Composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears were Aldebugh’s most famous residents and an international music festival is held every year. The seaside town is also noted for fish and chips and for artist Maggi Hambling’s controversial scallop sculpture on the beach. Thorpeness, with its famous House in the Clouds, is only a walk away.
Another must for a town, particularly one near the sea, is this family-run fish and chip shop, founded in 1967. Plan ahead to visit, as the quality of the quintessential English meal served here means it is among the best of the UK’s fish and chip shops and, therefore, has quite a queue. Make sure to take cash too - the shop doesn’t take cards and you wouldn’t want to have to queue twice! aldeburghfishandchips.co.uk
Benjamin Britten’s top tip for creativity was to take a cold bath every morning and be at your desk by 9am!
2017 sees the 15th anniversary of Andrew and Julie Knibbs gallery. Situated on the High Street it shows leading artists from all parts of the UK and features regular exhibitions, the gallery is now established as a great destination to view affordable, colourful contemporary art. From traditional linocuts, woodcuts, screenprints and etchings, to large scale original oil and acrylic on canvas paintings, with a range of glassware and ceramics there is plenty to inspire.
Aldeburgh’s Martello Tower isn’t far to the south of town and offers a delightful focal point for a short coastal walk. It is the largest and most northerly of a chain of towers designed to keep Napoleon from invading Britain. Situated at the foot of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the sea and the River Alde, it is a lovely quatrefoil building and is available as a really special holiday rental from the Landmark Trust.
Alternatively, you could walk north to Maggi Hambling’s Scallop. This four metre tall, steel sculpture of a scallop is dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who often walked along this beach, and is pierced with the words “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes.
Orlando, the Marmalade Cat, is a much-loved collection of children’s illustrated stories written between 1938 and 1972. The series got the writer, Kathleen Hale, listed in the Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, and in A Seaside Holiday, Orlando and his family – wife and three kittens – holiday in ‘Owlbarrow’, which is based on Aldeburgh and the illustrations feature many of the local landmarks. Buy a copy and see if you can find them: it will certainly keep the children entertained!
No town is complete without a good bookshop and in this, Aldeburgh excels. The Aldeburgh Bookshop is an independent shop that was founded almost 70 years ago. Its current owners, John and Mary James, have been in charge since 2000. Apart from a wonderful collection of books, a reading group and winning awards, they also founded the Aldeburgh
Literary Festival, which attracts a wide range of writers giving a variety of talks and bringing together people from all over the UK.
The next Festival takes place from 2nd to 5th March 2017
A craft butcher with pasture-fed, slow-grown meat and a passionate, progressive approach to butchery. If you’re on holiday in Aldeburgh, then you’d be smart to order a holiday cottage meat box, so that you can mix up nights out with nights in but always with quality food. Salter & King also make burgers, sausages and meatballs and offers an online shop, so that your holiday doesn’t have to stop when you get home.
Possibly the best dining experience in Aldeburgh, part of the landscape for over twenty years, the menu is big on seafood and the Head Chef and owner trained at La Gavroche - what’s not to love!