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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 August 20, 2019

                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                              1. The Inner Critic

                              This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                              The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                              Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                              2. The Worrier

                              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                              The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                              This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                              This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                              The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                              4. The Sleep Depriver

                              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                              The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                              How can you control these squatters?

                              How to Master Your Mind

                              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                              For the Inner Critic

                              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                              • They rile up the Worrier.
                              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                              • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                              • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                              • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                              Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                              For the Worrier

                              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                              • Muscles tense

                              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                              For example:

                              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                              • Muscles tension

                              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                              Breathe in through your nose:

                              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                              • Focus on your belly rising.

                              Breathe out through your nose:

                              • Feel your lungs emptying.
                              • Focus on your belly falling.
                              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                              For the Sleep Depriver

                              (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                              • Shut down your thinking.
                              • Calm your feelings.
                              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                              The Bottom Line

                              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                              Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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