Report of visit to Aldeburgh, June 2023

Visit to ALDEBURGH 23rd June 2023

Twenty-eight members enjoyed a memorable visit to Aldeburgh – a day of several very different parts. On arrival we were dropped off at the Red House: a grade 2 listed 17th Century farmhouse, the home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. The peaceful setting allowed Britten to work without distraction and contributed to his and Pears’ decision to stay there for the rest of their lives. The interior provides an accurate picture of their life together – telling not only their story but also that of the family, friends and famous guests who stayed or visited there. It is also home to their collection of early and mid-20th century art – a joy to see, especially their collection of John Piper’s paintings.

The five-acre garden is delightful, with mixed borders, full of colour and scent with a background of ancient trees. Britten and Pears entertained guests, grew vegetables, and played croquet and tennis in their garden. There were many important social occasions which took place here, such as the celebration of Britten’s life peerage in 1976. Today it has evolved into a wildlife-friendly environment that reflects their taste in flowers and plants.

Lunchtime was spent in Aldeburgh itself, with several members enjoying the famous fish and chips. It was a lovely sunny day, just right for sitting by the sea, enjoying the fresh air, or exploring the shops and galleries.

But then we moved on to that other great Britten contribution to the cultural life of East Anglia: Snape Maltings, with its wonderful concert hall and sculpture garden. We were tiring now but still managed to visit the specialist shops and of course the tea shops.

We are now looking forward to our next excursion to Sutton Hoo on 21st July, leaving Sudbury Bus Station at 9am.

Below are some photos taken by one of the members (including the seagull that nicked his sandwich!).

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