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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 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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