Skip to content

Things to do in Lavenham Guildhall and village

Two adults and two children walking on the street outside the Guildhall in Lavenham, Suffolk
Exploring the village of Lavenham | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Discover Lavenham, often described as a quintessential English village. From the medieval Guildhall of Corpus Christi to the winding, hidden lanes and historic architecture, there's plenty to discover on a visit to this special place.

The Guildhall of Corpus Christi

Step inside one of the finest timer-framed buildings in England and take a journey through more than five centuries of history, seen through the eyes of the people who lived and worked here.

Displays throughout the building tell some fascinating stories, including that of Anne, imprisoned here aged 12, and the Widow Snell with her homemade potions. See if you can spot Rameses, the resident mummified cat.

The Courtyard Garden

Visit the Guildhall's Courtyard Garden and see the beds planted with dye plants, including woad – used to make Lavenham's famous blue cloth since medieval times.

There's also the Bug-ingham Palace bug hotel, a fire engine more than 300 years old, an armillary sphere and a small jailhouse to explore.

Two small bronze rabbits sit on a brick wall in the courtyard garden at Lavenham Guildhall in Suffolk
Explore the Courtyard Garden | © National Trust Images

Lavenham Market Square

Outside the Guildhall is the historic market square, where it's easy to conjure up a picture of medieval life. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine jugglers and musicians, fire breathers and market traders selling all manner of things.

Village lanes and cinema connections

Your next steps take you around corners, down hills and steep lanes, all the while encountering stories and secrets of wealth and hardship, power and poverty contributing to the village you see today.

There's even a moment or two of Hollywood glamour – the Guildhall frontage and the door of the De Vere House were both used in the CGI sequences as Harry Potter's parents' house in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

See if you can find the mythical creatures carved on the outside of The Swan Hotel, on buildings in the High Street and in other various places around the village.

Things to look out for in the village

St Peter and St Paul Church

This large church was built at the height of Lavenham's prosperity by Thomas Spring III in the late 15th century.

The Old Grammar School

The Old Grammar School operated between 1647 and 1887. It is a Grade I-listed building whose many pupils have included the famous painter John Constable.

De Vere House

The last house in Lavenham to be owned by the Earls of Oxford, also known as the De Vere Hunting Lodge, was one of three properties within the centre of Lavenham attached to Lavenham Hall.

Little Hall

Built in the 1390s, this was once home to the Causton family. Since then the house has changed a lot, from being divided up to house six different families in the 1700s to being restored and used as a museum today.

Art and galleries

Lavenham is host to an array of galleries and you can find unique examples of local and international arts and crafts. Take a look at the Crooked House Gallery, a building full of 'wonky' charm.

Cycling routes around Lavenham

Lavenham is on the National 13 cycling route, which you can pick up in nearby Sudbury, Alpheton or Long Melford – or if you want to go the whole distance start at London's Tower Bridge and finish at Fakenham, Norwich. There are lots of other routes and byways to explore in and around Lavenham which are just as much fun.

Visitors looking at a replica model of a medieval thumbscrew at Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk

Discover more at Lavenham Guildhall

Find out when Lavenham Guildhall is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

The half-timbered medieval exterior of Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk

History of Lavenham Guildhall 

Immerse yourself in 500 years of colourful history at Lavenham Guildhall. Discover the people that shaped the unique building and the nature of Lavenham itself.

Coffee and cake at the Orangery restaurant Cliveden National Trust

Eating at Lavenham Guildhall 

Take a break and enjoy coffee and cake when you visit Lavenham Guildhall. Sit outside in the sunny Courtyard Garden or relax inside the Tudor tea-room.

Visitors looking at a replica model of a medieval thumbscrew at Lavenham Guildhall, Suffolk

Family-friendly things to do at Lavenham Guildhall 

Educational and fun, there's lots for every member of the family to enjoy on a day out at Lavenham Guildhall.