Aldeburgh/Orford: Chip shop and wildlife island on list of top draws

Aldeburgh fish and chips on the sea wall

Aldeburgh fish and chips on the sea wall

TUCKING into fish and chips on the Suffolk coast is a perfectly patriotic pursuit, according to a new list of quintessentially English activities.

A seafront supper in Aldeburgh has been included in the national tourist board’s 101 things to do before you go abroad - drawn up to celebrate St George’s Day.

Anyone who has queued with expectant diners along the High Street will know of Aldeburgh’s reputation for battered brilliance - and VisitEngland judges had little trouble ensuring the town’s traditional take-away made it onto the “food and drink” section of the list.

Meanwhile, the RSPB’s Havergate Island is among the “wildlife and nature” favourites suggested by the public and chosen by the tourist board and a panel of experts.

The island in the River Ore can only be reached by boat and is famous for its avocets and terns.

Designed to inspire holidaying at home, the list features a selection of experiences - from enjoying the thermal waters of Bath to taking in a Shakespeare play in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Peter Cooney, of Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop, whose staff get through a tonne of potatoes every day at the height of the summer season, said: “I think people come here because its quite unique. They can come here before wandering along the seafront with their fish and chips.

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“We don’t really change anything but we’re busier all year round than we’ve ever been.”

The list of attractions, which goes live online tomorrow, comprises six categories; history and heritage, wildlife and nature, food and drink, arts and culture, health and fitness, and finally the less conventional “because it’s awesome” experience of cheese-rolling at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire.

VisitEngland worked with Rough Guides and a panel of judges including Bill Oddie, Sonali Shah, Clemency Burton-Hill, Skye Gyngell and a Yeoman Warder from the Tower of London, to select 20 experiences in their respective categories. Aardman characters Wallace and Gromit chose the “because it’s awesome” experience.

VisitEngland’s chairman, Lady Cobham, said: “The selection process wasn’t easy - we have such an embarrassment of riches in this country that we couldn’t include every single landmark - but the end result is a mix of the most incredible and unique experiences, with something for everyone.”

The full list can be viewed from tomorrow (Tuesday, April 23) at, where you can tick off the experiences and create your own “to-do” list.

There was disappointment in Essex today as only one of the county’s attractions was included in the final list of 101 things to do before you go abroad.

A map-based Facebook application allowed users to recommend experiences to be included on the final list.

But tourism group Visit Essex stressed that “rafting down Lee Valley’s Olympic white water centre” was not all the county had to offer.

Marketing manager Elli Constantatou said: “We think this list not really an objective representation of things to do in Essex. White water rafting isn’t appealing for everyone.

“Our coastline offers such variety of beaches and maritime history. If the weather’s not perfect for the beach, we have 18 country parks, RSPB nature reserves holding fantastic events bringing you up close with nature, and 48 museums that are mostly free of charge.

“How can Constable Country not be included as an area of outstanding natural beauty?

“We think people should take this list with a pinch of salt and visit our website for a full flavour of what to do.”

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