Latest Posts

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Things to see and do in Lavenham

Lavenham is a small village in south-west Suffolk. It is a historic wool town and one of the finest examples of a medieval village in England. Majority of the houses that you would see in the town were built in the late 1400s, yet are in an incredibly amazing condition even today. With beautiful countryside, proximity to many tourist attractions and offering a unique shopping experience, it is no wonder Lavenham receives a great deal of visitors each year.


The timber framed, medieval cottages in Lavenham are quite popular with the tourists. You could do a circular walk of the town taking in all the beautiful buildings. Since it is a small village, you can see all of Lavenham in under an hour. But I would recommend spending more time at the Guild Hall and the church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham Guildhall

Lavenham Guildhall, also referred to as the Guildhall of Corpus Christi, is one of the most beautiful timber-framed buildings in the town. The building dates back to around 1530. Lavenham was a wealthy town during its heyday in the early 16th century, however towards the end of the 16th century, the local wool industry was affected by cheaper imports from Europe as well as by the cheaper cloth that was being produced in Colchester. This caused an economic crash and also had an impact on the buildings in the town. People were no longer able to maintain their houses and many buildings were lost. Those that remained were not modified. That is the reason the timber-framed buildings you see today in Lavenham represent the medieval period and offer an insight into life in the 16th century. The Guildhall along with two adjacent properties are some of the buildings that managed to withstand the testing times. In 1951 the National Trust took the Guildhall under its care and it has remained with them since then.

Lavenham Guildhall

Today the Guildhall tells the story of the village and the building through time. From the time the Guildhall was purpose-built for the members of the gild, to its usage as jail and subsequent use as an alms-house and a warehouse, it is an extraordinary story and journey. During the WWII, the Guildhall received evacuees and later also served as a nursery school. It was vested in the National Trust in 1951 and is now open to visitors. You can explore the rooms and browse through the changing exhibition displays. We were given a guided tour of the Guildhall by Geoff, one of the room guides, and he brought the place to life with his knowledge and humour. Highly recommend a guided tour if you have the time and are interested in learning about the history of the Guildhall. For opening times and prices, visit the National Trust website.

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Lavenham in Suffolk

Church of St Peter and St Paul

This Grade I listed wool church is one of the most visited churches in East Anglia. It is an excellent example of English Gothic architecture and is one of the major landmarks of Lavenham. After the circular tour of Lavenham and a visit to the Guildhall, if you seek a moment of quiet and peace, then this is the place to be.

The exterior of the church is fascinating and the beautiful, serene interior with the stunning stained glass panels perfectly complements it. It is a lovely place to visit not only in terms of architecture but also as the perfect setting for quiet reflection and prayer.

Church of St Peter and St Paul

Church of St Peter and St Paul

Church of St Peter and St Paul

Church of St Peter and St Paul

Church of St Peter and St Paul

Other attractions in Lavenham

Little Hall : Another of Lavenham's well preserved timber-framed buildings, Little Hall is now a small, independent museum. There are seven rooms in the building and there is quite a bit to see inside, including a lovely garden.

Countryside walks: A circular walk of around 3.5 miles, along public footpaths & roads and a disused railway line is an excellent way to explore Lavenham. You can pick up a guide or booklet from the local tourist information centre which is located just off the Market Place. Guided walks are also conducted by the tourist information centre on weekends.

Attractions nearby

Gainsborough's House : Around 15 minutes drive from Lavenham is Gainsborough's House in Sudbury. It is the birthplace of painter Thomas Gainsborough and the house is currently run as a museum and gallery. Until 1920 the house was a private residence, after which it took on the role of an antique shop, a tearoom and a guest house at different points of time. In the late 1950s, the Gainsborough's House Society was established and after a lot of renovation and improvements, the building was opened as a public museum in 1961.

Today the museum and art gallery exhibit some of Gainsborough's paintings and prints. Each room in the house throws light on a certain aspect of Gainsborough's life and art. In addition to the paintings the rooms also display some period furniture. Once you have completed your tour of the rooms, you can visit the walled garden. It is larger than it looks at first glance and the main attraction is a four hundred year old mulberry tree. The shop in the reception area stocks a range of cards, books, gifts and some original prints of Gainsborough. The museum is open on Sundays too. To check the opening times and admission prices, visit http://www.gainsborough.org/

Gainsborough's House



Lavenham is a beautiful and unique village. It is an excellent base to discover and explore Suffolk. The village has a lot of history and heritage associated with it, a number of art galleries, antique shops, walking and cycling routes and a great choice of places to stay and eat. It is not surprising that Lavenham is the perfect destination in Suffolk, whether you are looking for a day out or a longer holiday.

For more information on attractions in Suffolk, check out http://www.visitsuffolk.com/

Share this:

2 comments :

  1. Highly recommend Lavenham as a lovely quaint village to visit. Beautiful buildings, lovely little side streets to explore, great tea shops, gift shops, art galleries, antiques shops and a great pub, The Cock Horse Inn and Number 10 Wine Bar and Kitchen. Fantastic food in both. The church is worth a visit too. I always love visiting Lavenham.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful pics! I always love discovering new places so I'm definitely adding this to my list of places to visit.

    ReplyDelete

 
Copyright The Globe Trotter.