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14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

Endless countryside trails and mystical woodlands make it easy to see why the Queen calls Berkshire home. But you don’t need diamonds in your pockets for these 14 cultural date ideas.

1. Picnic by the Thames?

    From its source at the Cotswolds to the bustling City of London, the Thames River winds its way through Berkshire. Part of the 184-mile National Trail, the Thames path hugs the river’s edge and offers countless idyllic settings for a perfect afternoon picnic date.

    2. Sneak a kiss in a gypsy caravan

      Take your date to the Riverside Museum. Home to both the Screen House and the Turbine House, these former industrial buildings depict bygone days on the river, including gypsy life.

      3. Take the Long Walk to Windsor Castle

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        Get to know your date on the long walk through Windsor Great Park. Take in the royal grandeur of the world’s oldest inhabited castle from afar without paying to look inside. End your day with a stroll around a stunning lake at nearby Virginia Water.

        4. “Grandma flew Spitfires.”

          What a great conversation starter on a first date. Maidenhead Heritage Centre is the permanent home to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) exhibition, Grandma Flew Spitfires. On the doorstep, arched bridges criss-cross a river, providing a portrait setting for a cultural trip down memory lane. Local history and aviation talks are on offer throughout the year.

          5. Woo your date with poetry

            Stoke Poges churchyard was made famous by Poet, Thomas Grey’s Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard.[1] Ironically, it also became his final resting place, alongside his mother and sister in an unmarked, unglamorous grave. Gray’s Elegy went on to be recited by adults and children alike, encompassing British culture; it’s a beautifully written memorandum to the rural working classes. You’ll surely impress your date by reciting a few lines and telling Grey’s story.

            6. Profess your love from an Iron Age hill fort

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              If you can’t decide between a hill walk or a woodland walk, why not head to quaint Bradenham Village where there’s a choice of pathways leading through beech woods, picturesque gardens and farmland. After the scenery warms your heart, when you reach the Iron Age fort where King Alfred fought off the Danes, if you’re feeling brave, ask for a second date.

              7. If you ruled the world…

                Stroll through the pretty riverside meadows at Runnymede and debate the cultural significance of the birthplace of democracy. In 1215, it was here that King John sealed the Magna Carta. Show off your best qualities and tell your date how life might be if you ruled the world.

                8. Follow in the footsteps of royalty

                  Just like Cromwell did, explore Donnington Castle and the surrounding downs and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of royalty. Built in the 14th century, the castle’s defences were key to keeping its residents safe during the English Civil War. They were built so well they are still intact today. Among its long list of notable visitors are thought to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

                  9. Connect over modern art

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                    After a romantic walk in the countryside, The Modern Artists Gallery near Pangbourne sets the perfect scene for connecting with your date over the talents of established and emerging artists. There’ll be no uncomfortable silences here.

                    10. Midsomer Murders trail

                      Okay, murder doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with romance, however, fans of ITV’s Midsomer Murders will tell you that the Chilterns offer some of the prettiest rural walks in the UK. Crossing into Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, check out the locations used to shoot the series. There’s something about murder which will bring out the protector in one of you; a warm embrace is guaranteed.

                      11. Go Greek in Reading

                        Belonging to the University of Reading, The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology features the UK’s fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics. Also, it includes collections of Egyption and Pre-dynastic Roman artefacts.

                        12. Find giants in a tiny village church

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                          If you go on a date to the pint-sized village of Aldworth, you’ll discover St Mary’s Church, the resting place of the Aldworth Giants. The 7-foot stone effigies are thought to be life-sized replicas of nine members of the de la Beche family. Also in the grounds is a thousand-year-old yew tree and a pagan burial ground.

                          13. Embrace your animal instincts

                            The University of Reading is home to a fascinating collection of specimens from the animal kingdom. The Cole Museum of Zoology gives you and your date a chance to walk through evolution; you might get clucky over a dinosaur egg, get deep and meaningful about life, and without thought, grab an arm for reassurance when you spot a fossil of the world’s largest ever spider. If you’re worried about awkward silences, this quirky date idea should give you both lots to talk about. Donations of £1 are encouraged.

                            14. Get back in the saddle

                              Show your fun side and hit the bike trails at Swinley Forest. Designated a special protection area, this enchanting location will get your heart beating and bring out the child in you both. Get a real glimpse into your date’s personality: will they shy away from the challenge or show off? If you tumble, will they run to your rescue?

                              Image Source: 1. via nationaltrail.co.uk; 2. via picturesofengland.com; 3. via eventbrite.co.uk; 4. via shropshirestar.com; 5. via meticulousmick.wordpress.com; 6. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 7. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 8. via english-heritage.org.uk; 9. via stocksnap.io; 10. via isitmidsomer.com; 11. via museummutterings.wordpress.com; 12. via howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com; 13. via notcot.com; 14. via pinkbike.com.

                              Featured photo credit: Unknown via pinkbike.com

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                              Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                              Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                              Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                              1. Exercise Daily

                              It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                              If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                              Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                              If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                              2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                              Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                              One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                              This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                              3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                              Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                              Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                              Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                              4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                              Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                              The basic nutritional advice includes:

                              • Eat unprocessed foods
                              • Eat more veggies
                              • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                              • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                              Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                5. Watch Out for Travel

                                Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                6. Start Slow

                                Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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