For shopping and eating Snape Maltings is just that little bit different. There’s a lovely relaxed, unhurried atmosphere as you browse around the independent shops selling local and artisan food, books, children’s toys, crafts, clothes and beautiful home furnishings. Local artists display their work for sale in the galleries or you could spot your perfect antique or vintage curio at ‘Antiques and Collectors’.
There’s a selection of places to stop for food and drink from homemade cakes, light lunches or even order a packed lunch from the Granary Tearooms for a walk or bike ride along the River Alde that runs by the side of the Maltings.
Snape Maltings is home to a Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of the month showcasing the best in food and drink that Suffolk has to offer.
During June, the Maltings Concert Hall is home to the Aldeburgh Festival, a celebration of classical music and opera, art and culture and was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears.
Flooded with natural light with its amazing big blue skies, Suffolk has always attracted artists, photographers, sculptors and painters to work and sell their art here in the county. Many of the towns along the coast have a variety of art galleries showing local work. Aldeburgh, Southwold, Beccles and Blythburgh all have a thriving art community in all kinds of mediums from traditional watercolour, oils and line drawings to pieces in wood, glass
At White House Farm, Great Glemham you’ll find, amongst others, the work of owner and self-taught artist Jason Gathorne-Hardy who specialises in wildlife drawing inspired by the River Alde and surrounding marshes. Many of his drawings are of local birds, particularly seabirds. The gallery hosts a month-long festival twice a year celebrating local art, craft and food with pop-up events throughout the year (aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk).
Set in the grounds of Henham Park near Southwold, Latitude Festival has now become one of the highlights of the cultural calendar in Suffolk and attracts some big names in music, the arts and comedy.
Bands, musicians, artists, comedians, singers, dancers, poets, story tellers and actors come from all over the world to take part in this feast of entertainment. Latitude is one of the more family-friendly summer festivals with areas for the children to play, take part, make, do and see in the Creative Crafting area. You can wander happily between the different parts of the festival soaking up the atmosphere, tasting local food and drink and exploring everything from late night DJs, cabaret, BBC Introducing, film, theatre or the main music stages.
It’s not all about camping overnight either, day tickets are available too so you can cherry-pick the days when your favourite bands and acts are playing.
There are three local independent cinemas that show the latest release films and a choice of live broadcasts from the Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet, The RSC and The National Theatre.
Aldeburgh Cinema was built in 1919 and is a large part of the community in the town, hosting art exhibitions and children’s events as well as showing films and live broadcasts. It sports beautiful wooden beams on the outside of the building and inside look out for the impressive art deco lights.
Leiston Film Theatre celebrated its centenary in 2014 and is the county’s oldest existing cinema. It is also a theatre with a programme of live shows too. Why not try one of the premium seats with its own table for snacks and drinks or a ‘cuddle seat’ where two of you can snuggle close to watch the film.
The Riverside Theatre and Cinema first opened its doors in September 1916 and has been part of Woodbridge life ever since. This thriving cinema also has a bar and good quality restaurant attached, ideal for one of their film and dine packages, tapas or lunch before or after a film as well as a cute ice cream parlour at the front of the building in the summer months.