THE SWAN AT LAVENHAM

Lavishly raftered Tudor inn set in a medieval town

WELCOME BACK TO THE OAK BEAMS and rafters of Olde England at the Swan at Lavenham, set in a jewel of a medieval town in the Suffolk countryside.

You’ll find plenty of rambling corridors, inglenook fireplaces, beamed ceilings, painted plasterwork and cosy corners – not to mention creaky Tudor floors. There are plump sofas for lounging, log fires in winter, a gallery overlooking the restaurant and plenty of WW2 memorabilia in the bar, when Lavenham was home to allied air forces.

Olde-worlde surrounds are matched by New World comforts at the Swan. Rooms may be 500 years old, but they are packed with essential 21st century cosseting. Our oaked-beamed suite was an absolute winner, with a huge bed, crisp linen, lavish fabrics, squashy settee and wide-screen satellite TV – not to mention hand-made chocs to nibble on. Gleaming bathrooms are stocked with fluffy robes and Gilchrist & Soames preening products.



Hit the spot
In historic Lavenham, near Bury St Edmunds.

Bedtime
Suites come with big beds, high vaulted ceilings and every comfort. You could also opt for a junior suite with a regal four poster bed.

Be savvy
Creaky floors and a few low beamed ceilings (watch your head!) come as standard.

Be smitten

Olde England with a modern twist in the Suffolk countryside.

Carved four posters


Other bedrooms are also spacious and super-comfy, with many having carved four poster or canopied beds, high vaulted ceilings, original fireplaces and medieval wall paintings. All have bags of charm and character, and many overlook the pretty  courtyard gardens below.  

Outside, the Swan looks like a typical English inn. Inside, it retains a sense of intimacy despite being quite large. Had it been cold we might have bunkered down among the log fires and sofas of the cosy library, curled up for an indulgent afternoon tea or sunk a pint of local ale in the Old Bar – very much the hub of the hotel, with its wartime graffiti and memorabilia. As it was summer, a jug of Pimm’s in the courtyard garden proved more tempting.   

Dining at The Swan didn’t disappoint either. There’s first-rate modern British fare in the magnificent Tudor dining hall, with its massive ancient beams, and my partner was soon happily licking his chops over venison and scallop kebabs and raspberry crème brulee.

Once a busy coaching inn (it boasted stabling for 50 horses back in the 1800s), The Swan at Lavenham is set centre stage in this picture postcard old village, with its streets of ancient timber framed houses (there are no less than 300 listed buildings) and leaning Tudor facades. Brimming with history (if only walls could talk!), it’s just the place to step back in time.


The Swan at Lavenham was reviewed for Room for Romance by Sarah Robinson
Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.











Dining in
The Swan’s lofty Gallery restaurant – a beamed Tudor hall – is just the place to enjoy some first-rate British cuisine. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible and favourites include seared scallops with belly pork, wild sea trout with crayfish risotto, breast of Gressingham duck and a devilish chocolate and pecan tart. There’s a separate “green menu” of veggie starters and mains, and light bites are served in the Garden Lounge.

Dining out
The nearby Great House on Lavenham’s market square serves award-winning French cuisine.



Where?

The Gallery at The Swan at Lavenham

What’s cooking?
Start with Denham estate venison, followed scallops of monkfish and tiger prawns with vanilla risotto. Round off with a tangy trio of lemon desserts or delectable sticky toffee pudding. 

Top Table?
Al fresco in the garden on summer days.

See & Do

You’re in Lovejoy country here – perfect for antique hunting. Soak up some culture with a trip to Gainsborough’s house in nearby Sudbury, or historic St Edmundsbury Cathedral and Abbey. There are plenty of country houses around to explore, with Melford Hall and Kentwell Hall among the best. Country walks abound, and Newmarket racecourse is just 30 minutes away if you fancy a flutter.

Shop
Lavenham isn’t Milan, but you’ll find plenty of interesting antique shops and art galleries.

Spa
For some pampering, head to Atlantic Health and Spa at nearby Houghton Hall.

After dark

Have a chaser in the bar and check out the collection of WW2 memorabilia – the walls still carry some old wartime graffiti. There are also some mellow country pubs nearby.

Dates
May
Food, fashion, farming and more are on offer at The Suffolk Show.

May
There’s music galore – everything from classical to jazz, drive-in movies and fireworks – at the Bury St Edmunds Festival.

GETTING THERE

Location

High Street, Lavenham, Suffolk CO10 9QA.

Parking

There is free guest parking.

Trains
Sudbury station – seven miles.

Taxis
GBP 10 -15 from the station.

Airport

London Stansted – 45 miles.



Rooms and suites
45 rooms and three suites.

Special features

Many rooms boast period features such as canopied beds, beamed ceilings, inglenook fireplaces and original medieval wall paintings. Modern creature comforts include fluffy robes and plasma screen satellite TVs.

Also…

Immaculate suites come with kingsize beds and bags of period charm, while four poster rooms offer regal comforts.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Rates guide
GBP 160 - 280

Open/closed
Open all year

Check-in
14:30

Check-out
11:00

Minimum night stay?

Two nights at weekends

Breakfast

Breakfast is served until 10:00.

Room service
Available 24 hours

Children

Welcome

Pets

Welcome

Air conditioning
No.

Wedding License?
Civil ceremonies and receptions for up to 100 guests can be catered for.
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