Suffolk, United Kingdom

The Swan Southwold

Rates per night from$192.97

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP150.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

The spirit of Suffolk

Setting

Stroll to the sand

Anchored to the Adnams brewery and distillery, The Swan Southwold is a lively cocktail of Georgian architecture, modern maritime style and award-winning booze. Part of the town for hundreds of years, this historic hotel and brewery survived fire and financial ruin before coming together to offer a unique (and free flowing) form of hospitality. Ocean blues, nautical artwork and weathered antiques ensure the hotel’s got plenty of coastal character, but a complete refurbishment saw them infused with bold, bright colours and copper details borrowed from the distillery next door. Sample the best of Suffolk’s fields and waters in the Still Room and sip all things Adnams in the Tap Room, leaving the rest to your butler, who can arrange everything from restaurant bookings to brewery tours.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A seasonal Adnams gift bag; GoldSmiths also get locally made chocolates

Facilities

Photos The Swan Southwold facilities

Need to know

Rooms

35, including six suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $192.97 (£150), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include the hotel’s à la carte breakfast. Keep things light with pastries and fruit from the Continental buffet, or go hearty with a Full English, made with bacon and sausages sourced by nearby farms. Eggs can be done however you like them.

Also

If you’re wondering why the hotel has Georgian exteriors when it’s over 400 years old, it’s because it was completely destroyed – along with most of the town – in Southwold’s great fire of 1659.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, laundry. In rooms: Samsung smart TV; Bose portable speaker; minibar; Nespresso coffee machine; free 20cl bottle of Adnams gin; tea-making kit; free bottled water; Temple Spa bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Outstanding Rooms offer serious leg room, with space for a separate lobby, living area and a king- or superking-size bed. The Fabulous Rooms around the garden are the only ones without four-poster beds, so you might want to ask for a different room if you’ve got your heart set on sleeping in one.

Packing tips

Don’t forget your cycling gear – you can bring your own bike or hire one at the hotel; just ask your butler to arrange it.

Also

All the common areas are wheelchair accessible, and there’s a lift to all floors. Room 47 is specially adapted, and has a wet room shower with a fixed seat.

Pet‐friendly

Your pooch can stay for £10 a night, which gets them a bowl, bed and a treat. Dogs are only allowed in the Garden Rooms, and can’t go into any of the common areas. See more pet-friendly hotels in Suffolk.

Children

All ages are very welcome. The hotel run a ‘cygnet’ programme for children, which includes stickers, a postcard from the manager and a teddy bear. There’s a Hamley’s draughts game in each room, and Garden Rooms open onto an enclosed lawn.

Eco‐friendly

The Swan sends its food waste to an anaerobic digester that provides renewable energy for Adnams’ brewing operations, and recycles cardboard and plastics; the housekeeping team use eco-friendly cleaning products. They’re also keen on conservation: the hotel keeps 250,000 bees in hives at Reydon, and many of the staff are regulars at Southwold beach cleans.

Food and Drink

Photos The Swan Southwold food and drink

Top Table

In the Still Room, we’d go for one of the tables around the outside of the room, where it tends to be a little quieter.

Dress Code

Keep it shipshape with stripes and patterns in white, navy and ocean blue.

Hotel restaurant

The Still Room takes many of its design cues from the distillery next door, the most obvious being the being the gleaming copper bar, which is lit by four still-shaped lamps. Over the tables, lights are hidden inside cases of wine bottles – a nod to Adnams’ wine makers across the channel. The menu is the work of chef Rory Whelan, who’s kept things as local as possible: seafood like scorched mackerel and hand-collected scallops champion the bounty of the local waters; meat offerings like duck breast and pork fillet fly the standard for Suffolk’s fields and fens. You’ll have no trouble finding an appropriate tipple to pair with, either – there’s a lengthy selection of Adnams beers and a wine list curated by the hotel's commercial director, James Davis, who's a certified Master of Wine.

Hotel bar

With brewing and distilling happening right on the doorstep, we think it’s fair to say that the Tap Room is the hotel’s heart – at least in spirit. This smart gastropub is the most maritime-influenced room in the hotel, complete with dark blue banquettes, bulbs hanging from thick ropes and white tiles emblazoned with nautical symbols. Things are just as impressive behind the bar, too, with 12 gleaming taps dispensing Adnams beer and all of the distillery’s offerings arranged across the shelves. The food is less formal than the Still Room but cooked with just as much love; try the battered monkfish with triple-cooked chips or the ribeye steak, best paired with the Argentine Malbec.

Last orders

The Still Room opens for breakfast from 8am to 10.30am; lunch from noon to 2.30pm; dinner from 6pm to 9.30pm. The Drawing Room is open for coffee and cake from 10am to 5pm (afternoon tea is served from 3pm to 5pm).

Room service

Breakfast can be served in-room for a small charge. While the restaurant is open, you can order most dishes from the Still Room and Tap Room menus. Sandwiches and drinks are available after hours.

Location

Photos The Swan Southwold location
Address
The Swan Southwold
Market Place
Southwold
IP18 6EG
United Kingdom

Planes

The closest airport in Norwich, just over an hour’s drive away. Flights touch down there from Manchester, Edinburgh and Exeter. If those aren’t convenient, you’re best off flying to London Stansted Airport, around two hours’ drive from the hotel. The hotel can organise private, one-way transfers for £150 from Norwich or £225 from Stansted.

Trains

If you’re by coming by rail, take a train to Ipswich or Norwich, then hop on to a regional service to Darsham, the closest local station. If you’re travelling from London, you might want to get off at Ipswich and have a car take you the rest of the way – the connecting train to Darsham can be unreliable.

Automobiles

Southwold is small enough that you won’t need a car, but having one will make trips along the coast a breeze. If you do want to hire, the Smith24 can arrange it. There’s onsite parking at the hotel, too.

Worth getting out of bed for

The Adnams brewery and distillery have become some of the most eco-friendly and advanced in the country, making a tour worthwhile even if you’ve done a few before. If that isn’t hands-on enough for you, ask your butler to book you onto a gin-making class, held by one of Adnams’ expert gin makers. They’ll guide you through the entire process – from selecting your own choice of botanicals right through to labelling – so you can leave with a bespoke 70cl bottle of your very own gin. If you feel the need to offset your indulgence, join the free yoga class that runs each week (the day and time varies throughout the year). Backed by a row of vibrant beach huts, Southwold beach makes a fine swimming spot from July to September, when a lifeguard is on duty 10am–6pm. The modest waves make it ideal for paddle boarding and surfing lessons too – both can be arranged through the hotel. Another guest favourite is crabbing; those in the know head to Walberswick, a 30-minute walk along the coast. You might want to stop off at the Black Olive Deli before you go, as Southwold crabs seem to have Continental tastes, proving partial to salami and Parma ham. If the weather isn’t playing ball, decamp to the Electric Picture House, a 70-seat independent cinema that screens a mixture of new art house films and classics. It’s got all the hallmarks of a retro picture house, including a manager in a dinner jacket and a ‘Tiny Wurlitzer’ organ that pipes up during the interval.

Local restaurants

For brunch or a light lunch, stop in at the Two Magpies Bakery, who do a roaring trade in artisanal bread, flaky pastries, sourdough toasties and seasonal hotpots. They’re big on provenance and believe people should know what they’re eating, which is one of the reasons you can see right into the business end of the bakery, where the loaves are fired in a four-tiered oven. On Saturdays, the ovens are also used to make sourdough pizza. For the other six days of the week, you can do no better than Enzo’s Pizzeria, run single-handedly by its eponymous owner. The Fulham FC memorabilia on the walls attests to Enzo’s other great love affair, but make no mistake, this place only exists because of his raw passion for handmade pizza. Booking is essential and Enzo only accepts cash. Occupying a building that dates from the 1400s, Sutherland House is the place for a really memorable dinner – if you can get a table, that is. The restaurant’s reputation and award-winning meat dishes (their black pudding is famous) mean it often gets booked up weeks in advance.

Local bars

You won’t find anywhere better for beer or cocktails than the hotel’s own bar, the Tap Room.

Reviews

Photos The Swan Southwold reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hotel in Suffolk and unpacked their bottle of Adnams Copper House Gin, a full account of their English seaside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Swan in Southwold…

Serving the local brew is fairly common for a hotel these days, but it’s not often you come across one that gets its drinks from right next door. But then, most hotels aren’t like the Swan, which has sat side-by-side with a brewery for hundreds of years. Ale was first brewed here as far back as 1345, and the records show that beer was served to royalist soldiers when they arrived to proclaim the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. In short, beer is the lifeblood of this hotel, and with the Swan and the brewery both owned by eco-friendly brewer Adnams, they’ve never been more intertwined. Naturally, the Swan’s a hit with anyone who likes good beer, but this brightly feathered bird is much more than a pub with rooms. A comprehensive refurbishment saw attention lavished on the interiors by London-based design firm Project Orange, who’ve taken the hotel into the 21st century with duck-egg greys, baby blues and the occasional burst of lime green. This bold refit couldn’t be better timed: Adnams branched out into spirits in 2010, establishing a distillery that quickly became famous for its award-winning gin and vodka, attracting the more cocktail-oriented traveller to town.

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