The Red House, Aldeburgh

The Red House, Aldeburgh
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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

From The Archive

From the Archive: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • 10 — 13 June 2017

This exhibition in the Archive Reading Room will focus on the writing and production of Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Admission

Included in £5 admission charge

From The Archive

From the Archive: Billy Budd

  • 22 — 25 June 2017

This exhibition in the Archive Reading Room will focus on the writing and production of Britten’s opera Billy Budd.

Admission

Included in £5 admission charge.

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

Maggi Hambling

‘Are You So?’

  • 28 April 2017 6:30-7:30pm

In partnership with Poetry in Aldeburgh we are delighted to welcome Maggi Hambling, in conversation with Daphne Astor, discussing her work and her life as a gay artist.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10

Website

https://thelittleboxoffice.com/brittenpears/event/view/59100

Celebrating Women Composers

Celebrating Women Composers

  • 28 April 2017 5-6pm

A recital celebrating women composers in a beautiful and varied programme performed by mezzo-soprano Erika Mädi Jones and pianist Panaretos Kyriatzidis. The recital features works by Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler, Rebecca Clarke and Madeleine Dring.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£12.50

Website

https://thelittleboxoffice.com/brittenpears/event/view/59127

Victim

Aldeburgh Cinema: Victim

  • 8 May 2017 From 8pm
  • 22 May 2017 From 8pm
  • 5 June 2017 From 8pm

Made in 1961, Victim is a powerful film dealing directly with the vulnerability of homosexuals to blackmail before the 1967 change in law. It stars Dirk Bogarde as an up-and coming barrister, Melville Farr, who investigates on behalf of a group of blackmail victims - and whose own sexuality becomes threatened with exposure.

The screening on Monday 22nd May will be introduced by Dr Andrew Moor.

Admission

£6

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3713

Dr Miranda Fay Thomas

Re-thinking gender and sexuality in Shakespeare: the case of Brabantio in Othello

  • 12 May 2017 2-3:30pm

An exploration of the interplay of gender and sexuality in Shakespeare’s plays, which is complex, fascinating and often occurs in surprising contexts. Dr Miranda Fay Thomas discusses the dynamics of the significant male-male relationships in Othello (not unlike those in Britten’s Billy Budd) and in particular that between Othello and Brabantio, Desdemona’s father. His death from a broken heart might not be due to his daughter’s betrayal of her patriarchal alliance to him, but due to his loss of his friendship with Othello.

Admission

£7.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3674

Sean Shibe by Kaupo Kikkas

Shakespeare at Night

  • 18 May 2017 5-7pm

Experience The Red House site out of hours in a special Shakespeare evening. See Shakespeare-related items from the collection including a copy of King Lear, a play Britten considered turning into an opera; a guided tour of The Red House and gardens; and from 6pm a recital in the Library with the prodigiously talented guitarist Sean Shibe (‘a young guitarist with angels at his fingertips’, The List) who will perform music by Dowland and Britten’s beautiful Nocturnal (after John Dowland), a piece composed at here in 1963.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£15

Website

https://thelittleboxoffice.com/brittenpears/event/view/62116

Dr Andrew Moor; Victim

Exploring the ambiguities of Basil Dearden’s Victim

  • 23 May 2017 2-3:30pm

With Dr Andrew Moor, Reader in Film, Manchester Metropolitan University. A study session following the previous night’s screening of Victim exploring some of its mixed messages about homosexuality, as well as its context, including responses from people who saw the film when it was first released.

Admission

£7.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3678

Juice

‘O let us howl’

  • 26 May 2017 5:30-6pm

Vocal trio juice perform a selection of modern Shakespeare settings and other a cappella works, with words by the likes of Christina Rossetti, Hilaire Belloc and Wendy Cope. The programme will include pieces by Orlando Gough, Stef Conner, James MacMillan, Damien Harron, Roxanna Panufnik, Anna Meredith and by juice themselves. Expect an hour of beautiful, quirky and unique vocal music, along with mouth-harps, wine bottles and surprising props.

Admission

£12.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3680

Family Shakespeare Day

Family Shakespeare Day

  • 27 May 2017 10:30am-3pm

Come and explore Shakespeare in The Red House Garden (weather permitting!) through a variety of activities suitable for all ages including: a dressing-up box for younger children; drama and art workshops for older children; and the opportunity to sing along to Shakespeare’s songs and make weird and wonderful noises with percussion instruments. Further details and timings will be available on the website.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

£10 per family group

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3683

Scratch Choir

Scratch Choir: madrigals

  • 2 June 2017 11am-4pm

A selection of madrigals from the first golden age of English music including settings by Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Morley, led by Ben Vonberg-Clark. Having fun is the main aim of the day and the ability to read music is recommended. The day will end with a run-through in Britten’s Library. Please bring a pencil and packed lunch. Future dates are 12 October and 15 December.

Admission

£7.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3665

Homosexuality in Britten's Britain

Homosexuality in Britten’s Britain

  • 8 June 2017 5-6pm

A recital celebrating the strength – and inherent romance – represented by Britten and Pears when they premiered Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo. The programme includes a world premiere of Secret Songs by Zachary Wadsworth which was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and John David Earnest’s Songs of Hadrian. Performers are Justin Vickers (tenor) and pianists Karyl Carlson and Felip Rodrigues-Silva.

Special Offer: Book a table at the famous Golden Galleon, home of Aldeburgh’s finest fish and chips, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary. Reserve online when booking.

Admission

£12.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3685

Festival Talks

Festival Talks A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10-16 June) Billy Budd (17-25 June)

  • 10 — 25 June 2017

Our Talks this year are linked to the new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (9, 11, 12, 14 June) and the concert performance of Billy Budd (24-25 June) during this year’s Festival. We will explore the musical world of each work as well as its journey from first thought to first night.

Admission

Included in the £5 admission charge

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3687

Queer Talk Event

Queer Talk Festival event ‘We are Concerned’: a public reading of The Wolfenden Report

  • 11 June 2017 4-10:30pm

The Wolfenden Report was published in 1957 and its recommendations were the first steps towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 – though the legislation was only partial and something of a halfway house towards any kind of equality. In association with Queer Talk we are holding a public reading of this fascinating and historically significant document (the sections dealing with homosexuality) in the atmospheric surroundings of the Pumphouse. After the reading, Richard Scott and Jez Dolan will present their Responses to the Report: powerfully personal verse from Richard, and a translation of the Wolfenden recommendations into ‘polari’ (the gay language used in the 1950s and 60s) from Jez. They will be among the readers, as will human rights activist Peter Tatchell and other special guests. Fancy joining them to read a section yourself? Sign-up for a slot on our website from 30 April.

Admission

Tickets: the Reading (from 4pm-approx 9.15pm) is free to attend; the Responses to the Report (from 9.30-10.30pm), £12.50.

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3691

Midsummer Dreaming

Midsummer Dreaming

  • 13 June 2017 9-10pm

A late-night encounter with the very place Britten composed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wander around the gardens as night falls with a specially-devised audio guide, and experience the opera and its history in an entirely new way. We hope for a mild evening, but Aldeburgh can be unpredictable: dress with attention to the weather! A drink and a goodie bag are complimentary with your ticket. Ticketholders will be collected from and returned to the town centre by coach. There is no parking on site for this event.

Admission

£10

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3693

Red House Picnic

Red House Picnic

  • 18 June 2017 12:30-3pm

The beautiful Red House Gardens, at their very best in June, are open for a Festival Picnic! Bring a rug, and either enjoy the picnic food on site (provided by local caterers) or bring your own. A glass of fizz is included in the ticket price. To add to the festive spirit, and in connection with our Queer Talk exhibition, music will be provided by Norwich Pride Choir.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

£10

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3695

Cabaret

Aldeburgh Cinema: Cabaret

  • 19 June 2017 From 8pm
  • 3 July 2017 From 8pm
  • 17 July 2017 From 8pm

Made in 1972. Berlin 1931: American cabaret singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) meets British academic Brian Roberts (Michael York), who is finishing his university studies. Despite Brian’s confusion over his sexuality, the pair become lovers, and the arrival of the wealthy and decadent playboy Maximilian von Heune (Helmut Griem) complicates matters. This dramatic love triangle plays out against the rise of the Nazi party and the collapse of the Weimar Republic.

Admission

£6

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3715

Queer Art Talk

Queer Art talk for Pears’ birthday

  • 22 June 2017 2-3:30pm

Peter Pears was a prodigious collector of art, much of it from the twentieth century. Among the collection at The Red House are a number of works by gay or bisexual artists, such as Duncan Grant and John Craxton, or works featuring gay subjects. Dr Darren Clarke from Charleston (Grant’s former home) will give a talk exploring some of these artists and the subject more generally of ‘Queer Art’. The talk will be followed by a look at the special exhibition of Queer Art in The Red House.

Admission

£7.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3699

Art Tours

Art Tours

  • 7 July — 25 August 2017

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

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

Fizz & Folksongs

Fizz & Folksongs I

  • 28 July 2017 5-6pm

The first in our ‘Fizz & Folksongs’ series: a programme of songs inspired by folk melodies, including settings by Britten, Copland and Tchaikovsky. We are delighted to welcome back the tenor Mitch Raemaekers, and he will be joined by pianist and composer Erik Desimpelaere.

Admission

£12.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3707

My Beautiful Laundrette

Aldeburgh Cinema: My Beautiful Laundrette

  • 31 July 2017 From 8pm
  • 7 August 2017 From 8pm
  • 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

Fighting Proud

Fighting Proud

  • 4 August 2017 5-6pm

Stephen Bourne is the author of Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars, due to be published in July 2017. In his astonishing new history of wartime Britain, he unearths the fascinating stories of the gay men who served in the armed forces and on the Home Front, bringing to light the great and previously unrecognised contribution they made to the war effort. Stephen will be discussing many stories of love and courage, including those of Alan Turing and Noël Coward, both of whom are featured in our Queer Talk exhibition.

Admission

£7.50

Website

http://www.brittenpears.org/home/explore-the-red-house-site/whats-on?id=E3709

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

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.
advertisement