Pocket Britain
Britain > Suffolk > Aldeburgh

A small seaside town on the unspoilt East Suffolk coast notable for its shingle beach


Shingle Beach
Moot Hall
Town Centre
Aldeburgh Festival
Orford Ness
Aldeburgh is a small seaside town on the unspoilt East Suffolk coast notable for its Blue Flag shingle beach and fisherman huts with freshly caught fish and seafood for sale. It was first mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086 and its name means 'the old defended place' probably in reference to a Roman fort next to the River Alde, this structure along with much of the Tudor town, has now been lost to the sea.

Colourful Seafront Terrace
In the 16th Century it was a thriving port and shipbuilding was the main trade, Sir Francis Drake's ship the Golden Hind was built in Aldeburgh. The flag ship of the Virginia Company, the Sea Venture is also believed to have been built there in 1608. When the River Alde silted up and was unable to accommodate larger ships, the area went into decline and then survived as a fishing village until the nineteenth century, then becoming popular as a seaside retreat.

Fishing boat on the shingle beach
Aldeburgh is a great place for those wanting a tranquil seaside holiday with miles of unspoilt shingle coastline and heath lands. Just south of the beach at Aldeburgh is Orford Ness, which can be reached by a track leading from Aldeburgh, popular for sea fishing. Aldeburgh contains an area of conservation and lies within an area of Outstanding natural Beauty and the river is the location of Aldeburgh's very sucessful yacht club.

Aldeburgh beach
There are many excellent restaurants and pubs to be found - and very worthy of a mention is the renowned Aldeburgh fish and chip shop, described in The Times as "possibly the finest on the east coast". Town landmarks include the Moot Hall a timber framed building which for the past 400 years has been the meeting place of Aldeburgh Town Council. The Town Clerk's office is still there and it also houses the local museum. It was built in 1650 however in 1854 chimneys copied from Hampton Court were added. The church of St Peter and St Paul should definitely be paid a visit too, designed by John Piper and noted for its memorial window dedicated to the memory of Benjamin Britten.

Queueing for fish & chips in Aldeburgh

Moot Hall
Benjamin Britten moved to the town in 1942. In 1948, himself, Eric Crozier and Peter Pears founded the internationally renowned Aldeburgh Festival of arts, devoted mainly to classical music taking place at nearby Snape Maltings every June. Also since 2006 there is an annual food and drink festival which takes place each September and The Suffolk Craft Society hold an annual themed exhibition in the Peter Pears Gallery over July and August.
Britten died in Aldeburgh in 1976. Pears, a noted tenor and Britten's life-long partner, also died in Aldeburgh in 1986. Britten, Peter Pears and Imogen HoIst are all buried in Aldeburgh Churchyard, as is Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, England's first female doctor. There is also a memorial to the crew of the Aldeburgh lifeboat, who perished in 1899 during a service in December the lifeboat capsized, six crew died and a seventh man died later from his injuries. Acting Coxswain Charles Edward Ward was awarded a Silver Medal for the rescue of two of his comrades.

The church of St Peter & St Paul
Visitor Information
Aldeburgh Tourist Information Centre, 152 High Street, Aldeburgh, IP15 5AQ. Tel: 01728 453637
Moot Hall and the Aldeburgh Museum is open daily, April to October, 2.30pm to 5pm (from 12noon during June,July & August). Entry is FREE. Aldeburgh Museum, The Moot Hall, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5LE. Tel: 01728 454666

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy