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Southwold has retained a traditional seaside charm, has a sandy beach and a unique mixture of independent stores and iconic landmarks within its patchwork of streets. These combine to make it one of East Anglia’s most popular coastal destinations.

The town has benefited from the rise in domestic tourism as well as some effective marketing and town planning. It is an ideally compact, yet suitable urban environment for students to study independently with all areas of investigation conveniently located within 5 minutes of our centre.

Down the coast, Aldeburgh is well known nationally for the cultural festival which takes place each June. Here pastel-coloured 19th century villas line the promenade of a pebbly beach which is scattered with fisherman’s boats and huts selling the daily catch. Like Southwold, the towns traditional seaside charm attracts visitors throughout the year.

Yet despite the busy streets, the demographics of both towns are changing significantly – house prices are amongst the highest in the country as a result of the increased demand from holiday and second home owners and locals are being priced out of town. Subsequently, the inconsistent demographics are affecting the community and their services – gentrification is occuring among the streets and the shops and services in the towns caters for visitors far more than locals.

In either Southwold or Aldeburgh, students can measure the extent of the human change by developing a sense of place at the local museum and subsequently by completing land use and service surveys, holiday-home mapping, perception surveys, non-participant observations and assessing the mood of locals through questionnaires. Supported by census and council data.

AQA: Changing demographics and cultural characteristics

Edexcel: Over time places have changed their functions and demographic characteristics, international influences have shaped the characteristics of places.

OCR: How shifting flows of people have helped shaped the demographic, socio-economic and cultural profile of places over time.

Primary Fieldwork can include:

  • Land use surveys
  • Service surveys
  • Holiday home mapping
  • Perception surveys
  • Non-participant observations
  • Questionnaires

Provided resources:

  • Student log-in to customisable fieldwork booklet
  • Pre-course teaching resources
  • Historical sources and photographs
  • Admission to one of Southwold’s museums*
  • Secondary data

*Dependant on date of visit


Low season 1st November - 31st March


Mid season 1st April - 31st May
1st September - 31st October


High season 1st June - 31st July


GFA Southwold 07907299910 / 01728860631
GFA Skegness 07398257944 / 01507603980