I loved Aldeburgh so much when I visited for the first time earlier this year that I immediately booked a return trip. I wanted to stay at The Cross Keys pub again and as they only have three bedrooms, they get booked up very quickly and far in advance.
The Cross Keys, apart from being a great, friendly place to stay with comfortable rooms, is ideally located right by the seafront. Just one of the bedrooms at the back has a sea view – the room I had, and here’s the view.
The pub is right in the heart of the town so an easy walk to anywhere you might want to go. It’s also easy to pop back anytime you want a rest or to offload some shopping. They leave a kettle, carafe of water, selection of teas and coffees and biscuits in the room so great when you feel in need of a little refreshment. Breakfast is included with my room. They also serve lunch and dinner (though at the moment not on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
I arrived yesterday in time for lunch and went to The Two Magpies Bakery & Cafe. I didn’t want much as I had a table booked for dinner at restaurant I hadn’t been to before. The woman in the cafe was really helpful at suggesting something light to eat and I chose a Cheese & Tomato Toastie. It turned out to be quite a plateful!
It was excellent. Their bread has a great reputation which is well deserved and I liked that a generous salad came as part of the dish. I couldn’t quite eat all the bread – although it was beautifully light – which had been cut about an inch thick, but I very much enjoyed what I had. I had a Flat White after and the bill was £8.
Unfortunately my evening meal was a disappointment so I was especially glad I’d booked to eat at my favourite restaurant from my June visit the second night – Regatta Restaurant.
It was cloudy when I woke this morning but still lovely to go for a walk along the beach before breakfast – which is served 9-10am.
After breakfast I took a walk along the beach in the other direction to see the wonderful Maggi Hambling sculpture, The Scallop, a memorial to Benjamin Britten, the famous composer who lived in Aldeburgh from 1947 until his death in 1976.
The sculpture has been very controversial – loathed by some and loved by others. I’m of the latter group and think it’s glorious. You can get an idea of its size from the above photo with people walking near it.
Back in the high street I went into the wonderful Slate deli. I bought some takeaway lunch from them on my last trip plus some great biscuits which were a hit with the family so I wanted to buy more.
It really is a fabulous deli with some fresh foods, pies, salads and cakes to put together a perfect picnic and all the goods are top quality: Monmouth coffee, Seggiano Italian foods, etc. As it was still early it was quiet and I asked the friendly guy if I could take photos.
I then went for a walk to the far southern part of the beach where the land narrows and the River Alde flows behind the beach.
As you walk this way you see the Martello Tower in the distance.
This is the most northerly of a chain of such towers that were built at the beginning of the 1800s as a defence against a possible invasion by Napoleon. It’s now owned by the Landmark Trust and you can currently rent it for £685 for 4 nights (it sleeps 4). Keep walking and you can get up close – but not into it.
At lunchtime I went back to Slate to buy a picnic lunch to eat on the beach.
It was gorgeous: a ‘Butternut squash, spinach & goats’ cheese pasty’ and a ‘rainbow salad’ of grated carrot, beetroot & celeriac. And by this time the clouds had more or less cleared and the sun come out. What a perfect view for a picnic lunch!
Later I got a coffee and ‘rhubarb & custard’ ice cream from Libardi’s kiosk which I frequented on my last visit.
Well as you can tell, my day is pretty much made up of walking and eating. But I have – according to my iPhone – walked nearly 20,000 steps today and 8 miles. So I’m convinced I’m walking all those calories off! And I am only here for two full days – which is possibly as well.
I was really looking forward to my dinner at Regatta Restaurant and it didn’t disappoint.
Their menu is great and plenty of choice for meat and veggie eaters, but being by the sea, I was only interested in fish. I started with ‘Beetroot cured gravadlax with beetroot and fresh horseradish sauce’ (£10.50).
This was excellent. The salmon beautifully cured and nice thickish slices; the beetroot a perfect al dente; the sauce – which I feared might be too strong but it wasn’t – had a nice sweetness to it.
My main was pesto crusted halibut with a tomato, Mediterranean vegetables, chorizo, olives & potato ragu (£26). This was gorgeous.
I don’t always have dessert but I remembered how fabulous the one I had in June was and couldn’t resist. I chose ‘Dark chocolate and cherry delice with a brownie base, cherry gel, and vanilla ice cream’ (£8.50). This was amazing. Their desserts are truly exceptional. Remembering the Opera Cake I had last time, I asked if they bought them in or made them in the kitchen. I know it takes a lot of time and skill to produce desserts like this. It turns out they have a pastry chef in the kitchen producing these wonders, which I was delighted to hear.
I had a glass of Prosecco to start, a small glass of Picpoul with my main and an espresso to finish. The bill was £58.00 before service.
What a great way to end a lovely day. Confirming that Aldeburgh is definitely a good place to keep coming back to.