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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 January 21, 2020

                          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                          Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                          your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                            Why You Need a Vision

                            Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                            How to Create Your Life Vision

                            Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                            What Do You Want?

                            The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                            It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                            Some tips to guide you:

                            • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                            • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                            • Give yourself permission to dream.
                            • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                            • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                            Some questions to start your exploration:

                            • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                            • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                            • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                            • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                            • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                            • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                            • What qualities would you like to develop?
                            • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                            • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                            • What would you most like to accomplish?
                            • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                            It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                            What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                            Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                            A few prompts to get you started:

                            • What will you have accomplished already?
                            • How will you feel about yourself?
                            • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                            • What does your ideal day look like?
                            • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                            • What would you be doing?
                            • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                            • How are you dressed?
                            • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                            • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                            • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                            It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                            Plan Backwards

                            It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                            • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                            • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                            • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                            • What important actions would you have had to take?
                            • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                            • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                            • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                            • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                            • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                            Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                            It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                            Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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