Gilli Pitt runs Lavenham Priory with great flair, and the term B&B doesnt do it justice. It is a very special place: the beautiful Grade I-listed house in the remarkable village of Lavenham, Suffolk, dates from the 13th century when it was home to Benedictine monks, and has been restored in keeping with its later life as home to an Elizabethan merchant, complete with original wallpaintings, huge Tudor fireplace and sofas covered in cushions and throws. More important, however, is the warmth of the welcome from Gilli and her husband Tim, which stems from an enjoyment of sharing the main part of their home.
This is a place to enjoy, whatever the season. In summer the courtyard garden is fragrant with herbs, but in winter its just as appealing to drink a hot toddy by the fire. The house is large, and as well as the Great Hall sitting room theres a smaller room (where shelves are stacked with board games) so more than one party can use the public rooms without feeling crowded. Each of the bedrooms has a superb bed, including a four-poster in the Painted Chamber and a solid cherrywood sleigh in the Gallery Chamber worth a journey in their own right. Breakfast in the Merchants Hall is a feast, with fresh stewed and candied fruits, as well as the full English fry up.