Great Brit­ten: and so much more be­sides

& Sun­day SUN­DAY DRIVER Jeremy Tay­lor tours the Suf­folk coast beloved by one of our great com­posers in a Rolls-royce Ghost

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If there is such a thing as the Rolls-royce of take­away food then I’m prob­a­bly eat­ing it. The Suf­folk coastal town of Alde­burgh has a rep­u­ta­tion for high­brow clas­si­cal mu­sic, but fish and chips ac­com­pa­nied by a seag­ull sound­track is some­times hard to beat.

That said, ev­ery­thing tastes good sat in the pomp and cir­cum­stance of a Rolls-royce Ghost. A £268,000 homage to ev­ery­thing that is glo­ri­ously Bri­tish, this up­rated Black Badge ver­sion is also one of the world’s finest sa­loons.

Hav­ing parked by the beach at Slaugh­den, just south of the high street, seag­ulls have al­ready eyed my chips through the whop­ping sun­roof. Of more press­ing con­cern is how to keep my greasy hands off the hide seats as I lis­ten to lo­cal boy Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s opera Peter Grimes.

The dark tale of a neu­rotic fish­er­man is belt­ing out through a Be­spoke Au­dio 1,300-watt mu­sic sys­tem, engi­neered and tuned in-house by Rolls-royce. The 18-speaker set-up sounds so good that the arias al­most smell like the sea. First per­formed in 1945, Peter Grimes won the com­poser crit­i­cal ac­claim.

Brit­ten loved this place. He was born in 1913 just up the coast at Low­est­oft but it was the peb­ble beaches and pretty cot­tages of Alde­burgh that stole his heart. Brit­ten lived here for many years be­fore his death in 1976. He is buried at the 16th-cen­tury parish church next to Peter Pears, his longterm part­ner.

Brit­ten liked to walk along the prom­e­nade and would swim most days. He lived at Crag House in the heart of the town for 10 years, in­spired by sweep­ing views out to sea.

Later he moved to just out­side Alde­burgh and would en­ter­tain such lu­mi­nar­ies as Ye­hudi Menuhin, nov­el­ist E M Forster and philoso­pher Sir Lau­rens van der Post.

I’d like to imag­ine all of them sit­ting in a Roller by the beach, pon­tif­i­cat­ing over a bag of steam­ing chips while lis­ten­ing to Brit­ten’s lat­est com­po­si­tion. Pos­si­ble? Well, yes. Alde­burgh Fish and Chips was taken over by the Cooney fam­ily in 1967 and has been ex­pand­ing ever since. The good-na­tured queue of­ten stretches around the cor­ner.

The much-walked Brit­ten Trail passes by here and al­lows opera buffs to

home of the vis­i­tor cen­tre for Sizewell B – the most mod­ern nu­clear power sta­tion in the UK. If you want to visit, you’ll have to book in ad­vance via ed­fen­ergy.com.

Fur­ther on past Sax­mund­ham is the busier A12 route that runs be­tween Low­est­oft and Ip­swich. Head north for a few miles be­fore turn­ing left at Yox­ford, where it’s im­pos­si­ble not to stop and have a rum­mage at the an­tique cen­tre, or en­joy a hot choco­late at the Fly­ing Goose Café.

Nearby Hevening­ham Hall is a Grade I listed house that was gut­ted by fire in 1984. The ru­ins were bought by Jon Hunt, founder of Fox­tons es­tate agency, who poured mil­lions into a ma­jor restora­tion project. The work in­cluded re­turn­ing the grounds to the orig­i­nal Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown de­sign.

Hevening­ham is now a pri­vate home but, once a year, the Hunts serve up a fan­tas­tic coun­try fair and con­cours d’el­e­gance for clas­sic cars and air­craft. A mini Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, it is an en­chant­ing mo­tor­ing event that hope­fully won’t out­grow the sur­round­ings.

The re­turn drive to Alde­burgh shouldn’t take more than 30 min­utes – un­less you hap­pen across Em­mett’s Store in Peasen­hall. The shop is easy to miss but the food alone is worth the drive from any­where. Ham and ba­con has been cured here since 1820, mak­ing it the old­est ar­ti­san pro­ducer in the coun­try.

Its owner Mark Thomas is a one­man tour de force. Hugely en­thu­si­as­tic about his food, it’s im­pos­si­ble to leave with­out a med­ley of good­ies in one hand and a dented credit card in the other.

Mu­sic might be the food of love but the way to a man’s heart is al­ways through his stom­ach.

How to play Ba­sics: Grid­dlers are solved us­ing num­ber clues to lo­cate solids (filled-in squares) and dots (empty squares) to re­veal a pic­ture.

Each col­umn and row has a se­ries of num­bers next to it. These re­fer to the num­ber of ad­ja­cent squares that should be filled as solids. If more than one num­ber ap­pears, that line will con­tain more than one block of solids.

The solid blocks must ap­pear in the or­der that the num­bers are printed. For ex­am­ple, a row that con­tains the num­bers 11.5 would con­tain, some­where, a block of 11 ad­ja­cent filled-in squares (solids), then a gap of one or more empty squares (with dots in) and then a block of five ad­ja­cent filled-in squares.

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