There is so much to do in our beautiful village and the surrounding areas that you won’t want to leave. But, whether you’re here for a day, a week or longer, here are our top tips for making the most of your time with us.
Lavenham is world-famous for its extraordinary history. With over 300 listed buildings, including timber-framed buildings dating back to the 14th Century, you can’t help but imagine the village as it was, brimming with industry as it manufactured its famous blue cloth.
Using woad (Isatis tinctoria), a plant that still grows in The Guildhall Garden, early cloth manufacturers dyed their wool the characteristic blue before weaving it into heavyweight broadcloth. Incidentally, our website colour matches the famous Lavenham Woad Blue. Wealthy wool merchants sold the fabric far and wide and built stunning properties with their profits, such as Little Hall and De Vere House which still stand proud in Lavenham today.
Lavenham soon rose to become the 14th wealthiest town in Tudor England and wool profits were used to bolster this prosperous village. The stately church of St Peter and St Paul was erected with cathedral-like proportions and the Guildhall was constructed as a meeting place for the Catholic Guild that served local communities.
But Lavenham’s fortunes were to be short-lived. Fashions changed, trade routes were disrupted and taxes increased, leading to a decline in Lavenham’s industry. Situated off the beaten track, Lavenham was forgotten but, happily too, so were its buildings. Without the money to extend or rebuild their houses, Lavenham’s villagers unwittingly become some of the first custodians of some of our most important national heritage.
Visit some of Lavenham’s most important historic buildings, including…
One of the most appealing characteristics of Lavenham, aside from its history, is its picturesque location. Lavenham is on the outskirts of Constable Country and is surrounded by the meadows, ancient woodlands and tumbling streams that make this part of East Anglia so beautiful.
There are several walks, right on the doorstep, including the Railway Walk that leads all the way to Long Melford along the disused railway track, and the Woodland Walk that takes you directly into a rewilding project set up by the villagers in 2002.
If you are interested in learning more about the fascinating history of Lavenham, why not book a guided walking tour? For just £5 per person, you can learn from knowledgeable Blue and Green Badge guides as you tour the streets, learning about the origins of everything from blue wool to art, nursery rhymes and even boy wizards.
Markets and events
Lavenham was granted its first market charter in the 13th Century and remarkably this tradition still continues today with the monthly, award-winning farmer’s market.
Lavenham is simply brimming with other activities and events too, from the biannual Literary Festival that is visited by a range of high-profile authors, to the choral and orchestral events held in the Church, annual open gardens event and much more besides.
Visit our events page to see what’s on in the coming months or drop in at the Information Point at Lavenham Village Hub for more details.
Suffolk and Beyond
Lavenham is the perfect base for a longer break or holiday with easy access to many picturesque villages and wool towns, local countryside, and other historic houses in Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
For a touch of art and culture, visit the recently refurbished Gainsborough’s House Museum, in Sudbury, or the landscapes of Constable in the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Dedham, East Bergholt and Flatford.
For a day trip, why not visit the stunning Suffolk Coast, including Southwold with its famous lighthouse and pretty pier, Aldeburgh with its rolling pebble beaches or Sutton Hoo with its famous Anglo-Saxon burial ship?
To step back in history, visit grand, historic houses, such as nearby Melford Hall, Kentwell Hall and Hedingham Castle.
Or for a fun day out for young families, visit nearby Hollow Trees Farm or the famous Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park.