Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Snape Maltings is an arts complex on the banks of the River Alde at Snape, Suffolk, UK. It is best known for its concert hall, which is one of the main sites of the annual Aldeburgh Festival.

Snape Maltings Concert Hall

The original purpose of the Maltings was the malting of barley for the brewing of beer; local barley, once malted, was sent from here to London and exported to mainland Europe. Today a collection of shops, galleries, restaurants and the Concert Hall fill the old buildings. The Alde Estuary is known for wildlife and river trips.

Snape Maltings History

Newson Garrett, a Victorian entrepreneur, built the Maltings in the 1800s; his name appears on plaques around the site. The river made Garrett decide to build a Maltings at this already busy port. Newson was ambitious and determined and in 1841 purchased the business of Osborne and Fennell, corn and coal merchants of Snape Bridge. From this port the Maltings began to evolve, using the River Alde to transport barley across Britain and into Europe on Thames barges. Within three years of his arrival, Newson Garrett was shipping 17,000 quarters of barley a year from Snape. Much of this barley would have been destined for breweries, where it had first to be malted. Newson saw an opportunity. Snape was in the heart of good agricultural land, and halfway between the brewing area of Norwich and London. Demand from the London breweries was growing fast, and it was becoming impractical to make malt and brew beer on the same premises. In 1854 he began malting at Snape, and was soon shipping malt, rather than barley to the breweries.

Snape Maltings – Malting Process

The Maltings process at Snape came to an end in the 1960s as Swonnell and Son went into liquidation and seven acres of industrial buildings were left vacant. Thirty acres of land was offered for sale, including dwellings and an inn. It was difficult to imagine how such functional structures could be put to different use. However George Gooderham, a local farmer and businessman, recognised the potential. He purchased the site and set about finding alternative uses for the buildings.

Aldeburgh Music Festival

By the 1960s the Aldeburgh Music Festival was outgrowing the limited space available in the Jubilee Hall. Benjamin Britten started to look around for somewhere to build a concert hall. Britten had the vision to see the largest Malthouse, in its magnificent setting overlooking the saltings as a possible site. Negotiations began with George Gooderham and after little more than a year Snape Maltings Concert Hall was ready to be opened by the Queen at the start of the 1967 Aldeburgh Festival.

Snape Maltings Concert Hall

Snape Maltings is a leading destination on the Suffolk Coast with the world famous Concert Hall and rehearsal space as well as independent shops, galleries, restaurants, art exhibitions and workshops. A calendar of events operate throughout the year from the June Festival and August Proms to guided river walks, boat trips, farmers markets and the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival.

Snape Maltings Farmers Market

Each month we have a wonderful selection of local produce at our Farmers Markets as well as tastings & workshops.

Snape Maltings Events

Event Date Description More Info
Snape Maltings Events


In Suffolk there are always many exciting places to visit and interesting things to do. Visit our 'What's On' page to find out about events and activities our try our 'Places To Visit' page to understand more about our local villages, beaches, forests and beauty spots.

See What's On or Places to Visit for more information

Snape Maltings, Walks and River Trips

The River Alde at the Maltings is a haven for birdlife with its expansive estuary. Being tidal it’s a place of glistening mud and shallow open water, filled twice a day by the incoming tide and rich in wildlife during migrating months.

Snape Maltings, Walks and River Trips

There is a choice of walks with varying distances:

  • Snape Warren along the river is a 2 mile return walk.
  • Sailors Path walk from the Maltings to Aldeburgh is a 12 mile return walk.
  • Iken Cliff walk is approximately a 2 mile return walk.
  • Iken Church walk is approximately a 4.6 miles return walk.
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