I am well-travelled but I still believe that there are few places better than Britain on balmy summer days, and particularly when one is fanned by soft sea breezes. Aldeburgh is an historic town and tourist destination for visitors who appreciate its expansive Blue Flag shingle beach.
Aldeburgh is a traditional coastal town in Suffolk. The North Sea breaks on the aforementioned wide beach with its fishing boats and crab pots. The promenade is fringed by fish shacks selling the day’s catch and smokehouses selling kippers. It is a former Tudor port and was granted borough status in 1529 by Henry VIII. Sir Francis Drake’s Greyhound and Pelican (later renamed the Golden Hind) were both built in Aldeburgh. The flagship of the Virginia Company, the Sea Venture, is believed to have been built here in 1608.
This town’s historic buildings include a 16th-century Moot Hall and a Napoleonic-era Martello Tower. The town is famed for having been the home of composer Benjamin Britten and as the centre of the international Aldeburgh Festival of Arts founded by him in the late 1940s. There is an annual Poetry Festival and a couple of gastronomic events to entice visitors to this attractive corner of the Suffolk coast.
A classy vibe
The White Lion is a quintessential sea-front hotel with a smart façade. Views are striking, with vistas from some rooms over the beach and the sandy courts for playing the rather Continental boules or pétanque. Aldeburgh does indeed have a classy vibe, giving it a somewhat universal appeal to all ages. Kids will love the boats and the sea. Sophisticated lovers of the finer things in life will be here for cultural events, and I will be here to relax.
The hotel has all the expected amenities including a rather quirky lift, but a lift nevertheless. There are lots of quiet corners in which to snuggle with a coffee, a gin and tonic, or a celebrated local beer. One might choose to leaf through the newspaper, delivered on request each morning.
We had a sea-view room and were impressed with the general standard of accommodation. Our room was large and contemporary with many original features. The bed was king-size and made with crisp white linens, and there was plenty of tea and coffee on hand, and real milk on demand for those who just can’t bring themselves to leave their so-cosy seaside nest! Hospitality in its truest form seems to be uppermost with staff here.
A bathroom to enjoy
This is indeed a traditional hotel but with all the expected, or at least hoped-for, technology, which includes wifi and some high-end lighting. The bathroom was well appointed with both a classic roll-top bath and roomy shower. A bathroom to enjoy at leisure – but still allow yourself time to appreciate the ever-changing view from your bedroom window before dinner at Sea Spice just downstairs (review to follow soon), or the Brasserie.
I enjoy breakfast and the sea air does spike the appetite. The White Lion offers a full morning menu in that Brasserie. There are the usual Continental suspects but also some rather good pancakes. Milk-Poached Smoked Haddock and Poached Egg is well worth ordering. The local Suffolk Breakfast is for those who want a traditional start to the day. It’s substantial!
This is a face of our country that I had assumed was long-gone but here it is in rather smart fashion. Aldeburgh presents us with the very reasons why coastal holidays became so popular. The air is fresh. The buildings range from historic to quaint, and one is never far from good food and drink. The White Lion Hotel is privately owned by TA Hotel Collection, a group of well-designed Suffolk hotels of individual character. I will return to the White Lion with pleasure …and soon!
Check-in from 14:30. Check-out by 11:00
Children under 16 years stay free
Phone: 01728 452720
The White Lion Hotel
Market Cross Place
Hotel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018