Welcome to the latest edition of the Best of Suffolk ‘Tried and Tested’ blog series, featuring the gorgeous Star Cottage in Lavenham.
Those reading a Tried and Tested for the first time might not know that at Best of Suffolk, we try out our properties with our families and friends and provide first-hand experience of our stays. From the property itself to recommendations of things to do nearby and knowledge of where’s good for food – we ‘try and test’ it all. After all, there’s nothing better than a personal recommendation, especially when it comes to something as much-deserved as a holiday!
In this edition, Abi (our Marketing Manager), and her family (six year old son Monty, Mum Karen and Stepdad Martin) tried out Star Cottage for a long weekend. Here’s how they got on!
Star Cottage, Lavenham
This charming cottage is an absolute gem. Ideally located only a few minutes walk away from Lavenham hotspots such as the Guildhall or Harry Potter’s house! Incredibly spacious too with a large kitchen/diner, generous sitting room, and the benefit of a sun terrace when the weather permits. Two bedrooms, one king and one twin, plus a handy upstairs bathroom means couples, a group of friends, and families could stay very comfortably. Star Cottage is also pet friendly, so a lot of boxes ticked when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay for your much-deserved holiday.
Star Cottage is beautifully presented and retains a wealth of period features including exposed beams and oak floorboards. Full of intriguing nooks and crannies, there’s even a section of the master bedroom showcasing the original wattle and daub wall! Paired with all modern creature comforts such as crisp white linens, fluffy bath sheets and hot and cold running Wi-Fi, Star Cottage makes for a luxurious weekend away in the heart of Lavenham.
Location, Location, Location!
Star Cottage is situated in the medieval wool town of Lavenham. In times gone by it was one of the wealthiest settlements in England and remarkably a great many historic timber-framed grand houses and cottages remain beautifully intact. The town has an excellent variety of shops and restaurants including The Great House and Lavenham Greyhound. For those looking for a little pampering, Weaver’s House Spa is one to book!
Lavenham is also a family-friendly destination. Not only can you see the exterior of the birth place of Harry Potter, there’s also plenty to keep little ones busy. Lavenham Guildhall Museum and the Little Hall Museum have wonderfully engaging displays that make learning about the medieval period fun. Plus there’s a Crooked Houses Trail that Monty loved, and a fantastic play area (with zip wire!) to let off some steam.
Star Cottage: First Impressions
Driving through Lavenham you cannot help but smile at the gorgeous timber-framed buildings and their various irregular angles! Star Cottage is a beautiful red-brick cottage with a pleasing exterior. I followed the clear arrival details I received by email for Star Cottage and was very keen to get inside and take a look around. After easily finding the key box and using the code provided, we were welcomed by the most impressive welcome pack!
The owner and housekeeper of this cottage clearly go the extra mile to ensure their guests are given a royal welcome! Awaiting our arrival were fresh milk in the fridge, local eggs, a freshly baked tiger loaf, biscuits, crackers, marmalade, tea and coffee, plus a bottle of delicious wine. The Best of Suffolk Welcome File told me everything I needed to know. The cottage is spacious, incredibly clean and well-equipped.
Lavenham Children’s Park
When travelling with small humans, it’s always best to have a mix of activities up your sleeve. This multi-generational holiday (grandparents, parents and children!) means it could be challenging to find activities that keep everyone happy. After a potter through some of Lavenham’s antique shops, we opted for a burst of fresh air and a trip to Lavenham Children’s Park, which kept the smallest human in our party very happy. Suitable for a mix of ages and only a five minute walk away from Star Cottage, it could not be better located.
The Cock Horse Inn
After unpacking, we enjoyed a cup of tea around the spacious dining table in the kitchen deciding on our plan for the weekend. During this Tried and Tested stay, pubs, restaurants and cafés are open for outdoor dining only, and we were lucky enough to be able to head over the road (staggering distance!) to The Cock Horse Inn.
The marquee and patio heaters, combined with the delicious smell of cooking was an absolute winner! Thankfully we had booked a table, as this popular pub gets busy. A meal out makes a welcome addition to any holiday, and with full tummies, we headed home (all 2 minute’s walk!) and settled in for an early night.
Gorgeous King Bedroom
My parents took the beautiful King bedroom at Star Cottage. Spacious, luxurious and packed full of period features. They particularly liked the section of wall (pictured here on the left next to the bed) that showcases the original wattle and daub method of constructing houses.
Comfortable Twin Bedroom
Monty and I stayed in the twin bedroom, which had a lovely view over the sun terrace. The crisp white linens and comfy beds made for a good night’s sleep for all. We were also greeted by designer toiletries and white fluffy bath sheets. What a treat!
Lavenham Crooked Houses Walk
In the morning, we set off to explore Lavenham. The National Trust has put together a fascinating one-mile walk around Lavenham which takes you past the most crooked houses. The Crooked House Trail also provides some facts and historical context for each of the buildings highlighted. At one mile, it wasn’t too far for either Monty or my parents and can be carried out entirely at your own pace. Monty particularly enjoyed pretending to hold this building up!
Harry Potters House
The trail handily takes you past De Vere House, the exterior of which was used as the fictional birthplace of Harry Potter. Harry Potter fans come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and having your photo taken outside Harry Potters home must be high on the wish list!
Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop
The trail also takes you past Sweetmeats, a 500-year-old weavers cottage that stocks an incredible selection of old English sweets and home-made icecreams. As we’re on holiday, Monty was allowed to pick some sweets of his choice to enjoy as we carried on with the walk.
One of the wonderful things about Lavenham is the varied and unique selection of independent shops along the High Street. Perfect for pottering and definitely tempting to treat yourself whilst on holiday. The Lavenham Blue Tearooms are a must for anyone that likes an afternoon tea! There’s also a bakery and butchers, as well as a local store and Co-op for essentials.
Comfortable and Cosy Sitting Room
After all that fun, we decided to head back to the warm and welcoming Star Cottage for some family time. The wood-burning stove added a real touch of warmth and the comfy sofa made our games afternoon even more enjoyable! The sitting room is both spacious and cosy, and makes for a comfy place in the evening to curl up with a glass of wine, enjoy a book or play some games.
I decided the put the well-equipped kitchen at Star Cottage to the test by rustling up hunters chicken and vegetables. There was everything provided I could possibly need, the oven worked a treat and the dishwasher came in handy as it meant we could relax rather than having to do the washing up.
We woke up on Sunday morning and were excited to make a delicious brunch from the goodies in our welcome pack. Kicking off the day in true Sunday breakfast style, we enjoyed a freshly brewed pot of tea, scrambled eggs, toasted tiger bread and bacon, which we bought from the butchers the previous day. The dining table in the kitchen can seat four guests very comfortably, so whether you’re hiring Star Cottage as a couple, or as a family, there’s plenty of room for you to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Arger Fen Bluebell Walk
Our Sunday adventure saw us head out in the car for the first time since arriving. Just a short 20-minute drive away was the Suffolk Wildlife Trust site, Arger Fen. With a selection of trails to follow from a quarter of a mile to two and a half miles, you can download a trail map and head off on an adventure! We timed our trip to Lavenham to be in early May, just as the bluebells are in full bloom. The scent of these glorious wildflowers, combined with the wild garlic that was in plentiful supply, meant our eyes and noses were equally stimulated!
Dog-Friendly Cottage in Lavenham
As Star Cottage is a dog-friendly holiday cottage, we could have easily brought a four-legged friend. The stable door in the kitchen leading to the sun terrace would be particularly useful for anyone looking to bring a dog. Lavenham is also a dog-friendly town, with plentiful walks on your doorstep and numerous dog-friendly places to eat. The Greyhound in particular has received wonderful reviews commenting on how accommodating they are for dogs.
If I Had More Time, I Would…
…Have a Drink in the Airmen’s Bar
Stepping inside the Airmen’s Bar is like taking a trip back to the 1940’s; a time where the world was at war and life was lived for each moment. Taking its name from the many servicemen from RAF Lavenham and beyond who would come to relax, drink and socialise, the Airmen’s Bar has an inspiring collection of signatures and mementos adorning it’s walls. I’d struggle to chose which cocktail to go for, but I would have fun making my choice whilst enjoying the atmosphere of the 1940s.
….Visit Kentwell Hall & Gardens
Sadly closed during our visit, but re-open now, Kentwell Hall & Gardens is a secluded and romantic estate set in Suffolk parkland with over 500 years of fascinating history and unexpected stories. The gardens boast over 30 acres of tranquil breathing space, with a surprise to delight the senses around every corner. The Hall is part original Tudor, with later classical elements, mixed with the owners’ personal style. Tudor portraits, interesting artefacts and historic tapestries make this a family home with a difference. Booking in advance is a very good idea!
…Have a Pamper at the Spa
One of the most luxurious and intimate boutique spas in Suffolk is Weavers’ House Spa. There are first-class amenities to keep you serene and stress-free during your holiday, or in-between treatments!
…Have a BBQ!
Sadly the weather during our weekend away wasn’t compatible with sitting in the sunshine! Had it have been dryer, we would have made full use of the gorgeous sun trap of a patio, complete with BBQ!
What Do Other Guests Think?
I think this entry into the Star Cottage visitors book says it all!
The Verdict: Star Cottage
Star Cottage is a fantastic, cosy, luxury cottage in the most spectacular location of medieval Lavenham. Well suited for couples or families, and ideal for those with a dog, this pretty cottage is the one for you!
Well equipped and a high-end finish, with luxurious sheets and towels for those added finishing touches. The space and the quality of the kitchen/diner was the highlight for me. The welcome pack and overall high-quality standard of finish and cleanliness meant the holiday started as soon as we arrived.
The family weekend in Lavenham at Star Cottage was an absolute success, thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended!
Why not take a look at availability, and secure your break to Star Cottage today?