Hotel of the week: The Crown, Southwold
Monday 19 February 2001
Where is it?
Where is it?
In the picturesque centre of this tiny seaside town on the peachiest stretch of the Suffolk coast. With its eclectic collection of villas, lighthouse and perfectly preserved curiosities such as the Sailors' Reading Room, Southwold is a tourist board's dream. It has been thoroughly discovered (house prices top many areas of London) but does not yet feel like a suburb. The local twang still resonates in the high street
What's it like?
Shambling coaching inn, rebuilt in 1750. The action is centred on a relaxed and airy gastro-pub at the front, which is the place to hang out (a tiny lounge upstairs is depressing). It's a bit scruffy round the edges - parts could do with a paint job and new lighting - but then this is a cheapish hotel: b&b for two in a double or twin room costs £75.
Relaxed and informal. Walk down the coast through endearing Walberswick and past Dunwich to look in fear and trembling upon Sizewell B nuclear power station, then feel comfortable treading mud and sand back up the stairs to your room. There is no need to change for dinner - you can eat formally in the dining room (which is being refurbished) if that's what you like, or flop in your muddy jeans on to a bench in the bar and tuck in.
Fantastic, the reason for staying here. An early out-of-town convert to modern British cooking, the present chef, Chris Coubrough, has also introduced Pacific Rim options. A great antidote to over-fussy, over-rich hotel food, the cuisine is hearty, the quality consistently high - and all GM-free. A continental breakfast, which includes a huge exotic fruit salad, makes the full English, on offer for a supplement, somewhat redundant.
London mini-breakers. Liberal-minded foodies. The value-for-money accommodation attracts cash-strapped Hackney types rather than their flashier Islington neighbours, who favour the nearby sister hotel, the more luxurious Swan.
Sweet, helpful and unaffected in the bar/restaurant; perfunctory elsewhere. The hotel facilities can feel tagged on to the raison d'Ãªtre of the operation: the food and drink.
Top b&b standard: smallish rooms, inoffensive wallpaper, wooden furniture, nice bathrooms. Still has rooms without bathrooms for a real budget outing. The haphazard development over centuries has created a labyrinthine system of passageways and staircases and some weird idiosyncrasies - the fire escape for our floor was approached through our bathroom window.
The Crown, High Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6DP (tel: 01502 722275).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travelling by train, boat and plane in 2015: what's in store from ferries to winter sports services
TripAdvisor reveals the top places to visit in 2015
Chic new hotels in 2015: From Britain's first football-themed property to a Facebook millionaire's debut desert resort
Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...