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Rectory Manor, Lavenham, Suffolk
'Pull the bell, wait to be received' says the sign at the door, and this sets the tone for Rectory Manor, which is a bit like visiting your richest friend's country house for the weekend. Situated deep in the heart of rural Suffolk, you're met at the door by Tom, the efficient butler, and ushered to one of seven very comfortable guest rooms, which divide between the main house and a converted stable block in the grounds - where you'll also find a swimming pool, tennis court and croquet lawn. Like all the best B&Bs, you feel you are staying in someone's rather special home for a few days.
There's a slight Jeeves & Wooster feel to the location - like you're attending your very own country house party.
The hotel is in a secluded corner of the Suffolk countryside. The traditional village of Great Waldingfield is nearby. The Dedham Vale AONB is a 20-minute drive away.
By car: About 1 hour and 45 minutes from London on the M11. Around 2 hours and 45 minutes from Birmingham on the A14. There is free parking at the hotel.
By train: The closest station is Sudbury and trains run there from Marks Tey on the London to Colchester line. A taxi from Colchester takes around 30 minutes. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel is perfect for couples looking for a secret little bolt-hole not far from London, where they can be as anonymous or sociable, as active or as leisurely, as they choose. It's always a pleasure to meet the owner Frank, who can tell you all about his ancestors, most of whom seem to have been spies or explorers.
Service & Facilities
We love the extensive grounds and gardens. The B&B's own dog Honey is always around and hounds are welcomed throughout the public areas and in all the rooms bar one.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
- Outdoor pool
- Croquet lawn
- Tennis court
The cut-glass decanters in the bedrooms filled with gin and whisky for a nightcap or two are a nice touch. The design is traditional, with tapestries and a rich colour scheme adding a sense of grandeur. One room in the main house boasts a four-poster and a bathroom with a full-length mural of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
Classic, Superior, Deluxe, Grand Deluxe, Suite and Four Poster
Facilities inlcude: Ensuite bathrooms with Penhaligons or Gilchrist and Soames toiletries, Wi-Fi, tea- and coffee-making facilities, fresh milk and complimentary water and mini bars.
Food & Drink
Breakfast is not included in the room rate, but guests can choose from cooked or continental options. We love the excellent bacon and sausages they serve at breakfast, sourced from a local Long Melford butcher. There are honesty boxes so guests can make themselves drinks in the drawing room.