Lavenham brings back a host of childhood memories for me. With many a family cycle ride from the nearby town of Sudbury where I grew up, where we would arrive in the picturesque medieval town of Lavenham to relish in a refreshing lemonade and scoff on some Walker’s Ready Salted Crisps. There is something about nostalgia; something I was quickly reminded of as we drove towards the impressive Church of St Peter and St Paul in Lavenham, something I remember drawing as a school project many many years ago.
With a reminiscent (and happy) sigh as I entered into the familiar, I was looking forward to switching off from the world and well and truly embracing the quiet and ‘far away’ life that is so recognisable to Lavenham. Though less than two hours away from London, the town is surrounded by green fields, wonky buildings brimming with character and local folk of whom are so familiar with each other, little waves and wishes of a good morning are so the norm – a true ‘we’re not in London anymore’ moment.
Residing in The Great Green Room, situated in between two of what were once old houses, the room was inviting and warm. The scent of timber and the distant log fire in the lounge made it completely welcoming. Original timber beams were the main focal point for the room and although dark with only one window, the beams actually contributed to a rather prestige, traditional and comfortable hotel experience.
The addition of Weavers’ House Spa, situated adjacent to the hotel is a welcomed one. Styled with a more contemporary feel behind it, the spa is truly beautiful. Described as ‘your home away from home’, the spa is welcoming and very ‘first-time spa-goer’ friendly (my other half). With a large lounge to relax in, looking out over the courtyard with natural light flooding in, the spa is absolutely designed for total relaxation. From the moment we walked in, we noticed our pace slow down immediately. It is amazing the calming effect that a spa can have. The spa isn’t huge but it lends itself well to an intimate experience, one that is so often hard to find these days as the beauty of a spa often becomes lost amongst the ‘major players’. This is what sets Weavers’ House Spa apart.
If there is one moment that I can describe I am at my happiest, it is when i’m indulging in a treatment. I love to treat myself, I understand how important my own wellbeing is and I listen to my body. Stress, though we hate to admit it, is a staple to our everyday lives. Working in a busy media environment, I can sometimes feel I am carrying the world on my shoulders. However, with my therapist Beth, during a Mediterranean Sea Massage, this feeling completely evaporated. Any tension I was holding in every inch of my body was well and truly relieved. Beth was nothing less than excellent. The treatment, unlike one I have ever had before, was based around the notion of floating. Laying face up for the entire 60 minutes, this treatment is perfect to allow you to entirely relax and avoids having to be interrupted to turn around. It utilises the world’s first Hydrotherm 3D massage system and brings a completely new dimension to the healing art of massage. A heated cushion of water and Beth’s expertise created a deep and profoundly relaxing massage. I was totally revitalised.
After indulging in the outdoor vitality pool and making use of the steam and sauna facilities, we made our way back to the hotel to prepare for dinner. Dining is taken very seriously at The Swan at Lavenham, with guests able to choose a more informal experience in the Brasserie or indulge in a formal dinner in The Gallery. The Gallery has a lot of space with high ceilings and a Minstrels’ Gallery, where sits a piano player. With such a grand room, it does run the risk of being a little overwhelming, however we felt totally at home. With an innovative menu incorporating tradition with the contemporary, a candlelit dinner in The Gallery is a wonderful and romantic experience. With a wine sommelier at your disposal, guests are able to enjoy a truly elegant dining experience. From Forest Mushroom Risotto and Rabit Bolognese to Roast Saddle of Lamb and Partridge, the menu is exquisite and varied, suitable for all tastes. Come morning, The Gallery transforms into a breakfast service, served at the table with fresh juice and a range of options, including the traditional full English. With the hotel being slightly busy on a weekend, we did find ourselves a little lost amongst the other guests during breakfast, however, we weren’t in a rush so that didn’t bother us too much – we really enjoyed our breakfast and relished in the slow pace of things.
For those on a bid to find a truly traditional and quintessentially English stay, The Swan at Lavenham is perfect. With a contemporary and delightful spa attached and a delicious menu, The Swan really is a hidden gem in the heart of Lavenham.