Good, old-fashioned entertainment back in vogue

Boating at Thorpeness Meare
Boating at Thorpeness Meare

It’s funny how things go full circle. What were once popular pastime pursuits and ways of life went out of fashion as technology advanced. Computers and mobile phones, the internet, long-distance travel and a higher standard of living all changed how we spent our leisure time.

Now, after seemingly being lost in a haze of happy memories and cigarette smoke, many activities are very much back in fashion.

Much of that has to do with staycations, with Brits enjoying holidaying at home once more. Caravan and holiday homes are more high spec and trips to the seaside common.

No visit to the Suffolk coast is complete without some fish and chips. In Aldeburgh, the fish and chips are the stuff of legend, with queues stretching along the road.

When not at the beach, visitors and residents enjoy leisure activities and seaside competitions that had seemingly disappeared. Just as vinyl records went out of fashion, sales are rising again. And book sales are up despite Kindles seemingly making them redundant. Even bingo is enjoying something of a comeback.

Today’s bingo halls are a little different from what you might remember. Before, you imagine they were full of mature ladies enjoying their one night a week away from the family home. Now, they are attractive to all generations, male and female, and part of a big night out.

You can eat, drink and be merry in bingo halls rather than just sit marking off your numbers. The resurgence is not missed on online gaming companies, with online bingo also popular, bringing with it new types of bingo games.

There are many places you can now play bingo in Suffolk, including Felixstowe, Ipswich and Lowestoft. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your two fat ladies from your two little ducks, you’ll soon pick it all up and have fun in the process.

Another popular pursuit that continues to defy modern attractions is boating. In Suffolk, we are blessed with options. For the most tranquil of all, there is Thorpeness Meare (pictured), where punts, canoes and rowing boats are available. Just over the Essex border is boating at Dedham on River Stour.

While sailing is ever-popular, so too are trips to the broads. The Norfolk Broads are famous, of course, but the broads do touch Suffolk, out of Lowestoft and the River Waveney.

Boating on the broads has been popular for generations. But modern-day craft make river trips far more comfortable than they used to be. Commercial enterprises now thrive alongside the waterways, including gorgeous pubs and plenty of places to eat.

While kids were seemingly lost in a world of computer games and mobile phones since the turn of the century, it’s good to see old-fashioned seaside arcades are back in popularity.

In Felixstowe, you can enjoy these arcades on the pier and seafront. While you will find all the latest slot machines, with video action, cinematic sound and other features, you will also find some of the games you used to enjoy.

Remember the coin pusher games, where you used to add a coin and hope it would then push a pile of cash over the edge for you to win? They are still there and just as much fun as when you were a kid.

And the “grabber” games where you operate a grabber and try to win a prize like a cuddly toy are as popular now as they ever were, with parents spending small fortunes to win a new toy for a pestering child.

Whether it is hankering after the “good old days” or the fact that old leisure pursuits like bingo or boating are great fun, there is much to enjoy in Suffolk rather than wasting hours on end surfing the internet.

You just have to get out there and enjoy it! Even large industrial sites like Sizewell B Power Station are a modern attraction on the Suffolk coast.

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