and cocktail dress. This dating app is selective and there’s a screening process which screens users on safety, effort and mindset, to ensure everyone is serious about dating and to avoid fake accounts within the community. 

Tailored to matchmaking ambitious, career-savvy young professionals, Inner Circle now has 5 million singles on the app, spanning 66 cities in 29 countries. You’ll find a mixture of everything from entrepreneurs in London to creative directors in Brazil. The app is free to download, but you can upgrade to premium packages. There are also exclusive members events. Polo in the park, anyone?


15. Happn

Best for busy people, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 50 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

In the films, people lock eyes on the train, start a conversation and then fall in love. In reality, we are too awkward (and British) to act on impulse. That’s where Happn comes in. If you have crossed paths with another user, they’ll show up at the top of your Happn page. If you like what you see, you can send a heart and, if they send one back, instigate a conversation. 

Your exact location is not shared – just the approximate area. The app is free but you can upgrade for Premium benefits including up to 10 ‘Hellos’ and access to the list of people who like you.


16. Hinge

Best for young people looking for love, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 5.5 million members worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Apple Aptoide

Hinge is the major Tinder rival, known amongst millennials as ‘the relationship app’. To set up a profile, you need more than just photos and a one-line bio. Instead, you must answer three questions (e.g. “My childhood crush?…Andrew Garcia”) and potential matches can ‘like’ your answers and start up a conversation. 

Hinge app
Hinge is known as ‘the relationship app’ amongst millennials – partly because of its advertising slogan CREDIT: Hinge

The app is free to download and you have unlimited access to profiles, swiping and sending messages. However, you can upgrade to a Preferred Membership, which allows you to better filter results. 


17. Tinder

Best for casual dating, 8/10

  • Free membership
  • Over 50 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Apple Aptoide

It’s the Godfather of dating apps. Tinder, the photo-heavy app with 2 billion views per day, allows you to swipe right to potential partners, then message and arrange a date. The app is responsible for 1 million dates per week, according to the site.

Tinder seems geared towards casual dating. Profiles are not as detailed as on other apps, but you can include your name, job, company, education, location and links to your Instagram and Spotify accounts.


Tinder app
Tinder is just one of many dating apps where you could potentially find your future partner CREDIT: Tinder

18. Thursday

Best for fixing dating app fatigue, 8/10

  • Free membership (limitations)
  • More than 320,000 (as of January 2022)
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Mixing the traditional with the unique, the Thursday app shuts down for everyday of the week except its namesake, when it opens for 24 hours for users to match and chat. This is thanks to research by the founders which found dating apps are used most on Thursdays, presumably to save giving up precious weekend nights to strangers. 

The twist comes with the Thursday events, where members can attend organised events for singles, in the UK’s biggest cities, and include things like fitness classes with a post-sweat mingle, rooftop bar meets, dinners, comedy club nights and more. You do have to pay to attend the events, though Thursday bags exclusive drinks deals at most.

Sadly for those outside of the capital, most of the events are in London at the moment (with the odd one in other big cities like Manchester), so keep your eyes peeled for expansion. Thursday promises to “bridge the gap between online dating and offline experiences.” The gender split is 52 per cent men to 48 per cent women.


19. Badoo

Best for keeping your options open, 8/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • Over 497 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

If you want to be spoiled for choice, give Badoo a go. When you sign up for the app, you select what you’re looking for – just to chat, casual dates, a serious relationship or stay open-minded. 

The app has a swipe function but it’s also possible to drop in on people’s live video chats. Profiles consist of basic personal information and you get notifications when someone likes or messages you. This, however, can be overwhelming as there are so many users. Premium prices depend on the package and subscription you sign up to, but start at £4.99 for a week.


20. Coffee Meets Bagel

Best for romantics, 7/10

  • Free membership
  • 7 million users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play

As you can probably tell from its moniker, this app’s main fanbase is in the States. However, it certainly brings something different to the dating game. Its stand-out USP is that the site only sends you one match every day, which means you have to really consider whether this person is a good match, as opposed to swiping left without giving them a second thought. 

That being said, you can click on the ‘Discover’ tab and like a handful of people per day. If you match, the app suggests a personalised icebreaker (e.g. “Ask Thomas about his recent trip to Thailand!”). It’s free to download the app and speak to your matches. However, you can upgrade for a Premium membership to see if your messages have been read and to access stats on your match – how long they typically take to reply, for instance.  


21. Qemistry

Best for young TikTok-obsessives looking for love, 7/10

  • Free membership
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available on the Apple App Store

Designed for 18-35 year olds of all genders and orientations, Qemistry is a breath of fresh air on the dating app scene. It’s still in its infancy (it only launched on September 3 this year) but it has great potential. To use it, you upload videos to your profile – whether that be TikToks, Instagram Stories or a video of you telling a joke or having a boogie. Unlike curated photo profiles (with their emphasis on abs) this lets your personality shine through. 


22. Facebook Dating

Best for anyone already on Facebook, 7/10

  • Free membership
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available anywhere you can access Facebook (online, Apple App Store, Google Play, Android Aptoide)

Clearly wanting to catch a bit of Tinder’s action, Facebook expanded its network to include dating a few years ago. It’s completely free without limitations or hidden premiums, and acts as an added feature on the pre-existing Facebook website and app rather than having its own space. 

You’d think that would mean there are millions of matches to choose from. Though Facebook hasn’t released any membership information, an investigation by The Conversation found that it’s actually pretty scarce, which backs up similar reports. That being said, it’s completely free, and you don’t need to download a new app so you’ve got nothing to lose by having a scout.


Best religious dating sites and apps

23. Christian Connection

Best for Christians looking for long-term commitment, 9/10

  • Free membership (limited)
  • 110,000 users worldwide
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

On Christian Connection, users can create detailed profiles, outlining their jobs, political views, dream holiday destinations, favourite films and, of course, religious standpoints. 

If you find someone you like, you can ‘wave’ at them and send a message. Membership is free but this only allows you to match, send waves and preset replies. There is a free 3-day trial for a taster of the subscription service; if you subscribe, from £24 per month, you can send unlimited messages and get discounted entry to social events. 


24. Muzz (formerly Muzmatch)

Best for single Muslims looking for love, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • 1 million members worldwide
  • Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play

You may recognise Muzz from their fun advertising campaigns (“Halal, is it me you’re looking for?”). Yet the free dating app has plenty of other stand-out features which may explain its 25,000 success stories. Firstly, it protects your privacy – you can use an alias and keep your photos hidden or blurred until a later date, so there’s no danger of friends or family stumbling across your profile. 

All users are verified and you can opt to have a chaperone (a ‘Wali’) in your chats. The app is free for you to swipe, match and chat. However, you can upgrade to Instant Match, where you can talk to someone before they have liked you back. 


25. JDate

Best for Jewish singles, 9/10

  • Free membership
  • LGBT inclusive
  • Available online, on the Apple App Store and Google Play

The net’s biggest Jewish dating service, JDate, has been around for nearly 20 years and by now is nicely streamlined. After uploading a bio (typically 100-150 words) and up to 6 photos, you can browse others’ profiles to assess their physical features, hobbies, religious practice and what they’re looking for. 

It’s easy to keep track of potential partners with the Look Book, a list of who has liked you back. Plus, there’s a community feel to the site due to the Kibitz Corner, where the site provides daily questions and you can compare answers with your matches. 


How to avoid dating scams

Dating expert James Preece from jamespreece.com shares his tips on how to avoid scammers: 

  1. If you’re suspicious about a profile report it to the dating website or app so they can investigate it.
  2. Try doing your own detective work – ask them for their full name and look them up on Google and social media.
  3. Don’t be afraid to question their authenticity – if they are genuine they won’t mind you trying to verify them.
  4. Remember, they may spend months building a relationship with you and will only ask for money once you’re emotionally involved.
  5. Ask a friend for advice as they are not as emotionally involved as you, they may be able to see something you can’t.
  6. Look out for fake or stolen photographs. You can use sites like TinEye.com to check the authenticity of a photo and you can try doing a reverse image search on Google (by clicking on the camera logo in the search bar and uploading an image) to see if they are using a fake picture.
  7. Never give out too much personal information, such as your home address, phone number or email.
  8. Consider setting up a new email address to use for online dating and perhaps even get a cheap Pay As You Go phone to use for making phone calls.

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