OUT & ABOUT
Over the past 18 months, date nights may have fallen by the wayside somewhat, but this summer it’s time to bring the romance back. Although it’s not 1967 this summer is shaping up to be the new summer of love as we are able to get out and get dating. Whether you’re just getting to know each other in a new relationship or have been married for so many years you can’t keep count, there are plenty of ideas here to woo your significant other.
1. Go out for a fancy dinner
L’Escargot Sur Mer
If you are going to take your significant other out for an amazing meal then you need a restaurant that packs a punch. L’Escargot Sur Mer in Aldeburgh does just that. A sister restaurant of the famous L’Escargot in Soho which has a enviable history and was described as “This isn’t just a French restaurant, it’s a Soho institution” by Jay Rayner.
The Aldeburgh restaurant has a simple and understated interior which combines perfectly with the great staff and excellent atmosphere. The menu is short and sweet, currently with five starters, four mains and three puddings, and is added to by the daily specials. However, each one of the choices on the menu are stars in their own right making a small menu difficult to select from as you want to order one of everything. As you would expect, snails are always on the menu, as is the exceptional baked lobster with garlic butter. This restaurant is not to be missed.
2. Open air movie
Bring a blanket, camping chairs and snacks and snuggle up together to watch a classic film in the great outdoors while the weather is warm. There are several parks in Norfolk and Suffolk that hold pop-up movie events regularly, including Eaton Park in Norwich, which is hosting the Norwich Film and Food Festival from 26-28 August.
3. Theme Park
For thrill-seekers and the young at heart, you can’t beat a day doing loop-the-loops on rollercoasters, getting competitive on the dodgems and indulging in some candy floss with your love. For extra brownie points, winning a teddy bear at the amusements is a must!
4. Visit a vineyard
A vineyard tour makes for a perfect date: indulge in some locally-made wine in beautiful scenery, learn something new, then buy a bottle or two of your favourites as a memento of a great day spent together – or to carry on the party at home!
5. Stroll round a garden or park
We’re spoilt for choice for grand gardens and picturesque parks. Make your partner feel like royalty for the day by taking them for a wander round Sandringham Royal Park, which has over 60 acres of formal gardens to explore. A traditional afternoon tea in the restaurant afterwards will make it even more special.
6. Pack a picnic
Dates don’t have to be extravagant: sometimes simple is best. Pack up a picnic of all your favourite foods and whisk your partner off for a romantic brunch, lunch or dinner in a location that means a lot to you both for some quality time chatting together.
7. Go to a gig
If you’re both music-lovers, you’ll definitely enjoy a night singing along and rocking out to some live music together. There are plenty of al fresco concerts and mini festivals happening this summer, or you could support your local pub by visiting when they next have a band or singer on.
8. Pretend you’re on holiday
It might be right on our doorstep, but when’s the last time you treated yourselves to a day spent at one of our many beautiful beaches? Soak up the sun, have a splash in the sea and top it all off with a fish and chip supper – followed by ice cream, of course!
9. Watch the sunrise
Being two of the most easterly counties in the UK, we enjoy enviable sunrises here. Watching the sunrise together is a definite tick off the dating bucket list, so check your weather app, pack a flask of coffee and some pastries and head to the coast for a spectacular start to your date day – it’ll be well worth the early wake-up.
10. PYO fruit
It’s an ideal time of year to make the most of nature’s bounty. Spend a sunny afternoon picking delicious homegrown fruits, including apples, strawberries, raspberries, plums and blackcurrants. Once you’ve picked your fill, why not have a cream tea with your fresh strawberries, or make some blackcurrant jam together?
11. On the Broads
Hire a kayak, paddleboard or canoe and spend a few hours drifting along the peaceful waterways of the Broads. Start near Geldeston and moor up for a cheeky pint or a spot of lunch at the Locks Inn.
12. Mini golf
If you love getting competitive with each other, mini golf is a great, light-hearted activity for a fun date day. For outdoor golf, our pick is always Pirates Cove Adventure Golf in Great Yarmouth (follow this up with more adventures along the Golden Mile). Indoors, try Crazier Golf at Norwich’s new Boom Battle Bar.
13. Beer garden
We all missed out on pubs last summer, so make the most of it now by whiling away an hour or two in your favourite beer garden. This is a fuss-free, casual date that gives you both the perfect opportunity to sit and have a proper chat.
14. Secret sauna
What could be more romantic than your own secluded wood-fired sauna cabin on the banks of the River Waveney? Bring a picnic, enjoy a swim and get cosy in the sauna in this off-grid spot that’s perfect for unwinding and nature-watching together.
15. Visit a new town
Spend a day being tourists in your home county by visiting a town or area you’ve never been to before. Check out the attractions, treat each other to a meal or something from the shops and make new memories after a year indoors.
16. Recreate your first date
For longer-term lovers, this is a wonderful way of reminding yourselves where it all began. Surprise your partner by whisking them off to the same coffee shop, restaurant or bar that you first went to and reminisce about the time you’ve spent together since then.
17. Go stargazing
East Anglia’s big skies and lack of light pollution provide ample opportunity to stargaze – what could be more romantic? Take a tipple or two, some blankets and even a telescope, and see what constellations you can see; Kelling Heath is a great spot for this.
18. Have a spa day
Treat yourselves to a couples massage or other shared spa treatment to really relax and unwind. This is especially great for busy couples who don’t get much time to themselves. You could even recreate the spa experience from home by getting in your dressing gowns, doing facemasks, and giving each other massages.
19. Go to a class
Spice things up by trying something neither of you have done before – whether that’s a cookery class, a pottery class (any excuse to recreate the Ghost moment), or Spanish classes. It makes for a unique date and you could pick up a new hobby in the process!
20. Prosecco night at home
Staying home can be just as romantic as going out if you put the effort in. Get dressed up, light some candles and pop open a bottle of bubbles. See page 25 for our prosecco cocktail and accompanying nibbles recommendations.
21. Go dancing
Let loose and put on your dancing shoes – whether you go to a club, a bar, a dance class or simply ask Alexa to play your wedding playlist, grab your love and dance like no-one’s watching. My husband’s cheesy dad dancing is shameless and never fails to put a smile on my face.
22. Plant a garden
This is especially nice if you’ve just moved in together or are looking for a way to spruce up your outdoors space a bit. Visit a local garden centre, pick out some flowers, herbs or vegetables and work as a team to sow some magic – then reap the rewards when it all starts to bloom. See page 55 for our tips on growing seasonal herbs, veg and salad.
23. Cook for each other
Let’s face it, food is truly the way to our hearts. Take the time to pick a recipe your partner would really love, then surprise them with a lovingly homecooked meal after a long week at work. If cooking isn’t your forte, a supermarket dine in deal will go down just as well!
24. Coffee date
This is a perfect first date idea if the thought of eating a meal in front of someone new terrifies you. Grab a coffee and get to know each other for an hour or two – our favourite caffeine outlet is Strangers Coffee House in Norwich.
25. Afternoon tea
There’s something opulent about being treated to an afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries with a cuppa is a match made in heaven – see for our top five afternoon teas in the area.
26. Exercise class
Work up a sweat and release those feel-good endorphins by going to an exercise class together. This is ideal for active couples or those wanting to challenge themselves, especially as you’re both more likely to stick to a new workout if it’s fun!
27. Walk or bike ride
Pick a scenic route and head off on a stroll or bike ride together. Sometimes a date is just about spending some quality time together, rather than doing flashy activities or having to spend any money.
28. Horse riding
Ride off into the sunset with your beau… this is a great date activity for both experienced and novice horse riders, especially if it’s along the dreamy setting of a sandy beach as offered by Pakefield Riding School.
29. Have a night away
If you have an anniversary or birthday coming up, there’s no greater gesture than treating your other half to a romantic night away. Our favourite place to hole up is The Pigs in Edgefield – Spa Rooms come with a private courtyard and firepit, in-room spa facilities and a bath big enough for two.
30. Go Ape
For the truly adventurous, why not spend the day swinging through the trees of Thetford Forest? Navigate the high ropes course and zoom down zip lines together, or take a more leisurely route by hiring a Segway.
31. Wine & cheese night
In our family this is a staple, which we inventively call a ‘fancy French tea’. Gather together some local cheese (Baron Bigod is a must) and wines for an extra personal touch, spread out on the sofa and enjoy.
The perfect date for animal lovers, take a trip to the zoo to learn more about your favourite animals. For an extra memorable day out, Africa Alive also offer a safari tour and feed a giraffe experience.
33. Escape room
Test your collaborative skills by working as a team to solve the riddles, discover the hidden clues and beat the clock to escape in time. Escape Hunt in Norwich offer themed rooms including Dr Who, Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland.
34. Go on a double date
If you’ve got a favourite couple you enjoy spending time with, why not team up and go on a date together? Whether this is a cinema trip, a meal or bowling, help to keep the romance alive with a little help from your friends.
35. Pyjama and board game day
The ultimate lazy Sunday activity, devote a day to being in your comfies while playing your favourite board games. This can easily be a family date day if you have little ones, and is best accompanied by a takeaway so no one has to cook.
36. Art trail
Save the indoor galleries and museums for winter and head off in search of an art trail. Raveningham Sculpture Trail provides three acres of gardens with artworks and installations from more than 60 artists.
37. National Trust properties
See how past lovers lived by visiting some of Norfolk and Suffolk’s fabulous National Trust properties. A great date for history buffs or just those keen to nose around someone else’s grand house and garden! Our pick is always Blickling Hall.
38. Go karting
Pretend you’re kids again and get behind the wheel of a go kart. Excellent fun and a day out with a difference, you can even make it so the winner gets a prize in the form of a meal out, a bunch of flowers or some chocolates for extra brownie points.
If one of you loves fancy hotels and the other doesn’t mind roughing it, this is the perfect compromise. Spend a few nights eschewing your phones and getting back to nature, but with all the comforts of home. Round the Woods is our personal go-to.
40. Adnams tour
For a boozy grown-up date, head to Adnams where you can take part in either a brewery or distillery tour, complete with plenty of opportunities for tastings. If your partner is a big gin fan, you could even splash out on a Make Your Own Gin experience.
Let us curate your perfect date:
Mix and match our suggestions to make for an amazing day why not try…