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18 Ideas for Free Cultural Dates in Hampshire

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18 Ideas for Free Cultural Dates in Hampshire

It takes time to decide if that new love interest in your life is really the one for you, and while it might seem reasonable to splash a little cash on a first date, by the third or fourth those expensive meals and late-night cocktails can start to feel just a little bit too extravagant. On top of that, while there’s nothing wrong with being the life and soul of the party every so often, it helps to show off your artier side too.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to date in Hampshire without breaking the bank, and you can even take in some of the unique cultural attractions this beautiful county has to offer in the process. So without further ado, here are 18 of our favourite free date ideas for cultured romantics who are looking for love in Hampshire but want to keep an eye on the purse strings.

1. Visit Winchester Cathedral

    A marvel of ecclesiastical design and engineering, Winchester Cathedral has to be seen to be believed. Your date will be captivated by the exceptional stone detailing and exquisite stained glass windows, and awed by the sheer size of the unique ‘Flying Buttresses’ which have flanked the southern side of the building since they were erected in 1909 after an adjoining building was demolished. And if that fascinating technical fact doesn’t impress your romantic companion, they’ll be amazed to learn about how the builders overcame high water levels by constructing this incredible structure on an enormous raft. Admittance is free, although donations are always welcome.

    2. Explore the New Forest

      Sherwood Forest might be the destination of choice for adventure lovers with its history of Robin Hood and his tales of derring do, but when it comes to romance Hampshire’s New Forest leaves it in the shade. So while the youngsters are showing off their archery skills a couple of hundred miles further north, more mature daters can enjoy a relaxing stroll through this charming landscape, perhaps spotting the occasional wild pony along the way.

      3. Attend the Winchester School of Art Degree Show

        Every year the Winchester School of Art throws open its doors to the public as lecture halls and classrooms are transformed into a vibrant gallery in which graduates showcase their work. Not only is it free to attend, but you might even spot the next Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst while you’re there. And what could impress your date more than that?

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        4. Take a Stroll Along the Basingstoke Canal

          The days of transporting coal, livestock, and other commodities via the canal network may be long since past, but their legacy lives on. The Basingstoke Canal is a superb example of this, and there is surely no better way for Basingstoke singles to add a little historical culture to a romantic walk than by plotting a course along a section of its tranquil tow-path.

          5. Have Your Picture Taken Outside Jane Austen’s House in Winchester

            As Jane Austen’s old stomping ground, Hampshire is full of locations which have their own part to play in the life story of one of history’s best-loved romantic novelists. However, a whole industry has grown up around satisfying the demand for the authentic Austen experience, and it usually comes at a price. Luckily, having your picture taken outside Jane’s former abode in College Street, Winchester, is free.

            6. Visit the ‘Rum’s Eg’ Gallery in Romsey

              The small market town of Romsey near Southampton might not be renowned as a centre for creativity, but with their gallery and cafe venture ‘Rum’s Eg’, the Hampshire Art and Craft group are hoping to put it on the artistic map. Entry is free, so it’s a great place for cultured Hampshire singles on a budget to meet.

              7. Broaden Your Mind at the Winchester Discovery Centre

                Far more than just a library, the Winchester Discovery Centre plays host to an ever-changing array of exhibitions curated by local, national and international experts. So drop by with your date and experience how much there is for you both to discover.

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                8. Visit The Willis Museum in Basingstoke

                  In fact known as the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke’s local museum is the ideal place to learn a little more about the history of the town, while admiring some sublime artworks. Situated in the heart of the old town, it’s a hidden gem you’ll both will want to visit again and again.

                  9. Sing Your Heart Out at a Folk Club

                    Hampshire is a rural county at heart, which means you never have to look far to find a buzzing folk night in which to enjoy some traditional songs. Entry is typically free, however your date might like to enjoy a pint of local ale to complete the experience, and it is customary to contribute a few pennies should the collection that happen to pass your way.

                    10. Get Close to Nature at Fleet Pond

                      Officially recognised as a site of special scientific interest, Fleet Pond is a wonderful location for Hampshire daters who enjoy spotting different species of butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Access is easy with a train station close by, and there’s even a picturesque picnic area for an inexpensive alfresco meal.

                      11. Admire the Boats at Ocean Village Marina

                        Southampton is famous for its nautical history, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the fabulous Ocean Village Marina. So why not try a romantic date imagining what it would be like to be onboard one of those glamorous yachts? The complex includes an array of shops and restaurants, so it’s a great destination for a spot of window shopping too.

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                        12. Gaze Across the Solent Estuary

                          If you enjoy experiencing the natural world in all its glory, arrange to meet your date at one of the secluded viewing points situated along the Solent Estuary. There are all sorts of rare birds to admire, and on a clear day you can even see across to the Isle of Wight.

                          13. Steep Yourself in History at Odiham Castle

                            Known locally as ‘King John’s Castle’, Odiham Castle dates back to the time of the Doomsday Book. But it’s not just about the history – it’s open to the public free of charge all year round, so there’s no better place in Hampshire to stop for a romantic picnic.

                            14. Enjoy a Free Concert at Southsea Bandstand

                              Throughout the summer Southsea Bandstand plays host to a series of free concerts. You’ll find everything from Dixieland Jazz to uptempo Rhythm and Blues. So grab a programme from the local tourist information office, put on your dancing shoes, and impress your date by showing off some of your best moves!

                              15. Climb St Catherine’s Hill Near Winchester

                                What could be more culturally enriching than a bracing climb up St Catherine’s Hill near Winchester? A real Hampshire dating hotspot, it’s probably the best way of appreciating the county’s stunning landscape from all directions.

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                                16. Explore the Ruins of Netley Abbey

                                  One of Hampshire’s best kept secrets, the Ruins of Netley Abbey just a few miles along the coast from Southampton is a great option if you’re looking for somewhere to spend some tranquil time alone with that special someone. You can explore the ruins to your heart’s content, and when you’re finished there’s an unspoilt beach nearby where you can relax together watching the waves.

                                  17. Taste Local Produce at a Southampton Farmers Market

                                    If you’re taking things slowly and aren’t quite ready to meet your Southampton single in private, why not suggest a culinary meetup at Southampton Farmer’s Market? Taking place in the Station Quarter every third Saturday of the month, it’s a great place to mingle with the crowd while sampling the some delicious produce from across Southampton and the surrounding area.

                                    18. Watch the Sunset Over Portsmouth Harbour

                                      Finally, what better way to find romance than by arranging a date watching the sun set over Portsmouth’s stunning natural harbour? The Spinnaker Tower is even more impressive at night when it is illuminated by its state of the art LED lights, and your date will love watching the boats across the water in the twilight.

                                      Image Source: 1. via harveymills.com; 2. via thenewforest.co.uk; 3. via meanwhile.soton.ac.uk; 4. via waterways.org.uk; 5. via mammasaurus.co.uk; 6. via georginagiles.wordpress.com; 7. via dpalighting.com; 8. via friendsofthewillis.org.uk; 9. via winchesterfolkclub.co.uk; 10. via fleetpond.org.uk; 11. via Unknown; 12. via southampton.ac.uk; 13. via youtube.com/channel/UCp1SnhvDlCVRhujUzWWt7FQ; 14. via witness.theguardian.com; 15. via wildlifetrusts.org; 16. via english-heritage.org.uk; 17. via nofocrunch.com; 18. via makelightwork.com.

                                      Featured photo credit: Unknown via waterways.org.uk

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                                      Last Updated on January 13, 2022

                                      10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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                                      10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

                                      A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

                                      To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

                                      1. Camping

                                      A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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                                      2. Staycation

                                      You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

                                      3. Island Getaway

                                      People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

                                      4. Fancy Resort

                                      Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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                                      5. Road Trip

                                      The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

                                      6. Charter a Boat

                                      If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

                                      7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

                                      If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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                                      8. Themed Retreats

                                      There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

                                      9. Working Honeymoon

                                      Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

                                      10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

                                      Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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                                      Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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