I have a few places like this. Most of which seem to be in Suffolk. Although we live in Suffolk we do tend to head into Norfolk more often and almost kind of neglect Suffolk.
So last Saturday it was our last day of spending time with my brother and he suggested we go to Thorpeness. My mum fancied Snape Maltings so....we did both.
Snape Maltings is beautiful. It has such beautiful buildings, some are homes, some are holiday accommodation, some are shops, some are bars/restaurants and there is even a concert hall.
The original purpose of the Maltings was the malting of barley for the brewing of beer; local barley, once malted, was sent from here to London and exported to mainland Europe.
The Maltings process at Snape came to an end in the 1960s as Swonnell and Son went into liquidation and seven acres of industrial buildings were left vacant. Thirty acres of land was offered for sale, including dwellings and an inn. It was difficult to imagine how such functional structures could be put to different use. However George Gooderham, a local farmer and businessman, recognised the potential. He purchased the site and set about finding alternative uses for the buildings.
By the 1960s the Aldeburgh Music Festival was outgrowing the limited space available in the Jubilee Hall. Benjamin Britten started to look around for somewhere to build a concert hall. Britten had the vision to see the largest Malthouse, in its magnificent setting overlooking the saltings as a possible site. Negotiations began with George Gooderham and after little more than a year Snape Maltings Concert Hall was ready to be opened by the Queen at the start of the 1967 Aldeburgh Festival.
Snape Maltings is a leading destination on the Suffolk Coast with the world famous Concert Hall and rehearsal space as well as independent shops, galleries, restaurants, art exhibitions and workshops. A calendar of events operate throughout the year from the June Festival and August Proms to guided river walks, boat trips, farmers markets and the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival.
The shops are amazing. There is a toy shop which from the outside looks quite small but it is really quite big inside and is full of the most amazing treasure. A lot of the stock is vintage design which is beautiful and there are a range of products from cheaper pocket money pieces to those which are saved for special occasions.
We were limited with which shops we could go in because of the boys, us wanting to get to Thorpeness and my lack of funds (I am a self confessed sulker if I find something I want to buy but can't afford it) so as my brother went and played on a nearby garden area with Charles and a pocket money plane he kindly bought him, my mum, Harry and I popped into one of the local craft style shops.
Oh it was heaven, and I ended up having a mini sulk as I wanted so many things.
After a walk around some more we stopped off for a pint and some juice in the on site pub. The atmosphere was wonderful, it was one of those places you could sit all day if you had nothing else to do.
We didn't eat here but looking at the lunch plates coming out from the kitchen it is definitely on our list of places to eat.
In peak season they run river trips along the River Alde, the times of these trips vary because the river is tidal.
If the weather is nice you can enjoy a choice of walks with varying distances. Snape Warren along the river is a 2 mile return walk, Sailors Path walk from the Maltings to Aldeburgh is a 12 mile return walk, Iken Cliff walk is approximately a 2 mile return walk, and Iken Church walk is approximately a 4.6 miles return walk.
The buildings are so stunning and the juxtaposition of the buildings really makes you stand back and just stare and almost entices you in to explore further.
My mum and I have promised that we will be making a special visit towards Christmas to buy presents for the boys from the toy shop and some special pieces for family from the other shops there.
If you are ever in Suffolk and want somewhere to visit you must definitely put Snape Maltings on your list.