10 of Suffolk's oldest hotels and their histories

The Ickworth Hotel, in the east wing of Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds.

The Ickworth Hotel, in the east wing of Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk is a county with unmatched natural beauty and historic hotels that date back centuries.

Whether it's thousand-year-old flour mills or Tudor period country houses, the echoes of the past can still be heard in these historic Suffolk venues.

Here are ten Suffolk hotels with fascinating histories.

1. The Angel Hotel, Bury St Edmunds

The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds which hosted Charles Dickens on at least two occasions during his

The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds which hosted Charles Dickens on at least two occasions during his tours of Britain Photo: Phil Morley - Credit: Archant

The Angel Hotel is in Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds, opposite the famous Abbey Gardens.

It is one of the town's most significant landmarks and has been ever since its construction in 1452.

The hotel has a plaque commemorating Charles Dickens' visits in 1859 and 1861.

2. The Swan Hotel, Lavenham

Lavenham's architecture, including that of the Swan Hotel and Spa, is famous across the country

Lavenham's architecture, including that of the Swan Hotel and Spa, is famous across the country - Credit: Phil Morley

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Lavenham is one of the country's best kept medieval villages and has over 300 listed buildings. 

In the 1830s, the Swan Hotel had stabling for 50 horses and was at the heart of the community which had accumulated great wealth from the wool trade. 

3. Hintlesham Hall, Hintlesham

Hintlesham Hall (picture: Sarah Lucy Brown)

Hintlesham Hall, just outside of Ipswich, is also a popular wedding venue. (Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown) - Credit: Archant

Hintlesham Hall dates back to the 1400s and features traditional architecture and decoration.

The hotel has become a popular wedding venue in the Ipswich area and is set amongst Suffolk's stunning rural scenery.

4. Seckford Hall Hotel, Woodbridge

Seckford Hall is a Tudor period house that was converted to a luxury hotel in the 1950s. 

The hotel is said to contain furniture that was once used in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, including the chair that King Henry VII is said to have died on.

5. Ravenwood Hall Hotel, Rougham

Ravenwood Hall Country Hotel in Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds

Ravenwood Hall Country Hotel in Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Tudor Morgan-Owen

Known as one of the most historic country houses in Suffolk, Ravenwood Hall has roots in the reign of Henry VIII.

Sitting just outside of Bury St Edmunds in Rougham, the hotel has 14 rooms that are furnished with antiques reflecting the history of the Hall and the surrounding Suffolk countryside.

6. The Ickworth Hotel, Ickworth

Beginning of autumn at Ickworth House. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Beginning of autumn at Ickworth House. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

In the east wing of the famous Ickworth House, the Ickworth Hotel brings a modern approach to a historic building. 

The neoclassical country house was built between 1795 and 1829 and is surrounded by the vast Ickworth Park area in West Suffolk.

7. The Swan, Southwold

In 1345, ale was first brewed at the back of The Swan in Southwold.

Since then, the hotel has grown into a favourite seaside getaway which combines antique furniture with a fresh and modern feel. 

8. Wentworth Hotel, Aldeburgh

The Wentworth Hotel is a country house in Aldeburgh that sits upon the seafront and has been owned and operated by the same family since 1920. 

It is the ideal place for a stay all year round as it has beach access and gardens for the summer and cosy indoor fires for the winter.

9. Tuddenham Mill, Tuddenham

Tuddenham Mill hotel Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Tuddenham Mill hotel Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Records of Tuddenham Mill date back to the Domesday book in 1086 but the current structure was designed and built in 1775 for the production of flour. 

The modern renovation still highlights the history of the building, with the old water wheel and exposed beams on show inside the hotel.

10. The Ship at Dunwich, Dunwich

The Ship at Dunwich, the historic inn which was at the centre of Suffolk's smuggling activities Pict

The Ship at Dunwich, the historic inn which was at the centre of Suffolk's smuggling activities Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: SIMON PARKER

An old smugglers' haunt, The Ship at Dunwich is a stone's throw from the beach and offers guests a coastal escape to one of the county's most historic villages.

Visitors can enjoy beach walks or a trip to the ruins of Dunwich monastery before returning to The Ship for some coastal food from the restaurant.