den surrounded by mature trees that rustle with the sea breeze. Windows open, you awake to the sound of seagulls and wood pigeons. It’s a short stumble down the Moorings’ steps, across the high street and on to the sea for an early morning dip.
The coast road north of Aldeburgh skirts the beach and the pretty North Warren Nature Reserve. Apart from the grazing Polish ponies, thousands of swans and ducks use the marshland during the winter. Bitterns, woodlarks and nightingales provide the soundtrack over the summer months.
By the shingle beach is The Scallop – a 15ft-high sculpture that celebrates the life of Britten. The controversial metal installation split the local community when it was unveiled in 2003, causing a storm of protest far greater than anything blown in by the sea.
A mile or so up the road is Thorpeness, still a sleepy fishing hamlet in the late 19th century. Although many homes had been swept away by the sea, that didn’t stop millionaire Glencairn Ogilvie spending a small fortune creating a fairy-tale holiday village on a grand scale.
The fantastical complex included a 70ft-high cottage on stilts – known as the house in the clouds – a boating lake with Peter Pan islands and a rash of mock Tudor homes alongside a luxury country club.
A concrete brick-making machine was imported from Australia to do the job, manufacturing blocks from shingle dug on the beach. The perfectly preserved village is now a quirky tourist attraction.
Inland on the B1353, the road passes though Leiston, next door to the RSPB site at Minsmere and a popular starting point for walkers. The town is also
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan first met 61 years s ago, where? (a) At the Royal Court in Kyoto (b) At the High Court in Tokyo (c) On a tennis court in Nagano