Snape Maltings– A Sweet Place to Browse…

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We haven’t been getting out as much as usual lately. I guess that’s pretty normal, considering the really heavy snows we’ve been having, and all of the bundling up that is required, with cold tolerances of a certain six year old only lasting for so long while wandering around in ice rain. Yes, let’s blame it on the girl! Otherwise Jeff and I would be perfectly happy wandering around all day in the sleet. (Wink.)  Anyway, we broke out of our cabin-fevered funk on Sunday, and drove toward the coast. We stopped just short of Aldeburgh, at an estuary in Snape, upon which there is a very sweet place to spend the afternoon, called Snape Maltings.
This is what I learned about the place from Wikipedia: The Maltings is a set of buildings, mostly dating from the 19th century, built on the banks of the River Alde near Snape. Its original purpose was for barley malting operations used for beer production. Local barley, once malted, was sent from The Maltings to London, and then exported to mainland Europe. Today Snape Maltings is a collection of granaries and malthouses nestled alongside the River Alde– these buildings have been converted into shops, galleries, restaurants and the Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

It’s a really lovely place to just browse and have a cup of tea and a bit to eat. There are so many interesting shops, and it’s really nice to take a break from all the chain stores in my town and see some wonderfully curated collections of things. We picked up some things for our home, and enjoyed perusing the gourmet food shop. We’ll be back to look at the ever-changing assortment of lovely stuff. Plus, the setting is just beautiful.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the insides of shops, of course, but I had a hard time paring down the photos I want to share from the surrounding property. I imagine it’s an incredible place to spend a warm summer afternoon, too.

 This little building houses one of several art galleries.
If we’d been wearing our wellies, we would have wandered down all the muddy paths to explore…
 But there was plenty to see and enjoy from where we stood.

Even though the weather was very cold and very gray, it was still beautiful. That’s the thing about England… It’s just so beautiful.  I love little places like this, with interesting history, restored buildings set in the middle of a nature preserve. This makes me think about the fact that commerce doesn’t have to be ugly. It can be thoughtful, and it can be a way to preserve a place. I love the care that has gone into turning these old industrial spaces into a group of small business that honor their location and history. We can’t wait to go back!

Have you found any fun places in your area lately?

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13 Responses to Snape Maltings– A Sweet Place to Browse…

  1. Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    Beautiful post as usual Ariana. If I ever get the opportunity to visit England I would love to see Big Ben and all the sights in London ofcourse, but this that you have captured so wonderfully is the England I really want to see. Keep up the good work!

    • Ariana Mullins February 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Thank you, Julie! All of those major sights in London are really cool, but it is also a world apart from the rural setting that we know here. I miss living in a big city sometimes, but there is a totally different kind of wonderful out here that I just love.

  2. Bonnie Rose February 7, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    Those photographs are beautiful. We just moved to Bath, and we have been taking country walks around the town in the fields and Its my favourite time of the week. The English countryside is serenity.
    Bonnie Rose

    • Ariana Mullins February 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Bonnie Rose! Bath is very high on our list of places to visit! We have only heard wonderful reports, and I love that it’s such a historic place, but with so much gorgeous countryside all around it. I hope we can get over there this spring!

  3. Robin February 7, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    Glad you’re out seeing the country! I’ve been living vicariously through you 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins February 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Yes, it’s good to get out again. We don’t have a busy life here, so when we haven’t found a new place in a while, it starts to feel a little “off.” I am hoping that the worst of the cold is behind us, and at least the days are getting longer. We’ll be out much more now, I think!

  4. The Expat Wife February 7, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    It looks cold…and so lovely

    • Ariana Mullins February 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Definitely cold. But yes, still lovely. I can’t wait to go there when it’s warmer, though, and have a pint of cider sitting outside!

  5. Cassie February 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I love Snape too but have only visited in the summer! My dog loves the walk to Iken church. We have been to a couple of concerts during the Proms. Lovely memories of sitting outside the concert hall on a midsummer evening with a Pims and then going inside to hear some beautiful music. Oh well at least the evenings are getting a little lighter, roll on spring!

    • Ariana Mullins February 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Yes, roll on spring!! We heard about the music festivals in Snape, but hadn’t gotten to go. Now that we know where they are held, we will be sure to go this summer. It’s such a cool place, with so many nice things to do on a long summer day.

  6. Rebecca February 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Your post made me curious so I googled Snape
    Fun to take a peek at all the pretty shops and imagine you all walking through them. 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins February 18, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Yes, it’s such a sweet little place. The lady who blogs about keeping the shops going was there, and helped us out. We were looking for something that we’d found there last time, but that they were out of. She took our info, and emailed us that very day to tell us they were looking for it!

  7. Nikki Wall March 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    As a teenager I played the timpanis in the concert hall at Snape Maltings (and had to keep my hurt foot on a tuning pedal that kept slipping) 🙂

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