They walked across the beach, their hearts entwined. Foaming gusty water lapping at their ankles, pebbles scurrying like sand between their toes. Strong hints of rain dampened the horizon, her curls drenched in torrential downpour. But she didn’t mind; for in this land where Scallop’s ‘were revered’, houses were sherbet pastels, and beaches drowned in pebbles, she felt alive. For there was something sentimental about rain at the seaside. The torrents causing her to squeal with racacous glee. The showers dappling on the grey waters. A blue ruched dress, the shade of a newly hatched duck egg. Splattered with rain spots that made it seem like she really was the part-time mermaid that she professed to be. Her love looked on, and smiled. An impish grin reaching his eyes. For they were in the land of the ‘retro seaside’, where time stood still. They had discovered unique things for couples to do around the UK in the past. But now, they searched high and low for romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh too.
And so they travelled. Making their way to Brudenell Hotel, with glorious glee. Her in a yellow 90’s style Care Bear shirt, tucked loosely into denim jeans. A dark blue cordorouy blazer, belt hanging low. A mustard beret and neon yellow kitten heels. Him in what he called his ‘Lumberjack’ couture. Black plaid, offsetting his ginger beard, stonewashed denim jeans. His favourite monochrome trainers she’d brought him mere months ago. An Uber, a train, and two buses later, and they had arrived. Welcomed into the storm, where the sky crackled with its tempetous nature. But to A, it was romantic. A far cry from the sun-drenched climes that Instagram afforded. This was real. This was accessible. This was Aldeburgh. They didn’t let the weather dampen their fun. Unshackled from the rat-race that was London, they bloomed in the rain. Their shoulders loosening, their joints easing. The copy-paste smiles, no longer existing. Real, genuine authentic joy, that made them find their inner child again.
They were told by locals that this was unusual. That the sun clambered at this time of year, enveloping tourists in its warming rays. Offsetting the bite of the North Sea breeze that threw hats into its ravenous waters. But in some way, she loved the rain. In London, she hated it. She despised being indoors, itching to get outside. She felt trapped, caged. But in Aldeburgh, it felt different. As soon as they hopped off the train, they relaxed. All was calm here. Slow living, a place which would be added to the beautiful UK staycations hall of fame. She trudged her battered suitcase across the pebbles, Brudenell Hotel in near sight. A beachside haven, where they could stay, relax and make magical memories. On the cusp of spring, they entered, into the most equisite coastal retreat. They skipped to their room, urging the lift to go quicker. Blown away at the sight that was before them. The superior deluxe seaview room was the definition of magic. An obvious nautical theme throughout, with underlying elegant minimalism.
Hearing the roar of the sea waves cascade over rocks felt like poetry to her ears. A triumph, wrapped up in a coastal bow. Soft whispers of spittle from the sky. Tapping on the window with feverish enthusiasm. And so their quest for romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh begun. A couple’s haven, where 19th Century holiday villas lined the promenade. The beach just a stone’s throw away. Sunset on the horizon, the squabble of seagulls rinsing their wings in the rippling waters. Though it seemed like it was ‘in the middle of nowhere’, she was surprised by its vibrancy. Home to Benjamin Britten, the infamous composer, and pianist. The Red House, a glorious converted Farm Estate, magical even in stormy weather. A gin tour, just next door to the Brudenell, the finest Gin, in all the land. Sweeping landscapes, and swarthy marshlands. Yellow polka dot wellies caked in mud. Lush, freshly cut grass, the scent of spring, permeating the air gloriously. A museum or two, a lazy stroll. Aldeburgh by night. Aldeburgh by day. In just two days, she had fallen in love with Aldeburgh, and then some.
And so, they compiled with the greatest care, the ultimate staycation guide. A tale of a young (ish) couple in love, who had found a hidden treasure. Romantic, sweet, and sentimental date ideas in Suffolk, that just happened to be quirky too. A contrast in archtitecture, modern vs sugary pastels. Semi-modern vs preserved Tudor buildings. Red brick, and timber frames. Holiday homes, and soaring glass buildings in the most marvellous of shapes. Walks along the beach, and sort-of mad- jumps into the sea. Dinner with a view, and breakfast served with idillic contentment. Dancing in the rain, their hair matted and tangled, letting the joy of seaside life, turn their frowns into smiles. Despite only being in Aldeburgh for two days, she had found the best things to see and do in Suffolk, without a shadow of a doubt. But what would they do first?
Book A Room By The Seaside With A View
It was like they had won the lottery. As soon as they had opened their Brudenell Hotel room door, their eyes glazed over. Transfixed in a humble stupor, even when the rain hammered against the open plan-bedroom window. They would tumble into each other’s arms, overlooking the sea. Bouncing on the bed, in almost-matching pyjamas. Her, in an elegant yet vibrant tropical blue satin set. Him in an anime inspired look. A clash of blue, and orange, that somehow melded beautifully with hers. She knew it was a ‘Superior Deluxe Seaview’ room. But that didn’t prepare them for what they would see next. Dreamy tones of teals, peacock hues, and aqua accents made her gasp audibly.
At first glance, they saw whites, and browns. It was classy, minimalist. A far cry from the dopamine brights that she frequented. But then, there was the colour that she loved. The en-suite bathrom, furnished with indigo, teal, and navy tiles. A wooden ceramic bathtub, with accented shelves. Quaint wooden ship bathroom holders, lining the tiled shelves. Stonewashed marbled floors. A shower opposite the bathtub made of glass. Clean, precise, understated. Her partner coaxing fragrant bubbles into the bath, scalding hot. Folding herself up into the steam of the tub, letting her worries melt away. Scooping her tangled curls into a tropical printed shower cap, tendrils escaping furiously. He splashed water at her, as she laughed. Sitting on the edge of the bath, until he himself was soaked. Was there room for both of them? Not really. But he folded himself up. That six foot Viking. Playfully flicking soapy bubbles at her reddening skin. It seemed simple. How could a bubble bath be a date idea? Then again, to A, simple date ideas were often the best. Pretending they were in a gloriously warm sea. Her blue hands and feet, slowly coaxed into submission.
He brought her flowers, and she burst out loud. Flowers that were almost dying, limp in pursuit. But she didn’t mind. In fact she was touched. Plucking a single pink bloom, and placing it over her eye playfully. She got dressed, and he did too. The bubbles melting onto the tiled floor. Padding into the bedroom/ living room, letting the memories of Aldeburgh wash over her. A pillow fight in sort-of-matching pyjamas, on the comfiest of beds. Grabbing soft, white, plain pillow cases, and charging at each other with childish exuberance. Hearing the ocean that some called home, where time was fragmented in couple’s play. There was silence in the stormy shadows, save for the crackle of the odd person crunching through the pebbles. The splash of the waves, as it was coming into tide. She surveyed the room, burrowing into a plush baby blue dressing gown. Floral, printed curtains rippling behind plush blue armchairs. It felt oddly nostalgic. Cradled in her love’s lap, furrowing in his warmth. Feeling his love radiate and course through her body, like delicious elation.
When she was warm, she potted over to the cupboard next to the bed. A mix between blue and green, where a treasure trove awaited. Teas and coffees, the odd biscuit or two. Him, having an Earl Grey, her sipping on a Peppermint fusion. Back to the sofas they went, sitting in comforting silence. They didn’t need to say much. The sea offered them all the bliss they needed. Swirling waves in an oceanic Labrinyth. Where blazing tides shattered calm serenities. The sky was darkening into evening blues, where they would daydream in the cosmic abyss. Rolling in the shadows of the sea, their hearts alight with eternal love. The moon hung heavy in the inky darkness, impossibly close. A slice of luminiscience, the raw art of emotion. Souls interwined beyond their last sigh,transcending life itself. Their eyes grew sleepy, zoning out, lost in dreams. Visions of the sea waves submerging them in a mermaid wonderland.
The Superior Deluxe room which we stayed in is priced from £380 B&B per night for two sharing. Their prices do flex on demand so prices can range from £190 up to £380 B&B per night for two sharing. It is best to check the website for special offers.
Enjoy Fresh Food At Seafood & Grill
They gussied up in their finest garms for dinner, blue themed of course. Him in a navy open collared shirt. Tucked into beige chinos, accented with a chesnut brown belt. Her in a transitional outfit. Floral blue and white blooms on a ruffled a-line maxi dress. A cozy fluffy mid-length cardigan layered a-top. A duck-egg blue beret scraping back her wild curls, a dark blue bag perched over her shoulder. She walked, her ribbed blue heeled mule sandals, tapping on the marbled floors. The skirt of her dress flouncing behind her. They made quite the pair. Walking into dinner at Brudenell’s Seafood & Grill Restaurant, their stomachs clamouring for food. Grumbling with anticipation, the skies deepening into navy-black. A drink to start. A classic fail-safe for D, his favourite Aspalls Cider. Light in colour, with a delicate fizz. A sharp fruity zingy taste, with a hint of caramel and summer honey. Dry, yet balanced with a mild sweetness.
For her? A Gin Garden, a reccomendation from their dedicated server. Fresh cucumber muddled in Elderflower liquer. Apple juice flurrying in Fisher’s Gin. It was utterly glorious. Mint leaves folded into light liquids. A hint of warmer summer days. Where garden parties, and picnic on the beach, seemed tantalizingly near. They clinked their glasses together, poring over the menu with intent. Starters , mains, and desserts too. What would make it on their wishlist? To start, a creamy tomato soup with fresh bread and butter. The flavours were instantly captivating. She couldn’t remember the last time she had a tomato soup. It was often too acidic for her taste. But this? Perfection. Warming, comforting, nostalgic. Bread laced with salty thick butter, oozing into her bowl. A faded orange-red liquid that gurgled down her throat joyfully. Each sip tasted like manna, gently slipping into her famished mouth.
At night, the sea wasn’t quite as boistorous. Hearing the hum of the people around them, eruptions of laughter. They were in their own bubble too, eating mindfully. For A and D, romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh would always be centered around food. After all, she had a reputation of being a super-taster, and boy, could she feel the soup engorge her senses. She turned to her boo, who was attempting to navigate his Tiger Prawns in Chermoula butter. Turns out, he wasn’t quite as captivated as her. The prawns had not been cleaned, and it put him off his starter. Yet his main? A roaring success. A bounty sized helping of magnificient Fish & Chips, battered and dry hopped in Adnams nectar. The peas were crushed, a squeeze of lemon dribbled onto flaky fish. Melting into his mouth like a decadent delight. A side of tartare sauce in a quaint little ramekin, washed down with the cider that he so adored. Not a bone to be seen, fresh like it had been plucked from the ocean.
A’s main was something different. She had a few allergies, and their beloved waitress reccomended her to have the ‘Linguine’. But instead of the ‘njuda’ (she was vegetarian), and the courgette (which she was allergic to), they would add broccoli tenderstems. It was a good sized portion, she had to admit. Sweet herbs marinated in a spicy tomato sauce, the broccoli griddled. Shaking the grains of salt like rain over her linguine, a smattering of pepper. In truth, she preferred her starter. It was good, but she would have liked to see something more creative. Then again, it was an adaptation of an original dish, so she appreciated the effort they went to for her. The pasta was fresh, the sauce was well-spiced, and the portion was just right. But in A’s mind, it was the desserts that stole the show.
A classic French Apple Tart for A, slathered in Calvados caramel, with a swish of marscapone ice cream. Her senses came alive, feeling the sensation on the tip of her tongue. Buttery, nutty, and tart, washed down with a decaf oat latte. Warming, like butterscotch candy, offset by cold ice-cream pooling around the tart. She couldn’t remember the last time she had a cooked apple tart, it was nothing short of extraordinairy. It was romantic, but not as sentimental as the four-cheeseboard her partner had frequented. She was immediately jealous, the waft of cheeses burrowing under her nose. Creamy, oh-so-creamy goats cheese blended with garlic. Slathered on crackers, juicy red grapes sandwiched in between. There was celery too, but they werent a fan. Her nose pricked up. The pickled chutney. Sweet yet savoury, the best combination. Pairing beautifully with the mature cheddar. There was blue too, delightfully ripe, which she ate with walnuts. Their stomachs pooched, their appetites sated.
Dance In The Rain Along Aldeburgh Beach
She would turn back the clock. Before dinner. Not long after they had arrived. Where they danced in the rain along Aldeburgh beach, just outside Brudenell Hotel. There was no umbrella above their heads, or welly boots on their feet. Yet despite the cold, they felt invigorated. The gust of wind ruddying their cheeks, their hands blueish purple. Though she loved to spend time outdoors, there were days where she was chained to her computer. Barely moving a muscle, her joints cramping. Here, they could be free. Lost in the rain on that pebbled beach, searching for fossils. The clouds grew darker, stormier. But they didn’t take cover. There were stolen kisses, laughing as the droplets smeared mascara across her face. Lipstick fading, hair seperating into curly clumps. He smiled, his blueish-green eyes searing into hers. They wouldn’t go inside just yet.
For as far as they were concerned romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh wouldn’t be the same without dancing on the beach. Sure, rain wasn’t a favourite pet. It was ragey, sassy, and always had a temper. Yet as A liked to put it, you couldn’t have happiness without sorrow. So how could you have sun without rain. Their efforts were rewarded, the sun bursting through the clouds, just a little. A rainbow with a pot of gold, appearing in the sky. It felt like fate had intervened. She gingerily unlaced her baby blue heels, running across the pebbles. Despite the sharpness on her feet, she did not care. He ran with her, bubbling laughter cascading out of his throat joyfully. Sure, in the sun, there was more they could do. A picnic on the beach, a swim in the sea. A walk along the seafront. But they sure as hell weren’t going to let rain stop them from having fun. It had been their first staycation since the pandemic, and they craved its sweet release. The tulmotous rain reverted to a light sprinkle. For a few seconds, the air was still with the silence of nature. But then, the heavens opened more, and they were drenched.
They bathed in greyish rain, D laughing as she did the Salsa across the pebbles. Hobbling along, the stones sandwiched between her toes. They let the rain envelop them in its tulmotous laughter, feeling the droplets suspend in mid-air. Though it seemed like she was describing a lifetime, the reality is it was sweet but short. Yet that memory stayed with them. In fact, as small and as minute as it may have sounded, this was one of their favourite dates on their staycation. It was improvised, and unplanned. A snatched moment, a spontaneous foray. Her blue Frock Tales midi dress soaked in the North Sea, as she splashed D with an mischievous chuckle. Her nose dripped, and his eyes watered. Until they both burst out in screams of joy, tempted to throw one another into the sea.
But they did not dare. It was too cold for that. A hot bath, and a steaming cup of tea would await, perfumed in lavender, and orange blossom. But now? They could taste the saltiness of the sea spray on their lips. The faint scent of the freshly caught fish at the nearby fisher huts. A breath of fresh air. It felt cleaner here, more pure. The sun went down slowly, painting shadows on the sky. One last look at the beach, that was calming down as it settled into early evening. She told him she loved him, in whispered breaths. The sea breeze carrying the echoes of their love torwards Thorpeness. Even when they were no longer dancing with the rhythm of the sea they smiled. Here they could be careless and wild. No responsibilies. No adult life. Their inner child awakened.
Visit The Red House & Brush Up On Local History
When they thought about Aldeburgh, the first thing that came to mind was Benjamin Britten. The composer, pianist, and conductor, renowned for his operatic works. Whose quaint 17th century farmhouse, spoke volumes about his career and personal life. It was The Red House, nestled in shrubbery, and crouching trees. Down a winding lane, statuesque yet immediately familuar. A grade II converted farmhouse, that he shared with his partner Peter Pears. Though they never publicly acknowledged their ‘relationship’, love letters on show at The Red House, gave insight into their bond. They smiled. People should be allowed to love who they want, regardless of sexuality, gender, background or race. But until 1967, homosexuality was criminalized. Pears in his own right was an English tenor, and together they collaborated. Pears playing roles in more than 10 operas by Britten.
As they trudged through the mud, into the warmth of The Red House, they felt electrified. It was romantic in an aesthetic sense yes. But as an avid lover of history, art and interiors, A’s face lit up. Sure, outside the cobbles were dabbled with the ripplings of muddy puddles. The trees were bereft of leaves. The skies were grey with stormy clouds. Led into the house with anticipation, their very own tour guide chauufering them around. They began with Britten’s composition studio. Sat in the converted upper floor of a mid 19th century cart-shed and hay store. A large south-facing window overlooking the orchard. A majestic grand piano, a small library. Antique furniture, all part of the original collection. They could even hear Britten’s voice. Plummy. Not quite the voice you would hear today. A speaking voice that told a story of a very different time. But it was the garden that transported them the most. Imagining its rustic rural beauty in summer. The bees skimming the green trellises, engorged with nectar. Slurrying into blissful slumber. The bare trees greedy with pink blooms. The bare bushes springy and green. But even in spring, it was beautiful.
It had a tranquil charm; they could imagine Britten and Pears entertaining guests here. Playing croquet. Enjoying a private picnic, reading from an impressive intimate library. The library and music room was her favourite rooms. There was a different kind of energy here. Designed by Peter Collymore in 1963, home to books, music and art. A clash between ‘contemporary traditional works’ and colourful abstract pieces. She supposed she had Pears to thank for that. Britten was tonally more constrained. Yet the blend was seamless. With over 1,200 works, including a gallery, offering a glimpse into the secret couple’s lives. The gallery itself, dimly lit was located over what was once their open-air swimming pool. Though far from the sea, it offered a unique angle to Aldeburgh. To this youngish London couple, it was more than just a seaside escape. It was a foray into history. A plunge into culture. A splash into something different.
Britten’s relationship with women was also inspiring. Explored in an exhbition ‘Britten and Women’, in the aforementioned gallery. Though Britten was known for his collaboration and stories with men, women were focal too. From performers, to friends and family, his connections were expansive. Career-driven successful women at work, like Imogen Holst (composer), Mary Potter (Artist), Marion Thorpe (friend), and Joan Cross (singer, ran Sadlers Wells Opera Company). Britten took a back seat, and let the women’s talents speak for themselves. She marvelled at the list of names. Viola Tunnard’s performing partnership with Joyce Grenfell. Hedli Anderson inspiring a song-cycle from Elizabeth Lutyens. Conductor Iris Lemare working with Anne Mcnaghten and Lutyens on a concert series in the 1930’s. All incredible women connected to the infamous Britten. As their tour came to an end, they turned and smiled to each other. Despite the rain that had drenched them, they couldn’t help but feel like they were romanced. Bewitched by the beguiling true story of Aldeburgh, and its love affair with Britten/ Pears.
Enjoy Gin Tasting On A Distillery Tour
His ears pricked up, his mouth twisting in an easy grin. Their hair dishevelling in the North Sea Wind. A stolen kiss laced with honey, as they ran across squelchy fields. Sprinting past pebbled beaches, rocks in polka dot yellow wellies. They must have made quite the pair. Her in a ‘Sun-Dance’ jumpsuit, emblazoned with stormy clouds, and vibrant suns. A yellow bucket hat, shielding her from the rain. Her lips caressed in a swipe of red. Him in a simple black shirt, and jeans, with his favourite pair of trainers. Wheezing, as they caught their breath, gusts of air that were ragged. Their eyes sparkling with mischievous excitement, elation coursing through their bones. They were about to embark on perhaps one of the most romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh. A distillery, and gin tasting tour at Fisher’s Gin. Next door to the Brudenell Hotel, an iconic venue. Sweeping glass with a slate gray roof, a far cry from the pastel preciocities, that Aldeburgh frequented. Yet, it didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It was modern, fresh, but still beautiful.
Navy blue mugs clinking, made their way into their grasping hands. Fisher’s Original Gin, with a dash of Indian tonic. A slice of dehydrated orange, bobbing in clear liquids, a single ice cube. But would it pass the couple’s taste test. The first gin, they had ever created, distilled in small batches using the London dry method. A pleasant surprise it turned out to be. Robust and natural, with savoury, aromatic, and herbaceous notes. Liquid that warmed the back of the throat, with a creamy, smooth and long-lasting flavour. They took their seats, G&T in hand, reclining, their heads tipped back. Immersed in the history of Fishers Gin, and its connection with the mystical River Alde. As they drained the remenant of the gin, they fell back and listened. Explaining its rich history, biodiversity, and lost secrets. A pastiche of drone shots, panoramic views of the River Alde, rich in gin’s greatest allies.
It would be a gentle river with samphire banks, cascading like rocks. Rare coastal plants alongside the ordinairy. Bog myrtle, with its distinctive sweet smell. Spignel with a hearty wild flavour. All components that helped make up their original best-selling Original. A London Dry Gin with a difference. Herbal, yet saline, a bright zesty brightness on the palette. It was as though the River Alde, Brudenell Beach, and Gin had been shook up in one mixing pot. Steeped in base spirit over night. Distilled in the hand-built Copper Pot that they affectionately called Watson. Distinctive, flavoursome, and aromatic. A taste of the coast on the travelling couple’s lips. Yet she couldn’t help but think back to the river. Hugging the coastline, one big stretch of water. Trudging through Alde mud flats, in search of gin’s finest ingredients. Their history lesson came to a close, but their gin journey was just beginning.
A unique botanical tea making experience was waiting downstairs. Infusing all of the flavours of ‘gin’ in their very own herbal tea. D, her partner laughed, at her heavy-handed enthusiasm. An overload of ingredients, she hadn’t heard of less being more. Wrapping their hands around a pestle, and mortar, bringing their tea to life. Backbone ingredients found in every gin. Coriander seeds that were citrussy, light, and sweet. Notes of curry throughout. Crushing juniper berries with immediate satisfaction, angelica root wafting liquorice. Dried orange peel sprinkled too. Then there was Fisher’s ‘icons’. Bog myrtle with its spicy resinous smell. Spignel, that reminded her of the curry pot noodles she used to covet in university. The rock samphire , with its bold taste, pungent in aromatic oils. The last, the Wood Avens, not too disimiluar to cloves. A pinch of experimental came next. Cocoa husk with its rich nutty taste. Lemon Berbena, igniting their senses.
Tea done, they pottered into the ‘distillery room’ where all the magic happened. Saying hello to Watson, the copper pot who made visitors dreams come true. Using the London Dry Method, that was developed by the founder Andrew Heald, and his friend James Firth, a gardener and botanist. They took it in turns to ‘peer into Watson’, marvelling at its capacity to create gins that liquified their insides with glee. Upstairs they went, onto the final part of their tour. A three part guided gin tasting, overlooking Aldeburgh’s iconic shingle beach. The closest gin distillery to the sea. Three thimbles lined up, Original, Fifty, and Smoked, waiting to be tasted. She already knew where her heart was with original. But how would the other two fare.
Fifty, inspired by Fisher’s love of Martinis, with intensity of flavour. A herbal and savoury gin, with a peppery spice and pine aroma. Admittedly, it took them aback. The earthy tones, and the hearty taste, a step up from the original. Paired with a Negroni, it was bitter yet the sweet vermouth notes balanced it out. D laughed at A’s face. She never was one who did well with drinking spirits neat. Yet, in a cocktail, the spirits were much more to her taste. The smoked was next, even stronger than the last. Fishers coastal botanicals oak-smoked at Pinney’s and then distilled, combining the essence of the Suffolk Coast with a traditional smokehouse flavour. A woody oak smoked flavour, with notes of cracked black pepper. With a warm and lingering finish that bathed her stomach in blanketed comfort. But in a cocktail, it was her favourite of the three. Soaked in lime, a pleasant spring drink. Yet both could agree, Fisher’s original gin was their personal favourite.
Price: Seasonal Tour & Tasting – £35pp
Try A Mouthwatering Feast At Sea Spice Aldeburgh
With an hour spare before dinner, they sank back in Brudenell Hotel’s glorious bed. Lazing in unbroken reverie, the light tide barricading pebbles. Remembering bare feet on shingled beaches, the roar of the waves splashing them with impish glee. A sea that was careless and wild, its crash on the shore inevitable. But in a strange way it was soothing, the lull and eb of the tide coming in. Their stomachs grumbled in anticipation, gurgling noisily. Desperate for a mouthwatering feast, that would send them gloriously into the land of sleep. Would it be as tempting as The Seafood & Grill, that they frequented only the night before? Shaking their sleepiness aside, they ran outside, twirling across the promenade. Past the blues, greens and pinks. The stately home, and the 18th century villas. The museum and the fishing boats. After a short walk, they had arrived. The White Lion, the sister of Brudenell Hotel with its iconic Indian resturant, Sea Spice. Would it meet their expectations?
When it came to finding romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh, Sea Spice was the epitome of culinary perfection. Combining coastal dish inspiration with authentic cooking, it was easy to see why Sea Spice was so popular. Vibrant, aromatic, a glorious date night setting. Their server laughed, hearing the excitement in their gabbled voices. The roar of their stomachs in angry protest. The hungry look in their eyes. Like Seafood & Grill, the service was impeccable. But nothing could have prepared them for their food. Presented on a tray, a dozen dishes teetering, coaxing them into their fragrant world. A poppadam basket, dunked into chutneys. Spicy tomato relish slathered, mint raita dunked, mango smeared, in a hypnotic dance. They fed each other morsels with a laughing smile, much to the bemused glances of the people around them. Starters came next, a bit of this, a bit of that. Vegetable samosas in a decadent golden filo pastry. Deep fried, swimming in tangy and tart tamarind sauce. Oh how she revelled in its heady aroma. D too, loved his starter. A special Chicken Seekh kebab. Minced chicken, red and green capsicum, cooked in a tandoori charcoal oven on a skewer.
But A’s favourite starter? The ‘Cauliflower and Broccoli’ freshly marinated in creamy yoghurt, cheese, and Indian spices. Lovingly cooked in a clay oven. A dash of sauces she blended together from the chutneys, slathered on the plate with gusto. Sauces smeared on their noses, D’s shirt christened by curry, they laughed without shame. For this feast had ignited all their senses. Hearing the crunch of the samosa pastry, melting in hungry mouths. Smelling the arrival of the Paneer Tikka Masala, plunged into a creamy tomato gravy. Caressing their drinks that were cradled in their hands like babies. A cider for him, fragrant with apples. A fishbowl Aperol Spritz, that was generously large. The taste of a million textures, velvety smooth sauces, melt-in-your-mouth perfumed rices. Plump potatoes waddling in juicy tomatoes.
Her favourite? The Paneer Tikka Masala was a contender, chunky cottage cheese bathing in pilau rice. Sweet, tangy and buttery, drowning in Makhani sauce created by the Gods themselves. But the Tadka Daal (one of her sides) surprised her. Three types of yellow lentils boiled with tomato, ginger, and green chilli. Laced with tumeric powder. Sprinkled with fresh coriander. A hug in a bowl, immediately comforting, in the cold rainy weather. As for the man in her life? A chicken Tikka masala swathed in steamed rice. Served in a similar makhini sauce, a meat lovers paradise. His lips smeared with orange, bits between his teeth. You could well say, that this Indian feast was a banquet. They came with dessert menus, but they could eat no more. Swiftly drifting into ‘potato land’ lulled into a state of lax oblivion. Eyes growing heavy, stomachs more than sated. Leftovers for the journey home. And so they walked, bidding Sea Spice adieu. Feeling the gust of fresh air on their faces, two steps forward. Until at last, their slumberland awaited. Where they dreamed of food pregnant with flavour, until they dreamed no more.
Go For A Drink In The Mill Inn Pub
It was like stepping back in time. That’s how Aldeburgh felt. A charming staycation far removed from the iron clad glass buildings that London frequented. A foray away from modern interiors, a place preserved in time. This is what they loved. Something charming, something quaint. A walk into history, surrounded by the sea, and all its creatures. They stumbled upon it by mistake. It wasn’t even meant to be part of their travel itinerary. Nor did she think of it when compiling her romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh guide. But as fate would have it, she fell in love. Walking back from Sea Spice, seeing the Mill Inn pub, in all its rustic glory. They had to come back. Even for a short visit.
It was magnetic, with black and white timber frames, and criss-cross windows. Opposite the 17th century Moot Hall, an infamous attraction (and musuem) in its own right. A pub, a restaurant, a sea-view BnB. A warm welcome that awaited them. Just across the road from seafront gardens, filled with magical vintage cars. Close to the iconic fishermen huts that lined up on the shingle beach gloriously. Though the facade was distinctly 16th century, it was substantially reconstructed in the 19th century. Much like other ‘Tudor Style’ buildings, Aldeburgh’s Mill Inn pub, was distinctly vintage. In the sunlight, it was spectacular. The watery sun rays dappling on the darkened windows. Casting shadows on its monochromatic glory. She could imagine the revellers of years past, racously laughing as they swished pints of cider down their thirsty throats. It seemed like not much had changed, the laughter rippling through the bar. Beneath the rumbles of generations past.
Though the pub specialized in locally caught fish, it was vegetarian/ vegan friendly too. Mini vegan sizzlers marinating in tomato ragu. Layered with spinach that was sandwiched between vegan cheese. They only came in for a light bite, and the meatballs did just the trick. Yet it was the chunky chips, slathered in a pungent Blue cheese sauce that stole their hearts. Tangy, fragrant, smooth and creamy. Washed down with pints of cider, and beer. They were tucked away in a corner just by the bar. Yet the restaurant was bustling, the roars of football fans overcome with excitement. The squeals of babies clamouring for chips. She could hardly blame them. The chips were a decadent delight. In fact writing this, she couldn’t help but crave them now.
They would come back, and try the heartier options at a later date. A Halluomi Tower burger, sans the mushroom and red onion. Breaded brie cheese laced in an orange and cranberry compote. Cauliflower popcorn tempura, paired with a zesty lemon dip. Feeling the warming sun pouring through the windows felt heavenly. Him with an Adnams Cider, her with a vintage beer. Golden yellow in colour, liquids rippling in the glow of the sun. Making friends with locals, and staff alike. If they had time they would have liked to have visited Moot Hall. A musuem exploring the iconic history of Aldeburgh. But for now, they simmered in its inviting atmosphere, letting the voices and sounds washing over them, like a cleansing balm. It was ironic being their last day that the sun had finally paid them a visit. But they didn’t mind. Extending their stay in Aldeburgh to revel in its sun-soaked shores. Hearing the splish splash of the children outside squealing on the beach. The roar of excited customers getting the latest catch. The home-owners leaving pastel homes. The rev of the vintage car engines in sepia-soaked tones.
Twirl Across The Promenade In Front Of Colourful Houses
Halfway between Aldeburgh, and Thorpeness they wandered. Past Fisher’s Gin Distillery, and Brudenell Hotel. Hearing the feisty squawk of the ravenous seagulls chowing down on battered chips. They laughed, the couple holding hands. Twirling across the promenade, a dichtomy between ‘the nautical’ and the colourful. A dive into history, while keeping faithful to the present. What was once a thriving Tudor port (most of which disappeared into the sea), was now a cultural haven. A blue flag shingle beach, a traditional seaside holiday. Pastel colored villas lining the walk, opposite quaint fishing huts. Shouts of ‘catch of the day’ floated into their consciousness, at award winning fish and chip shops nearby.
They skipped past the Martello Tower, which stood near the sea. The most northerly of a chain of squat concrete towers built in the 19th century to keep Napoleon and his armies out. For Aldeburgh’s historical past, was a history lover’s best day out. An Art Deco cinema with mock Tudor exterior providing entertainment. Orford Castle, a 12 century keep that remained remarkably intact. Sutton Hoo, the famous burial site of an Anglo Saxon King, just thirty minutes drive away. But what caught their attention most? The 19th century holiday villas in sky blues, dusky pinks, deep purples, and mint greens too. Not all romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh needed actual money to be spent. And so they went on the lookout for distinctive houses that would set their hearts all a’flutter. After all, Aldeburgh had been designated as one of England’s Heritage Coasts. It just happened to have colourful houses too.
The houses, they learned were built in the 1930’s and 40’s, but became weathered and worn over time. So in 2001, the residents teamed together and created ‘The Painted House Project’. An initiative to restore Aldeburgh’s colourful facade. And so they painted, using egg tempura (egg yolk mixed with water), slathering the houses with bold colours. Forgoing modern acrylic paints, because egg tempura provided better coverage. It was hard to believe these houses were made up of ‘egg yolks’, but she coudn’t deny its beauty. Paints carefully selected by colour experts, working on behalf of the Suffolk Coastal District Council. And what a treat it was, some buildings standing out above the rest. The Pink House, just next to The Lighthouse, awash in pastel hues. A popular BnB with holiday makers, a 5 bedroom holiday home. She hadn’t been inside, but the outside was deliciously inviting. Just 200 yards from Aldeburgh Beach, on its iconic high street. A stones throw away from vintage boutiques, colourful art galleries, and intimate coffee shops.
The Pink House might have caught their attention, but it was The Aldeburgh Beach Art House that stole their heart. From the outside, a pale-blue facade, laced with white. Tall and narrow, overlooking The South Lookout. A contrast in beige brown, unassuming. But the blue? A glorious vision. It seemed like they were accidentally matching. Her in a floral Preworn maxi dress with a slit, twirling in cobalt blue heels. A blue and yellow vintage style reusable Kind bag, and a duck egg blue beret, almost as though she was part of the facade herself. Half in shadow, and partly in the sun, they shared a kiss, by its iconic interiors, letting the magic of colour wash over them. They didn’t have time to go inside, but vowed they would come back. Exhibiting a constantly changing selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and original prints. A place where artists would come for a week’s residency, free to explore.
Speaking of blue, The Regatta was another colourful building that entranced them. A boxy sky-blue local restaurant, popular with residents and tourists alike. Sure, for vegetarians like herself it wouldn’t be the ultimate hangout. But for meat eaters, and seafood lovers, The Regatta was famed. An ample seafood menu. Dressed crab, and wild seabass. Seared tuna steak, and seabream paired with samphire. Fish of the day doused in garlic butter. Still vegetarians could have a colourful meal too. Sea Spice, in The White Lion, a mountain of Indian food, begging to be eaten. Blue and wooden interiors that were rustic yet nautical. Delphine’s Diner, an American style kitsch joint. Splashes of teals, reds and yellows. Smashed avocado with grilled vegan bacon. Slathered in homemade honey bourbon sauce. A spin past Two Magpies Bakery Aldeburgh, a tall narrow building. Navy blue and white, juxtaposed with pale blue-gray, offsetting brickwork.
They passed countless colourful and quirky buildings. But Strafford House was one of the most noticeable. A creamy buttercup yellow Grade II listed building that was well preserved. In a prime location on Crag Path, overlooking the North Sea. Believed to date back to 1770, and remodelled in 1861, it was instantly iconic. Worth around 2 million, the six bedroom property was illuminated in Aldeburgh’s afternoon sun. The third most expensive property in IP15 5BT, it was a romantic viewpoint, enfused with colour, and personality. The sun hang heavy in the sky, as they moved onto the next chapter of their journey. Leaving behind the colourful houses, crunching on the pebbles underfoot.
Marvel At Maggi Hambling’s Scallop Sculpture
Their staycation was coming to an end. But they couldn’t leave just yet. It was like they were made of sunshine. Warm, inviting, langorously fluid movements. Walking without quickening their step. Made up of lullabies, the resounding sound of sea waves crashing onto shore. It was like they had blocked out the world around them, A’s hair furiously untangling from an unkempt plait, D’s flurrying in the wind. How serene was it, after all these days of rain to feel the sun envelop them in adoration. Warmth radiating, engulfing the wind in glee. Like joy in a bottle, they could live in this moment forever. Their faces caressed in a balmy,if sprightly breeze. For their final adventure was here. Witnessing The Scallop Sculpture by Maggi Hambling, an iconic sight.A pair of 15ft tall stainless steel scallop shells, glistening in silver. The hazy mirage of the afternoon sea glinting on the shells.
They were mesmerized, a departure from the traditional ‘seafront scape’ Aldeburgh was known for. Two halves of a broken shell; one half standing upright, its sea-facing surface polished, catching the shimmering light. The other half of the shell lying prone. It was a controversial art piece, unveiled in 2003. To them it was impressive, a symbol of Aldeburgh’s nautical past, present, and future. But to many local residents, it was an abomination, stating it was spoiling the beach. Vandalised 13 times, with numerous petitions to remove it from the beach, she could see why it was controversial. But to the couple who were visiting, it was exceptional. Romantic in its formation, overlooking the shingle beach. Sentimental in its tribute to Benjamin Britten, on the wild, windswept coastline which inspired him. In fact, Hambling scored The Scallop with a quote from Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’. It read ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’, identifying with a tragic story of an Aldeburgh fisherman. It seemed like the legacy of Britten lived on beyond The Red House, but that wasn’t even the most interesting part.
It was immersive, interactive art, that brought generations together. Squealing kids layering pebbles in a message to their families. Mini puppies clambering into their laps of their owners excitedly. Children and adults alike sliding into the shingles, their cheeks rosy pink. It went beyond art. Rosy couples caressing each other in its silver folds. Solo adventurers contemplating their next adventures, knees tucked into their chest. And then there was us. Her, in her ditzy floral print dress, feeling the stainless steel warm against her feet. Him cascading pebbles down its structural ridges. Shelter, a photo spot. A place to contemplate, to bring together. Though there were many critics that hated it, they personally loved it. It had a sense of wonderment, that captured their child-like spirit. A nearby seagull hopping on, and squeaking at A noisily.His companions in the wings waiting. Whether you loved or loathed the sculpture, nobody could deny its hypnotic allure. How it looked different depending on the light. Sometimes bathed in dancing shadows. At others dappling with golden light.
It was Hambling’s gift to locals and tourists alike; she wasn’t paid or commisioned to create the sculpture. In fact she had to sell some paintings to have enough funds to create ‘The Scallop’. Yet, it was her ‘gift to Aldeburgh’ and its people. A glorious thing of power and beauty, that A knew would inspire artists, poets, and dreamers alike. After all, she felt inspired. Sitting here holding hands with her love, smiling at the sun and its sepia-soaked tones. It was more than just a sculpture. Maybe this was the tourist in her talking, but she couldn’t imagine Aldeburgh without it. It was a way of life; a labour of love, that in turn helped many others create happy memories.The children whose excitement radiated in their high pitched squeals. The couples who held hands, kissing in the fractured shells. The mother, and her grandmother eating sandwiches in content silence. The tributes to loved ones underneath the shell. I miss you mum, one read simply. A place where art succeeded its original purpose. It was the perfect end to their romantic date ideas in Aldeburgh, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
And so they began the long journey back home, the sun still clinging onto the sky. Travelling deeper, and deeper, until London was just a stones throw once more. Seven changes later, they sank exhausted into their cat-scratched sofa. Their eyes sinking into the softness of their skin, furrowing with sleepiness. Their mouths slightly open, their limbs growing slack. Home from their epic staycation, they let the blissfulness of sleep take over them. Possessing their minds and their bodies. Until they slept a million moons, as they swayed their bodies to rest. But their minds were not quiet. Reliving the memories of their seaside break away, hearing the sea still, even miles away. Though it was hard to chase the shapes of sleep, still they remembered. A pastiche of memories. Dancing together in the rain outside Brudenell Hotel. Bellies sated with a warming aromatic Indian Feast at Sea Spice. A walking tour around Britten’s playground, The Red House. In two days, they had a taste of what Aldeburgh had to offer. But they weren’t sated. Not by a long shout. They would be back…
Have You Ever Been To Aldeburgh? What Romantic Date Ideas In Aldeburgh Would You Like To Try?
Please note I was invited on a staycation to Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh Suffolk. I was also gifted dinner at Seafood & Grill, Sea Spice, and tickets to The Red House. I would wholly reccomend visiting Aldeburgh, and exploring its many incredible gems. If I could go back again in the summer, I would try the following:
Walk along Thorpeness
Visit Orford Castle
Explore Dunwich Coast
Find Stillness At RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve