Suffolk in the spring: Aldeburgh’s art, food, beach – and big skies

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Now’s the time to enjoy Suffolk’s sandy North Sea coastline – and its new seaside hotels

There’s a light breeze cutting across the North Sea as we step out on to Aldeburgh beach and make our way across the shingle towards the distant silhouette of Maggi Hambling’s Scallop shell. The 13ft high steel sculpture, a tribute to the composer Benjamin Britten who lived and worked in this Suffolk seaside town, will mark its 20th birthday this year. It ruffled feathers when it first appeared but, two decades on, it feels as much a part of this coastal landscape as the beached fishing boats and piles of lobster pots.

With perfect timing the sun appears from beneath a low bank of clouds, turning everything golden. In summer you’re likely to find the Scallop being used as a climbing frame or windbreak – which is exactly what Hambling intended – but today we have only the seagulls for company as we slowly circle it, the low rays of afternoon sunlight playing on its rippled surface.

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