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12 Free Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Oxfordshire

12 Free Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is well-known for its wide-open spaces, historic sites, and its honeycomb-coloured stone villages which form part of the world-famous Cotswolds. It’s an affluent county blanketed in lush rolling countryside, beckoning to be explored. So, if you’re looking for interesting but inexpensive things to do in the heart of Britain, here are 12 cultural date ideas that won’t cost a penny.

1. Step into Wonderland

    If you want to go on a date to an unusual date location, head to Whychwood Wild Garden. Several waterfalls, ponds, tranquil streams and sleepy canals will transport you through a fantastical wild landscape where nature is allowed to dictate where the path leads. Huge trees, three centuries old, provide a grand canopy and are guaranteed to captivate the imagination. Here’s a chance to write your own story. Will it have a happy ending?

    2. Be Your Own Lord and Lady of Downton Abbey

      Sitting on almost 11’500 acres, Bampton’s St Mary’s Church used to be the biggest in Oxfordshire. Its intricate herringbone masonry on the tower is the church’s only clue to its age, since it’s a hallmark of Anglo-Saxon architecture. Nowadays, St Mary’s church and the local area are famed for often being featured in Downton Abbey, a popular television show. This would make a great date location for fans.

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      3. An Archaeological Date at a Palace

        Dating back to the 12th century, Bishop’s Palace in Witney is a great place for both serious and hobbyist archaeologists. Called a palace because it was by far the grandest structure of its type, Bishop’s Palace was really just a manor house, but a magnificent one.

        4. Picnic at a Wildflower Meadow

          One of the largest nature reserves in Oxfordshire, Chimney Meadows is a tranquil landscape splashed by the colour of wildflowers. The serene calls of rare birds sing out across the river as waders feed in the shallows. Watch out for a flash of bright orange and blue as kingfishers silently whiz past.

          5. Discover a Lost Village in a Tiny Museum

            22nd March 2015, Churchill, Oxfordshire

            The staff at the Churchill & Sarsden Heritage Centre think their museum might be the smallest in Oxfordshire. It is also the site of the lost village of Churchill. In 1684, fire ravaged the village and sealed its fate. Now, this once-forgotten place has been made immortal through impressive interpretation and oil paintings, providing a sentimental journey and a warming date experience.

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            6. Cycle Around a Country Park

              Set in 50 acres of stunning British countryside, Kilkenny Lane Country Park has perfect pathways for a gentle cycle around the grounds. Look out for a few unexpected sights, including a totem pole and a willow igloo.

              7. Explore the Ruins of an Abandoned Manor House

                Built by one of the wealthiest British men of the 15th century, Minster Lovell Hall was once a grand manor house belonging to several notable owners with ties to royalty. Abandoned and later demolished, the hall’s remnants sit by the picturesque River Windrush. An excellent place to get to know a bit more about that special someone.

                8. Head Over Heels at Rollright Stones

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                  A date to Rollright stones could score you brownie points. This large circular pattern made by a dozen or so knotted slabs of stone is enough to rival Stonehenge. Spanning the Bronze and Neolithic Age, the stones are said to represent a monarch and his courtiers whose demise came when they were petrified by a witch.

                  9. Romance at a Roman Villa

                    Overlooking the Evenlode Valley, North Leigh Roman Villa’s most captivating feature is its beautiful mosaic floor. It’s almost intact, and you can look at the intricate detailing from a special viewing window. This could be your first chance to get close to your date.

                    10. Visit a Rural Museum

                      A trip to the quaint village of Filkins is a nice day out in itself, but when you know its history, it’s even better. Visit the Swinford Museum and relive a forgotten time when crafts and agriculture played a pivotal roll in this tight-knit rural community.

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                      11. Blow Your Mind with 11 Galleries at Woodstock

                        If a rural museum doesn’t quite hit the spot, try the Oxfordshire Museum. Spread over an impressive 11 galleries, this beautiful 18th-century stately home houses a permanent collection of the county’s finest works of art. If you and your date don’t find a piece here that you both love, then perhaps it’s time to look for someone else who shares your good taste.

                        12. A Wildlife Walk at Foxholes

                          Although Foxholes Nature Reserve undoubtedly looks her best in springtime when bluebells decorate the woodland, anytime is a good time to take a wildlife walk. Go hand in hand through the specially marked trail, winding through the reserve and past the badger way-markers, which provide a good clue about a few of the reserve’s illusive inhabitants.

                          Image Source: Whychwood Wild Garden via wychwoodwildgarden.org.uk; Church of St Mary via deviantart.com; Bishop’s Palace via geograph.org.uk; Chimney Meadows via wildlifetrusts.org; Churchill & Sarsden Heritage Centre via churchillheritage.org.uk; Kilkenny Lane Country Park via geograph.org.uk; Minster Lovell Hall via english-heritage.org.uk; Rollright Stones via english-heritage.org.uk; North Leigh Roman Villa via english-heritage.org.uk; Swinford Museum via geograph.org.uk; Oxfordshire Museum via oxfordshire.gov.uk; Foxholes Nature Reserve via experiencechippingnorton.com.

                          Featured photo credit: Unknown via english-heritage.org.uk

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                          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                          Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                          If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                          1. Breathe

                          The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                          • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                          • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                          • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                          Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                          2. Loosen up

                          After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                          Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                          3. Chew slowly

                          Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                          Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                          Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                          4. Let go

                          Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                          The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                          It’s not. Promise.

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                          Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                          Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                          21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                          5. Enjoy the journey

                          Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                          Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                          6. Look at the big picture

                          The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                          Will this matter to me…

                          • Next week?
                          • Next month?
                          • Next year?
                          • In 10 years?

                          Hint: No, it won’t.

                          I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                          Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                          7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                          You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                          Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                          8. Practice patience every day

                          Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                          • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                          • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                          • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                          Final thoughts

                          Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                          Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                          Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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