The Swan

Lavenham, Suffolk


Room have wool carpeting, rich  tones and  timbered walls

Room have wool carpeting, rich tones and timbered walls

Some parts of England are still quintessentially English and the medieval town of Lavenham in the Suffolk countryside is just so.

Small streets replete with stunning 15th and 16th century buildings are laced with quaint tapestry boutiques, farm shops with restaurants and cosy tea rooms where nothing is rushed.

Here, being active means donning wellies for long countryside walks or visiting castles. This town exudes olde world England.

If this type of super slow break appeals then stay at the half-timbered Swan Hotel where the experience is conserved in its every nook and cranny.

The former coach inn is over 600 years old and is located on Lavenham's high street where the building seems to lean a little to one side and in parts slightly forward.

Ancient oak beams and inglenook fireplaces set the scene in what is an appealingly wonky piece of architecture.

Enter the huge wooden doors and from the moment you walk in it offers lots of twists and turns to explore.

There are several lounging areas and a small reception beneath high ceilings and medieval style candleabras.

Crooked hallways span several ancient buildings, including an Elizabethan house and a former Wool Hall.

Different levels connect by a series of small, sturdy yet seemingly rickety staircases. These lead to heavy wooden doors that open up to traditionally wood-beamed bedrooms.

All 45 ensuite rooms have king size beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and soft wool carpets. The rich upholstery evokes Lavenham's wool trade that prospered in Tudor times.

Some have original medieval paintings on their walls and others four-poster beds.

Bathrooms are mildly 70s in their look with their square black and white floor tiles but amenities are modern such as heated towel rails and free wi fi.

Dinner is taken in the atmospheric, vaulted, beamed-ceiling restaurant.

Dishes are generally a fusion of British and French with plenty of fish and vegetarian options and there is a cosy pub styled bar called the Airmen's Bar.

On the walls are several objects of aviation memorabilia and a framed airmen's signature.

Rates: From £180; Tel: 01787 247 477

    Last updated: 10:43am, March 10 2011