On This Day – Aldeburgh in Suffolk

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

Just a couple of years ago on 7th August 2018 I was in East Anglia in the UK visiting the town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk…

Aldeburgh Family

After a visit to the seaside resorts of Southwold and Lowestoft we travelled a little further south today to the town of Aldeburgh pronounced Awl borough, famous most of all for being the home town of the English composer Benjamin Britten.  Place names are like this in East Anglia – Mundeslea is Munslea and Happisburgh is Haze-brrr.

I wondered if my grandchildren would like it because Aldeburgh is an old fashioned genteel sort of place where people of a certain age (mostly my age, I confess) visit to amble along the pebble beach.  The objective for most is to pass judgment on the scallop sculpture which seems to be the most controversial thing about the place (half the town love it, the other half hate it) and later find a tea shop for a cucumber sandwich and a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.

Aldeburgh Suffolk Beach Scallop Sculpture

Aldeburgh is that sort of a place, a bit upmarket, a bit fond of itself, snobby really.  In 2012 the residents fought an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to prevent working class Tesco from opening a supermarket in the town because they didn’t consider it appropriate, they probably would have preferred middle class Waitrose.  Tesco got its approval and is still there but in nearby Southwold the town objected to Costa Coffee, it opened in 2013 but closed down in 2019 citing local opposition.

I confess that I like the sculpture (I also like Tesco) and it seems that a lot of other visitors do also because they are drawn to it like moths to a flame.  I would welcome something like it in my nearby seaside town of Cleethorpes for sure. Local people  claim that it spoils the beach and regularly petition to have it removed.

When I say local people I wonder just who they are because according to official statistics second homes make up about a third of the town’s residential property.  This is an attractive and sought after location for people with lots of money that work in London.  A sort of Chelsea by the Sea.  This is the sort of thing that local people should be campaigning against.

Aldeburgh Beach Walk

So we visited the sculpture and the children climbed on it and used it as an alternative playground and then we walked with some difficulty along the blue flag beach with pebbles crunching under our feet and occasionally leaking into the space between our feet and our sandals requiring several stops to remove the offending sharp articles before we could comfortably continue.

Along the way we passed the fishing boats drawn up onto the shingle, rugged craft with peeling paint, rusted rigging and knotted nets, their work done now for the day and undergoing basic maintenance and essential repairs and the overnight catch being sold in the simple wooden huts with chalk board signs along the side of the road.  I bought some overpriced smoked fish filo pastry parcels and looked forward to them later with my tea.

Aldeburgh Boat and Beach

Eventually we reached the town, the children had ice cream and we stopped for tea and cake at the Cragg Sisters Tea Room which served a mighty fine cup of tea and some excellent cake and scones.  As I anticipated the children were tired of Aldeburgh now and anxious to get back to the swimming pool at the Kessingland holiday park so while they went back without us I found myself in a street of expensive shops with Kim and my Mother, both determined to return with an unnecessary purchase.

I left them to it and wandered the High Street until I came across a long line of people all patiently queuing for something, rather like a line of Russian housewives lining up for bread in a time of shortage.

It was a fish and chip shop, a famous seaside fish and chip shop as it turned out that is regularly voted the best in England and clearly a lot of people agreed with this judgment.  I would have liked some fish and chips but I am not very patient in a queue and I had just had a cheese scone and tomato pickle at the tea room so I declined to join the end of the line and went instead to the beach to photograph the boats.

But I couldn’t get the desire for batter and grease and salt and vinegar out of my head so later I had fish and chips in nearby Lowestoft because few things capture the spirit of the English seaside quite like the furious sizzle of a fillet of haddock in a deep fat fryer.

Chips, Crisps or Fries – How Do You Eat Yours?

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

35 responses to “On This Day – Aldeburgh in Suffolk

  1. It looks nice there.

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  2. Well, I was one of those who campaigned against Tesco coming to Harrogate when we lived there. Not because it was Tesco, but because yet another supermarket, and the traffic it generates would have been unsustainable. It didn’t come. And I won’t use Costa here. The money earned by the local independent stores stays in the town, and doesn’t vanish into some central Costa pot somewhere. Lecture over! You’ve sold Aldeburgh rather well. Never been there – yet.

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  3. “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” ?What does that mean? You can’t go wrong with a walrus and a carpenter in my opinion.

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  4. We had a quick look round Aldeburgh before a concert at Snape Maltings and said we would like to return for a longer stay. Thanks for reminding us – must add it to our list of places to visit in better times.

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  5. Not a Costa or a Tesco fan, and definitely won’t pay Waitrose prices. Cheapskate, some would say! I think I’d like Aldeburgh though. 🙂 🙂

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  6. Looking good, nice to take a trip in the countryside!

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  7. Fish and chips with salt and vinegar for me. No mayonnaise. I trust the crusts were cut off the cucumber sandwiches 🙂

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  8. It looks lovely. We are off to Kent tomorrow – 90 minutes away only but I am excited due to lack of travels!

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  9. Ah, one I remember…

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  10. Sounds like a pleasant trip with something for every one, Andrew. I was wondering where the well-earned pint was, however. And I like the sculpture. –Curt

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  11. Cannot go to the seaside without having fish and chips.
    My pet hate is the ugly big wheel. A blot on the seaside landscape (so to speak) and ruin the promenading. Everywhere seems to have them these days.

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  12. Hi Andrew, I know this area quite well as my Mum lives in Lowestoft. There are some beautiful villages in the area but my favourite is Southwold, Did you go to Black shore in Southwold? It’s quaint, wooden fishermen’s huts and moorings along the creek and there is a lovely walk round to the village of Walberswick from here too, or for a shortcut the tiny ferry across. Last time I used the ferry it was just a man with his rowing boat!

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  13. We went to Aldburgh a couple of weeks ago and it was so crowded! Not as bad as Bournemouth has been, but the pavements were very busy and there was no opportunity for social distancing at all. Queues outside all the shops and most of the car-parks very full. It wasn’t a pleasurable experience. We needed to see the sea but should have gone late in the day instead or to somewhere like Covehithe which is accessible only by walking across fields. Fantastic photos, Andrew.

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