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Long Melford

Rated by The Times in September 2015, as being one of the top ten most desirable villages in Britain, Long Melford is definately a village worth exploring.  As its name suggests, it’s a long village (2.5 miles) with two manor houses open to the public at one end, a magnificent church (huge, when you consider the size of the village) and is well known as being great hunting ground for collectors of antiques.

Long Melford, Suffolk

Where to eat in Long Melford

Kentwell Hall

First mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, Kentwell Hall has been developed over the centuries and now includes the main hall, outbuildings, and a rare breeds farm and gardens.

It’s open to the public from April to October with special events throughout the year and is well known for hosting historic re-creations, in particular medieval ones. Volunteer ‘actors’ dress in period costume, speaking Tudor English and, try as you might, you will not persuade them to come out of character. Any reference to modern day living will be met with good humoured confusion, Tudor-style. Read our interview with two of these re-creators, a dandy fop and his lady friend.

Kentwell Hall, Long Melford

There is also a programme of open air theatre and opera at the hall, where visitors can take a picnic and enjoy plays by Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde and operas such as Carmen and Rigoletto in the gardens, with the elegant backdrop of Kentwell Hall behind.

Melford Hall (National Trust)

The hall was built in the 16th century, although it has medieval foundations dating back to before 1065. It was bought by the Hyde Parker family in 1786 and passed into the care of the National Trust in 1960, and the family is still in residence.

Beatrix Potter (‘Cousin Beatie’) was a regular visitor to Melford Hall from 1890 onwards and would often bring a menagerie if small animals with her, much to the excitment of the Hyde Parker children. Her drawings are scattered throughout the house and make sure you look out for Jemima Puddleduck and the marmalade cat in the nursery.

Melford Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk

Events take place at certain times of the year, most notably The Big Night Out in November, with a huge fireworks display; and the annual LeeStock Music Festival, which takes place in the late spring.

Holy Trinity Church

The impressive looking church in Long Melford has cathedral-like proportions and was built in the 15th century, during a time when the village was booming as a result of the wool cloth industry. It was completed in 1484, with a tower being added much later in 1903.

It’s a beautiful building and hosts concerts throughout the year. If you are in Long Melford around lunchtime on a Wednesday between May and September, do take a picnic lunch and enjoy one of the free recitals.

Long Melford Heritage Centre

The village featured on the BBC’s Great British Story with presenters Michael Wood and Dr Carenza Lewis and the result of the Big Dig was that a small museum was set up to display some of the treasures found, relating to Long Melford’s medieval past. Situated at the rear of the Village Hall in Chemists Lane (opposite the Bull Hotel) the heritage centre is open from April until November.

Shopping and eating

There are many antiques shops in Long Melford, along with art galleries, boutiques and the odd book shop or two. In fact, so well-known is it for its antiques, that the village featured in the BBC TV series Lovejoy starring Ian McShane, who played a wheeling, dealing antiques dealer. The series ran for six series and Suffolk and north Essex featured heavily.

Hunting for antiques in Long Melford, Suffolk

Did you know you can even have a holiday in the building used as Lovejoy’s workshop as it’s now a cosy holiday cottage and you can get married in Belchamp Hall, which was Lady Jane’s house in the series?

There is a nice selection of pubs, restaurants and tearooms in Long Melford, just wander up and down the main street and you will come across a wide selection of menus for every taste and pocket.

Staying

If you want to spend a few days in this delightful place, try Spadgers, a dog-friendly holiday cottage sleeping up to three people. It’s a sweet little 18th century (Grade II Listed) flax worker’s cottage with a lovely open fire and bags of character and charm.

Spadgers in Long Melford, Suffolk

 

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Written by Mark



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