Alde Burgh means “old fort” and is an English coastal town in Suffolk County located approximately 90 miles NE of London. Aldeburgh was once a prosperous port and ship building center in the 16th century and a fashionable seaside resort in the Victorian and Edwardian periods for the upper middle classes. When the River Alde silted up and was unable to accommodate larger ships, the area went into decline and operated as a fishing village until the 19th century when it became a popular tourist destination.
Northernmost of 103 English defensive towers built between 1808 & 1812 to resist a Napoleonic invasion. It is also the only surviving building of the fishing village Slaughden which was washed away by the North Sea in 1936. Currently run by Landmark Trust as a holiday apartment.
Controversial shell sculpture by local artist Maggie Hamblin dedicated to Benjamin Britten who became a resident of Aldeburgh in 1942 and used to walk the beach there in the afternoons. Pierced in the upright shell are the words “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” which are taken from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes.
Wood frame Tudor building built c.1550 as the Town Hall and still is the Town Hall. In the council chamber, scene of the trial in Benjamin Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes”, with maps and paintings of the neighborhood. The Museum room contains displays of local interest including objects from Snape Ship Burial. Moot Hall was once located in the center of town but now overlooks the ocean due to the erosion of the North Sea.
We left to visit Aldeburgh from Bury St. Edmund, our current home base. It is around 50 miles from Bury and took us about an hour and a half to drive. We arrived at 11 am and was able to find free 3 hour parking in the center of town on High Street. After walking around High Street and eating a late brunch at the White Lion Hotel, we moved the car to paid parking lot on the south end of town on Slaughden Road.
We then walked south to the Martell Tower from the Craig Path promenade. Temperatures were cool, around 17 Celsius (62 F) and there was a stiff breeze. Locals called the weather a bit blowy. Next we walked north on the Craig Path back into town and visited Moot Hall and the small boating pond next to it. After having a gelato and coffee at Libardis next to the boating pond we walked to the Parish Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul Aldeburgh and visited the graves of Benjamin Britton and his partner Peter Pears.
On our return to town we walked Crabbe and King Streets which parallel High Street, and near the end of King Street we had fish & chips at Aldeburgh Fish & Chip Shop which people were waiting in line to get. You get the fish & chips in a bag and they were fantastic. We ate the meal sitting on the wall at Craig Path watching the ocean.
As we left town we stopped at “The Scallop” and walked on the small section of beach that actually had sand. Most of the beach near town is made up of shingle, which looks like rounded rock/gravel and is tricky to walk on not to mention exhausting if you do it for very long.
If you decide to take a day trip to Aldeburgh be sure to take a warm jacket and a rain coat. There are lots of shops to browse in and cafes to get a snack and a drink. There is free parking on High Street but you have to get early to find a spot and you can only stay for 3 hours. Other paid lots are in the center and both ends of town. If you have kids take them to the boating pond and let them float something in the water.
Two Digital Gypsy Rating – 3 Stars
Although we enjoyed our day trip to Aldeburgh we’re not dying to return for another visit which is one of the metrics we use when giving ratings.
- Welcome to England or AKA Baby It’s Cold Outside
- Southwold UK