Lavenham is the perfect base to explore the surrounding area which is brimming with heritage homes and Suffolk National Trust gems. Here we’ve curated a few ideas for some of finest houses to visit near Lavenham by car, all within an hour’s drive of The Swan.

Gainsborough’s House

(15 mins drive)

The museum and art gallery at the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough (1727 to 1788) in Sudbury, Suffolk. Explore the current exhibitions and learn about the man behind the art with an art history lecture or talk. Children are especially welcome to join us at an art workshop to learn art techniques such as painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, 3D, acrylics, and graphite.

Melford Hall

(10-15 mins drive)

Melford Hall in Sudbury, Suffolk has a strong connection to Beatrix Potter and you’ll find the great British author’s sketches dotted around the building; visit the bedroom in which she stayed and the turret room in which Beatrix kept her menagerie. Take a guided tour of the house and learn about its history or unwind with a pleasant game of croquet on the lawn.

Ickworth House

(30-40 mins drive)

Built between 1795 and 1829 this Georgian Italianate palace is one of England’s more unusual houses. Its impressive Rotunda was commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures collected on tours around Europe in the 18th-century and is well worth a visit.

Kentwell Hall & Gardens

(10-15 mins drive)

Kentwell is a unique restoration project and remains a family home to this day. Visit the hall, extensive gardens and rare breed farm throughout the year and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the 16th Century with a Tudor Day Experience.

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal is a restored Regency theatre in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, one of only eight Grade 1 listed theatres in the UK. Catch a show or explore backstage and onstage with a self-guided or guided tour. You’ll be able to experience period settings from different eras, listen to the sounds of times gone by or try on a costume. It’s a 30-minute drive from The Swan and there are a number of paid car parks nearby so leave enough time to drive and park before arriving at the theatre.