About and What's On?

A little history and key information

A little history to start

Aldeburgh Carnival, as it is more generally referred to nowadays, is thought to be at least 170 years old. It has had various titles over the years, but was known as Ye Old Marine Regatta as long ago as 1835.

Aldeburgh is fortunate in being one of the towns that has managed to continue the carnival tradition when so many others have been forced to give up.

The earliest programme we have been able to find was for 29 August 1892 when 15 events were held – 12 sailing races, 2 swimming races and a Greasy Pole competition. One of the big attractions of the day was a race for the East Coast Lifeboats from Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Dunwich. The coxswain of the Aldeburgh boat in those days was James Cable. The swimming races were for the trophy known as the Aldous 20 Guinea Challenge Silver Cup, which is still being competed for 100 years later. No doubt it is worth a lot more than 20 guineas today. Visitors were entertained by the Aldeburgh Town Jubilee Band, sadly no longer in existence.

The fireworks are a big feature of present day carnivals, but in 1892 there were two displays, one, of Japanese fireworks, in the afternoon, and another in the evening. In 1927 a carnival was added to the long established Olde Marine Regatta. The procession was lead by Father Neptune and his entourage – Queen Neptune, two Sharks, a Captain and six Sons of the Sea.

Now, we are approaching the 76th Carnival in 2018 in its current format.  Bigger, better and more colourful than ever, but still organised by a dedicated team of volunteers.  For a grand three days out at the seaside, come to Aldeburgh Carnival.

Where to find us

Aldeburgh, Suffolk – the postcode for Aldeburgh Seafront is IP15 5DS.

Please see Parking and Travel for more information on parking restrictions, road closures and public transport available.

Moot Hall

What’s on?

Across the three days, we can offer you:

  • Carnival Procession – Monday 3.15pm
  • Carnival Queen crowning
  • Fireworks – Monday 9.15pm
  • Chinese Lantern Procession – Monday 8.45pm
  • 10k Run – Sunday
  • RNLI and HM Coastguard Air-Sea Rescue demonstration (weather-permitting) – Monday
  • Children’s Races
  • Military Band and Samba Band performances – Monday
  • Punch and Judy
  • “Is It Water Or Is It Wine?” – the adult game of chance
  • Swimming Races in the sea
  • Silent Auction – opens before Carnival and runs right through until the end of Carnival
  • Spot The Window
  • Lollipop hunt on the beach, ‘Colour it in’ competition and face painting
  • Lucky Duck Races on the model yacht pond
  • “Which Advert?”
  • Petanque Competition
  • Carnival Draw
  • Egg Boat Race on the model yacht pond
  • United Songs of Praise
  • Rides for the children including the famous gallopers
  • Arts, crafts, gifts, food and drink stalls along Moot Green
  • …and much, much more besides!

We hope this gives you a flavour of what’s on.  For more details of when and where the events take place, please buy a souvenir programme. Your £3 goes a long way, and without this income we wouldn’t be able to put the Carnival on, as the cost of organising now exceeds £35,000 a year and we’re all volunteers. Programmes can be purchased on the website, as well as in various locations locally.

Please note, any questions about specific days and times of events that are e-mailed to us, or posted to Facebook or Twitter, will only be answered at our discretion, especially as we’re busy over Carnival weekend.

Safety Information

First Aid

Cover is provided throughout Carnival weekend by the St John Ambulance Brigade. Their vehicles and staff will be in attendance in Crabbe Street near the model yacht pond and Moot Hall.

Carnival Health & Safety

As Aldeburgh Carnival weekend approaches, the committee has come up with a simple idea to minimise the drama that small children and their parents go through if they become separated from each other at a crowded outside event.  Free wrist bands will be available from the Carnival Information Point & Draw Table alongside the Moot Hall for parents to write on the band a number to call if they get separated.  Especially on Carnival Day (Monday), lost children and parents can be reunited quickly.  Continuing the tradition of making Carnival a great time for families, with the help of the Police and publicans, problems arising from broken glass and a risk of anti-social behaviour have also been examined.  Plastic glasses are strongly recommended.  Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.
All these measures will help to make Aldeburgh Carnival an event for all age groups to enjoy and remember.

Dates for your diary….

What can we say? We like to get in there early and get you thinking about next year too.

Carnival 2019 – Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th and Monday 19th August (Carnival is always the Saturday, Sunday and third Monday in August).

Buy a Carnival Programme

For full details of what’s on and when, the Which Advert quiz, and to help support Aldeburgh Carnival.

Aldeburgh Carnival is supported by:
Suffolk Secrets
Suffolk Secrets