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18 Ideas for Free Cultural Dates in Hampshire

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 February 18, 2019

                                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                                      Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                                      Why is this so critically important to you?

                                      The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                                      Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                                      1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                                      Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                                      When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                                      • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                                      • The man facing the judge.
                                      • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                                      • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                                      • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                                      • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                                      These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                                      Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                                      Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                                      2. Accept Your Fear

                                      Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                                      We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                                      And here’s what can be done.

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                                      3. Get Some Perspective

                                      I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                                      And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                                      That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                                      We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                                      So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                                      • Are you really at risk?
                                      • Will this kill you?
                                      • Which leads us on to..
                                      • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                                      4. Hold a Hand

                                      As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                                      Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                                      We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                                      Ask yourself:

                                      • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                                      • Could that really happen?
                                      • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                                      • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                                      By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                                      5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                                      This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                                      Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                                      The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                                      It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                                      For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                                      Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                                      6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                                      I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                                      Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                                      Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                                      Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                                      Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                                      Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                                      7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                                      Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                                      I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                                      It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                                      One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                                      Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                                      It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                                      8. Assume the Worse

                                      If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                                      Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                                      • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                                      • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                                      • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                                      And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                                      When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                                      Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                                      9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                                      If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                                      Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                                      Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                                      10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                                      One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                                      11. Go with Fear

                                      When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                                      I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                                      Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                                      One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                                      However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                                      We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                                      12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                                      And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                                      The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                                      What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                                      13. Own Your Fear

                                      Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                                      We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                                      You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                                      More Resources About Fighting Fear

                                      Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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