Aldeburgh (pronounced /ˈɔ:lbrə/ (ALL-bre)) is a coastal town in east Suffolk, England. It has a long pebble beach, fresh seafood, several curious landmarks and an interesting history of survival against being swept away by the North Sea.
The town is best known for being the home of composer Benjamin Britten, who was founder of the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948. A lot of properties in the town are second homes. Many visit for the Blue Flag shingle beach.
Aldeburgh is approximately 30 miles (48 km) NE of Ipswich, 30 miles S of Lowestoft, 32 miles SE of Diss and 45 miles E of Bury St Edmunds. The town is connected to the London (Blackwall Tunnel) to Lowestoft A12 main road via the A1094 (8 miles).
- Bus 64 and 65 operated by First Norfolk & Suffolk each run half hourly services from Ipswich.
- Bus service 251 operated by BorderBus runs between the town and Leiston, Saxmundham, Halesworth
Aldeburgh is far too small to have its own airport. Even Ipswich, the nearest large town, does not have a commercial airport. The nearest airports with regular scheduled flights are Norwich International Airport (NWI IATA) 45 miles to the north. And London Stansted (STN IATA) airport, a hub for several European low-cost airlines, 75 miles to the west.
With a distance of 2.5 km between the Scallop and the Martello Tower, Aldeburgh is small enough to walk around.
The following sights are ordered from north to south
- 1 Long Shop Museum, Main Street, Leiston, IP16 4ES (4 miles north of Aldeburgh), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 The beach, IP15 5BD (OS Grid ref TM 4660 5679). Stretching north past Thorpeness and south into Orford Ness, it is almost exclusively shingle (pebbles), except for small tracts of rough sand between breakwaters.
- 3 The Red House, Golf Lane, Aldeburgh IP15 5PZ (About 3/4 mile/1.2 km inland). Home of composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears from 1957. Musical events, art exhibitions. Guided tours available. Opening hours vary - see website.
- 4 The Scallop, Thorpe Rd, IP16 4NR. A 2003 stainless-steel sculpture by Maggi Hambling commemorating Benjamin Britten, who lived in Aldeburgh from 1947 until his death in 1976. The 4-m-tall piece is made of two interlocking broken scallop shells. The main upright shell as cutouts reading "I hear those voices that will not be drowned", taken from Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes. It is meant to be enjoyed both visually and tactilely, and people are encouraged to sit on it and watch the sea.
- 5 Moot Hall (Aldeburgh Museum), IP15 5DS, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Jun-Aug: daily noon-5PM; Apr May Sep & Oct: daily 2:30-5PM. The 17th-century timber-framed Moot Hall was used for council meetings and now houses the local museum describing Aldeburgh's history. Adult £2; accompanied children free.
- 6 RNLI station. The lifeboat station houses a RNLI houseboat which can be viewed from the outside by the public.
- 7 Fort Green Mill. The curious Fort Green Mill is a four-storey windmill converted to residential use.
- 8 Martello Tower, Slaughden Rd IP15 5NA. The unique Martello Tower (knows as tower CC) is 4 towers joined together and the largest and northernmost of 103 defensive towers built between 1808 and 1812 to resist a Napoleonic invasion. Suffolk at one time had 18 towers. Many have been destroyed (e.g. pulled down for their masonry) whilst others converted into homes or put to other uses. This tower is now used as holiday apartments. The Martello Tower is the only surviving building of the fishing village of Slaughden, which had been washed away by the North Sea by 1936.
- Walk through and around the marshes along River Alde near the marina and Martello tower.
- See the site and read the plaques describing the history of the nearby fishing village of Slaughden, which was washed away by the North Sea by 1936. Near the Martello Tower at Slaughden Quay are the barely visible remains of the fishing smack Ionia. It had become stuck in the treacherous mud of the River Alde, and was then used as a houseboat. In 1974 it was burnt, as it had become too unsafe.
- 1 Model Boating Pool, Crabbe St. free.
- 2 Aldeburgh Festival. In June, at Snape Maltings.
- 3 Aldeburgh Cinema, 51 High St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Full programme of films, live screenings and special events.
- 4 Jubilee Hall, Crabbe St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Music, theatre, dance, comedy, lectures, conferences, educational events.
- Dunwich Dynamo (or "DD" or "Dun Run"). A annual cycle ride from London to Dunwich (10 miles N of the town). The 120-mile overnight ride starts in Hackney London normally on the Saturday night closest to the full moon in July, and attracts a large entry (in 2009 1,000 cyclists growing to 2,000 by 2015).
Buy fresh locally-caught seafood from the fishing huts along the beach near the Moot Hall.
- 1 Tesco Express (Convenience Store), Saxmundham Rd, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 9AM-7PM. ATMs
- 2 Co-op (Supermarket), 8 Saxmundham Rd, ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 10AM-4PM. ATMs.
- 1 The Fish and Chip Shop, 226 High Street, ☏ . Tu W 11:45AM-2PM, Th 11:45AM-2PM & 5-8PM, F 11:45AM-2PM & 5-9PM, Sa 11:45AM-2PM & 5-8PM, Su noon-2PM. described in The Times as "possibly the finest on the east coast".
- 2 Prezzo (Italian Restaurant & Take-away), 146 High St, ☏ . Daily noon-11:30PM.
- 3 The Lighthouse (Restaurant & Café), 77 High St, ☏ . M-F noon-2PM & 6:30-10PM, Sa noon-2:30PM & 6:30-10PM (from 6PM in Aug), Su noon-2:30PM & 6:30-10PM.
- 1 [dead link] East Coast (Bar, Cafe & Restaurant), 152 Aldeburgh High St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Tu 9AM-4PM, W-Su 9AM-11PM (last orders 9:30PM).
- 2 Cragg Ststers Tearoom, 110 High St, Aldeburgh IP15 5AB, ☏ (mobile).
- 3 Ye Olde Cross Keys (Pub & Food), Crabbe St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-midnight.
- 1 Martello Tower, Slaughden Rd IP15 5NA. Holiday home run by the Landmark Trust, sleeping 4. £500 - 2000.
- 2 The White Lion Hotel, Market Cross Pl, Aldeburgh IP15 5BJ, ☏ . Check-in: 2:30PM, check-out: 11AM. Seafront townhouse with stylish, modern rooms, a casual bar and brasserie, plus free hot breakfast. £145.
- 3 [dead link] Coxswains Cottage, Thorpeness (Leiston (2 miles) & Aldeburgh (2 miles)). A 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom self-catering holiday cottage. £299-799 per week.
- 4 The Wentworth, Wentworth Rd, Aldeburgh IP15 5BD, ☏ . Comfy traditional hotel on beach, relaxing atmosphere. B&B double £120.
- 1 Post Office, 119 High St, Aldeburgh IP15 5AA. M-Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-8PM.
- Visit Ipswich, or take a ferry to Orford Ness for marshland hikes and recent military history.
- In June, attend the Aldeburgh Festival at Snape Maltings.