Travel: Why You’ll Love... Lavenham, Suffolk
Where I went
This medieval village has enjoyed more than its fair share of brushes with fame. It has taken a turn in films by Vincent Price, Stanley Kubrick and John Lennon, as well as the Harry Potter franchise and Lovejoy.
It’s not difficult to see why. With a 15th-century church and timber-clad buildings everywhere you look, it is an incredibly photogenic setting.
What I did
Simply strolling around this idyllic village is rewarding enough, plus you can buy Lovejoy and Harry Potter tour guides to follow, which is lots of fun. We also visited Kentwell Hall, a Tudor manor 10 minutes’ drive away in Long Melford. Not to be outdone by its celebrity neighbour, the house has also been used as a film location, most recently as Mr Toad’s house in a production of The Wind In The Willows.
Lavenham Airfield was used by the USAAF
487th Bombardment Group between March 1944 and
August 1945. During this time, they flew 185 missions and over 6,000 sorties. The Airmen’s
Bar at The Swan was a regular watering hole for the flyers and has a wall preserved with the signatures of some of those who Some parts of the hotel date back to the 15th century. Oak beams festoon the building, which houses open fireplaces and inviting nooks with modern, elegant furniture. It’s a perfect blend of history and comfort, and the ideal place to rest after a day of walking.
What I ate
The hotel has a brasserie offering classics like steak and chips or Norfolk mussels. The Gallery restaurant offers a more formal dining experience. Here you can enjoy beautifully crafted dishes, but simply done – think posh comfort food. The skate with gnocchi was cooked to perfection and the throwback dessert of Arctic Roll was brilliant – much better than the 1970s version!
Another fantastic place for food is Lavenham Greyhound – a modern gastropub with a lovely garden, right on the high street. A great menu of classics with a twist, including bubble and squeak with fried duck egg and a simple yet delicious fishcake.
The nearest train stations to Lavenham are Sudbury, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds. The village is also easily accessible by road.