School’s Out – Prison or Twinkle Twinkle?

It’s that time again and if you’re wondering where to take the family for a different kind of summer day out, then look no further than Lavenham Guildhall. A tour through this amazing building brings a surprise in every room and there’s something for the whole family.

Where else could you find marks scratched into the walls to ward off witches, a mummified cat, strange potions you can uncork and smell, ankle cuffs and thumbscrews, (yes you can try them), and even a prison cell, (we promise not to lock you up!) and to top it all off, replica medieval costumes for dressing up and taking selfies!
 
But, hang on….  before you get the idea that the Guildhall sounds only like a prison or workhouse, (although at various stages in its history it was both), there’s a host of other ways to discover 500 years of the Guildhall’s changing fortunes.
 
There’s an ancient loom reflective of the type used to create Lavenham’s famous blue cloth and found its vast fortune, an old black and white film depicting village life in the 1940s, railway memorabilia from the age of steam, an ancient fire engine, a host of photographs showing Lavenham and the Guildhall in times gone by, and in one room you can even discover the possible origin of that famous saying, 'Money for Old Rope'.
 
Oh and did we mention that we have children’s quiz trails and a whole room dedicated to the life and times of local girl Jane Taylor? Who’s Jane Taylor you may ask. Well you may not have heard of her, but you’ll certainly have heard of her most famous nursery rhyme… Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, thought to have been inspired by her childhood in Lavenham
 
And after all that…. a rest in our little tea garden, among the dye plants we grow here, a cold drink, a cuppa or perhaps some lunch in our galleried tea room. The perfect end to a day of discovery, fun and exploring.
 

Old photo of Lavenham Guildhall with old woman

History of Lavenham Guildhall

Discover how the town’s fortunes altered from its 16th-century glory days. Learn how the changes affected the upkeep of the timber-framed buildings, including the Guildhall, which has changed its uses many times over the years.

St Peter and St Paul Church, Lavenham, Suffolk

Things to see and do

You’ll make your visit to Lavenham even more memorable when you discover the characters and history of the place. Get the full rundown of all that you might enjoy while you’re here.