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Time Travel to English Countryside in Lavenham

By on May 21, 2016

Lavenham is a beautiful medieval village in Suffolk, home to Jane Taylor who gave us the nursery rhyme, ‘Twinle Twinkle little star’. The rhyme is said to have been penned down by Taylor on the shilling street in this village. Lavenham in the Northeast of London or Cotswold in the NorthWest of London are two places for a perfect day trip from London which allows a little peep into the rich history of England.

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It’s timber framed building and the highest church in Suffolk built on the wealth of the wool trade in the 15th century is a wonderful place to explore. Most of the village remains unchanged due to the failure of the wool trade later owing to the dutch refugees who began to weave a lighter and cheaper wool.

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The older buildings are centered around the market place, with its 16th century Guildhall and still earlier market cross. The Guildhall of Corpus Christi is now owned by the National Trust and houses a permanent local history exhibition which tells the story of its men and women. Another late 14th Century Hall House on the main square which reflects the history of Lavenham over the centuries is now operated as a museum.

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The timber-framed houses can be seen in many places in England but what is amazing abut this village is that almost every building is timber framed taking you many centuries back, the only giveaway are the modern cars parked outside them. Most of these building look like big crooked boxes with the upper box protruding out. There are many stories why the buildings were constructed in such a way that the upper floor was bigger than the ground. One of them being the owners were taxed on the width of the street the buildings occupied so, the upper floors were projected outwards to increase the interior space. And the projecting upper floors served as a protective roof to the lower floor from rain and snow during the days prior to gutters and drain pipes.

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By the 16th century, these houses became popular and the timer frames were added to houses only to enhance its facade, contrasting the dark woods against the whitewashed walls.  The buildings in Lavenham are the historic timber framed houses owing to the Tudors in England. These historic houses are well-maintained and have been converted to hotels, restaurants and private homes. There are many boutiques and shops selling antiques, knitwear and homeware, and cafes and classic tearooms with delicious scones and cakes. There is also a wellness spa if you fancy that. There isn’t much to do in the village other than the museum but the charm of the village is its structures so a leisurely walk around the village is the best way to soak up in its history. We did just that- walked around, stopped for some beer at a beamed pub with a huge open fireplace,walked around the village some more, went to another pub for some strong coffee and wandered off to the mustard fields behind the church, took some jumping photos with the yellow hue as the backdrop. The fields look stunning with the setting sun and the changing patterns of the fluffy clouds almost every few minutes with no one around but just the cute sheep for company.

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If you are a Harry Potter fan then that is another reason for you to visit, as ‘Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows Part 1’ was shot in the village. The village can also be seen in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’. Or if you love cars then the Lavenham Rare Breeds Motor Show exhibits rare motor cars which takes place on the August Bank Holiday Monday. Then I’m sure you’d find yourself asking which century are you really in? 🙂

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Practical Information

Driving : Lavenham is about a few miles off  A134, situated between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury. It takes about 40 minutes from Cambridge and 2 hours from London via M11. We drove down from Norwich which was over an hour. Driving is the fastest way to get to Lavenham and enjoy the scenic countryside as well.

Public Transport: Trains from London Liverpool Street to Sudbury or Colchester take about an hour then you will need to take a local bus to Lavenham. Alternatively, there are National Express buses which run from London’s Victoria Coach Station to St Edmunds.

Daytrip from the village: If you are visiting in Spring then you could add the tulip field of Norfolk to your list or club it with the Lavender fields in the summer.

There is a tourist office in the village on the Lady street from where you can pick a free guide which has a guided walk detailing every turn around the village.

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If you like the English villages then hop on to this page, Winter Walks in Cotswold. 

Do you get seduced by the charm of a village or a city? 

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3 Comments
  1. Reply

    sameer sharda

    May 21, 2016

    Very informative. Especially liked how you describe the unworldly charm of the little known place (at least to those not living in the UK).

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Vatsal is a techie and a coffee junkie. Most often he’s caught watching a film with Guinness for company. Preeti loves everything about the mountains. She always has her head buried in a book sipping tea.
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