This year Mr S and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at The Swan Hotel and Spa in charming Lavenham, Suffolk. Little ones safely deposited at the grandparents, it was just a two hour drive to a weekend of pure relaxation.
The medieval town is steeped in history and packed with crooked cottages and half-timbered buildings. You certainly feel like you’ve stepped back in time or through a mysterious magical portal – its no surprise that scenes from the Harry Potter films were shot here.
Lavenham was once the 14th richest town in England, all down to its thriving woollen cloth trade. Today it has a strong community spirit with an array of art galleries, cafes and pubs, surrounded by the remnants of its hey-day. To find out more you can read my 5 reasons to visit Lavenham.
The Swan Hotel and Spa is a member of the Pride of Britain Hotel Group and sits majestically in the heart of the town. Its picture perfect exterior of tiny hatched windows, timber clad walls and unique wonky nature makes it a fitting centre piece.
The hotel spans three houses dating back to 1425 and the interiors blend the unique character of the building with light modern touches in the rooms and public areas. I fell in love with the winding corridors, exposed beams and even the wonky floors.
We stayed in one of the charming Constable Suites. The bedroom with king size bed led to a separate lounge area with characterful features such as inglenook fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and mullioned windows. For such a spacious room, I did find the bathroom quite small, but that’s the price you pay for converting an old building into a hotel. Although I soon forgot about it once I spied the Temple Spa toiletries – so fickle!
One of the things that lured me to the hotel was The Weavers House Spa. A tranquil haven of luxury and relaxation moments from our room. And boy did it not disappoint. On arrival we were handed our robes and slippers.
Changed and ready we waited in the lounge area with our berry smoothies and hot lemon scented towels for our consultation.
We both booked a 90 minute ‘Drift Away’ top-to-toe massage. Trust me it did exactly what it said on the tin.
Post-treatment we were treated to zesty lemon sorbeta and a moreish macaron with special herbal tea. We were ushered into the peaceful relaxation room where we enjoyed all our goodies. Mr S literally had to prize me out of the chaise to ensure we didn’t miss our dinner reservation.
There is also a beautiful outdoor terrace area with a vitality plunge pool and cosy curved loungers to help while away your afternoon. Along with the large sauna and a herb-scented steam room there is enough to keep you luxuriously occupied.
All relaxed and rejuvenated from our pamper session we threw on our gladrags and headed down for our anniversary meal at the AA two Rosette Gallery Restaurant. It’s the Swan’s more formal dining option, with tables adorned with candles and crisp white tablecloths. The hotel also has a more casual brasserie overlooking the gardens.
The high timber beams, exposed brickwork, wrought-iron chandeliers and the wonderful pianist playing on the upper balcony, made it an atmospheric restaurant to dine in. We were lapping up all the charm and romance in the dapper surroundings.
Then I was handed an extensive vegetarian menu. My eyes lit up like a christmas tree. This happy diner had options, sometimes a rare occurrence even in many London restaurants. We began with a novel goat’s cheese starter served in a glass jar with bon bons, beetroot sorbet and salt baked beets.
To follow we had asparagus, wild garlic and parmesan and on top perfectly fried duck egg. The main of halloumi coated in a tandoori spice batter with pineapple and coconut, didn’t quite hit the mark. I wasn’t sold on the battered squeaky cheese – I’ve never been a fan of deep frying unless it’s a potato. We ended the meal with the delicious gingerbread – a ginger sponge with poached pear and blackberry curd.
Service was faultless and very efficient with the waiter doing a grand job of not letting us see the bottom of the wine glass.
The evening ended with a nightcap at the Airman’s bar, so named in honour of the U.S. 487th Bomber Group stationed at Lavenham Airfield during World War II.
I loved exploring all the little nooks and crannies around the hotel. There are plenty of quiet places to sit, read or enjoy a cuppa or something a bit stronger in a hidden courtyard or next to an inglenook fireplace – so perfect!
The location and hotel made this a perfect romantic getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city in one of the most enchanting country towns in Suffolk.
Have you ever been to Lavenham? Do you have a favourite UK hotel? Let me know in the comments box below.
The Swan at Lavenham | High Street | Lavenham | Suffolk | C010 9QA
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