What’s the draw?
When it comes to quaint British seaside escapes, Southwold in Suffolk has got it down to a tee. There's a pier with an arcade (natch), fish and chip shops, antique stores and a clutch of cute pubs and hotels designed to cater to the seafront-walking, Sunday-lunching masses. One of these is The Swan Southwold, which recently underwent a facelift that took it from seriously nice to seriously cool. The rooms are festooned with opulent velvets, the floors are covered in plush carpets, while rugs and soft furnishings add bright pops of colour. Then there’s the complimentary bottle of gin from Adnams, the brewery and distillery next door that owns the hotel and most of the pubs in town
What to eat?
For dinner, The Still Room is a refined space serving equally refined local modern British fare. In autumn, cute baby courgettes were served alongside creamy Norfolk Mardler goats cheese, mint, and rose harissa, while paper-thin venison carpaccio came with cep mushrooms, cauliflower and an unusual yet delicious dusting of cocoa powder over the top. Sweet, plump, flaky halibut came with brown shrimp, Jerusalem artichoke and roasted grapes – a brilliant combination of flavours and textures. Elsewhere, The Tap Room is The Still Room’s more casual sibling, with 12 of Adnams' beers on tap, and gastro pub-style battered monkfish, aged ribeye steak or barbecued chicken breast
Southwold is renowned for its pretty much perfect UK seaside credentials, including a picturesque promenade complete with candy-coloured beach huts perched on soft, golden sand.
Team your stay at The Swan with a brewery tour, a distillery tour or both, where you’ll learn about Adnams' history and get to sample its extensive range of beers and craft spirits. For more excellent fish, head out of The Swan and turn left; just a few doors down you’ll find the Little Fish & Chip Shop, an upmarket chippy serving Aspall cider and wine alongside bloody great fish and chips and curry sauce that won’t set you back more than a tenner. Then stretch your legs with a half-an-hour walk to nearby Walberswick, where two Adnams pubs will cater to your every food and drink need. Weekend: done.
Rooms from £200; The Swan, Market Place, Southwold, IP18 6EG; theswansouthwold.co.uk