Newest Review: ... bookshop and a nice jewellers, to name but two, as well as a few shops selling quirky gifts and trinkets. In terms of eating and drink... more
Aldeburgh has it all
Aldeburgh in General
Member Name: MrsD76
Aldeburgh in General
Advantages: The perfect weekend getaway
Disadvantages: Can be pricey, and no good for party animals
Aldeburgh is in Suffolk on the southeast coast of England, about 15 miles from Felixstowe and 18 miles from Ipswich. We have visited Aldeburgh about five times now - on our own, with our young daughter and with friends. As we live in London, it's a complete change of pace and lifestyle which is exactly what we want now and then! However, we are always a bit surprised by the complete difference to the city, like the places that serve dinner from 6-8pm as this seems so early to us. But how nice it is to go somewhere where people smile at you for no reason as you walk past them and even say hello - unheard of in London! And I'm sure we're one of many city-dwellers that head to Aldeburgh for the odd weekend - unfortunately we aren't one of those who have our own holiday home here!
The main street in Aldeburgh is extremely pleasant for a stroll, and although there is the odd chain store (Fat Face, Joules, and a Co-Op supermarket) there are also several independent shops - although they do tend to be a little on the pricey side. There is a good bookshop and a nice jewellers, to name but two, as well as a few shops selling quirky gifts and trinkets.
In terms of eating and drinking, there are a few nice pubs up the main drag, several with outdoor seating, as well as a large-ish branch of the pizza chain Prezzo. Most of the pubs and hotels also offer food, and there are a few other restaurants - Lighthouse and 152 Aldeburgh, both of which aren't very cheap, but worth a visit if you fancy splashing out. Munchies Café is perfect for bacon butties (made in the biggest buns I've ever seen) and gorgeously fresh pain au chocolat and coffees. There is also the lovely little Ives ice cream parlour which serves a medley of assorted flavours, from orange choc chip to ginger and honey. And finally, if you enjoy queueing, there are two fish and chip shops on the high street which always seem to have queues of 30-40 people outside them. It's only fish and chips, but they like them....
There is also a tiny cinema which has been around for almost 100 years and has, I think, just the one screen. No big multiplexes here!
The high street runs parallel to a stony beach which is great for kids to have a play, even if there is no soft sand to sink into. Although you wouldn't get me in the water for any amount of money, there are usually some brave folk having a swim - on my last visit two elderly ladies were having a brisk dip, putting us younger scaredy cats to shame! If you want to sample the catch of the day, check out one of the little huts on the beach that sells fresh fish.
A few miles up the road is Thorpeness, which boasts a man-made boating lake, a nice pub and a little antiques shop. At two miles up the coast, it's very walkable if you fancy stretching your legs and walking off those fish and chips! If you are staying a few days and have a car, there are plenty of other little towns to visit both on the coast and inland. Snape Maltings, with its lovely array of galleries and shops, is a must if you have the time.
The huts along the beach in Southwold (about 20 miles away) are worth looking out for - they are picture postcard perfect and you'll struggle not to get your camera out for a shot. Alongside the typical English seaside town amusement arcade is the charming and quirky Under The Pier show - a small arcade housing a bunch of unusual slot machines - here you can experience a fly's eye view of the world (beware of the swat) or enjoy your own private solar eclipse, as well as many other unusual pursuits! The pier was built in 1900 and has just been put up for sale, so if you have a spare £6m knocking about, this could all be yours.
In terms of accommodation, there are many bed and breakfasts dotted around, although we have always opted for self-catering, and there are lots of holiday homes and cottages on and around the high street. Prices vary and are not cheap, but this isn't a cheap area so expect to pay quite a bit for a weekend break. The self-catering accommodation we've stayed in has always been of a really high standard.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and head somewhere pretty and friendly, Aldeburgh is a great option. It's great for romantic getaways, weekends with friends and for a break with the kids - with the lovely high street, nice beach and plenty of walks and activities to enjoy in neighbouring towns, it's really got it all!
Summary: A gorgeous English coastal town