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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 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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