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Lavenham is widely regarded as the best example of an intact Medieval Village. This important 'Wool Town' was once one of the richest in England and is cluttered with many magnificent Medieval buildings.
There is an excellent Butchers at the bottom of the high Street and the marvelous 'granary pat' bread that I supply at The Grove Cottages come from the old fashioned bakery Sparling & Frieres, they bake bread as it should be baked in Market Place, which is a stunning village square that transports you straight back to Medieval times with the magnificent Guild hall - which now houses a very interesting museum & The marvelous 'Little Hall' which is another National Trust building and often open.
The very excellent Great House French Restaurant is also in the Market Place and there is a very nice pub called 'The Angel' where a thirsty walker can get a drink and a sandwich most of the day, The pub has a fine restaurant which is open every evening with the host playing the piano live on a Friday and Saturday night.
The Wildlife Gallery ; As you walk down the High Street you will find 'The Wildlife Gallery' on the left. This has some very interesting exhibitions featuring artists such as Harry Becker a local artist painting Suffolk rural life about 1880's - 1920's.
Beckers evocative work is only now being recognized for its importance and the Gallery is heavily featuring this artist in the run up to the launch of it's 'definitive book' on his work.
The Market Place which is 100 yards away also features the wonderful Guildhall which is owned by the National Trust and was the backdrop for the 1960's cult film “Witchfinder General”, The Guildhall now houses a fascinating local history Museum, there are many fine pubs, restaurants, tea rooms, beauty salons, and lovely old fashioned village shops nearby.
Lavenham although really tiny was once England's 13th most prosperous town - in the 16th Century ! Its importance stems from its wool and weaving activities which is attested to by its wonderful historic buildings, Guildhall and Church.
There are a number of very pleasant walks around Lavenham, the tourist centre there has a guided tour and there are some footpaths which make a fine circular walk around the interesting landscape and back to Lavenham.
It is a short stroll to the edge of the village and there are marked circular walks one of which will take you down the disused railway line to Long Melford and back.
My 'walk' which is marked on the maps I supply at The Grove Cottages, starts in the nearby village of Brent Eleigh and comes into Lavenham at it's famous and imposing Wool Church, after refreshments at one of the fine pubs and a snoop around Lavenham (not forgetting the old antique book shop) my walk takes you back on the green lane via an other fine church to the very excellent Cock pub in Brent Eleigh for a short respite and stroll back to the car. This walk is about 50 minutes in either direction.
Please see my ‘What to Do’ web pages for lots of information on this lovely area.
Are some of the main draws to this stunning village. Little Hall Museum, The Great House - French Restaurant and The Angel Pub all just 80 yards from the Cottage, the Market Square, the beautiful Guildhall which is owned by the National Trust and open to visitors, it contains a very interesting local history of the village.
The ancient Market Place is home to a French Market which is great fun and a source of some real delicacies.
Above are some images of the countryside and tiny unspoilt villages which surround Lavenham.
In Charles Dickens's days, boys living in Scotland and here in East Anglia would be allowed to leave boarding school a day early because it took so long to get back home to those places.
Even though we are just 60 miles from London, this area was always very inaccessible and remained so until very recent times.
Now the local mainline train journey to London is a mere 45 minutes and a car journey takes about an hour and a half.
But still Suffolk has retained an unusually strong independent rural atmosphere and one of the great joys of the area are the beautiful little hamlets that even locals get lost getting to though the meandering 'spiders web' of tiny lanes and byroads. Many of these villages are wonderfully preserved in their medieval origins, our local village of Lavenham being a fantastic example.
The area is very rich in History from the Saxon treasure of Sutton Hoo and the rebel Queen Bodicea who defeated the Romans, right up to the many expeditions of Settlers leaving for America - in fact the First Governor of Massachusetts came from this tiny hamlet of Edwardstone when I am based at The Old Grove Farm.
The landscape and the Architectural beauty of the area has long inspired Artists to work and move here. The greatest English landscape painter John Constable painted all his famous masterpieces along the Stour which is just 5 miles from The Grove Cottages. His work undoubtedly created this landscape as the quintessential English Landscape, which is one reason why visitors to the area feel so at home.
Flatford Mill where many of Constables most well known works of art such as 'The Haywain' were painted is now a National Trust area devoted to this artist and preserving his memory and the area he made so famous.
The Great Portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough lived in Sudbury which is the closest town to us and it is a real pleasure to visit his home which is now a very interesting museum and exciting showplace for local artists and events, it also has a wonderful print making workshop where courses on all kinds of printmaking are constantly held and very much sought after.
The great artist Sir Alfred Munnings, famous for his portraits of Rural Suffolk Life lived and had his studio close to the river Stour at Dedham and these are now an interesting museum devoted to him and his works of art.
For more information, please visit: my 'What to Do' Web Pages where I have an extensive insiders guide to South Suffolk
Here are a few photos I took around the area of Lavenham, Long Melford and Polsted - The seaside is at Aldeburgh which is a totaly unspoilt seaside village, famous for its Arts events and good food - it is about 50 minutes from Lavenham.
Kentwell Hall is just 7 minutes away and open to There are lovely walks around the little lanes and tracks
visitors, it is famous for it's Medieval Re-enactments that criss cross the countryside.
These are 2 lovely hamlets close to Lavenham, Polstead.
and Chelsworth. These are the bluebell walks at Polstead
- Hiya Reuben (my grandson)
This is the pretty Suffolk coast, a lovely days outing when you stay in Lavenham.
Below is a recent article about the Suffolk Coast
Joanna Symons, Telegraph Travel Newspaper January 2nd 2010.
'Popular though the Lake District and West Country are as tourist destinations, they can be rather damp. If you want to reduce the risk of a rainy holiday, statistics show that you should head east.
Suffolk for instance, had only about a third as much rainfall as the Lake District last summer. It also happens to have one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in Britain.
The Met office regional statistics per annum.
The Lake District Suffolk
Rain fall 2300 - 3900mm 600 - 660 mm