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12 Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Suffolk

12 Date Ideas For Culture Lovers in Suffolk

Suffolk is a county with huge historic significance. Its North Sea coast is rugged and untamed in places and picture-postcard perfect in others with its miles of golden sand. Castles and rivers, grand estates and enchanting woodlands all provide ideal places to escape and explore for free. Here’s 12.

1. A midnight walk through a medieval village

    Medieval Lavenham is right in the heart of Suffolk. It’s a small village which packs a powerful cultural punch. Building its wealth on wool, it was once the third-richest place in the UK. While there’s lots to do in Lavenham, and its businesses provide top-notch bars, restaurants, and hotels fit for a king, why not explore it while its residents sleep by walking the cobbles on a midnight date?

    2. Find fairies at an Italian mansion

      While much of historic Suffolk’s architecture can be traced to the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, Ickworth House’s architecture is Italian by design. This opulent mansion is set in miles of impressive mature gardens and parkland where cycling and walking trails will lead you through magical woodlands. It’s rumoured that fairies live and play here.

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      3. Explore a dramatic coastline

        The National Trust describes Dunwich Heath as a rare and precious habitat. They also say that it’s wild and dramatic. It’s all of these and more. Tucked-away sand dunes offer shelter from the North Sea breeze, while the spectacular seascape fuels conversation about the natural world. Sea air, endless miles of sandy beach and great company should be the ideal ingredients for a perfect date.

        4. Find love in a famous landscape

          John Constable was one of the most famous painters in the world, and his works commanded prices most of us only dream of. But you don’t need to own a Constable to see what he saw when he made this romantic landscape immortal through his paintings. A date on the banks of the River Stowe will lead you to the exact spot he perched on with his easel and brushes.

          5. Discover an Anglo-Saxon ship and a UFO landing site

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            Sutton Hoo at Woodbridge will provide you with an excellent date combination. Here, you’ll experience riverside walks and take in the sites surrounding an Anglo-Saxon ship burial ground. Though only the mounds are visible, and the National Trust exhibition and trails require you to pay an entrance fee, research it first and allow your imagination to run wild. Nearby Rendlesham Forest was once said to be a UFO landing site.

            6. Learn about the UK’s unique amber

              The Amber Museum offers an unforgettable journey through the history of locally-sourced amber. Impressive carvings, jewellery and other artefacts are great examples of why it became such a valuable commodity. This region on the south-east coast is where the unique deposits of UK amber have all been found. While jewellers’ price tags might be a little out of reach, there’s no reason why you and your date can’t hit the beach in search of your own precious stones.

              7. A date at Halesworth Gallery

                Renowned for showcasing local talent, Halesworth Gallery has various exhibitions throughout the year, usually including works by local artisans and more well-known artists. Suffolk has a long history of producing fine arts and crafts. What better way is there to understand a culture than life depicted through art?

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                8. Stroll through seafront gardens

                  Felixstowe Seafront Gardens underwent major regeneration work in 2015, providing a perfect habitat for both wildlife and people. The 1920s design will transport you back to its heyday, with plenty of spots to cosy up on a bench and talk sweet nothings or chat about the pretty flowerbeds.

                  9. Get the lowdown on Lowestoft

                    Lowestoft Heritage Centre is where you can learn everything about this intriguing place and its lost village. Dubbed as prime location for a traditional British holiday, Lowestoft has a lovely, wide, sandy beach, cliff-top lighthouse, and a signature ornate pier.

                    10. Get swept away at an old lifeboat shed

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                      The former Old Cromer Lifeboat Shed is now the site of the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum. Named after Southwold’s lifeboat No1, the Alfred Corry, the museum portrays a fascinating tale about the important role lifeboats played, their crews risking their own lives day in and day out to save the lives of sailors and fisherman from their sunken vessels. Stories about bravery and valour, though undeniably sad, often spark romance.

                      11. Sunset, sailboats and sandpipers

                        The Broads are home to one of the largest inland waterways in the UK, making it a playground for boat enthusiasts. Categorised as a national park, its wetlands have been protected and conserved for over 30 years. Whether you love nature or the sea, a date on The Broads offers a chance to see rare wildlife and watch sailboats dance across the horizon at sunset.

                        12. A riverside lunch with a castle backdrop

                          Framlingham is a historic market town with links to royalty. In the centre of the village, you’ll find two of the oldest working post office pillar boxes, now a rare sight outside these quaint locations. But a trip to this idyllic countryside setting wouldn’t be complete without seeing its castle. Framlingham Castle is an old Anglo-Saxon fortress, and it was here that Mary Tudor became Queen Mary of England. Views are best appreciated from across the river, a lovely place for a lunch date.

                          Image Source: Lavenham via discoverlavenham.com; Ickworth House via artfund.org; Dunwich via nationaltrust.org.uk; River Stowe via gettyimages.com; Sutton Hoo via nationaltrust.org.uk; Amber Museum via nationalgeographic.com; Halesworth Gallery via foyers.photography; Felixstowe via thesuffolkcoast.co.uk; Lowestoft Beach via coes.co.uk; Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum via eadt.co.uk; The Broads via broads-authority.gov.uk; Framlingham Castle via english-heritage.org.uk.

                          Featured photo credit: Unknown via thesuffolkcoast.co.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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