England-Suffolk Flag

Snape Maltings >  Google™ Map Sep 2018  Snape Sign

England-Suffolk Flag UK > England > Suffolk

Sep 2018

"Outstanding concerts and events, distinctive independent shops, cafés, galleries and walks - all set against a breathtaking expanse of reeds, water and sky", they say.

Snape Sign

There are outstanding concerts and events, distinctive independent shops, cafés, galleries and walks - all set against a breathtaking expanse of reeds, water and sky, alright, but more on that in a minute.

The village of Snape itself is eyeball-pleasingly typical for these parts of East Suffolk and is probably best known for its association with composer Benjamin Britten. He made his home there in the 1930s before he decamped to nearby Aldeburgh and went on to co-found the internationally renowned music festival.

That much may already be known but it's not all about the orchestral, there are distractions, inside and out, and one good reason to live here that can't be argued with.

The festival had really taken off by the 1960s but its popularity meant it had outgrown the available venues in Aldeburgh.

Since Britten knew Snape, he also knew the old, beery malt-works just south of the village were sitting empty and one phone call to the local loft converters later, the 832-seat Concert Hall was born.

Snape Maltings - Concert Hall - EXT. DAY

It's been operating in this guise since 1970 after a serious fire only two years after opening had the builders back in.

That's hardly a surprise given the amount of wood used to hone the famed acoustics but that combination of wood, wind and conducting brought the house down in a very different kind of way.

Snape Maltings - Concert Hall - INT. DAY
Snape Maltings - Concert Hall - INT. DAY

As well as hosting the main events of the annual festival, classical and eclectic acts are also staged throughout the year.

There are some similarly artsy goings-on outdoors and pride of place is a Barbara Hepworth, no less. Some joker has juxtaposed it with a combine harvester to finish off her unfinished Family of Man, possibly?

Snape Maltings - 'Family of Man'
Snape Maltings - Combine Harvester

Relax kids, they're setting up the annual Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival today and this is just a nod to the provenance of the local produce, probably.

They rotate what's on display and this brassy Shire was one of only five by Britart bad girl Sarah Lucas.

Snape Maltings - 'Perceval'

It's since disappeared but there used to be a spoilsporting sign to discourage climbing. Once your average eight-year-old, however, has re-examined the concept of everyday objects in unusual places and reflected on the artist's fascination with British culture, who'd have time for that?

The rest of Snape Maltings has been given over to the retail and the residential and the whole place is just a little bit fancy. That includes the fairly good food hall whose sumptuous, Suffolk fayre is largely local and artisan.

Snape Maltings
Snape Maltings - River Alde

Your best bet for a coffee, a cake and a sandwich is the Granary Tea Shop whose outdoor seating is right at the entrance and just about on the River Alde.

  Iken Church Walk

There are walks either side of the river but the best is a five-miler from the overflow car park to Iken Church and back. The wooden walkways don't last forever and you might want to check the tide.

Snape Maltings - Iken Church Walk

It was out on this visit but muddied comments have been observed elsewhere and if the moon's in the right mood, there's a brief stretch that might be plain impassable.

You can also holiday here but the property portfolio expansion opportunity appears to have expired. The For Sale signs have gone the way of the horse so it's assumed the pitch was successful.

Snape Maltings - To Buy
Snape Maltings - For Sale

A pitch that was lifted from that for a shoebox in South London and was themed on a 'Walk to the...'

Shops and galleries? The ones that don't actually sell anything you need? Southside Shopping Centre and the South Bank it ain't.

The River? That one will be given but it's hardly the Thames.

A Concert? Lady Gaga on tonight is she? Supported by U2? It's not the O2.

Pub? For some grub? Artisan bread and a 'line caught' goujon is still a fish finger sandwich. It's no Nag's Head.

Walk home? It should be hoped so given you've been press-ganged into walking wherever already. On the plus side, you won't be walking home because there's a Tube strike and there isn't an Uber™ anywhere to be had.

What's What
 Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival
Where's Where