The parish lies about 20 miles north east of Ipswich on the Suffolk coast in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its soils support gorse, heather, pine and birch and it has three miles of mainly shingle beaches with some low sandy cliffs. There are areas of extensive farming and leisure activities. There are over 20 Grade II listed buildings in the parish.
The landscape is gently undulating and is drained by the Hundred River with marshes and fens along its short course. It feeds into a large boating lake called The Meare before reaching the sea midway between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh. There are delightful walks on the myriad of footpaths in all parts of the parish.
The Hundred River has formed the southern parish boundary since Saxon times. The village of Knodishall lies to the west and the town of Leiston to the north. The parish is controlled by the Suffolk Coastal District Council. It has a Parish Council which is implementing improvements under the Parish Plan - this web site being one of them. In 2016 Aldringham cum Thorpe Parish Council started work on a Neighbourhood Plan which will help shape the development of the Parish. The population in 2011 was 759 in 392 households living in an area of about three square miles. There is a very low annual rainfall of 23 inches and most days are bright with wonderful skyscapes.
THORPENESS was created as a Holiday Village in the early 20th century. Its architecture gives it a distinctive character. Its houses are made mainly of wood and the larger buildings of brick and stone. It lies between the sea coast and the 66 acre boating lake. There is a well established 18 hole golf course, a Country Club, a Village Stores, the Dolphin Inn and two cafes. The village is popular with holiday makers and visitors but retains a quiet ambience. Its special nature is recognised by its Conservation Area status.
ALDRINGHAM lies two miles west of Thorpeness. It is not as integrated as Thorpeness as it is a dispersed residential village. The Parrot and Punchbowl Inn on the crossroads marks the original centre. Houses lie along the main road between Aldeburgh and Leiston and are also by the Green on Mill Hill. There used to be Craft Market, a post office and shop, a windmill and a school but these have all gone. The parish church is attractively situated on an ancient site to the east of Aldringham where regular services are conducted by Revd Mark Lowther and Revd Sheila Hart.
SIZEWELL is two miles to the north of Thorpeness but only the south of the village is within the parish. It contains most of the cottages of character and the large estate houses like Sizewell Hall. There is also a Camping and Caravan park. Fishing with line and rod off the beach continues to be a popular activity. In the past the area was a favourite spot with smugglers landing large amounts of brandy and lace and other contraband.