By Published On: September 11, 20220 Comments

I first visited Aldeburgh around 70 years ago. My maternal grandparents brought me. What a disappointment. No sand!

But some years later, I did not want sand. Or souvenir shops, candy floss stalls, bingo, noise, amusement arcades, and general razzmatazz. So I came back to Aldeburgh, walked the prom, enjoyed the fresh air, relative tranquility, and the quiet dignity of a Victorian seaside resort. There is atmosphere in the town, where Benjamin Britton and Peter Pears gave the community a somewhat revised identity. 

Wendy and I usually have 2 short breaks in Aldeburgh each year. In the summer, but out of season (= out of school holidays), we stay at the Brudenell, which is probably the most southerly building on the seafront. In the winter, we stay at the Wentworth, which is probably the most northerly building on the seafront in the town. The 2 hotels have very different, but quite distinct, personalities.

Neither is modern, though maybe the Brudenell has been modernised. There is a lift. There are good coastal views from the excellent restaurant. And with one’s windows open, one can hear the sea pounding on the pebbles day and night. The Wentworth is possibly older, more traditional, and family run. The restaurant is top class, and there are roaring log fires in the winter.

We believe that north and south Aldeburgh also have different personalities. It’s a generalisation, but in the south around the Brudenell, youngish and young middle-aged couples are frightfully well spoken, have children called Gus, Hugo and Theo alongside Tamara and Persephone, and have jolly good fun with quoits and beach barbecues. And in the north around the Wentworth, people are elderly, tweedy, and some are addressed as Colonel, or M’Lord. A sweeping generalisation.

But Aldeburgh has not changed too much since Victoria was on the throne. There is something reassuring and to be treasured about unchangeability. I find that in the God I worship and seek to serve. I find it in His Word, the Bible. I find it in the best of British traditions, such as good manners and etiquette. And so I intend to continue short summer and winter breaks in Aldeburgh for the foreseeable future.

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Barrie Lawrence

Hi! I’m Barrie Lawrence, author, speaker, ex-dental surgeon and bookseller, Christian.

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