Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK.
A cultural and arts haven, this dinky Suffolk coastal enclave is the ideal destination for those seeking a go-slow midsummer getaway. Bordered by the North Sea, the town's population hovers at around 3,000 full-time residents, but the area draws crowds for its food festivals, literary events and thriving arts community - not to mention its gorgeous shingle beach.
Aldeburgh's pretty townscape is studded with pastel-coloured and timber-clad buildings, within which nestle artisan bakeries, delicatessens and independent boutiques. After exploring the characterful streets, head to Aldeburgh Museum for an illuminating glimpse into the place's past, then swing by Fishers Gin Distillery to enjoy a tour and tasting session.
Aldeburgh's shingle beach, left, and a terrace of houses in the town. | Photo credit: David Calvert / Shutterstock.com
The Red House. Once the home of legendary composer Benjamin Britten, the beautiful farmhouse and its gorgeous gardens are open to the public. You could easily while away a whole day here, taking in the archive, gallery space, museum and outdoor café.
For sweeping coastal views, be sure to visit the Martello Tower, which stands on the beach between the River Alde and the sea. The largest of its kind in the UK, it was acquired from the Ministry of Defence by the Landmark Trust in 1971, and is available to rent as a unique holiday home.
Where to stay?
Bed down at Brudenell Hotel, in part for its sea-facing location, but mainly for its rooms, which hit the sweet spot between stylish and snug. Think soothingly rustic furnishings and classic country-house decor. Those who relish a restoration project, meanwhile, should keep their calendar clear for September, when The Suffolk is set to swing open its doors. Complete with a rooftop terrace, bar and restaurant, the boutique hotel is on track to become Aldeburgh's hottest new hangout.
Aldeburgh's Martello Tower, left, and a dish at soon-to-open restaurant with rooms, The Suffolk. | Photo credit: Phil Silverman / Shutterstock.com
Where to go for dinner?
Sea Spice. Perched on the edge of the beach, this Indian restaurant lives in the basement of the famed White Lion Hotel. The menu, a love letter to Indian cuisine, is packed with fresh produce, pulses and pungent spices. Our favourite dish is the fish koliwada - a whole fried tilapia with potatoes drenched in a curry sauce. Dessert is not to be missed - the only hard part is choosing from the line-up of Indian doughnuts, carrot pudding and zesty sorbets.
And for a drink…
Everyone knows that a UK getaway demands a trip to an old-school boozer and, thankfully, Suffolk is full of them. On a balmy summer's evening, skip to The Cross Keys, for pitchers of Pimm's.
Who to take with you?
Your main squeeze. If you're prepared for it to be make or break, that is… A recent survey revealed that a shocking 47 per cent of couples split after their first trip away together. Swap the airport chaos for a slower staycation, though, and you've got a head start at making it into the 53 per cent.