Aldeburgh is a beautiful seaside town in Suffolk, and Georgina and I have returned there many times. Like most other people, when we stay at the coast we love a room with a sea view. But at what price?
As we squeezed through the 10 inch gap between our bed and the wall at The White Lion Hotel, we couldn’t help wondering if a double room so tiny should be advertised for as much as £230, no matter how many fishing huts, boats and shingles are visible through the window. When a bedroom is too small to unpack your case (or even put it down anywhere), you know you’re in the wrong place.
It should also be noted that the “Best Price Guarantee” advertised on the hotel’s own web site was actually undercut by some £15 by booking.com. So be wary of hotels that offer “best deals”. It’s not always true and you’d be advised to shop around.
The White Lion is a pretty, Georgian seafront hotel. However the hotel’s Brasserie Bleue Restaurant is sadly not decorated in keeping with the building’s quaint architectural style and it has to be said that the atmosphere in this disappointing eatery is rather cold and corporate – oak beams, horse brasses and lobster pots having been replaced by a kind of motorway service station, wine bar chic.
There seems to be a conspiracy at the moment to turn the interiors of beautiful old English coaching inns into grotesque, boutique style “brasseries”. Hopefully this is little more than a fad and these important buildings will eventually be restored with interior designs that are in keeping with their splendid exterior architecture.
The menu at the White Lion also falls a little short of imaginative. The starters all sound delicious, but what happened to the main courses? We’d recommend passing on the fish and chips, 10oz sirloin steak, sausages and burgers in favour of foraging for dinner among the quirky and enticing-looking restaurants in Aldeburgh High Street. We found a charming little pop-up Thai in a back street.
If you venture onto the seafront, be prepared to do battle with wave upon wave of incoming seagulls, whose predatory, swooping attacks would alarm even the most enthusiastic fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. There’s a two thousand pound fine for feeding the gulls in Aldeburgh and we personally witnessed a local fisherman trying to kill one of them by throwing a large bucket at it. Our advice is to wear a crash helmet and goggles, particularly if you’re planning to tuck into a pot of fresh prawns on the beach.
Despite some hair-raising seabird encounters we enjoyed our stay in Aldeburgh. We will definitely be returning, if we can locate a double room that’s large enough to accommodate two people at the same time.