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
3. Take the Long Walk to Windsor Castle
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. 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
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
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
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
|||^||The Guardian: Poem of the week: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray|