The Swan at Lavenham
If you love quirky, higgledy piggledy historical properties you’ll be swanning with joy over The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa.
A study in beams, this medieval 15th century gem is everything you’d wish for in a period property. The hotel is comprised of three houses from which the hotel was later developed. It's not fully known when the conversion from houses into an inn took place, but it was well established in 1667. During its heyday in times bygone, it served as a public and posting house, with stabling for 50 horses.
So many beams!
Today, the 4-star hotel has 45 bedrooms, all of which are unique. We stayed in Room 34, The Newton Room, which had a very low ceiling and original timber-beamed walls. Although the room was on the small side, we had enough room for a cosy double bed, a desk, two arm chairs and an en-suite bathroom with chequered tiles and country-chic wooden panelling.
Our cosy bedroom - The Newton Room
Within the hotel there are two on-site restaurants – the Brasserie, a relaxed restaurant with original stone floors and contemporary décor serving casual fare, and the award-winning two rosette The Gallery restaurant. On a warm summer’s day, guests can also enjoy afternoon tea in the garden.
The back entrance of the property adjacent to the garden
The chef at the helm is Head Chef Justin Kett, who is passionate about classic British cuisine featuring quality, local ingredients. Wine lovers will be pleased to know that the restaurant also has a sommelier, Head Sommelier Francois Belin (previously of the Goring Hotel in London), who is on hand to help guests navigate the extensive wine menu to find a wine that beautifully matches their chosen dishes.
Dining at The Gallery has a real sense of occasion to it, with its stunning minstrel's gallery where a pianist plays popular medleys on the grand piano while diners enjoy their meals. We opted for three courses, all of which were delightful and served with a smile by our friendly server.
After a restful night's sleep, guests can tuck into the complimentary breakfast, which includes a selection of breads, porridge, yogurts and a cooked breakfast featuring favourites such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or Eggs Benedict.
Weavers' House Spa located within the hotel is a serene space with a soothing colour palette of sage green and white, making it the perfect place to chill out after a hectic week. The spa uses Temple Spa products, all of which are available for purchase.
Weavers' House Spa at The Swan at Lavenham
The on-site spa facilities include a sauna, steam room and an outdoor terrace with a small whirlpool - a great place to relax if the weather is cooperating! Guests can choose from more than 30 treatments from hot stone massages to a unique brush massage or more traditional facials, manicures and pedicures.
Upon arrival guests are given an exceptionally fluffy robe and slippers and are then asked to fill out a questionnaire, which arrives on a cute tray with an olive branch decoration and a hot towel and a fresh fruit smoothie to help you ease into your visit.
During my visit, I experienced the New Beginnings mummy-to-be massage (£70), an extra-gentle 60-minute massage tailored for pregnant women. Instead of a traditional massage where you lie on your back, you rest on your side on top of a special water bed as the therapist gives you a head-to-toe massage. Although the massage was relaxing, I found myself wishing for a bit more pressure, but to ensure safety, the therapists have to be as careful as possible, which is why they use such a light touch throughout the treatment.
Exploring further afield
As the hotel is located right in the heart of town, taking a stroll is a must. Lavenham is considered one of England’s best medieval villages with more than 340 listed buildings, so it’s worth checking it out. One of the key things to see in Lavenham is its gorgeous church - the church of St Peter and St Paul - which boasts a striking 141ft-high tower.
If you’re into shopping, head to Snape Maltings with its seven acres of Victorian buildings with shops, galleries and restaurants. If you’re a foodie, head for the Suffolk Food hall, near Ipswich, which boasts more than 8,000sq ft of space filled with some of the best food from Suffolk.
To book a stay at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa visit www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk.
Rooms start from £185 per night for two sharing including a full Suffolk breakfast; dinner from the a la carte menu is from £39 per person for three courses. Overnight guests have a complimentary two-hour session with use of the facilities in Weavers’ House Spa including the sauna, steam room, outdoor vitality pool and relaxation lounge.
The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa
Set within 14 acres of spectacular scenery, you’ll find Linthwaite House, a 30-room boutique hotel that’s one of the most luxurious hotels in the Lake District. Here guests are offered jaw-dropping views year-round – whatever the weather.
Linthwaite House is the latest addition to the portfolio of Leeu Collection, a collection of exquisite hotels around the world, that were the vision of founder and entrepreneur Analjit Singh. We were lucky enough to have recently visited Leeu Estates in Franschoek, South Africa, so we couldn’t wait to stay at Linthwaite House, knowing that we were going to be in for a treat if the properties we visited in South Africa were anything to go by.
The first thing you notice upon arrival at Linthwaite House is the picturesque setting with its cracking mountain views. The hotel is surrounded by nature at every corner, giving guests the impression that they are the only people lucky enough to enjoy this remarkably beautiful area.
The grounds are gorgeous, so it’s worth taking a stroll around the property to see the boating lake with its cute, country chic summer house or to simply watch the local sheep grazing in the adjacent field.
The tranquil boating lake and the summer house
Within the hotel, there are several communal areas for guests to enjoy including two lounges (each with a fire) and a beautiful, glass conservatory that overlooks the lake. On a warm sunny day, there’s no better place than the outdoor terrace with its views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
The décor boasts vintage touches throughout with weathered leather trunks stacked atop one another and a variety of bric-a-brac adorning the walls.
Quirky touches and vintage decor
The manager informed us that the hotel is going to be refurbished soon (from June - October 2017), so it will be interesting to see what new changes will be revealed when the hotel is reopened in all its glory. There is talk of guest rooms on stilts with private hot tubs on the boating lake, which would have us rushing back in no time!
Our Room – Room 7
We stayed in a junior suite, which consisted of a separate lounge area with a sofa and TV and a large bed. The décor was neutral throughout with pops of purple (via throw pillows and curtains), to add a sense of luxury. Best of all, there were large picture windows, which provided fabulous views of the croquet lawn.
We loved that there were lots of lovely little touches throughout including complimentary Kendal Mint Cakes (a renowned local treat), Molton Brown toiletries and a Nespresso coffee machine that George Clooney would approve of. Sadly, he wasn’t there to join us for a coffee!
There is an on-site restaurant and a private dining room, for those wanting to host private functions.
Breakfast at Linthwaite House
Breakfast is served in the dining room where guests dine at tables covered with white linen table clothes covered with a gingham table cloth, lending a Provencal feel to breakfast proceedings. To start, guests can choose from a selection of cereals, fruits, yogurts and pastries.
Lovely background music plays as guests pour their tea and tuck into their breakfast. Breakfast offerings at Linthwaite House are on the traditional side and include options such as smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, grilled kipper rarebit glazed poached cod, a full English breakfast, French toast, or homemade pancakes with blueberry compote.
Our breakfast at Linthwaite House Hotel
Salmon and scrambled eggs, a home-made rosti with caramelised onions, grilled mushroom and a soft fried egg and assorted buffet options
Dinner at Linthwaite House
Before dinner, guests have the option of enjoying a drink and nibbles in either of the lounges or in the stylish bar with its black and silver colour palette, which had a bit of a 1920s-vibe going on.
After enjoying a glass of wine (my husband) and a non-alcoholic Mojito (me), we headed to the dining room for dinner in the restaurant. Dim lighting and crisp white linen table cloths added a sense of formality to dinner and it was nice to feel like we were going out on a proper date!
For our starter, we enjoyed a cup of mushroom soup and I had the goats cheese mousse, dusted with gingerbread crumbs and served with heritage vegetables, while my husband had the teriyaki salmon. For our mains, my husband had the lamb and I had the pork, which was very interesting as it was served in a variety of ways to keep things interesting. All the dishes were inventive and beautifully presented, so we couldn’t fault a thing.
Throughout our stay, everyone we met was very laidback and quick with a smile and they were more than happy to provide recommendations for things to see and do in the local area.
Exploring further afield
No trip to the area is complete without a boat tour on Lake Windermere. The local tour provider, Windermere Lake Cruises, offers three tours for visitors to choose from (Red, Yellow or Blue routes), which can take you to either Lakeside or The Islands or a combination of the two (from £11 per person).
The tours get very busy, especially during the summer months, so ensure that you arrive in plenty of time before the scheduled departure to ensure a place at the front of the queue. If sharing a boat with strangers isn’t your idea of a nice way to spend an afternoon, you can hire a row boat or a mini speed boat (£25-£50 per hour) to explore the lake at your leisure.
Virgin Trains operates services from London Euston to Windermere. The hotel is only a 10-minute taxi ride away. It’s recommended that you pre-book your taxi in advance to avoid waiting.
Prices from £246 to £322 per person per night – for dinner, bed and breakfast in a junior suite.
Rates vary according to view, size of room and time of year.
To book your stay visit:
Linthwaite House Hotel
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