The Swan Pub with rooms in Southwold, Suffolk

Prices from:
£200 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Adnams flagship by the coast
  • Boldly reinvented for 21st century
  • Wow factor – fab décor & rooms
  • Seasonal modern British food
  • Cracking Tap Room – Adnams ales
  • Brewery Visitor Centre behind

Sticky FingersGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitClose to WaterVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

Real Time Booking Available
Overview

The Swan Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6EG

The personal touch

The pretty seaside town of Southwold is the epicentre of Adnams, a thriving company that embraces the trades of brewer, publican, wine merchant and hotelier. The Swan is at the heart of the operation (the brewery is at the back), overlooking to town’s Market Square, with an elegant Victorian façade concealing its 17th-century origin. Caught up in time warp for decades, with a dated and tired appearance and an ageing clientele, dynamic and forward-thinking Adnams closed its flagship property in January 2017 and set about reinventing the place for the 21st century. Ten months and £6 million later they pushed open the doors to reveal a stunningly bold makeover that divided opinion from day one. It shocked the old guard, yet received a reassuring thumbs-up from the urban professionals who seek style, comfort and good food on the Suffolk coast, well away from the stresses of city life. London and Suffolk based design team Project Orange have a done a fabulous job in sprucing up the Swan’s plumage, creating a new, striking, contemporary and upmarket coastal look with a big wow factor. Expect to see, for example, emerald green sofas and royal blue walls in the smart and airy lounge and vibrant pink chairs and turquoise glass lamps in reception, and equally bold touches throughout the 35 bedrooms. The Tap Room celebrates Adnams long brewing heritage with over 12 beers available, and a further nod to Adnams can be seen in the elegant Still Restaurant, which takes its name from their small-batch distillery, with dramatic copper lighting above the impressive copper-topped cocktail bar. Boutique, yes, with prices to match, but the whole place oozes informality and the attention to detail throughout is second to none.

Sticky fingers

Families are very welcome; smaller children have their own menu; there’s a family suite (two interconnecting rooms) and baby cots & amenities are available.

Muddy paws

Dogs are allowed overnight in some of the Garden Rooms but not in the hotel.

Alfresco

The rear terrace has direct access to the Tap Room bar and is the perfect spot to escape the hubbub of the High Street and enjoy a pint of Broadside following a fascinating tour of the brewery and distillery – Adnams Visitor Centre is located behind the Swan.

 

What’s the Damage?
35 doubles/twin: £200-£470

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted (not Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining: Juniper Room (20); Reading Room (40)
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant and Room 47
  • Parking: gated car park to rear

Gongs

AA 4 Star Hotel & 2 Rosettes

Sleep

The Swan Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6EG

Do not disturb

The 35 rooms are split between the main building and the revamped garden rooms that back onto the brewery, surround a landscaped coastal garden and enjoy views of the Lighthouse in the town. Boldly and rightly styled as Excellent, Fabulous and Outstanding, all rooms have a relaxing, contemporary and coastal design and they offer style, comfort and great attention to detail, with careful thought given to the needs of the discerning overnight guest. A bespoke Tall Boy cleverly hides the mini-bar, chock-full of quaffable Adnams goodies and fresh milk, the Nespresso machine, decent teas and homemade sweet treats, a Bose wireless speaker, and the 40” Smart TV (Apple TV in the Outstanding Rooms). Elsewhere, you’ll find a complimentary 20cl bottle of Adnams gin, vintage telephones, umbrellas, bathrobes, a generous supply of Temple Spa soaps and lotions, colourful upholstered easy chairs, antique furnishings, and luxury goose and duck down bedding on super-comfortable double-sprung mattresses – all come as standard. Naturally, the Fabulous Rooms are bigger than the 11 Excellent Rooms, with either armchairs or a sofa and armchairs, super-king or king-size beds, with some looking out across the bustling market place. The six Outstanding Rooms are just that, special, the largest rooms in the house with oodles of space – lobbies, spacious lounge areas, traditional panelling, huge four-poster beds, big bay windows overlooking the square, and great bathrooms. In keeping with downstairs, the décor has a stylish, contemporary edge, with splashes of bold colour (pink tips to the four posters, lime green or turquoise sofas and chairs, and matching rugs) and trendy lamps contrasting with the soothing coastal hues and rich fabrics. To top your stay off, there’s a butler (or three), who will deliver your lunchtime hamper to the beach, recommend places to visit, and even pick you up from the station….!

 

What’s the Damage?
35 doubles/twin: £200-£470

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted (not Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining: Juniper Room (20); Reading Room (40)
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant and Room 47
  • Parking: gated car park to rear

Gongs

AA 4 Star Hotel & 2 Rosettes

Eat & Drink

The Swan Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6EG

Mastering the menu

(Still Room: Starters: £7-£9; Main Courses: £13-£25; Desserts £8.50; Tap Room £8-£23)

The kitchen team work with the seasons and local ingredients to deliver quality fresh food in both the informal Tap Room, a great place for a light lunch, or the elegant Still Room restaurant, where you can enjoy cocktails at the copper-topped bar before tucking into some inventive modern British food with influences from around the globe. Perhaps start with squid, caponata, basil and mint, chicken liver parfait, date jam, brioche and mustard butter, or mushroom, red onion, poached egg and wild garlic on dourdough, also delicious as vegetarian main course. For the main event, order a classic aged rib-eye steak with bone marrow, onion béarnaise and hand-cut chips, cod, curried carts, broccoli, minted yoghurt and puffed rice, or lamb rump served with pea, leek, tomato, anchovy, pine nuts and dauphinois potato. Round off with marshmallow honeycomb with rhubarb ice cream. In the bar, you’ll find the full range of Adnams beers, some fantastic wines (20 by the glass), and a raft of spirits and liqueurs – try the Copper House Gin distilled a few yards away.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7am – 10.30am
Tap Room: Food all day 12 noon – 9.30pm
Still Room: 12 noon – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm

Afternoon tea: 12 noon – 4pm

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
35 doubles/twin: £200-£470

What Else?

  • All credit cards accepted (not Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining: Juniper Room (20); Reading Room (40)
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant and Room 47
  • Parking: gated car park to rear

Gongs

AA 4 Star Hotel & 2 Rosettes

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Swan

2

The Lord Nelson, 42 East Street, Southwold IP18 6EJ

The 'Nellie' as she is affectionately known is the closest thing to a brewery tap that Adnams has, the place to come and enjoy its benchmark Southwold ales and absorb the Southwold drinking culture at its best. If it's good enough for Chairman Jonathan Adnams!

3

Emmetts Hams of Peasenhall, Main Street, Peasenhall IP17 2HJ

The Royal Warranted favourite of the dear old Queen Mum, Mark David is a charcutier par excellence, crafting amazing legs of pork into cured and smoked gammons of sheer class, made here since 1820. Quirky variations on the normal ham and bacon don't end at Green Unsmoked, Mild Cure or the Smoked Suffolk Black, how about spicy molasses Christmas Cure, black peppercorn, Earl Grey, fennel seed and many other interesting flavourings. Also a heavenly continental deli and courtyard cafe.

4

White Horse, Sweffling Low Road, Sweffling IP17 2BB

A rare beast in Suffolk, a proper drinking house in the middle of nowhere, with two alternating beers and one cider drawn from the taproom casks, keg-free (but there are 5 bottled Suffolk lagers). Food is interesting bar snacks, and either ploughmans and savouries in the summer months or hot Marlesford Farmcafe pies from the Aga come winter, bliss! Of course, there are traditional pub games and dogs welcomed.

5

Eels Foot, Eastbridge, Leiston IP16 4SN

This charming coastal inn, close to picturesque Dunwich Heath and RSPB Minsmere, is the home of local folk music. They have a great tradition of instrumental acoustic sessions here, they 'jam' at 'Squit Night' every Thursday whilst the last Sunday of the month is more trad' scene.

6

Fish Hut at Aldeburgh Beach (north end of Aldeburgh Promenade) IP15 5BJ

Unusually the in-shore boats are dragged up high on the rolling shingle beach of this cosmopolitan chic resort town. Dean and Alby’s fish shack is legendary in these parts, take your pick of the flappingly-fresh morning’s catch, which they will happily gut and scale for you.

7

Harbour Inn, Black Shore, Southwold IP18 6TA

Stopping off is a must for well-kept beer and hearty good pub food on a ramble along Blackshore, named after the black-painted fish sheds and the colour of the river mud. Despite the constant stream of wandering tourists, this is a working harbour, replete with house boats, chandlery, shipbuilders and a handful of working and charter fishing vessels.

8

Adnams Brewery and Distillery Tours, Adnams Wine Shop, Pinkney's Lane, Southwold IP18 6EW

Suffolk and especially this north-eastern part of the county is Adnams country, few landlords far and wide would risk not serving their well-known beers, such is their renown. Visit the brewery and the recently-installed distillery for tours to see how the ales, spirits and liqueurs are produced and of course a good slurp or two to find your favourites. Tutored tasting and sampling in their excellent Cellar & Kitchen Store in Victoria Street is included. Alternative 'Make Your Own Gin' Experience too. Pre-booking essential.

9

Snape Maltings Farmers' Market Main Road, Snape IP17 1SR

The world-famous Aldeburgh Music concert halls are based at this converted maltsters as is perhaps East Anglia’s leading foodlovers’ emporium, with its own pub, restaurant, food hall, a plethora of shops and home to the equally renowned Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, which is held on the last weekend of September. It is also the venue for one of the best monthly farmers’ markets on the first Saturday.

10

Friday Street Farm Shop & Cafe, Farnham IP17 1JX

Not just a great place to buy locally-grown food and amazing Suffolk products but also visit the lovely cafe-restaurant, wet fish shop, homewares store and new butchery. Seasonal summer PYO soft fruits too.

11

Wissett Wines, Rumburgh Road, Wissett IP19 OJJ

One of East Anglia's better wine producers, they are known for their award-winning still Madeleine d'Angevine and their sparkling blush pink 'Gloriana' bottle-fermented blend. Self-tours around the estate followed by tastings in the shop.

12

Maple Farm, Kelsale Clay Hills Road, Kelsale IP17 2PL

A gentle drive south past Dunwich, this organic farmstead harvests the most amazing seasonal veggies, free-range eggs, Suffolk honey plus organic meats and even their own home-grown milled flours. Honesty box farm shop sales. (best to use Sat-Nav to find the farm).

14

Crown Inn, Snape Bridge Road, Snape IP17 1SL

This 15th-century smugglers' haunt, full of history in the old beams, red brick walls and the iconic wooden settle in front of the inglenook. They are known for their home-reared livestock producing fine well-hung meats for their seasonal cooking and great Adnams beers of course.

15

Emmerdale Farm Shop, Westleton Road, Darsham IP17 3BP

On the home farm of The Anchor's excellent butcher, the Thickitt family's huge farm shop-deli has been running for decades, long before they became fashionable, a new meat counter is worthy of a visit alone, let alone for all the local products.

16

Two Magpies Bakery, 88 High Street, Southwold IP18 6DP

An artisan bakery and intimate magical cafe with great music, cool arty interior and of course, amazing pastries, breads and fine beverage essentials. All the loaves feature their sourdough culture for depth of flavour and seek out the locally-inspired Double Broadside cake.

17

Jimmy's Farm, Wherstead IP9 2AP

While Jamie Oliver's mate Jimmy Doherty is a familiar face on TV, his farm, just off the A14 near Ipswich is a delight. There is simply plenty for families to do - nature trails, feeding rare breed pigs, sheep and cattle, butterfly tents, field kitchens and food festivals. In addition there is a restaurant, farm shop selling their meat and numerous retail outlets such as Joules.

18

Flavours Food Festival, Henham Park, Blythburgh NR34 8AN

Taking place in early June at this country parkland estate, a foodlovers’ treat with producers, chef demonstrations, music and lots for children to enjoy. Also, it’s home to the cultural family-friendly Latitude music festival in July.

19

Suffolk Herring Festival, Lowestoft NR32 1HH

This celebration of the local silver darlings, the herring shoals, which helped ‘make’ Lowestoft into the famous nearby fishing port, takes place every two years and due to be next held in late October 2015. A showcase of arts, music, culture, tastings, special menus and lots more. Check the website for details.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Swan

Activities

2

Southwold Electric Picture Palace, Blackmill Road, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6AN

This is a cinema outing with a difference, recalling those distant, fondly-remembered days when going to the pictures was something of an occasion. Seeing a film here transports you to that magical era and to make the visit even more special, there are usherettes, a commissionaire and a front-of-house manager in evening dress.

3

Crabbing at the Quayside, Walberwick IP18 6TN

Make for the River Blyth in Walberswick, venue for the British Crabbing Championships, and enjoy some rare family time by the water. With the aid of string and bacon, you can try catching a few native crustaceans. The kids will love it and the occasion will no doubt rekindle happy memories of family holidays over the years.

Shopping

10

Norwich NR2 1RL

One of the best-preserved medieval cities in the country, Norwich is a top shopping destination with lots of independent retailers and smart restaurants. For something slightly unusual visit Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum in the Royal Arcade. We've all grown up with those distinctive little jars of mustard; here, you can discover how it all began and then visit the shop for a wide selection of mustard pots and spoons. Look out, too, for St Gregory's Antiques and Collectables in Pottergate, just the place for that rare item or quirky find.

11

Cork Brick Gallery, 6 Earsham Street, Bungay NR35 1AG

Located in Bungay, not far from Southwold, Cork Brick Gallery showcases the varied and exquisite work of local professional artists. The shop stock is constantly changing.

12

Southwold Pier, Southwold IP18 6BN

A shopping trip with a difference, this is where you can potter and browse against the stunning backdrop of the North Sea. Elsewhere, a host of surprises and delights awaits the Southwold shopper.

13

O&C Butcher, 129-131 High Street, Aldeburgh IP15 5AS

To describe this retailer as well established would be something of an understatement. O&C Butcher has been trading in Aldeburgh for over a century. Expect ladies and men’s fashion, footwear and accessories.

16

Snape Maltings Farmers’ Market, Main Road, Snape IP17 1SR

The world-famous Aldeburgh Music concert halls are based at this converted maltsters as is perhaps East Anglia’s leading foodlovers’ emporium, with its own pub, restaurant, food hall, a plethora of shops and home to the equally renowned Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, which is held on the last weekend of September. It is also the venue for one of the best monthly farmers’ markets on the first Saturday.

Places to visit

4

Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QH

Located in Great Yarmouth, this amazing National Trust museum represents a real hands-on experience, bringing to life the day-to-day routine of the generations of families who have lived in this fascinating 16th-century building on South Quay.

5

Southwold Museum, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold IP18 6HZ

Housed in two Dutch-gabled cottages, the Southwold Museum is a little gem on the Suffolk coast. The story of the town's fishing industry is told in fascinating detail and there is also a display of relics and items washed up on the shore here over the years.

6

Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, Orford Quay IP12 2NU

Bleak and exposed, Orford Ness is a long, natural barrier of shingle south of Aldeburgh. The only way to reach it is by National Trust ferry from Orford. The Ness is where rare and fragile wildlife exists in a precious environment once used for testing atomic bombs.

7

Minsmere Nature Reserve, Dunwich IP17 3BY

Minsmere, one of the Suffolk coast's most familiar landmarks, is an RSPB nature reserve and top destination for wildlife in Britain. These reedy marshes are a haven for rare birds and serious ornithologists.

8

Orford Ness, Orford Quay, Woodbridge IP12 2LZ

Bleak and exposed, Orford Ness is a long, natural barrier of shingle swept up by the sea. The only way to reach it is by National Trust ferry and once there, you can see where rare and fragile wildlife exists in an environment where once atomic bombs were tried and tested in conditions of the utmost secrecy. To the south of Aldeburgh, Orford Ness is a fascinating and wonderfully evocative place.

9

Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge IP12 3DJ

It's a name that crops up from time to time in history documentaries and travel programmes, but there's nothing to beat actually visiting these atmospheric ancient burial mounds near Woodbridge. Sutton Hoo is where the 7th-century Anglo-Saxon Kings of East Anglia lay buried and undiscovered until they were unearthed in 1938.

14

Snape Maltings, Bridge Road, Snape, Saxmundham IP17 1SR

Renowned for its glorious associations with fine music, Snape Maltings at Aldeburgh is also an excellent shopping venue. There are nine independent shops here, including a boutique, fresh food pantry and a bookshop and stationers.

15

Ipswich IP1 1DP

Shopping in East Anglia's historic waterfront town offers a multiple choice of global brands, independent retailers and small shops. Queen Street is the place to go for something a bit individual.

17

Norfolk Broads NR12 8UD

Think of the Norfolk Broads and the picture that springs to mind is usually one of a complex network of navigable rivers and man-made waterways. In fact there are 125 miles of them and an assortment of picturesque, sleepy villages to discover in this wonderfully spacious natural landscape.

Walking

www.walkinginsuffolk.co.uk
www.discoversuffolk.org.uk
The Suffolk coast is a fascinating area for walking. This evocative landscape, visibly eroded and overwhelmed by the sea through the centuries, has many miles of secret paths and hidden tracks that were once the haunt of smugglers evading the excise men. It’s a fascinating place of mystery, of moody reed marshes and wide, breathtaking skies. One of the most popular walking routes in the region links many of the Suffolk coast’s great landmarks. The Suffolk Coast Path runs for 50 miles between Felixstowe and Lowestoft and takes in a variety of sea wall stretches, marsh, heath and foreshore.

Cycling

www.discoversuffolk.org.uk
www.cycle-route.com
Like so much of East Anglia, the Suffolk coast is essentially flat and cycle-friendly. North and south of Walberswick, around the river estuaries and across the remote heaths there are many miles of cycle trails, quiet country lanes and off-road routes to enable you to spend a few enjoyable hours in the saddle.

Events

www.aldeburgh.co.uk
www.folkeast.co.uk
www.suffolkherringfestival.net
www.flavoursfoodfestivals.co.uk
Without doubt the annual Aldeburgh Festival in June is the event in this part of the world. Founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948, the festival focuses on classical music by past and present composers and the Suffolk coast setting is delightful. There’s also an assortment of films, visual arts and master classes. The Snape Proms and FolkEast are in August and September is the month when Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is held. The Suffolk Herring Festival comprises arts, music, culture, tastings and special menus and there’s also the Flavours Food Festival, held at Henham Park near Blythburgh, a popular event that always appeals to foodies. There are producers, chef demonstrations and entertainment for children.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: From A12 just north of Blythburgh follow A1095 for 4 miles to Southwold. The Swan is location on the left-hand side of the High Street and has a car park behind the hotel

By Rail: The nearest station is Darsham (9 miles); trains from London Liverpool Street via Ipswich, then a 20-minute taxi journey to Southwold

Address:

Market Square, Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6EG

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