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Review: The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

The Great British Food team

Nov 07, 2023
6 minutes to read

Nestled in the heart of the postcard-perfect village of Lavenham, The Swan offers fabulous British food, cosy-yet-luxurious rooms and a very warm welcome to families, couples and solo travellers alike. Natasha Lovell-Smith finds out more…

With its curving medieval streets, quirky independent boutiques and historic half-timbered houses, Lavenham is a charming spot for a relaxing weekend away, and The Swan has been at the heart of the village since the 15th century, when it was a bustling coaching inn. Today it brings together a deep sense of history and occasion with a mix of classic and contemporary styling: think oak beamed interiors, open fires and cosy nooks, combined with all the luxury you’d expect from a top quality hotel. A particular draw is the Weavers’ House Spa, which boasts various heat and relaxation suites, including a heated vitality pool outdoor hidden within the beautiful Spa Garden Terrace.

The Rooms

The Swan has 45 bedrooms, each with their own unique personalities and characteristics. The Lavenham rooms are the smallest on offer but are still roomy and incredibly charming, while the more spacious Heritage rooms are ideal for both short and longer breaks. For something really special, the Constable Suites are the most luxurious rooms on offer with a separate lounge for optimum relaxation, plus original features such as wooden beams, inglenook fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and mullioned windows.

The Food

Start with a glass of fizz in the relaxed Airmen’s Bar, which is adorned with fascinating Second World War memorabilia, or if the weather is warm, you can also enjoy lunch, tea or cocktails in the sheltered gardens and hidden courtyard.

To eat, guests can choose to dine in either the beamed and vaulted fine dining Gallery restaurant or the relaxed Mess Call 487 Brasserie, overlooking the courtyard gardens. We opted for the Gallery and were wowed by the creative and delicious dishes on offer, starting with delicate starters of Norfolk crab with pink grapefruit, stem ginger and brown crab mayonnaise, and a chicken and tarragon terrine served with confit chicken wing and a rich Caesar dressing.

Both restaurant menus also feature a ‘cut of the day’ served with parmesan and truffle chips and a peppercorn sauce, which was a perfectly cooked ribeye steak when we visited and comes highly recommended. Other fabulous mains include whole grilled plaice with seaweed butter, brown shrimps and minted new potatoes, and a fantastic vegetarian carrot tarte tatin. The dessert menu is packed with classic, comforting options given a gourmet twist; highlights include a stunning plum and custard parfait sandwich and a gooey chocolate fondant with banoffee ice cream. Breakfast, also served in the Gallery, is a superlative affair with top quality versions of everything you could possibly want, from a hearty fry up to mouth-watering eggs Benedict.

The Location

You can take a gentle walk from the hotel around the ancient town and browse its individually owned boutiques, craft shops and galleries, or visit the stunning timber framed Guildhall and splendid church of St Peter and St Paul. There are also numerous scenic country walks, cycle paths and bridleways nearby or the other wool towns of Long Melford, Hadleigh and Sudbury are just a short drive away.

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