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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 November 19, 2019

                          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                          Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                          If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                          1. Create a Daily Plan

                          Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                          2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                          Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                          3. Use a Calendar

                          Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                          I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                          Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                          4. Use an Organizer

                          An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                          These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                          5. Know Your Deadlines

                          When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                          But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                          6. Learn to Say “No”

                          Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                          Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                          7. Target to Be Early

                          When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                          For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                          Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                          8. Time Box Your Activities

                          This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                          You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                          9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                          Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                          10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                          Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                          You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                          11. Focus

                          Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                          Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                          Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                          12. Block out Distractions

                          What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                          I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                          When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                          Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                          13. Track Your Time Spent

                          When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                          You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                          14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                          You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                          Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                          15. Prioritize

                          Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                          Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                          16. Delegate

                          If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                          When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                          17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                          For related work, batch them together.

                          For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                          1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                          2. coaching
                          3. workshop development
                          4. business development
                          5. administrative

                          I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                          18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                          What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                          One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                          While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                          19. Cut off When You Need To

                          The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                          Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                          20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                          Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                          More Time Management Techniques

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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