The Red House, Aldeburgh

The Red House, Aldeburgh
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The Red House is the former home of Benjamin Britten and his partner the tenor Peter Pears. Hidden away by the golf course on the edge of the seaside town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, the site is cherished by music-lovers worldwide as the setting for one of the greatest and most enduring creative partnerships of the last century.

Britten and Pears moved from their home on Crag Path in Aldeburgh to The Red House in November 1957. The composer eventually commented in a letter to Edith Sitwell that it was ‘alas, away from the sea, but thankfully away from the gaping faces... It is a lovely house, with a big garden all round...’

Come and enjoy the peaceful setting that Britten and Pears considered their retreat from their busy schedules of composing, concerts and recordings at home and abroad.

The Red House site includes:

The Gallery
Our engaging exhibition brings Britten’s music to life. Suitable for all ages.

The Red House
Walk through Britten and Pears’ home for twenty years and enjoy the eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary styles and their stunning art collection (open in high season only).

The Studio
The creative heart of the site where Britten worked on his music.

The Library
A beautiful, evocative space where Britten rehearsed and entertained.

The Gardens
Extensive grounds with lawns and borders awash with colour and with peaceful places to sit. Bring a picnic and play croquet and other outdoor games during the summer holidays.

The Archive
Award-winning home for Britten’s huge archive. Open by appointment and for special displays during the Aldeburgh Festival and at other times throughout the year.

Venue Type:

Historic house or home, Museum, Gallery, Garden, parklands or rural site, Heritage site, Archive

See also

Opening hours

Low Season (Wednesday 1 February - Friday 24 March)
Tuesday to Friday, 1pm - 4pm
The Studio, Library, exhibition rooms and Gardens will be open.

High Season (Tuesday 28 March - Saturday 28 October)
Tuesday to Saturday, 1pm - 5pm
The Red House and the whole site opens to the public.

The Red House is open for free-flow viewing from 2.30pm (last entry 4.30pm). A guided tour is available at 2pm (book in advance).

Aldeburgh Festival (Friday 9 - Sunday 25 June)
The whole site will be open daily from 11am - 4pm.

Free flow viewing of The Red House from 11am (last entry 3.30pm). There are no guided tours of The Red House during the Festival.

Site open for special events in November and December.

Bank Holidays
We are closed on bank holidays throughout the year.

For information on how to make a research visit to our reading room, please see the related record on the Britten–Pears Archive.

Admission charges

Site admission: £5 (valid for one year)
Under 16s: free
Guided house tours at 2pm: £2.50 (in addition to site entry)

Discounts

  • National Art Pass
Getting there

From the A12, take the A1094 to Aldeburgh. At the roundabout past the supermarket, take the first exit: the B1122 Leiston Road. Golf Lane is the second turning on the left, directly after the 40mph speed limit ends. Users of satnav and online mapping systems beware: you may be misdirected into Linden Close, from where there is no access to our site.

Additional info

Tea, coffee and cold drinks are available, along with a selection of books, CDs and DVDs. All areas of the site are wheelchair-accessible except for the Studio and the first floor of the house (a virtual tour of these rooms is available at reception).

Collection details

Architecture, Music, Personalities

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Mary Potter Exhibition

Mary Potter Exhibition

  • 21 March — 28 October 2017 *on now

Come and see a selection of paintings by Mary Potter in Britten’s Library. All artworks are from the Britten–Pears Foundation collection.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£5.00 admission charge

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on

Two Troughs & Flat Bar

Geoffrey Clarke: A Sculptor’s Materials

  • 24 — 28 October 2017

To mark the publication of Judith LeGrove’s book Geoffrey Clarke: a sculptor’s materials there will be an exhibition exploring the full range of Geoffrey Clarke’s work from stained glass to sculpture, jewellery to textiles, land art to medals. The exhibition will be in the Archive Reading Room within view of his sculpture Sirens.

Admission

Included in £5 admission charge.

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/geoffrey-clarke-sculptors-materials/

Inscription by T.H. White in Britten's copy of 'The Once and Future King'

Britten Weekend display

  • 27 — 28 October 2017 1-5pm

Come and view items from the Britten-Pears Foundation collection relating to Britten’s works for radio dramas. Highlights include scores that Britten composed and text material for, among others, The Dark Tower, King Arthur, The Sword in the Stone and The Rescue, showing an intriguing facet of a comparatively little-known side of his career.

Admission

Tickets: included in £5 admission charge

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/britten-weekend-display/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
The Red House Tours

The Red House Tours

  • 28 March — 28 October 2017 *on now

An informative guided tour given by our dedicated volunteers will offer the opportunity to explore both floors of Britten and Pears’ home. You will see original interiors and personal effects sitting alongside stunning artworks collected by the pair throughout their lives. Approx. 40 minutes and takes place Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50 (in addition to £5 admission charge)

Website

https://thelittleboxoffice.com/brittenpears/event/view/57371

Art Tours

Art Tours

  • 7 July — 25 August 2017 *on now

Discover Britten and Pears’ extensive art collection on display in their home. As part of the current exhibition Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Britten’s Britain some paintings have been highlighted to complement the theme. These tours will run each Friday until September and will be delivered by our knowledgeable team of volunteers.

Admission

£2.50 (In addition to £5 admission charge)

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3701

Summer at The Red House

Summer at The Red House

  • 22 July — 3 September 2017 *on now

The gardens will be open for visitors to picnic during the summer holidays. A family trail and outdoor games will be available, so all you need to bring is food and a blanket. Report to Reception for a map and family trail.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3705

My Beautiful Laundrette

Aldeburgh Cinema: My Beautiful Laundrette

  • 21 August 2017 From 8pm

Made in 1985. This classic Stephen Frears drama focuses on Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young Pakistani man living in London, and his reunion and eventual romance with his old friend, a street punk named Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). This, by turns, delicate and hard-hitting film addresses several polemical issues of the time, depicted within the social and economic climate of Thatcherism.

Admission

£6

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3717

Fizz & Folksongs

Fizz & Folksongs II

  • 25 August 2017 5-6pm

The second in our ‘Fizz & Folksongs’ series: a programme of songs inspired by folk melodies, including settings by Britten and Mahler. Mezzo-soprano Joanna Arnold (also performing this summer at Opera Holland Park) is joined by pianist Orlando Shamlou.

Admission

£12.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3711

Painting by Gwen John, oil on board

Art Tours

  • 1 September 2017 2-3pm
  • 15 September 2017 2-3pm
  • 22 September 2017 2-3pm
  • 29 September 2017 2-3pm

Discover Britten and Pears’ extensive art collection in their home. Includes art by Duncan Grant, John Craxton and David Hockney on display for the current exhibition Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Britten’s Britain. These tours are delivered by our knowledgeable team of volunteers.
NB. There will be no tour on 8 September.

Admission

Tickets: £2.50 (in addition to £5 admission charge)

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/september-art-tours/

Heritage Open Day

Heritage Open Day at The Red House, Aldeburgh

  • 9 September 2017 1-5pm

Explore the site for free at this nationwide event. Special tours and activities will take place throughout the afternoon, see below for details.

• 1pm: Tour the collections A behind the scenes tour of the Archive and display of items from the collection. Suitable for adults
• 1-5pm: The Gardens Find out what plants are growing and what is planned for the year ahead. Suitable for all ages
• 2pm: Red House Bugs Find out about the bugs that live in The Red House. Includes a fun bug-making activity for children. Suitable for 5-11yrs
• 2-4pm: The Red House See the house, including the top floor which is not normally open to the public. Suitable for all ages
• 2-4pm: Folksong Soundscape Listen and relax to audio tracks of folksongs around the gardens. Suitable for all ages
• 3pm: Making an exhibition Hear about the thought process behind mounting an exhibition and choosing the stories to tell. With exhibition curator Lucy Walker. Suitable for all ages

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Admission and events are free. Due to space, some will be ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis on the day.

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/heritage-open-day/

The Children's Hour

Queer Talk Season at Aldeburgh Cinema: The Children’s Hour

  • 18 September 2017 From 8pm
  • 2 October 2017 From 8pm
  • 16 October 2017 From 8pm

William Wyler’s classic adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play centres around lifelong friends Martha
(Shirley MacLaine) and Karen (Audrey Hepburn) who run a boarding school for girls. When an unruly child is punished for lying, she concocts a story that Karen and Martha are having a lesbian relationship.

Admission

Tickets: £6

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/the-childrens-hour/

Fizz and Folksongs III

Fizz & Folksongs III

  • 29 September 2017 5-6pm

The final concert of the series, which explores songs inspired by folk melodies, features Jack Lawrence-Jones (baritone) and Kaoru Wada (piano). A glass of fizz will be served after the recital.

Admission

Tickets: £12.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/fizz-folksongs-iii/

Scratch Chior

Scratch Choir: Selected partsongs

  • 12 October 2017 11am-4pm

This Scratch Choir will focus on selected partsongs with conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark. The ability to read music is recommended – with enthusiasm and having fun the main aim of the day! The day will end with a run-through in Britten’s Library. Please bring a pencil and packed lunch.

Admission

Tickets: £7.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/scratch-choir-selected-partsongs/

The Red House

The Big Draw at The Red House

  • 14 October 2017 1-3pm

As part of The Big Draw Festival, take part in a workshop with artist Ruth Wharrier. With The Red House site as its subject, Ruth will guide participants through drawing techniques and how to draw objects ranging from the buildings and interiors to the flora and fauna in the gardens. The day will end with an exhibition of participants’ work for visitors to see. In partnership with Jubilee Hall, which will host a similar event for children.

Admission

Tickets: £10

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/big-draw-red-house/

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

  • 20 October 2017 5-6pm

A recital based around the poetry of Edith Sitwell, in association with Poetry in Aldeburgh. For a Festival concert in 1956 Britten composed three settings of Sitwell’s poetry entitled The Heart of the Matter, which were designed to complement the earlier Canticle III: Still falls the rain, and the programme included some poetry readings. Inspired by this recital we are reproducing the musical programme, interspersed with readings of Sitwell by poet Kathryn Maris, who will also include some of her own poetry in response to Sitwell’s works. With Mitch Raemaekers (tenor) and Lana Bode (piano).

Admission

Tickets: £12.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/the-heart-of-the-matter/

Britten's Hacker radio dating from the 1950s

Sound Effects Workshop for children

  • 27 October 2017 11am-1pm, 2-4pm

With Snape Maltings exploring Britten’s works for radio, we are holding a sound effects workshop at The Red House! Come and make weird and wonderful sounds with everyday objects, then perform/combine these effects for your own unique soundtrack. With Sound Artist Mike Challis.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

Tickets: £10 per participant (see website for further details. Please book in advance as spaces are limited)

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/sound-effects-workshop-children/

Geoffrey Clarke welding 'Symbol' in the orchard at Stowe Hill, 1955. Photographer unknown.

Geoffrey Clarke and Aldeburgh

  • 29 October 2017 2-4pm

Art historian and author Judith LeGrove will give a talk about the life and work of sculptor Geoffrey Clarke.
Following the talk there will be a walkthrough of the exhibition featuring his work.

Admission

Tickets: £7.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/geoffrey-clarke-aldeburgh/

Bent

Queer Talk Season at Aldeburgh Cinema: Bent

  • 30 October 2017 From 8pm
  • 13 November 2017 From 8pm
  • 27 November 2017 From 8pm

Set amidst the decadence and terror of pre-war Fascist Germany, the multi award-winning Bent is a powerful and moving love story. The film recounts the fate of three homosexual men during the rise of Nazism. Cast includes Sir Ian McKellen, Clive Owen and Mick Jagger, and a score by Phillip Glass.

Admission

Tickets: £6

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/bent/

Young Britten

Britten’s Birthday Recital

  • 22 November 2017 5-6pm

A celebratory recital marking Britten’s 104th birthday. The programme will include a selection of his cabaret songs, and further music by Noël Coward. Join us after the recital for dinner and birthday cake at The Lighthouse. Make a reservation for dinner when booking your tickets online or by calling the booking line.

Admission

Tickets: £12.50 (dinner not included in ticket price)

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/brittens-birthday-recital/

Queer Talk

Britten and Pears’ letters, and Reflections on Queer Talk

  • 24 November 2017 2-3:30pm

A discovery session led by Lucy Walker exploring the correspondence between Britten and Pears with BPF’s Nicholas Clark and Vicki Stroeher (editors of My Beloved Man: the Letters of Benjamin Britten and Peter
Pears). With Steve Boyce of LGBT History Month, we will also look back over the impact of our Queer Talk exhibition and at how the UK as a whole has marked the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Admission

Tickets: £7.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/britten-pears-letters-reflections-queer-talk/

Who's Gonna Love Me Now

Queer Talk Season at Aldeburgh Cinema: Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?

  • 4 December 2017 From 8pm
  • 11 December 2017 From 8pm
  • 18 December 2017 From 8pm

The latest offering from acclaimed Israeli filmmaking duo Tomer and Barak Heymann, Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is a tender insight in to the life of a gay Jewish man and his reconciliation with the family who once rejected him. At the age of 21 Saar Maoz arrived in the UK after being kicked out of his religious Kibbutz. With his newfound freedom, Saar discovered an alternative family with The London Gay Men’s Chorus. After 19 years, he reaches out to his conservative Israeli family in an attempt at reconciliation.

Admission

Tickets: £6

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/whos-gonna-love-now/

Olivia Jageurs

A Christmas Recital

  • 8 December 2017 5-6pm

Join us for a festive-themed recital in the intimate setting of Britten’s Library with harpist Olivia Jageurs who was recently shortlisted for a 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society award for her social media project 15 second harp. The Programme will include Britten’s Suite for Harp and the Interlude from A Ceremony of Carols.

Admission

Tickets: £12.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/a-christmas-recital/

Scratch Choir

Scratch Choir: A Ceremony of Carols

  • 15 December 2017 11am-4pm

Come and sing Britten’s most festive piece accompanied by harp. The day will be led by conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark. The ability to read music is recommended – with enthusiasm and having fun the main aim of the day! The day will end with a run-through in Britten’s Library. Please bring a pencil and packed lunch.

Admission

Tickets: £7.50

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/scratch-choir-brittens-ceremony-carols/

Christmas Carols at The Red House

Christmas Carols at The Red House

  • 19 December 2017 2-3pm

Join us for a sing-a-long of Christmas carols in the run up to the festive season. Mulled wine and mince pies will be provided.

Website

https://brittenpears.org/visit/whats-on/christmas-carols-red-house/

Getting there

From the A12, take the A1094 to Aldeburgh. At the roundabout past the supermarket, take the first exit: the B1122 Leiston Road. Golf Lane is the second turning on the left, directly after the 40mph speed limit ends. Users of satnav and online mapping systems beware: you may be misdirected into Linden Close, from where there is no access to our site.

The Red House, Aldeburgh
Golf Lane
Aldeburgh
Suffolk
IP15 5PY
England

Website

Britten–Pears Foundation website

www.brittenpears.org

E-mail

enquiries@brittenpears.org

Telephone

01728 451700

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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