Once a year I head to Aldeburgh on my own, to attend the annual Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival. It’s a three-day event that attracts the UK’s most inspiring poets. There are readings, workshops and other events geared up to both beginners and well-established poets. It’s always such an encouraging atmosphere, allowing me to reset, focus on my poetry and connect with myself again. It’s one of my most favourite times of year.
One of the big reasons why this weekend always has such a positive impact on my wellbeing isn’t just because I’m participating in one of my favourite pastimes, but because of the stunning beach setting. Aldeburgh is a breath-taking coastal town, pristine and stylish yet relaxing and vibrant all at once.
I actually prefer Aldeburgh in the autumn and winter months. It’s quieter and atmospheric, equally as stunning, and as a result, it feels like a special place to visit at this time of year.
This year, I was lucky to stay at the Brudenell Hotel, a beautiful seafront bolthole, which is in fact so close to the beach, I felt as though I was floating on the sea. Someone remarked that staying at the Brudenell is like staying on a cruise ship but that doesn’t do it justice.
Brudenell Hotel, Aldeburgh
Located at the southern end of Aldeburgh’s parade, the Brudenell Hotel is part of the TA Hotel Collection, a group of award-winning, luxury hotels in the stunning county of Suffolk. In the group there’s the Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club, located in the other side of Aldeburgh, and also The White Lion (Aldeburgh), The Swan (Lavenham) and The Crown (Woodbridge).
Each of the hotels in the group are each very different and distinct. The Brudenell in particular is known for both its AA rosette seafood restaurant and breath taking views sea of Aldeburgh, which in my view, seems to be one of the calmest and most unspoiled stretches of coast in East Anglia.
The hotel has a seafront setting and is literally a few steps from the expansive pebble beach. When travel companies describe a setting as being ‘a stone’s throw from the beach’ you sometimes wonder which world-class shot-putter, they had in mind to throw that stone. At the Brudenell, I can assure you that the sea is a stone’s throw, and the beach, well, that’s on its doorstep, literally.
The hotel has a long-standing history in Aldeburgh, and in fact, I read that the property temporarily became a home for children evacuated from Belgium during World War Two.
Rooms with a view
I stayed in room 107, a Deluxe Sea View Bedroom. For most of the time, it felt as though my room was floating in the sea, it is that close to the ocean. I could hear the waves breaking on the beach from my bed, and even from my bubble bath.
It was a spacious, luxurious room with panoramic sea views and large bay windows with its own balcony. There’s a seating area and wall-mounted television and it was lovely and relaxing to have this separate space. There was a king-sized bed with duck feather pillows and extra thick mattress toppers. It can also be set as a twin on request.
On my arrival I was welcomed by a plump bathrobe and slippers and a well-stocked hospitality tray with signature brands including Borders biscuits aplenty. I slept extremely well that night (the bedding was so soft) and woke to a soundtrack of waves and seagulls.
Two AA Rosettes
The Hotel’s Seafood & Grill is a sea-facing restaurant and offers the perfect location for a special meal. The restaurant is open for lunch from midday to 2.30pm Monday – Friday and until 3pm Saturday – Sunday. Dinner is served from 6pn to 9pm Sunday – Thursday and until 9.30pm on Friday and Saturday.
Breakfast was a delight. There was a wide selection of continental choices alongside plated hot options, including its famous Suffolk Breakfast. I opted for a chocolate croissant, juice, cappuccino and local yoghurt with berry compote. (Oh an a couple of poached eggs with avocado and tomato on thick Pump Street Bakery sough dough. Ooops.) You can have breakfast in your room by simply filing in the breakfast form provided in your folder and hanging it outside your bedroom door before 11pm.
One of the touches that I most enjoyed in the room was the Brudenell’s own bottled water – both still and sparkling. Apart from a small plastic seal around the lid, there’s no waste involved. The hotel simply washes and refills these bottles for the rooms, allowing the hotel to offer these bottles as complementary and which saves a huge amount of glass recycling!
In a nutshell (or should that be seashell)
This hotel is wonderful for a spot of coastal calm. With porthole windows, a driftwood bench in reception, storm lanterns and, you’ll be soothed by a wave of calm during your stay.
I had a wonderfully relaxing stay at the Brudenell Hotel. It really is a beautiful spot any season, though I stand firm that autumn/winter are my favourite seasons there. There is a cosy lounge area with sofas, which is a lovely spot for sea-gazing.
In my opinion, the things that set the Brudenell Hotel apart from other winter boltholes is the lovely combination of having the most magical and peaceful sea-front setting – offering uninterrupted panoramic views of the quite and calm beach – and its exquisite food offering. Take one or both of these away and it wouldn’t have the same wow factor. As it stands, it does.
Things to do
Apart from its stunning beach, one of my favourite things about Aldeburgh is its high street. Its full of quirky boutiques, a lovely second-hand bookshop, a vintage-inspired cinema and lots of charity shops, many of which I’ve found some beautiful bargains over the years.
Apart from walks on its pristine beach, there are heaps of other things to do and see in Aldeburgh. I recommend you head over to one of my other blog posts 15 Best Things to Do in Aldeburgh for more.
I also noticed in the hotel brochure during my stay that you can hire an electric bike for a half day (£15) or full day (£29) with hourly rates available on request. Just ask reception. I’d thoroughly recommend this. In the past, myself and my partner have brought our own bikes to Aldeburgh and the coastal path stretch from the Brudenell Hotel, which eventually turns into road, reaches all the way to the other end of Aldeburgh, into Thorpeness. There’s lots to see and do in Thorpeness including a beautiful boating lake where you can hire boats by the hour – remember to take a picnic for your boating adventure.