With its crooked Tudor homes leaning into its tiny higher street and a heritage dating back to William the Conqueror, Lavenham, Suffolk is Britain’s history in the flesh. It is even the birthplace of Dumbledore and Harry Potter!
England’s extended history provides guests so a lot to discover that it is nearly overwhelming. From the greatest city to the smallest hamlet, you can uncover proof of the outstanding items that have occurred right here more than the millennia.
Guests to the UK generally head straight to London – to the epicentre – for their taste of England, which tends to make great sense.
But tiny tucked-away towns like Lavenham, deep in the Suffolk countryside, give us concentrated pockets of Medieval and Tudor England that bring history to life. If you want a genuine taste of England, it is towns like this that have the most flavour. Certainly, Lavenham could properly be the most English village you will uncover.
You get the feeling items do not alter quite swiftly right here. In truth, according to the regional district census, even Lavenham’s population of about 1,700 hasn’t changed a lot in the final 200 years.
But the village’s quantity of half-wooden Tudor buildings make it even much more evident that alter comes blissfully gradually to Lavenham.
Thanks to the village’s cloth and wool trade, and its guilds, Lavenham was as soon as a single of the best 15 richest towns in England, which is most likely why you can see such a wealth of examples of this type of architecture. They had the income to make.
Points to see in Lavenham
Market place Square and Guildhall
Lavenham’s industry square was as soon as a single of the busiest, most significant areas for organization in the nation. In the early 1500s, sales of its valued blue woollen fabric boosted Lavenham to the 14th wealthiest town in Britain.
To safeguard the town and its market, the guildhalls had been constructed about the square, which is what you can see right now. These surprisingly brightly coloured wooden frame buildings stand out from the usual black and white or grey Tudor designs you generally see.
This square represents the heart of Lavenham and even on quiet days, you can nevertheless really feel its significance. It was also the set for a John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s brief film Apotheosis in 1969.
The De Vere Property
Lavenham, a present from William the Conqueror to his brother-in-law Alberic de Vere shortly soon after the 1066 invasion, stayed in the De Vere loved ones till 1703.
The loved ones house on Water Street – De Vere Property – nevertheless exists and was the CGI set for Harry Potter’s (and the Dumbledores’) loved ones house in The Deathly Hallows Components I. There had been a handful of other streets utilized in the film, and it is exciting to attempt and spot them.
On the Higher Street, this antiques shop appears like a typical, typical sized retailer in a tiny village. Having said that, as you push by way of the door and get started exploring, you realise how incorrect your assumptions had been.
This location is massive, and packed complete of all types of treasures. The creaking, uneven floors and old, low ceilings make this extended shop, which stretches back more than 40m, even larger. It feels like you are exploring an undiscovered treasure haul from some crazy kleptomaniac pirate. It is excellent.
The Crooked Property
More than the centuries, the ancient homes along Lavenham’s streets have all began to droop. It adds to the outstanding aesthetic of the village, but it also tends to make you wonder how some of them are nevertheless standing.
Some are buckled, some are twisted. Some loom more than you like an angry college teacher. But there’s a single in specific that leans much more than the rest.
A great deal like the Tower of Pisa, this wood framed Tudor residence is iconic in its wobbliness. Seemingly propped up by its neighbours, its pitched roof seeking nearly jaunty with the upper floor’s listing angle, the Crooked Property defies gravity.
But ideal of all, you can go in…
Exactly where to consume in Lavenham
Munnings Tea Rooms
Housed inside the tilted timbers of the Crooked Property, Munnings Tea Rooms is a single of our favourite areas to go for lunch. Our only warning: arrive hungry.
Owner and chef Everyl Madell turns out the ideal ploughman’s you will ever have, sandwiches that are as filling as they are scrumptious, cheese scones worth their weight in gold (and these beauties are heavy) and a proprietary blend of tea that tends to make this so quite English you will want an additional pot.
The tea rooms are decorated with an antique really feel that fits the town like a glove. Exposed wooden beams, cute tiny lamps, lace, china, tea cosies and images in old frames – it is like you are possessing lunch in someone’s house.
There’s also an unhealthy quantity of horse-associated photographs and ornaments owing to Everyl’s devotion to racing. Get her speaking about the type and she’ll be your pal for life!
Make certain you contact ahead as there are only five-six tables. Upstairs, exactly where the floor leans with the warps in the timber frame, there is a beautiful table set for dinner, which you can book for events. There’s also a 4-poster bed in the bedroom subsequent door.
Munnings also operates as a B&B – I can only visualize what breakfast would be like. Everyl’s qualifications as a chef would certainly shine by way of as they do at lunch.
The Angel Hotel
If you do not have any luck booking a table at Munnings or you fancy a beer with lunch, the Angel Hotel Village Pub and Restaurant on the corner of the Market place Square is your aim.
Matching Munnings for its charm and authenticity, the Angel has kept its original capabilities of exposed beams and attractive fireplace by the bar. The meals right here is homely but skilfully created and the beer – most importantly – is kept properly.
There are also eight beautiful seeking en-suite rooms out there right here, every with homely touches great for a brief remain.
If you are seeking for a take-away choice, you have to verify out Lavenham Butchers’ delicatessen. Their counter is complete of house-created (yes, they make them) sausage rolls, pies, scotch eggs and other pastry wonders. No to mention a very good choice of cured meats, antipasti and cheese.
If you have got cooking facilities nearby, even much better. Their sausages are excellent, all created in residence with absolutely free-variety meat, they even supply regional wild venison of the season and do not get me began on their bacon.
Hadley’s Ice Cream Parlour
If you are in the mood for some thing sweet, make your way to Hadley’s Ice Cream Parlour. This location is impressive. Everything’s handmade and locally sourced, from the Maldon sea salt and Essex honeycomb to elderflowers from their personal hedgerows and the cream from their dairy farm.
What began out as a passion project for owner Jane Hadley has turned into a complete-blown operation. And my goodness the ice cream’s very good.
By the way, can you spot my mum and dad there? Are not they cute?
And if you are seeking for much more items to consume, you are not far from a single of our other favourite Suffolk towns: Sudbury. Here’s our guide on exactly where to consume in Sudbury.
Exactly where to remain in Lavenham
Though Lavenham is below a two-hour drive from London and properly worth a daytrip, there are also very a handful of areas to remain right here. You could actually get to know this outstanding location with its history and attractive buildings – not to mention its friendly locals.
Right here are our suggestions:
Market place Keeper’s Cottage
This cosy two-bedroom cottage, with its tiny walled and hedged garden, is ideal in the middle of the Market place Square and overlooks the Guildhall. For all the creature comforts you could want for in a remain in the nation, the Market place Keeper’s Cottage has it covered.
Every single detail – from a welcome hamper and the complimentary decanted whisky to the full kitchen and wood fire – is there to make your remain in Suffolk the way you want it.
Straight opposite the De Vere Property of Harry Potter fame, Hour Cottage on Water Street is set up for a quite comfy remain. Even though this two-bedroom redbrick Grade II listed constructing is complete of history, it is also totally modern day in its facilities.
The private tiered back garden tends to make for the great spot to unwind for a morning coffee or watch the sun gradually go down on these excellent extended summer season nights.
The Swan at Lavenham
For genuine luxury in a single of the most beautiful period buildings in Lavenham, The Swan at Lavenham is your go-to. Apart from its complete-service higher-good quality hotel, The Swan also serves fine-dining selections and a day spa to actually make the most of your time in this attractive aspect of England.
And as we’ve currently pointed out, Munnings Tea Rooms and The Angel also have accommodation if you are seeking for some thing shorter term and much less involved.
All of these selections would make a trip to what’s certainly Britain’s finest Medieval village.