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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 July 10, 2020

                                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                      Boundaries are limits

                                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                      • When do you want to be alone?
                                      • How much space do you need?

                                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                      Sample language:

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                                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                      Final Thoughts

                                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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