From £165
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A properly historic hotel right on the high street of the beautiful timbered wool town of Lavenham, the Swan remains a draw for miles around - for its comfortable guest rooms, an atmospheric fine dining restaurant and a sumptuous modern spa. It's the most comfortable, if also the most expensive, place to stay in this popular tourist town.

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Rooms available from £165 per night

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As the main hub of the medieval Suffolk wool trade, Lavenham's small but remarkable centre boasts a collection of creaky timbered buildings that has featured in numerous movies from Barry Lyndon to Harry Potter and continues to draw tourists by the coachload. In the evening it's more peaceful, and also makes an excellent base for seeing the best of the ancient wool villages nearby. The Swan's timbered complex of buildings is handy for all the town's sights, including the Gothic church of St Peter and St Paul just up the hill and the timbered Guildhall on Market Place immediately behind the hotel.

By car: The hotel is 2 hours 30 mins from London, 2 hours 20 mins from Birmingham and 1 hour from Cambridge. Ipswich and Colchester are around a 40-minute drive from the hotel. There is free parking nearby.

By train: London Kings Cross to Bury St Edmunds (via Cambridge or Ely) takes around 1 hour 45 mins. The hotel is a 20-minute taxi ride from Bury St Edmunds station. Book trains to Bury St Edmunds.

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The hotel's style could be described as that of a favourite aunt - elderly and a bit stuck in her ways, but eager to embrace the modern world with both guest rooms and public areas ingeniously blending the beams and brickwork of the ancient building with the features everyone expects in a contemporary four-star hotel.


The service at The Swan is crisp and functional - nothing special - but the facilities are excellent, with a bar and lounge, two restaurants - each quite different from the other - room service and a spa.

  • Bar
  • Two restaurants
  • Lounge
  • Spa treatments
  • Garden
  • Pet-friendly
  • Family rooms
  • Room service


Given the age of the building, the hotel's rooms come in all shapes and sizes - and prices - but most blend a modern style with the heritage of the building pretty well, with contemporary headboards and splashes of colour that fit surprisingly well with the ancient beams and creaky floors.

Room types: Cygnet Rooms, Lavenham Rooms, Suffolk Rooms, Heritage Rooms, Gainsborough Rooms, Constable Suites

Key amenities: double bed, ensuite bathroom with shower, TV, tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi


They have two restaurants: the atmospheric Gallery restaurant, which serves three-five course fine-dining menus at fairly high prices, and The Brasserie, which serves more informal food, like sandwiches, salads, steaks, fish-and-chips. They also serve a good afternoon tea.

The Gallery Restaurant: modern British cuisine, fine dining, local produce. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Three courses £40.

Brasserie 487: informal dining, light bites, European dishes. Food served from 12pm. Mains from £11.50.

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