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The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk
The Swan is a Lavenham institution, probably the grandest of the many timbered buildings in this Suffolk tourist honeypot town. Such places can be tempted to rest on their laurels, but The Swan has done a pretty good job of updating itself over the years, while retaining the historical features and comforts that made it so attractive in the first place. The ground floor lounge is certainly an excellent place to loll about doing nothing in particular, with plenty of comings and goings to keep you entertained, and the rooms are very well-appointed; plus there's a spa for some proper pampering, before taking the weight off in the bar or one of their two restaurants.
Stay here and put your car keys away, to stroll around the town and explore the countryside on foot.
The historic town of Lavenham is full of well-preserved Tudor timbered houses, in the heart of the Suffolk countryside and with plenty of other villages to explore nearby.
By car: The hotel is 2 hours 30 mins from London, 2 hours 20 mins from Birmingham and 1 hour from Cambridge. Ipswich and Colchester are around a 40-minute drive from the hotel. There is free parking nearby.
By train: London Kings Cross to Bury St Edmunds (via Cambridge or Ely) takes around 1 hour 45 mins. The hotel is a 20-minute taxi ride from Bury St Edmunds station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel perfectly blends the ancient and the contemporary. It suits any visitor to Lavenham who wants to explore the town and this part of Suffolk - and has deep enough pockets to afford it.
Service & Facilities
The lushly planted central courtyard garden is a nice place to relax with the newspaper or a book. They accept dogs in selected rooms: pooches get a bowl and a treat on arrival, and you can eat with them in the Airmen's Bar, in the hotel's courtyard garden or in your room
- Two restaurants
- Spa treatments
- Family rooms
- Room service
Guests can stay with their dogs for a small supplement of £12 per dog per night (maximum two dogs per room).
The four-poster rooms offer the chance to really get into the character of the building, but we love that almost all rooms have super-king-size beds.
Cygnet Rooms, Lavenham Rooms, Suffolk Rooms, Heritage Rooms, Gainsborough Rooms, Constable Suites
Facilities include: double bed, ensuite bathroom with shower, TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
We love the Airmen's Bar, so called for the US airmen who used to drink here during the war - and much visited by them since judging by the graffiti. The game dishes are good, including the confit partridge or venison pie.
The Gallery Restaurant: modern British cuisine, fine dining, local produce. Open daily for lunch (12-2.30pm) and dinner (6-8pm). Three courses £40.
Brasserie 487: informal dining, light bites, European dishes. Food served from 12pm. Mains from £11.50.
Afternoon Tea: finger sandwiches, homemade scones and cakes, teas from around the world, Champagne. Served in The Gallery Restaurant, 12-4pm daily. From £22.50 per person.