Aldeburgh: Facts and Information

The town of Aldeburgh is located in the county of Suffolk on England’s east coast. It is a popular holiday destination, and it has a population of between 2000 and 2500.

Aldeburgh Facts

  • The name Aldebugh means old fortification in Old English, but any trace of an Anglo-Saxon settlement has been lost to the North Sea.
  • Aldebugh was granted borough status in 1529 during the reign of Henry VIII. Most of Aldeburgh’s Tudor buildings have been lost to the sea, but the Moot Hall still survives. The timber-framed building (now home to Aldeburgh Museum) was built in around 1520, and is one of the best-preserved Tudor public buildings in England. It is still used for Town Council meetings.
  • In the 16th century and early 17th century, Aldeburgh was a key port and a centre of shipbuilding. The Sea Venture (the flagship of the Virginia Company) was probably built at Aldeburgh (around 1608), along with Francis Drake’s ships, the Greyhound and the Golden Hind.
  • Over time, the River Alde began to silt up. Because large ships were no longer able to berth there, Aldebugh’s importance as a port declined.
  • Fishing was the primary source of employment and revenue for the people of Aldeburgh until the arrival of Victorian tourists in the 19th century.
  • Aldeburgh has two churches – St Peter and St Paul (an Anglican parish church with its 14th-century tower), and the Church of Our Lady and St Peter (a Roman Catholic church located at the top of the Town Steps).
  • Aldeburgh was a parliamentary borough from 1571 to 1832.
  • Aldeburgh became the first British town to elect a female mayor. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was appointed to the role in 1908.
  • Sam Wright became Aldeburgh’s town crier in 2006 at the age of 15, making him the youngest town crier in the world.

Aldeburgh Beach

Can you swim at Aldeburgh?

Aldeburgh beach is often safe for swimming, but it is always a good idea to observe the sea before you decide whether or not to go in. Sometimes the sea can be very rough and it will not be safe for swimming.

Many Aldeburgh residents and holiday-makers take a dip in the sea every morning, even during the winter months.

Every New Year’s Day there is an organised sea swim at Aldeburgh, with races for adults and children.

Can you BBQ on Aldeburgh beach?

BBQs are allowed on the beach at Aldeburgh, and there isn’t a specific zone for BBQ use. All of the normal precautions must be adhered to, and the BBQ and any litter it generates must be disposed of safely.

Can you take dogs on Aldeburgh beach?

From 1st May to 30th Septemeber, dogs are not permitted on the beach at Aldeburgh. During the other months of the year, dogs can be taken onto the beach.

Is Aldeburgh beach sandy?

Aldeburgh is primarliy a pebble beach. During the year, patches of sand sometimes appear along the seashore, but these are few and far between, and typically do not remain for very long.

Other Aldeburgh Information

Who lived in Aldeburgh?

  • George Crabbe, the famous poet, was born in Aldeburgh. The town is featured in his poems The Village and The Borough. The Benjamin Britten opera Peter Grimes is based on The Borough.
  • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became Britain’s first female mayor when she was made Mayor of Aldeburgh. She was also the first woman to qualify as a physician and surgeon.
  • M. R. James set the story A Warning to the Curious in a fictional version of Aldeburgh named Seaburgh. The Martello Tower and the White Lion Hotel appear in the story.
  • Composer Benjamin Britten moved to Aldeburgh in 1942. along with Peter Pears and Eric Crozier, he founded the Aldeburgh Festival. He is buried alongside Peter Pears in the graveyard of the Aldeburgh parish church.
  • Ruth Rendell, the author of the Chief Inspector Wexford crime thrillers, was an Aldeburgh resident.
  • During his tenure as Ipswich Town manager, Roy Keane lived in Aldeburgh.
  • Actress Miranda Raison has a holiday residence in Aldeburgh. She is also a member of the Aldeburgh Golf Club.
  • Isabella Summers (founding member of Florence and the Machine) comes from Aldeburgh.
  • Actor Bill Nighy has a house in Aldeburgh.

How do you pronounce Aldeburgh?

Although it looks as if Aldeburgh should be pronounced auld-ee-burg, it is actullay pronounced auld-buh-ruh (or alld-bruh)

What is there to do in Aldeburgh?

Does Aldeburgh have a pier?

Construction of a pier at Aldeburgh took place opposite the Moot Hall between 1876 and 1878. It was intended to be more then 170 metres long, although construction was stopped before it could be completed. A Norweigan barque (a three-mast sailing ship) collided with it, causing significant damage. The pier fell into disrepair, and its remains were removed in the early 1900s.

There is currently no pier at Aldeburgh.

Are there arcades at Aldeburgh?

There are not any arcades or amusements at Aldeburgh. There is, however, a cinema.

Is Aldeburgh close to Southwold?

Southwold is located to the north of Aldeburgh with the villages of Thorpeness, Sizewell, Dunwich, and Walberswick between them. It is possible to walk along the coast from Aldeburgh to Southwold. The route is approximately 18 miles long.

You cannot take the same route by car. Instead, you must journey via Leiston and Westleton in order to reach Southwold by road. It takes about 30 minutes to get from Aldeburgh to Southwold by car.

How long does it take to walk from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness?

It takes just over 40 minutes to walk from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness.