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14 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places in Bedfordshire to Take a Date for Free

14 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places in Bedfordshire to Take a Date for Free

Bedfordshire is a truly beautiful county with a vast number of wonderful and romantic places available to visit completely free of charge. If you want to impress, consider taking a date to one of these fourteen breathtakingly beautiful places for an unforgettable day out in the Bedfordshire countryside.

1. Go for a Hike on the Breathtaking Dunstable Downs

    The Dunstable Downs are one of the most beautiful parts Bedfordshire, and indeed of the whole country. If your date enjoys walking, a hike around here will be the perfect way to spend a pleasant day exploring the landscape.

    2. Enjoy a Relaxing Picnic at Bedford Park

      Bedford Park is one of only three parks to have been awarded the prestigious green flag for cleanliness and it’s easy to see why. This is a stunning park and a great place to spend the day. There are lots of secluded and romantic little spots to enjoy a picnic and get to know one another a little better over a glass of wine.

      3. Experience the Magical Beauty of the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

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        Witness the remarkable tree cathedral consisting of various trees, hedges and shrubs planted into the shape of a cathedral, and wonder at the skill and time that would have gone into creating this impressive site. Your date will be sure to be impressed.

        4. Get Close to Nature at The Lodge RSPB Nature Reserve

          This RSPB owned nature reserve is a great place to go birdspotting, so take a nature loving date here and you’ll be sure to impress. If the birds alone aren’t enough for you, take time to learn about the stone age settlements which once housed whole communities on the very spot you are now standing and wow your date with your knowledge.

          5. Wander Beneath the Willows at Wardown Park

            Wardown Park in Luton is uniquely beautiful with rows of stunning willow trees lined along the banks of the River Lea. Take a picnic and relax while watching the ducks and swans swim past then walk across the pedestrian suspension bridge to take in the views from the other side. Take the time to visit the park’s more formal gardens too, of you have the time.

            6. Take a Leisurely Stroll around Swiss Garden

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              Take a date on a leisurely stroll around the stunning gardens taking in the lakes, the woodlands and the stunning views of the Bedfordshire landscape stretching far into the distance. This beautiful garden is set around the grounds of the Swiss Cottage and a wonderful place to explore.

              7. Get Lost in the Forest of Marston Vale

                The Forest of Marston Vale is an incredible place to wander around with over 1 million trees planted by the Woodland Trust and a huge array of wildlife to spot. This is a great place to spend a day exploring and learning about the conservation efforts of the volunteers.

                8. Take a Walk around Stockgrove Country Park

                  Stockgrove Country Park is a charming place for a visit, with stunning woodland and paths to walk along while talking with your date or find a secluded spot to enjoy a picnic and admire the stunning scenery.

                  9. Explore the Ruins at Houghton House

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                    This English Heritage owned 17th century mansion in Bedford is a mere shadow of what it once was, but even so it is a remarkable building with breathtaking views of the nearby countryside. Read the informative and interesting plaques dotted around the house and soak up the history together, or just sit and enjoy the wonderful views.

                    10. Relax by the Tranquil Embankment Bridge

                      For a lovely chilled date, why not visit the Embankment Bridge in Bedford and enjoy the views across the river and the stunning scenery. This is a wonderful place to walk or just sit and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

                      11. Get Close to History at Jordans Mill

                        Although a guided tour around the mill itself will include a small entry fee, the gardens are free to enter and are beautifully kept with a wide range of native British plants on show throughout the year. The grounds around the mill offer some wonderful views of the Bedfordshire landscape.

                        12. Explore the Sharpenhoe Clappers

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                          Sharpenhoe Clappers is a lovely, unspoilt nature reserve set in ancient woodland taking in some of the best scenery in Bedfordshire. It’s a great place to take a romantic stroll or more vigorous hike, and perfect for wildlife spotting.

                          13. Spend a day at Rushmere Country Park

                            Rushmere Country Park is a huge space with something to do to keep everyone occupied. Take you date for a walk around the woodland or go for a cycle ride on one of the many beautiful trails around the park.

                            14. Admire the Unspoilt Beauty of Harrold-Odell Country Park

                              Take a date to this breathtaking location for a wonderful day exploring over 144 acres of unspoilt natural beauty. Make sure to spend plenty of time appreciating the two stunning lakes and the wild beauty of the nature reserve.

                              Image Source: 1. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 2. via redwoodworld.co.uk; 3. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 4. via rspb.org.uk; 5. via bedsbucksherts.org.uk; 6. via shuttleworth.org; 7. via centerparcs.co.uk; 8. via mapio.net; 9. via nglish-heritage.org; 10. via hikemtshasta.com; 11. via apdoorsandjoinery.co.uk; 12. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 13. via bridgetdavey.com; 14. via raisingemily.net.

                              Featured photo credit: Unknown via bedsbucksherts.org.uk

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                              Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                              At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                              Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                              One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                              When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                              So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                              Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                              This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                              Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                              When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                              Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                              One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                              Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                              An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                              When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                              Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                              Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                              We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                              By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                              Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                              While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                              I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                              You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                              Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                              When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                              Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                              Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                              Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                              One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                              Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                              Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                              This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                              While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                              Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                              Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                              This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                              For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                              Con #4: Unique Distractions

                              Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                              For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                              To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                              Final Thoughts

                              Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                              We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                              More About Working From Home

                              Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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