17 Most Popular Free Dating Sites in the UK

Online Dating

17 Most Popular Free Dating Sites in the UK

Amber Brooks Amber Brooks
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One Saturday night in college, my friend asked if I wanted to go to a party, and I said yes without any follow-up questions. I should’ve asked follow-up questions. It turned out the party was actually just seven dudes drinking beer in an apartment.

Now whenever a friend invites me to a party, the first thing I ask is “How many people are going?” because I won’t be caught in such an awkward situation again.

Joining a dating site that doesn’t have a large membership base is like showing up to a party with only a few people in attendance. You don’t have many options, and it’s not that fun to chat up the same people over and over. We don’t want British singles to fall into that trap, so we’ve put together a list of the most popular (and free) UK dating sites around.

Overall | Apps | Gay | Lesbian | Black | Senior | Christian | FAQs

Most Popular Free Dating Sites in the UK (#1-3)

Some listicles save the best for last, but DatingAdvice isn’t about that life. We like to save our readers time and start our lists with the very best. If you’re looking for a date in the UK, the following three dating platforms have enough viable prospects to keep you chatting, flirting, and matching all night long.

1. Match

Match is our all-time favorite dating site because it has been around longer than any other dating platform and has used that time to perfect its personality-driven match formula. In 1995, Match struck out into the unknown territory and created an empire that has stood the test of time.

Screenshot of Match

Match has an active membership base in 24 countries, including the UK.

Over 1.6 million people in the UK have met partners on Match.com, and the site is always growing to better serve its relationship-minded users. Match now offers personalized dating coaching, members-only events, and other premium services to keep singles mingling, matching, and enjoying themselves.

2. Tinder

If Match is the old, wizened king of the online dating world, then Tinder is the young prince eager to overtake the throne. In 2012, Tinder shook up the dating scene with its swiping-based match system, and it embraced casual dating with its cheeky, fast-paced, and somewhat superficial ways.

Like it or not, Tinder is nothing if not popular. The dating app sees over 2 billion views a day and arranges over 1 million dates per week. In total, Tinder is responsible for making over 30 billion matches worldwide. If you haven’t tried this app, you’re missing out on all the fun.

3. OkCupid

OkCupid has been around since 2004 when four math majors from Harvard decided to create a master algorithm for love. The data-obsessed dating site relies on profile information and its endless questionnaire to calculate long-term compatibility among its members.

Screenshot of OkCupid

OkCupid promotes personality-driven connections and makes over 90 million matches a year.

Today, OkCupid facilitates over 50,000 dates a week and over 90 million romantic connections a year. The dating site operates under the motto “Dating deserves better,” and the team underscores the importance of having fun while looking for that special someone.

Whether you live in Leeds or Hampshire, you can use OkCupid’s international network and smart matching tools to increase your odds of finding a local date.

Top Free UK “Dating Apps” (#4-6)

Dating apps have taken the vast networking power of a dating site and made it fit in someone’s back pocket. Many singles now prefer dating apps because they’re more convenient and streamlined than dating sites. The following three popular dating apps deliver on the essentials, so singles can get off their phones and onto dates ASAP.

4

Zoosk

★★★★★
4.9/5.0
Zoosk

Available on: iOS, Android

  • Relationships: Casual Dates, Relationships
  • Match System: Search for and receive matches
  • About the App: Zoosk is the number one app for finding dates, and if you sync up your Google+ or Facebook account, you can have a profile in seconds. The app has 38 million members and will deliver matches to your inbox on a daily basis based on your behavior such as who you search for, like or don't like, and message. The Carousel is another section for matching (tap the heart if it's a yes and the X if it's a no).
  • Browse Free: View Profiles Now

Zoosk started as a thought experiment in Silicon Valley, and now it has over 40 million members worldwide. In 2007, Zoosk Co-Founders Alex Mehr and Shayan Zadeh recognized the power of social media networks and decided to integrate social media with online dating to gives users a uniquely engaging experience.

The Zoosk app is available for free in the App Store and Google Play. Zoosk is active in 80 countries, including the UK, and its members send over 3 million messages on the platform in a single day.

5. OkCupid

In 2012, OkCupid became one of the first dating sites to adapt to the mobile space and create a companion dating app for singles on the go. We’ve already discussed its merits as a dating site, but it also has a lot to offer as a popular dating app.

In 2017, OkCupid introduced the DoubleTake matching system, which is basically swiping, to help mobile users establish mutual interest. You don’t just see a photo on DoubleTake, though — you see the entire profile. OkCupid doesn’t force its users to make a snap judgment based on a single photo. The app gives singles as much information as possible so they can feel confident in their matches and get to know users without peppering them with questions.

6. WeLoveDates

WeLoveDates is an international dating platform with a growing user base in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S. This mobile-friendly space encourages deep connections by introducing singles who share common interests and hobbies.

Screenshot of WeLoveDates

WeLoveDates is free to join and has over 1 million active members in its community.

Londoner Kevin Gibbons founded the WeLoveDates dating company in the UK in 2010, and it has slowly but surely expanded onto the international dating scene. Today, WeLoveDates has a fast-growing membership of over 1 million singles of all ages, orientations, backgrounds, and relationship goals.

Top Free “Gay” UK Dating Sites (#7-8)

Gay dating sites are on the rise in the UK as more young men come out of the closet and dive into the dating scene. British youths seem to be the most rainbow-tastic generation yet — 24% of young people identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual — and these vivacious singles have to find a date somewhere. We recommend checking out the follow gay dating sites in the UK.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “Not only is Elite Singles exclusively for educated professionals, but it also has a diverse user base made up of millions of gay and bisexual men...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

EliteSingles is a premium dating site for young professionals of all orientations. Based in Europe, the dating site excels at arranging matches between singles who are well-educated and relationship-oriented. This isn’t a hit-it-and-quit-it type of place.

EliteSingles uses intelligent matchmaking to increase the chances of its users finding a soul mate. Someone finds a love connection every eight minutes on EliteSingles. The next one could be you.

8. Grindr

Unlike EliteSingles, Grindr isn’t about playing for keeps. It’s about playing the field. Since 2009, the gay dating app has become a go-to resource for gay singles around the world. Its name is synonymous with flirtatious fun. Grindr has helped millions of gay, bi, trans, and queer men find local dates, and it is always expanding its community.

Screenshot of Grindr's homepage

Grindr is one of the world’s most popular gay dating apps with over 3.8 million users.

In the coming years, singles can expect Grindr to continue building its reputation as a friend and champion of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle.

Over 317,000 people have reviewed Grindr on Google Play where it has an average rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars. Not too shabby, really, for a polarizing dating app. “If you don’t have thick skin, don’t use this app,” warns David C. in his five-star review. “Just a caveat for the consumer…Good luck and happy hunting.”

Top Free “Lesbian” UK Dating Sites (#9-10)

Single lesbians often have trouble meeting one another because few dating venues cater to their needs. General bars are straight-dominated, gay bars are male-dominated, and lesbian bars are practically non-existent. The online scene offers a little more specialization, but it’s still a challenge to find female-friendly dating sites in the UK. We’ve picked out two of our favorite options for lesbian singles interested in meeting viable dates.

9. Match

We’ve already recommended Match as a general dating site for people of all ages and orientations, but it’s also particularly useful for lesbians who want to narrow the dating pool to women-only. Once you identify as a woman seeking a woman on Match, all your searches and matches will direct you to lesbian profiles in your area.

10. Bumble

In 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd (who co-founded Tinder) set out on a mission to change the dating scene. She created Bumble to give women the power to decide who they like and to make the first move. The female-friendly app is founded on the principle that when women have a voice, everyone wins.

In its first four years, Bumble facilitated over 500 million first moves and cemented its reputation as a gutsy, independent, and responsible dating platform. What better place for lesbians to meet new friends and love interests?

“Bumble has now grown far beyond a dating app into a networking platform, allowing people of all genders to make empowered connections,” Whitney said. “I’m more dedicated than ever to helping advance gender equality — and putting an end to the misogyny and toxic masculinity that still plague society.”

Top Free “Black” UK Dating Sites (#11-12)

The UK isn’t exactly known for its racial diversity. According to recent census data, 87% of people in the UK are white. If you’re looking for a black or biracial date in such a homogeneous country, using a dating site is going to be your best bet. The site’s search filters will allow you to quickly scan the dating scene for singles with colorful and interesting backgrounds.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “eharmony matches singles based on results of its popular compatibility questionnaire. It's a good choice for singles of all ethnic backgrounds...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Since 2000, eharmony has taken a fundamentally moral and relationship-centric approach to the dating scene. In fact, eharmony’s founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren is a Christian theologian and clinical psychologist, so he brought those values and insights to online dating.

The trademarked eharmony matching system relies on a comprehensive questionnaire that identifies an individual’s core personality traits and relationship goals. The algorithm then calculates compatibility based on intellect, religion, affection, extraversion, conscientiousness, social values, agreeableness, and other important factors.

An eharmony member’s ethnicity plays a significant role in the calculation, and individuals can mark how important it is to them to have a romantic partner who shares the same race.

12. Happn

As a location-based dating app, Happn is ideal for city-dwellers on the go. The app endeavors to create a sense of serendipity by introducing daters who often cross each other’s paths in real life. Maybe your next love interest is standing in line behind you at the coffee shop. Or maybe at the bar next door. Happn facilitates these not-so-chance meetings through its fast-paced and intelligent matching game.



Black singles in the UK can use Happn to diversify their date prospects and create mutual matches in their neighborhoods.

Top Free “Senior” UK Dating Sites (#13-14)

Women in the UK have a life expectancy of 82.9 years, and men in the UK have a life expectancy of 79.2 years. People are living longer, and that means they can’t always count on one marriage or one relationship to last a lifetime. Say someone gets divorced or widowed in their 60s — does that mean life and romance is over? Should the next 20 years be spent alone? Of course not.

Many senior dating sites have arisen to meet the needs of mature singles of the world. These platforms empower men and women to rejoin the dating scene and find companionship in a safe online space.

13. OurTime

OurTime is our favorite senior dating site because it gives singles over 50 a place they can call their own. The dating site attracts cultured, active, and interesting singles who have been around the block a few times and see age as a positive quality in a date.

Screeshot of OurTime

OurTime invites singles over 50 to come out of their shell and meet new people.

Whether you’re a divorcee in your 50s or a retiree in your 80s, OurTime maintains that it’s never too late to find love and bring some excitement into your life.

14. The Guardian Soulmates

The Guardian Soulmates built its dating community based on newspaper readership, so it’s safe to say it caters to an old-school crowd of singles. Over 80% of its members are loyal Guardian readers, who receive a discount on their newspaper subscription by joining the site (or companion app). It’s a win-win for singles who like to stay in the know and meet intellectually curious folks in the UK.

Every month, The Guardian Soulmates adds 15,000 new people to its database and adds dozens of heartfelt testimonials to its website. You can join this mature and savvy community for free by providing an email address, postal code, and username.

Top Free “Christian” UK Dating Sites (#15-17)

Religion is important in a committed relationship. Many Christian singles are looking for a partner in love and in faith. They want someone who will sit beside them at church and share the same convictions and prayers. If you’re interested in meeting a Christian single online, you can use the following three dating sites that have a high concentration of Christian members.

★★★★
4.4/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by gender, age, education, more

Our Experts Say: “ChristianMingle is strictly for Christian singles, and it has a large user base that you can browse through by your individual preferences...” Full Review »

Browse Free: View Photos Now

Christian Mingle is the world’s leading Christian dating site with millions of followers seeking a God-centered relationship. While this site allows people of all religious beliefs to sign up, it specializes in introducing singles who want to date within the Christian community.

“We couldn’t be more blessed and thankful to ChristianMingle and God for bringing us together and helping our family,” wrote Megan and Justin in a testimonial. “Our faith together as husband and wife has grown so much.”

16. Parship

A Hamburg tech team designed Parship to unite singles seeking a long-term relationship, and it has been incredibly successful in its mission. You don’t have to take its effectiveness on faith, though — Parship has the stats and success stories to back up its dating services.

According to the dating site’s internal data, over 23,000 new members sign up each week, and about 38% of Premium Members report finding a soul mate on Parship. The site’s community is ideal for Christian singles because its members are so serious about settling down with the right person.

17. My Single Friend

MySingleFriend.com supports a global dating network where everyone is welcome. Christian singles can use the advanced search filters to zero in on daters of the same faith. The gallery frequently features its most popular and active users, and all it takes is an initial message to get the conversation going.

Since its launch, the dating site has been remarkably successful in pairing many happy couples. You can read its success stories here.

My Single Friend is powered by The Dating Lab, which also runs WeMatch, Lover2Meet, The Telegraph, and other well-known online dating services.

What’s the Difference Between Free Dating Sites & Paid Dating Sites?

Free dating sites allow singles to sign up for free, browse for free, message for free, and use all the site’s features for free. Paid dating sites, on the other hand, require users to pay if they want to use all the site’s features.

Screenshot of Match's subscription plans

Match’s premium membership allows singles to read and respond to messages.

Most paid dating sites will offer at least some free features (i.e. free signup or free browsing) to give new users a preview of what the platform has to offer. Serious daters can then invest in a paid subscription plan to get even more value (i.e. unlimited messaging or the ability to view likes) from the experience. Subscriptions can last anywhere from one month to one year.

The paywall is an effective way for dating companies to make a profit while also screening scammers and spammers from the platform.

Dating platforms that are 100% free forever are rare, but they do exist. These sites and apps rely primarily on ad revenue, partnerships, and sometimes even user donations to stay profitable. OkCupid is an example of a free dating site because it offers unlimited free communication, though it does have premium features that cost a pretty penny.

What are the Most Common Free Features I’ll Have Access To?

Every dating site is a little bit different and comes up with its own subscription model, but singles can expect at least a few free features thrown in to tempt members to join the community and then upgrade their profiles.

Almost all dating sites let users create a profile, add photos, use the search filters, and view compatible profiles for free. Most will also have a free way to show interest (winking or liking), and some will allow free communication between mutual matches. Each platform is a little different in its approach, so be sure to read its policy thoroughly before you sign up — and watch out for any site with automatic subscription renewals.

Do UK Dating Sites Work the Same Way as International Dating Sites?

All dating sites work essentially the same way. You have a profile, search features, messaging, and some kind of matching system to bring people together. Many international dating sites will also add a translator or personalized matchmaker to help singles overcome language barriers and cultural differences. UK dating sites traditionally don’t offer these features because they focus primarily on an English-speaking audience.

Photo of an international couple

International dating sites facilitate love connections across borders and cultures.

It’s also important to remember that not all UK dating sites maintain international databases. Some stick to particular regions and only allow members to sign up if they live in countries in the established network.

For instance, Match is one of the longest-running dating sites around, yet it only has members in 24 countries and territories worldwide, and it requires users to set a distance radius so they only come in contact with people in their area.

Have a Ball on the Most Popular Free Dating Sites in the UK

Parties, like dating sites, need to have a lot of people, or they’ve failed at their jobs. Singles show up at both parties and dating sites expecting to be surrounded by flirtatious opportunities and date options. A sad cluster of seven people isn’t going to cut it. No matter how many flashy features a dating site has — if no one is there, then it’s not going to be useful to singles seeking real-life romance.

It should come as no surprise that the most popular dating sites are also the most successful dating sites. They can offer tons of promising date options and give singles a chance to make something happen. We’ve highlighted some of the UK’s most popular dating sites and apps to help you find the hottest party in town and figure out how you can join in the fun. Party on!