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11 Cultural Date Ideas In Cheshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

11 Cultural Date Ideas In Cheshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

Cheshire is a county rich in cultural significance, with many of its ancient towns and landscapes strewn with impressive historic buildings calling to be explored. The medieval Beeston Castle, and the opulent moated Little Moreton Hall, are but a few examples of early architecture dating back to the 15th century.

Britain is famed for its boundless rolling countryside too, and Cheshire is no exception, providing endless miles of trails, such as the iconic 34 mile Sandstone Trail, perfect for long romantic walks through this fairytale landscape. Though many of Cheshire’s attractions don’t come free, here are 11 date ideas that do.

1. Hang out in Happy Valley

    Residents of Bollington refer to their hometown as Happy Valley. From a nondescript backwater to a vibrant mill town, a trip to the Discovery Centre tells its story, and even provides a free Majestic Mills trail guide for you to go off and explore the old cotton mills, canals and cobbled streets. Surely a date can’t fail in Happy Valley?

    2. Create your own Watergate scandal

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      Impressive works by the likes of Jack Vettriano, Bernhard Vogel, and Kerry Darlington might ignite a whirlwind romance on a date to the Watergate Street Gallery. With such vibrant pieces at every turn, it’s easy to see why anyone can be seduced by art.

      3. Walk Chester’s medieval city walls

        There’s arguably no better way to appreciate a land than from above. Without taking to the skies, view historic Chester from on top of its medieval city walls. Dating back to AD 120, this mixture of Victorian and Roman architecture are the only complete city walls in the UK. Built to defend Chester from numerous enemies, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Roman foot patrols and archers. Will cupid strike?

        4. Warm your heart in Port Sunlight

          Recognised as one of Europe’s finest art galleries, Lady Lever in Port Sunlight houses Britain’s best collection of decorative and fine art. Stunning exhibitions featured throughout the year compliment the 18th and 19th century displays of Chinese porcelain, and Wedgewood jasperware unrivalled anywhere in the world. Its founder, William Hesketh Lever, dedicated the gallery in memory of his wife. Much of the works come from his own private collection. If this doesn’t warm your date’s heart, find another.

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          5. Spot red squirrels on an ornamental lawn

            Walton Hall Gardens span 30 acres of a managed estate in Warrington. Mature trees, ornamental lawns and formal gardens provide an excellent habitat for Walton Hall’s red squirrel breeding program. Bring cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s for a quintessential British afternoon picnic.

            6. Visit one of the UK’s oldest museums

              Opened in 1857, the Warrington Museum & Art Gallery was one of the first museums in Britain. With over 200,000 fascinating things to look at, including Warrington’s own dinosaur, you can’t go wrong by taking your date here. Free admission is almost unheard of in an establishment like this. Recent features include works by Banksy and Tracy Emin.

              7. Watch boats from a bandstand

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                Take a stroll along the promenade by the River Dee and stop off at the pretty bandstand to watch the rowing boats. Caught up in yesteryear in a setting like this is what romance is all about.

                8. Exotic species to set your passions on fire

                  A date to Ness Botanical Gardens is a treat for both newbie and seasoned botanists. Arthur Kilpin Bulley created the gardens in 1898. Sponsoring global expeditions to bring new plant species back to the UK, he developed one of the most significant botanical gardens in the country. Each corner of Ness is a delight guaranteed to ignite your passions.

                  9. A romantic walk down a Victorian railroad

                    Although remnants of the old railway line are scarce, the Chester-to-Birkenhead line offers miles of trails through what is now known as the Wirral Country Park. Cosy up in a bird hide and dare to steal a kiss. Take advantage of the on-site BBQ area and show off your culinary skills.

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                    10. Romance at Thor’s Stone

                      Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the nature reserve at Thurstaston common is spread over an impressive 250 acres. It is also a place of legends and myths. Here is the home of Thor’s Stone. Combining Viking folklore and the natural world makes for a fascinating day out and a memorable date.

                      11. Pet pigs at an urban farm

                        How do you think your date will react to a farmyard full of animals? The Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm surrounds a historic cottage where you can expect to see anything from a bee to a baby guinea fowl flying through the air, plus all the usual suspects, such as goats, ponies, sheep and cows. They say animals are a great judge of character, what do you think?

                        Image Source: Bollington via happy-valley.org.uk; The Watergate Street Gallery via cutthecap.wordpress.com; Chester City Walls via philandgarth.com; Lady Liver Art Gallery via liverpoolmuseums.org.uk; Walton Hall Gardens via warrington.gov.uk; Warrington Art Gallery via warringtonartsfestival.co.uk; River Dee via visitchester.com; Ness Botanical Gardens via nessgardens.org.uk; Wirral Country Park via clickar.co.uk; Thurstaston Common via gerryco23.wordpress.com; Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm via tamoshanterfarm.org.uk

                        Featured photo credit: Unknown via clickar.co.uk

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                        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                          Why You Need a Vision

                          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                          How to Create Your Life Vision

                          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                          What Do You Want?

                          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                          Some tips to guide you:

                          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                          • Give yourself permission to dream.
                          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                          Some questions to start your exploration:

                          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                          • What qualities would you like to develop?
                          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                          • What would you most like to accomplish?
                          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                          A few prompts to get you started:

                          • What will you have accomplished already?
                          • How will you feel about yourself?
                          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                          • What does your ideal day look like?
                          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                          • What would you be doing?
                          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                          • How are you dressed?
                          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                          Plan Backwards

                          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                          • What important actions would you have had to take?
                          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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