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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 20, 2019

                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                    1. The Inner Critic

                                    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                    2. The Worrier

                                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                    The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                    This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                    How can you control these squatters?

                                    How to Master Your Mind

                                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                    For the Inner Critic

                                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                    • They rile up the Worrier.
                                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                    For the Worrier

                                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                    • Muscles tense

                                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                    For example:

                                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                    • Muscles tension

                                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                    Breathe in through your nose:

                                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                                    Breathe out through your nose:

                                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                    For the Sleep Depriver

                                    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                    • Shut down your thinking.
                                    • Calm your feelings.
                                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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