The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk

Hotel Review

Lavenham is one of the country’s best preserved medieval villages with its streets lined with Tudor half timbered houses and cottages.  The village has been used as the backdrop of numerous television programmes and films such as Lovejoy and Harry Potter.


The Swan at Lavenham
The Swan at Lavenham

The Swan Hotel is situated in Suffolk, south east England, lying 16 miles from Ipswich and 57 miles north east of London.  For guests arriving by train, the nearest rail station is 8 miles away at Sudbury, from where a taxi can be taken to the hotel.

Arrival and check-in:

We arrived into Lavenham by car and following instructions provided with our reservation parked in their car park just across the road.  There was a barrier but a code had been provided to let us through.

The Swan, Lavenham
The hotel’s secluded garden

The Swan takes pride of place in the centre of the village and is one of Suffolk’s most famous hotels.  The hotel comprises four historic 15th century houses and surprisingly covers quite a large area.

Reception, The Swan, Lavenham
The hotel’s reception desk

The hotel is full of old world charm which gave us a feeling of cosiness and warmth as soon as we entered the door.  The reception area is tucked away discreetly along a short corridor where we were attended to by Bethany.  We’d arrived ahead of check-in and as our room wasn’t ready, we left our luggage and explored the village for awhile.  On our return, we were handed our room key and informed that our bags had already been taken up to our room.

The Room:

We had been booked into one of the hotel’s Gainsborough rooms which was located on the first floor at the far end of the building.

The historic Swan at Lavenham
Narrow corridors and low doorways add charm to the hotel

It was quite an experience getting there as we needed to make our way along narrow corridors, through old oak doors and beneath narrow archways.  Most people would need to bend down but being a petite 5′ I could just squeeze through.  Don’t worry about bumping your head though as the top of the arches have been softly padded to avoid injuries.

Gainsborough Room, The Swan, Lavenham
Our Gainsborough room

Our Gainsborough room was called ‘Stanstead’ named after a small village in West Suffolk, seven miles from Lavenham and not to be confused with Stansted airport in Essex.  On opening the door, the room was an absolute dream with its exposed beams and high ceiling.

Gainsborough room, The Swan, Lavenham
Our cosy room with its exposed beams

With tasteful furnishings and modern touches to compliment the age of the building it was absolutely beautiful.  Our twin beds were extremely comfortable and we both slept very well with no disturbances.

Twin, Gainsborough Room, The Swan, Lavenham
The Gainsborough room

A selection of teas, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits were at our disposal and with a pair of comfortable armchairs to relax in, we were in seventh heaven.  Although there was a television on one wall, I spent most of my time gazing up at the magnificent ceiling.

Bathroom, The Swan at Lavenham
Our en-suite bathroom

The bathroom was traditionally styled with a combined bath and shower, fluffy bathrobes, slippers, towels and luxurious Temple Spa toiletries.


Dinner: The hotel has two restaurants, the main one being the fine dining Gallery restaurant whilst guests preferring more of a casual dining experience can eat in Brasserie 487.  We’d reserved a table for 7.00 p.m. and were shown to a table at one end of the restaurant.  The stunning galleried restaurant certainly lives up to its name and it is a beautiful setting to enjoy dinner.

The Gallery Restaurant, The Swan, Lavenham
The Gallery Restaurant

Whilst our starters were being prepared we nibbled some home baked bread served with garlic butter and sipped our wine.  I’m a big fan of mushrooms so was delighted to find mushroom pâté on the menu and it certainly lived up to my expectations as did the lamb sweetbreads across the table.

Main courses, The Gallery Restaurant, The Swan, Lavenham
Our main courses

Our mains of slow cooked Blythburgh pork belly and roasted cod on a bed of samphire were equally good, beautifully plated and very flavoursome.  It was difficult to select a dessert as all options sounded very tempting but finally we settled on crème brûlée and eton mess.  These were both light, creamy and the perfect way to end our meal.  Service was attentive without being over fussy with the numerous smartly dressed staff on duty all wearing tweed waistcoats.

The Swan breakfast buffet, Lavenham
The Swan breakfast buffet

Breakfast: is also served in The Gallery with a large circular table set out with fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereals, juice and pastries.  We ordered a cafetière of coffee and after enjoying some fresh fruit and yoghurt, tucked into full Suffolk breakfasts which were freshly prepared with delicious dry cured bacon and eggs with deep orange yolks fresh from a local farm.

Cooked breakfast at The Swan, Lavenham
Our Suffolk cooked breakfasts

The Facilities:

Hotel lounge, The Swan, Lavenham
One of the hotel lounges

The hotel features 46 rooms, each of them unique, ranging from cosy doubles to four posters and luxurious suites.  Comfortable lounges boast ancient oak beams and cosy inglenook fireplaces to snuggle up around in winter and at all times of the year to enjoy one of the Swan’s famous afternoon teas.

Hotel lounge, The Swan, Lavenham
The attractive public rooms

The Airmen’s Bar celebrates the village’s strong U.S. links as Lavenham airbase was famous for being the home of the 487th Bombardment Group of the army air force.

Airmen's Bar, The Swan, at Lavenham
The Airmen’s Bar

When off duty, the airmen used to frequent the hotel bar and its walls display memorabilia and some of the airmen’s signatures.  Open to both residents and non-residents, it stocks a selection of local beers and has a convivial atmosphere.

Airmen's Bar, The Swan at Lavenham
Memorabilia line the walls of the Airmen’s Bar

The Weavers’ House Spa was added to the hotel in 2015 and can be accessed from within the hotel.  Guests have complimentary access during their stay.

Vitality Pool, The Weavers' House Spa, Lavenham
The Weavers’ House Spa Vitality Pool

Adoring spas, I popped on the fluffy dressing gown and slippers provided and spent an hour relaxing in the sauna, steam room and vitality pool.  A range of treatments are available and there’s also a beautiful relaxation room which opens out onto the courtyard terrace.

Relaxation Room The Weavers' House Spa, Lavenham
Relaxation Room The Weavers’ House Spa, Lavenham

Other facilities include two car parks one of which is around the side of the hotel and the other just across the road.  Wi-Fi works well throughout the building and room service is also available.

Out and About:

Lavenham, Suffolk
One of the many listed buildings in Lavenham

Lavenham Village – The Swan sits in the village centre and walks can be enjoyed in either direction admiring its Tudor architecture.  Lavenham was one of the wealthiest towns in Tudor England and the centre of the booming woollen trade and has 320 buildings of historic interest.

Lavenham, Suffolk
The Crooked House, Lavenham

Wander through the village and view its many quaint, higgledy-piggledy listed buildings,  tea-rooms, antique shops, galleries and gift shops.

Lavenham village centre
Lavenham village centre

The Guildhall was originally founded as a meeting place for a Catholic guild.  The manufacture and export of Lavenham ‘blew’ woollen cloth created wealth in medieval times and the rich clothiers and merchants built the Guildhall and the houses that characterise the village.

The Guildhall, Lavenham
The Guildhall, Lavenham

Join a guided tour to learn about how the Guildhall has been used for almost over 500 years.  The Guildhall is now owned by the National Trust.  Entrance £8.50 and free for NT members.  The Guildhall.

The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Lavenham
The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul – Visit the stunning 15th century wool church which is regarded as one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture.  It was one of the last churches to be completed before the Reformation.  The extraordinary cost of the building work was paid for by the local wealthy merchant families.

Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, Lavenham
Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Walks – Take a circular walk starting at The Guildhall that follows a section of the old Lavenham to Long Melford railway line.  More details here.


The Swan at Lavenham
The Swan at Lavenham

Staying at The Swan is a delight with its elegant interior, historic features, spa and fine dining experience.  Guests are made to feel pampered and whether the stay is for a celebration, spa break or a few days in the Suffolk countryside, it will undoubtedly be very enjoyable.

Details: The Swan at Lavenham, High Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9QA

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During our stay we were guests of The Swan and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.



42 thoughts on “The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk

  1. What a whimsical place to stay Marion. It is like living in a Dickens novel. The distant train stations to many towns like this must have been hard to take at first. Glad to see they have found a reason for people to keep visiting. Happy Saturday. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

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