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Suffolk Tourist Guide


Aldeburgh is a pretty coastal town on the river Alde and enjoys breathtaking views both seawards and following the river Alde inland towards Orford. Its name comes from 'Alde Burgh' meaning "old fort" and the town’s history is closely linked to the changes time and Mother Nature have wrought to the coastal map.

Aldeburgh was once an important Tudor port and its shipbuilders were responsible for Francis Drake’s ‘Golden Hind’. But over time the River Alde silted up taking its toll on the town’s fortunes, and coastal erosion swept away the heart of its old town. Some historic buildings have survived the centuries, such as 400-year old Moot Hall (picture below), the Norman Church and a Martello tower.

To find out all about the strange, circular look out buildings known as Martello Towers which are a feature of the East Anglian coastline, take a look at our article on Martello Towers, and to book a stay in the Landmark Trust's Martello Tower on the Aldeburgh Coast (pictured below) please click on the link above. This Tower is one of the 5 Landmark Trust sites throughout the UK where Antony Gormley's life-size, standing iron sculptures were installed for 12 months from May 2015. The works have been conceived in specifically for each location and you can access the roof terrace of Martello Tower by appointment on the last Friday of every month between 12 and 2pm (on a half hour tour basis) by email or phone 01628 825925.

martello tower

Aldeburgh had to wait until the 19th Century fashion for beaches and craze for sea air brought back visitors in quantity, establishing it as a popular seaside resort.



Today Aldeburgh is famous for many things - good food, great fish & chips, Aldeburgh Music, Maggi Hamblings' Scallop on the beach, as well as a vibrant art and music scene. There are several Art Galleries in the town including one from Caroline Wiseman based in the iconic South Lookout. Keep an eye on Art Exhibitions for details of current Exhibitions.

Aldeburgh is also famous as the home of composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. There are many reminders of his life about the town and you can visit St Peter and St Paul's Church in the town where he is buried.

Every June a classical music festival takes place at nearby Snape Maltings. This festival was founded by Britten along with Eric Crozier and Peter Pears in 1948. It has taken place ever since and is a fitting tribute to the three. For details on the Festival see Aldeburgh Festival and Aldeburgh Music

One of the most controversial monuments celebrating the life of Benjamin Britten is 'The Scallop', created by local artist Maggie Hambling. This sea shell sculpture sits on Aldeburgh's beach to the north of the town. There have been petitions to have the shell removed as some see it as a blot on the landscape which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but others feel it is a perfect reminder of Britten and a good tourist attraction!

Far from being a 'look, don't touch' piece of art, visitors are encouraged to sit on the Scallop and watch the sea. Britten himself loved the view so much he took a walk on the beach every afternoon.

For weekend seadogs Aldeburgh has a very active yacht club and teaches sailing to juniors and adults. There are also two popular golf courses, all-weather tennis courts, a boat lake and, of course, excellent swimming.

Wild Adventures under Suffolks Skies

Wild Adventures in Aldeburgh

If you'd like to explore the area in greater depth, check out what's coming up at Wild Adventures under Suffolk's Skies as they offer an all-season events programme including 'Photography Days on Havergate Island', 'Tidal Travel Log - Landscape Photography Workshops', the 'Big Wild Sleepouts on Havergate Island', late evening walks to hear nightjars on a Suffolk Sandlings heathland, and a range of other guided walks

Aldeburgh’s strong local community shares activities and knowledge with the visitor, providing poetry and arts and craft residential courses. The pretty high street has craft, food and antiques shops, independent boutiques as well as some national chains, plus a myriad of pubs and an independent cinema.


Dunan House B&B, Aldeburgh

Dunan House, Aldeburgh - Suffolk B&B Accommodation

This large and spacious B&B accommodation is located just a short walk from the seafront and town centre. Breakfasts are delicious and prepared using the very best home-grown and local ingredients. There are fantastic views across the marshes to the river and beyond, and families are warmly welcomed. Please click on the link above for more information.

Aldeburgh certainly won't disappoint those looking for an active break. The River Alde itself offers opportunities for sailing. There are centres nearby that offer horse riding and even llama trekking. Bird watching is another local past time with RSPB Minsmere and Havergate Island both close at hand. Please see RSPB in Suffolk.

Another of Aldeburgh's claims to fame is one to sample at mealtimes. The town's fish and chip shop has been owned by the Cooney family since the 1970's and was described by 'The Times' as 'possibly the finest on the East Coast'. What better way to end an active day than with some local fish and chips?!

There are a number of excellent hotel and accommodation options to choose from in Aldeburgh, such as -

The Bru

The Brudenell Hotel, Aldeburgh which is literally a pebble's throw from the beach.

White Lion Hotel

The White Lion Hotel, Aldeburgh has 38 cosy and inviting bedrooms some with sea views as far as the eye can see.

Aldeburgh Self Catering Cottages from Best of Suffolk
Self catering in Aldeburgh couldn't be easier with everything you need on your doorstep, and Best of Suffolk have a wide range of Aldeburgh holiday cottages for you to choose from so check them out here today
Self catering options Aldeburgh


Thorpeness Hotel and Apartments & Golf Club, near Aldeburgh

Finally, the nearby Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel, Thorpeness has 36 rooms, some overlooking the Meare, gardens or golf course. This is 2 minutes drive along the Coast in the pretty village of Thorpeness

For a list of accommodation and things to do in Aldeburgh, please also see:
A Guide to Aldeburgh Hotels

Accommodation in Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh Attractions

Visit Aldeburgh

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About the author - Sarah Quinlan is the owner of the Suffolk Guides. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahinSuffolk or Google+
Suffolk Tourist Guide
Suffolk Tourist Guide