Lavenham sits in the centre of a fascinating area for beautiful countryside, historic heritage, wonderful cuisine and unforgettable culture. If you are new to the area then here are some ideas to make your stay memorable:
Lavenham itself has a wealth of shops from antiques and curiosities (such Marshbecks and Timbers), clothing, fashion, arts, crafts and gift shops (such as the Lion Gallery, Posy, Curiosity Corner, Lavenham Pharmacy, Pickles and Lillies, Chilli and Chives, Blue Magpie Studios, Retail Therapy and Johnathan Lambert), several resident artists (two with studios in the village such as Paul Evans and Peter Partington) as well as an excellent bakers and grocers (Sparling & Faiers and Heeks, both in the Market Square), two Coops (one either end of the High Street) and one of the finest butchers in the country (No 1 the High Street). During the day there is plenty to see in the village with over 300 listed buildings as well as tea rooms, restaurants, a wine bar and four pubs.
Plan for afternoon tea in The Swan, Tatum’s Tea House, National Trust Tea Room or Lavenham Blue, an ice cream at any of three ice cream parlours (Sweet Meats, The Parlour), freshly made chocolates at Sweet Meats or The Parlour, a drink at any of four pubs and one wine bar in the village, lunch and evening meal at any of The Great House, No 10, The Swan, the Angel, the Greyhound, the Cock Horse, Sweet Meats and Memsaab. Most are so popular they need to be booked well in advance.
The village then has two museums (the Guild Hall and the Little Hall), a Library at the Village Hall, as well as a number of walks (along the former railway line and into Long Melford or across Clay Hill to Preston or around the rear of the Church to the old Lodge).
Then relax in Lavenham’s Spa (called Weavers) at The Swan or go swimming at Gainsborough Health Club and Spa near Cavendish or borrow a picnic chair from your hosts and sit and watch the cricket or the tennis on the Recreation Ground with the church in the background.
For something a little different, if a group then book a vintage car or the vintage bus and a picnic and go exploring the nearby villages of Chelsworth, Kersey, Long Melford, lunching on Cavendish Green or in the Castle Park at Clare. Or spend an hour learning to do falconry or meeting Hedgwig the Owl. There are riding stables near Sudbury at Spring Hall Farm.
Visit any of the castles at Hedingham (with regular jousts and reenactments), Framlingham (including Jazz at Fram) or Bungay or the 13th century priory at Clare with the ruins of the castle that was the home of the Dukes of Clarence above, and the ruins of the church where Edward III was married and his wife buried.
Visit Kentwell Hall in Long Melford for Tudor and WWII reenactments, Scaresville and live outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s plays or Long Melford Hall and its exhibition on naval history, fireworks displays and open air concerts (both are opposite sides of Long Melford’s village green).
Lavenham has tennis courts that can be hired by visitors and has three golf courses (one with two international standard courses) and two golf ranges within a 15 minute drive as well as two large recreation grounds, one with swings and slides for children, the other laid out to football, cricket pitches and tennis courts.
Lavenham then is the home of a book or literary festival, two arts festivals, open gardens, a vintage car rally, is part of the Suffolk Churches tour, has a large cycling club (bikes can be hired locally), an annual tennis tournament, has an annual vintage car rally and numerous smaller rallies from steam engines to WWII armoured vehicles to hosting the Morris Minor, VW Beetle and Morgan Clubs. For car enthusiasts, it has the dragon’s roar of a former 1920s Grand Prix winning Bugatti T51 and T12 thundering regularly through the village (both live here). It also has a Christmas Fair and a Summer Carnival.
Events in the Village
For the latest news on events in the village visit the Love Lavenham website:
Bury St Edmunds with its Abbey Gardens is then around 15 minutes away; Sudbury the same in the opposite direction (with its water meadows and the Gainsborough Museum). Hadleigh (with its Guild Hall, tea rooms and summer country show) is also 15 minutes away. Newmarket, home of horse racing, is then half an hour away; Cambridge, with its Universities and punting on the backs around 50 minutes (use the park and ride off the A1307).
The village is moderately well served by public transport: there are BR links to London (or Peterbrough and the north) that can be found at Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Colchester with the nearest airport at London Stansted around 65 minutes away (charter flights come in to North Weald, Cambridge and Duxford).