The Black Lion takes pride of place at the top of the Melford Mile, our striking Georgian coaching inn looks over the village green and is a stone’s throw from the medieval Holy Trinity Church. Long Melford is a treasure trove for visitors, from independent and antique shops, to beautiful countryside; grassland, meadows, lakes, woodland and river. It is no surprise that Long Melford was chosen for the filming of ‘Lovejoy’ in the 1980’s and 90’s.
A visit to Long Melford Country park is a must when visiting us, whether for a staycation or as a place to stretch your legs before joining us for a mouth-watering Sunday lunch! The park sits on 8.13 hectares of land perfect for exploring on foot or by bicycle, for picnics, dog walks and spotting local wildlife.
Why not try our new Nine Stile Stride walking map, this 2.5 mile round route will take you over sleeper bridges, stiles and across the picturesque Suffolk countryside.
Talk a look at our local walks below.
Kentwell Hall is a stunning and secluded country estate set in beautiful Suffolk parkland, only a 17-minute walk from The Black Lion (5 minutes in a car).
Kentwell Hall has over 500 years of history with a moat wrapped around the historic and striking red brick manor. The gardens are equally as impressive, dotted with red brick walls, home to some of the longest standing Cedar trees in England and a wonderful brick-paved maze.
Beyond its beauty Kentwell Hall plays host to many events throughout the year. Well known as the ‘Home of Living history’ with immersive experiences like Tudor re-enactments, as well as family friendly Wellie Walk Nature Hunts… and the not so friendly, yet hugely popular Scaresville – not for the faint hearted.
Long Melford is also home to the National Trust’s Melford Hall.
Lavenham is a medieval village with a history dating back to before the Norman conquest, just under 20 minutes from The Black Lion. Like Long Melford, Lavenham is an old wool town once made rich during the Tudor era for the Lavenham ‘Blew’ broadcloth which attracted merchants from far and wide.
Now, known to be one of the best-preserved medieval villages, visitors can step back in time and explore the narrow streets, enjoy the wonky, timber framed houses and pretty, quaint cottages. Lavenham’s charm made it the perfect choice for Harry Potters ‘Godrick’s Hollow’ in the Deathly Hallows film.
Truly a lovely village to wander and browse the eclectic array of independent shops and galleries. We highly recommend stopping by The Parlour for some local, awarding winning Hadley’s Ice cream!
At the end of the-mile-long high street our village leads to the market town of Sudbury, a 15-minute drive from our inn to the centre of the town. Sudbury is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough, an important landscape and portrait artist in the 18th century.
The artists former childhood home, Gainsborough House, is currently undergoing an exciting redevelopment. The Georgian grade 1 listed townhouse will be fully refurbished with the addition of a three-storey exhibition gallery with panoramic views over Sudbury - opening in 2022 as the National Centre for Gainsborough and largest art gallery in Suffolk.
Sudbury is home to a bustling market and farmers market held on the last Friday of every month where local grown produce, handmade and seasonal goodies can be found. It is also well worth a wander to Friars Meadow, a beautiful river meadow – perfect for a picnic with treats picked up at the market.
BURY ST EDMUNDS
A jewel in the crown of Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds holds 1000 years of history. A bustling market town, home to Suffolk’s only Cathedral that stands in the ruins of the Abbey of St Edmunds. An 11th Century Benedictine abbey that is now fondly know as the Abbey Gardens, popular with both families and history lovers.
There are stories of the past on every corner and charm that inspired the likes of Charles Dickens. The famous writer was a frequent visitor to the town, and set his novel ‘The Pickwick Papers’ in the town, with the recent film, David Copperfield, filmed here.
Bury St Edmunds is popular for its fabulous food and drink scene, among the best is our sister bar and restaurant, The Northgate. The mix of independent and high street shops, as well as the busy markets, makes the town a great day out, with something for everyone.
Take a look at the many guided tours and experiences here to make the most of your visit to Bury St Edmunds? Or try the ‘Walking Stories’ created by the Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal?
Dedham is a short 40-minute drive from The Black Lion, at the heart of Dedham Vale an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - very much worth the drive.
Enjoy a mooch around Dedham’s quaint village shops, take in the beautiful old buildings and be sure to pick up a coffee from the stand in the village square, you won’t be disappointed.
For any art lovers, stop by and explore the exhibitions at the Dedham Art and Craft Centre. You can also pay a visit to The Munnings Museum, home to equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings.
Stroll a little further and explore the water meadows by the river Stour or for a special experience hire a rowboat and take in the scenery from the river itself. You can hire row boats from Dedham Boathouse and even purchase an ice cream for the trip!