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Aldeburgh Festival itinerary

6 Nights Itinerary

Across three weekends in June, the annual Aldeburgh Festival is a world-renowned classical music event, founded in 1948 by composer Benjamin Britten, singer Peter Pears and producer Eric Crozier.

Whether you’re here for a few days or a week, we give you some ideas for days out, trips and things to do when you’re not enjoying performances at Snape maltings.

 

Choose Your Day…
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 1
Aldeburgh and Thorpeness
Get your bearings

The first thing to do is get your bearings. The Festival is based at Snape Maltings, six miles from Aldeburgh itself. Aldeburgh is a delightful coastal town, to the north of the river Alde, full of good restaurants, pubs and cafes and known for its seafood. Stretch your legs with a 2 mile walk to Thorpeness, a delightful ‘Merrie England’ holiday village with half-timbered houses, a boating lake and iconic House in the Clouds.

 

Snape maltings, Suffolk

Day 2
Dunwich, Walberswick and Southwold
The Suffolk coast

Further north is the medieval port of Dunwich… well, it would be if it weren’t now under the sea. What’s left now is a small coastal village but go into the museum to see a diorama of how it used to look.  Nearby is RSPB Minsmere, for many years the host of BBC’s Springwatch.

Head to Walberswick, a quaint hamlet by the river Blyth, from where you can get a rowing boat ferry across to Southwold, one of the prettiest coastal towns you’ll find but very much a working community – at its heart is the famous Adnams Brewery. Walk to it along the sandy beach and you’ll get a lovely view of the lighthouse and pier.

Day 3
Woodbridge and walking
Explore an AONB

On the river Deben, Woodbridge is a charming market town with lots of independent shops on the High Street. A highlight is the Tide Mill Living Museum and nearby is National Trust Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon ship burial site.

The Tide Mill, Woodbridge

Next you could put on your walking shoes and head into the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB to explore the unique countryside. We like the walk from Snape Maltings along the Alde estuary to Iken church. Or go to Orford and head along the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve towards Aldeburgh.

Day 4
Bury St Edmunds
Visit the famous wool towns

Rural East of England made a fortune from the wool trade in medieval times, and its evidence is still there in the Suffolk Wool Towns. Magnificent churches and higgledy-piggledy timbered houses are the hallmark of these market towns, including Lavenham, Long Melford, Clare, Hadleigh and Sudbury.

Bury St Edmunds Abbey

Bury St Edmunds is the largest, with its cathedral, abbey gardens, role in the Magna Carta, story of Saint Edmund, contemporary shopping and indie shops in the old lanes.

Day 5
Beautiful Constable Country
Dedham Vale and Ipswich

Head south to the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley and you’re in the beautiful countryside that inspired John Constable in his childhood. Chocolate box villages, meandering rivers, meadows and ancient woodland characterise this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As Constable said, ‘I associate my careless boyhood with all that lies on the banks on the Stour. Those scenes made me a painter.’ Head to the National Trust-run Flatford Mill and walk in Constable’s footsteps.

Flatford Mill, Stour Valley

If you head to Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich you’ll see the largest collection of Constable paintings outside London and while in Suffolk’s county town take in the waterfront, home to bars and restaurants, The Old Custom House and boat trips along the river Orwell.

Day 6
Unique Broads National Park
Get out on the water

There are more than 125 miles of navigable, lock-free waterways in the Broads – that’s more than Amsterdam or Venice. You can hire a day boat in the southern Broads at Waveney River Centre at Burgh Saint Peter and head to the charming market town of Beccles or Burgh Castle where you’ll find the remains of a Roman fortress with stunning views across Halvergate Marshes.

River Waveney at St Olaves

Pack a picnic and you’ll enjoy a relaxing day on the water, taking in the quiet countryside, birdwatching and you might even seen an otter.