Discover: Aldeburgh

The beautiful seaside town of Aldeburgh is on the unspoilt Suffolk Coast and often features as one of England best unspoilt Seaside destinations, it has a rich history in the arts and crafts and is just on the other side of the lakes from where Snape is and where the composer Benjamin Britten founded Snape Maltings Music and Arts centre in 1948 and is the home of the International Aldeburgh Festival of Art.

The shingle beach at Aldeburgh leads you past the Martello tower and into the Nature Reserve of Orford ness where seals bask, and nature thrives in this wild cut off spit of land 10 miles long and often just a stone’s throw wide.

Right at the very end of Orford Ness was where the Atomic Bomb triggers were developed in massive Pagodas which today host Art installations accessible by ferry from the delightful village of Orford where you can get boat trips from or visit the famous castle which stopped East Anglia from becoming independent, and of course enjoy the great pubs, smokeries and restaurants that make the village famous.

Going North from Aldeburgh you come to Thorpeness which was created as a holiday village in the 1910’s by Glencairn Stuart Ogilvy a rich Scottish Barrister, the boating lake was inspired by his friend J.M Barrie’s children’s novel ‘Peter Pan’, and generation of children have enjoyed its magic since.

There are nearby Nature Reserves, Yacht Clubs, Heathland, Lakeside walks, a myriad of excellent and famous restaurants and some very special character pubs as well as coffee shops, tea rooms, art galleries, theatres, a cinema, boutiques, antique shops and fresh fish to buy on the beach straight from the fishermen’s huts. Aldeburgh has a special atmosphere and is a special place to enjoy.

Your Cottage has direct access to a beautiful private Nature Reserve part owned by Martin and Beverley who own the cottages, it is a really lovely place to wander around please click this link for lots of photos and information: Nature Reserve.

It takes just 10 minutes to get to Aldeburgh from your cottage, which is recognised as the nicest unspoilt Seaside town in England. It is totally devoid of deckchairs, candy floss, amusement arcades and flashing lights but being crammed with fabulous restaurants, really great pubs, lovely old fashioned boutique shops, quaint architecture, a vibrant Arts scene and some great local fishing boats which will sell you a freshly caught lobster or sea bass from their beach huts.

The beautiful Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests are right on your doorstep offering wonderful walks and bikes rides. Very close to the cottages, cyclists can pick up safe, small lanes for easy cycling onwards to Snape, Tunstall Forest, Rendlesham and Orford and many other delightful places which are on the maps in the cottages.

Snape, with the famous Snape Maltings Art & Crafts Centre is just a couple of minutes’ drive away or you can walk to it through the nature Reserve and footpaths, it has a good pub sme great interiors and antique shops and a very good restaurant and some cafes.


Food & Drink

Friday Street Farm Shop (mere minutes from the cottages) is full-to-bursting with a large range of excellent homegrown and locally-made produce.

On site there is a welcoming café restaurant offering quality food, every day of the week, complete with their own farmlands which provide the farm shop and cafe’ with delicious home-grown fruit and vegetables. This is a brilliant farm shop which stocks local fresh seasonal produce, bread, cakes and all the basics in addition to luxury goods. Local meat and game are also sold.

Fresh line caught fish is now on site and on a Saturday there is a local cheese producer also on site. This is a real bonus for these cottages.

At Marlesford is also the very popular Farm Cafe which serves meals from breakfast through to tea time. Once again they also have a shop selling local farm produce including meat, bread, eggs etc. Local speciality foods.

The fantastic Pinneys at Orford is a must if you love smoked fish – they have their own amazing smoke house at the back of their restaurant.

The Butley Oysteridge in Orford has a wonderful cafe/restaurant and their own oyster beds.

The Pump Street Bakery in Orford is also a foodie haven.

Snape Maltings Fresh Food Pantry will include products from Newbourne Farm, Revett’s of Wickham Market, Marybelle Dairy, Pinneys of Orford and Hamish Johnston Fine Cheeses


Local Pubs:

There are four ‘Local’ pubs:

The Golden Key at Snape – this has won dining pub of the year in the past.

The Crown at Snape – produce much of their own meat etc that is served on the premises. We also recommend this pub

The Plough and Sail – this is right on the Maltings a much larger establishment.

The Ship at Blaxhall – traditional little pub serving good pub food.


Further Afield:

The Jolly Sailor, Orford – A small, traditional pub that serves good pub food. Dogs made very welcome. This is an exceptional pub with masses of history and character as the watering hole for the soldiers who kept the sientists ‘safe’ across the river on the isolated orford Ness Radar and Nuclear testing stations during WW2.

All the above are dog friendly.

The Crown and Castle, Orford – Very good restaurant owned by TV Celebrity Ruth Watson.


Restaurants in Aldeburgh (6 miles away)

The Lighthouse – Always very popular with guest’s modern menu with lots of fresh fish

Regatta – Another popular restaurant also well known for their fish dishes.

The Brudenell – The modern restaurant in this hotel, which overlooks the sea, is also very popular.


Antique Hunting

Yoxford Antique Centre and The Garden House, Yoxford.

Antique centres at Marlesford and at Campsea Ashe

Abbotts Saleroom at Campsea Ashe

Antique Centre, Wickham Market

Antique Centre, Snape Maltings

Further afield Halesworth, Beccles and Bungay also have shops worth a visit.


For Gardeners

The Exotic Garden Company, Aldeburgh

The Walled Garden, Benhall

Ladybird Nurseries, Gromford

All the above are within a few miles of the cottages and are all worth a visit with speciality plants to be found in them all.

Another great day out is the Minsmere Bird Sanctuary.


Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings is the wonderful Benjamin Britten Arts and Music Centre and has wonderful Concerts and has plenty to see and browse through for visitors. The Maltings are a mile or 2 from these cottages and 3 miles or so from Aldeburgh on the other side of the Mere.



Aldeburgh is perched on the edge of the shingle beach which tapers away into a massive spit which is a renown bird sanctuary, you can get a boat across at Orford with organised tractor trips around this fascinating area which for so long was ‘Off Limits’ being top secret test site for the MOD area.

A massive nature reserve stretches for miles down the split for land from Aldeburgh called Orford Ness, Right at the end are the mysterious MOD Pagodas, where much secret work was carried out in the 40’s and 50’s, these can sometimes be visited when they are used for big art installations and exhibitions, getting there by ferry and tractor from Orford is quite an experience in itself.

Orford of course not only has its very interesting Castle but is also home to The Butley Oysterage, one of the quaintest fish restaurants in England, you can enjoy cod and chips, a slice of buttered bread and a cup of tea or a bottle of Dom Perignon and a dozen oysters! They have their own oyster beds and have a great shop at the back where you can buy all kinds of fresh and smoked fish. There are also a couple of famous gastro pubs in Orford.

Orford is also the ferry access point to the end of Orford Ness and you can check with the National Trust when they are running their Tractor tours of the Nature Reserve which is only accessible from here by ferry from the tiny picturesque harbour.

Check out the National Trust website: National Trust – Orford Ness



On the mere at Thorpness. This is lovely for all the family. Cafe on site. Also at the mere in August is a spectacular firework display.



Framlingham – A wonderful castle owned by English Heritage a favourite with all the family. Great walks around the ramparts.

Orford – also owned by English Heritage



National Trust Anglo-Saxon burial site where the priceless treasures were discovered in 1939. Great for the children


About a 20 minute drive away, Woodbridge is a wonderful, riverside town with traditional streets and individual shops. Tide mill, windmill. This is a beautiful area and it will amaze you with its rural untouched qualities.

For more information, please visit The Suffolk Guide where I have an extensive insider’s guide to South Suffolk and check out ‘ My Sailing Trip ‘ which has a lot of photos of Orford, and Aldeburgh, naturally including many pubs and restaurants!


The Suffolk Coast

Below is an article about the Suffolk Coast

Joanna Symons, Telegraph Travel Newspaper January 2nd 2010.

‘Popular though the Lake District and West Country are as tourist destinations, they can be rather damp. If you want to reduce the risk of a rainy holiday, statistics show that you should head east.

Suffolk for instance, had only about a third as much rainfall as the Lake District last summer. It also happens to have one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in Britain.

Like all the best bits of British seaside, the 20-odd miles between the towns of Southwold and Orford are something of a time-warp. You will find miles of heathland and forest, salt marshes, natural beaches, wild shingle spits and quiet river estuaries.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the coast and surrounds becoming an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and celebrations will include the opening of new walking and cycling trails.

Among my favourite places here is the beach at Walberswick, backed by ranks of dunes and saltwater channels that are perfect for crabbing.

For walks head to the national Trust-owned coast at Dunwich, the nature trails at RSPB Minsmere reserve or the Alde estuary between Snape and Iken. Queue for sublime fish and chips in Aldeburgh, and eat them by Maggi Hambling’s shell sculpture on the beach.

Take in a concert at Benjamin Britten’s Snape Maltings nearby, or time your visit for one of the local festivals (Aldeburgh in June or Southwold’s Latitude in July and Ways with Words in November).

Potter among the reed channels and islands of the magical boating lake at Thorpeness or sink a glass of the local Adnams beer at one of the proper, old-fashioned pubs that still flourish in Suffolk. Climb the keep at Orford Castle and stop off at Blythburgh church, the Cathedral of the Marshes, where light streams in through high windows from the vast East Anglian skies.’


The Met Office regional statistics per annum.

The Lake District Suffolk

Rain fall 2300 – 3900mm 600 – 660 mm