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Stay at home: Lavenham

Real ale, timber-framed homes, crackling fires…this sleepy Suffolk town is a countryside charmer

Stay at home: Lavenham
The Swan at Lavenham

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Amanda turned the ground floor of her house into Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms and we love her for it. This popular pit stop is delightfully chintzy and crammed with delicious cakes. Try the scones, baked by Amanda’s mum, Margaret.

Where to eat

Join the locals at The Angel, where there’s real ale on draught, a varied specials board and country pub classics gracing the tables.

Where to stay

Packed with original features, The Swan at Lavenham is the ultimate bucolic bolthole. An elegant spa, cosy fireside nooks and characterful bedrooms are perfect for unwinding, but be sure to book a table for dinner at the chic Gallery Restaurant, which has an excellent wine list to match dishes like spring lamb with wild garlic, asparagus and charlotte potatoes.

Don’t miss

Presiding over the Market Square is the beautiful timber-framed Lavenham Guildhall. Head inside for exhibitions on the building’s fascinating past, from its role in the town’s cloth industry to its dark times as an 18th-century workhouse.

What to do

A short drive away is Long Melford, home to the red-bricked beauty of Melford Hall, a fine 16th-century mansion. It was frequently visited by family friend Beatrix Potter, who painted in the grounds. Also, just up the road is the moated Kentwell Hall, with a lively calendar of events and re-enactments.  

Published in the December 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)