Hotel of the week: The Crown, Southwold


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.

Ambience?

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.

Food

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.

Clientele

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.

Service

Sweet, helpful and unaffected in the bar/restaurant; perfunctory elsewhere. The hotel facilities can feel tagged on to the raison d'être of the operation: the food and drink.

Rooms

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.

Address

The Crown, High Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6DP (tel: 01502 722275).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project