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17 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places In The Midlands To Take Your Date For Free

17 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places In The Midlands To Take Your Date For Free

With The Midlands’ rolling hills, ancient forests, historical trails and renowned art galleries, you’d be surprised at what you can see there. Those things, plus others, make it a great backdrop for romantic moments in your life. The best part? The following date ideas are free and show some of the best, most intriguing and beautiful sights in The Midlands.

1. Escape the city with Elmdon Nature Park

    Nestled on the edge of Solihull, this local wooded nature reserve is perfect for nature lovers wanting to escape the city center. In the winter, wrap up to stay warm, take a flask, and enjoy the frosted scenery. In the summer, take a picnic and watch the local wildlife.

    2. Visit Ludlow for cycling and hiking

      For active couples, cycling and hiking is a good activity and a good base for this is in Ludlow. Located in Shropshire, on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the River Teme, the area around this beautiful market town is full of natural footpaths, hilly areas, and planned routes for all abilities.

      3. Take a picnic in the Queenswood

        For a romantic date in Herefordshire, nothing can be more fitting than the beautiful panoramic views of the malvern hills viewed in the Queenswood. There are many marked trails, footpaths, and picnic facilities where you can take your date.

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        4. Arrange something different with Lapworth Museum of Geology

          It is well known that culture is a great talking point when meeting someone new. For a different type of beauty, why not visit the oldest specialist museums in the country? Located in Birmingham University, it contains some of the most beautiful displays of colorful crystals and a wide range of fossils to be observed and viewed.

          5. Follow in the footsteps of a famous author with the Tolkien Trail

            A great place to take a book-loving date in Birmingham is the Birmingham Tolkien Trail. Known as the inspiration for J.R.R Tolkien’s stories, the charming route runs through sites like Sarehole, Moseley bog, and the Shire Country Park. A few of the areas might seem very similar to fans of the Lord of the Rings stories!

            6. Absorb culture in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

              Based in Chamberlain Square, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday and has a wide range of beautiful things to view. The gallery contains the world’s largest pre-Raphaelite art collection and houses local history collections, art, and relics.

              7. Explore the Martineau Garden together

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                Located two miles from Birmingham City Center, this beautiful community garden contains two and a half acres of beauty, including an orchard, an organically maintained vegetable plot, herb beds, and a woodland habitat that’s home to lots of wildlife. There is a marked nature trail and, among other things, a hot house and wildflower meadows.

                8. Have a lunch date at the Library of Birmingham

                  Over 10 floors, the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square has plenty to offer, not just a collection of books! You can find photography exhibitions, interesting performances, workshops, and poetry readings. For those who work in the city, this could be a great lunch date idea.

                  9. Explore the Ikon Gallery

                    The Ikon Gallery is an internationally acclaimed art venue located in Birmingham and contains tons of things to see for free. Perfect for a date who loves art, there are two temporary exhibitions along with a vast collection by artists from around the world. Some of their work includes sounds, films, photography, paintings, sculptures, and installations.

                    10. View the Weoley Castle ruins

                      The 700-year-old ruins can be viewed for free from a platform (a tour has to be pre-booked and may have admission costs) and the surrounding area contains a nice local walk. A great opportunity to spend some time exploring the area with your date.

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                      11. Absorb the atmosphere at Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve

                        More than 700 different fossils have been found at the reserve, 186 of which were first discovered here. It is one of the most notable geological locations in the British Isles. The area is beautiful and open at all times, so it’s perfect for stargazing couples and geology fans.

                        12. Share a flask of tea at Beacon Hill Country Park

                          Beacon Hill is one of the highest points in Leicestershire and boasts spectacular views of Charnwood Forest and the Soar Valley. With trails varying in length, there is something for everyone of every activity level. The perfect place for long chats with your date while sharing a flask of tea.

                          13. Go bird-watching at Sandwell Valley Country Park

                            Well-known and loved by bird-watchers, Sandwell Valley Country Park is a beautiful country park containing two working farm visitor centers, nature areas, an aerial assault course, a mountain bike trail, and more. There are lots of options there for a weekend outdoorsy date with a like-minded person.

                            14. Learn the local history at Warwickshire Museum

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                              Located in the center of Warwick in the Market Hall, this cute little museum is free to enter and contains giant fossils, local geology, and the natural history of Warwickshire. Perfect for history lovers, the surrounding area contains lots of pretty antique shops and tea rooms. Well worth a browse!

                              15. Spend a cozy afternoon at Astley Book Farm

                                A large secondhand book shop situated over several barns and peppered with comfy armchairs and a woodburner, this is a perfect place to browse and relax with a date. There is a cafe on site, but the prices are reasonable. The surrounding area is pretty and unspoiled, which is surprising, given its location.

                                16. Walk around Burton on the Water

                                  Regularly voted as one of the prettiest villages in England, Bourton on the Water has a unique appeal because there is plenty to see and do. The best part of all is when you take in the tranquility of the River Windrush with its beautiful bridges throughout.

                                  17. Spend the day exploring Wollaton Hall

                                    Wollaton Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan Mansion and Deer Park set on a natural hill. Entrance to both the grounds and the house is free. The site houses its historic hall, beautiful grounds, a Natural History Museum, and Nottingham’s Industrial Museum. A visit here is a great idea if you plan to spend the whole day in one place.

                                    Image Source: 1. via flickr.com/photos/tonycornish; 2. via ludlow.org.uk; 3. via timtrott.co.uk; 4. via willow-haven.uk; 5. via shireburnarmshotel.co.uk; 6. via timeout.com; 7. via martineau-gardens.org.uk; 8. via e-architect.co.uk; 9. via independent-birmingham.co.uk; 10. via whatsonlive.co.uk; 11. via bcgs.info; 12. via leicscountryparks.org.uk; 13. via John Bridges for rspb-images.com; 14. via hlf.org.uk; 15. via astleybookfarm.com; 16. via character-cottages.co.uk; 17. via wollatonhall.org.uk

                                    Featured photo credit: Unknown via independent-birmingham.co.uk

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                                    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                    Video Summary

                                    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                    One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                            5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                                  How to hold a plank position

                                                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                    • Prolapse
                                                    • After prolapse surgery
                                                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                    • Previous childbirth
                                                    • Overweight

                                                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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