For at least 650 years, ale has been brewed in Southwold. Adnams claim the longest unbroken tradition of any brewery in England.


The earliest record of brewing at the back of The Swan.  Johanna de Corby, along with 17 other ‘ale wives’ of Southwold, were charged by the manorial court with breaking the ‘assize’ of ale (selling ale in unmarked measures).  She continued to do so for the next twenty years appearing in court records on a regular basis – a determined lady!


The Swan, and much of the town of Southwold, was destroyed by the ‘Great Fire’. The Swan was rebuilt by John Rous, local landowner, a year later.



The Swan was purchased by Thomas Bokenham who made expensive alterations and built a grand house for his second wife – what’s now our Still Room Restaurant and East Wing.



Adnams bought The Swan along with the brewery.

The picture shows Ernest Adnams taking the reins for the annual brewery outing around 1875. The entire brewery team is in the wagon behind him!


Sir Winston Churchill stays at The Swan in June 1940. As well as inspecting Army units reforming after Dunkirk, he visited almost every stretch of the coast where an enemy landing was feasible from St Andrews to Lyme Regis.


You would have enjoyed Consommé Turtle and Coupe Venus as part of the New Year’s Eve menu at The Swan Hotel in 1966! Luckily, things have moved on a lot since then…



The Swan closes in January to undergo a complete transformation. All of our antique furniture, paintings and objects are temporarily removed for safe-keeping in storage while the building works and remodelling takes place. Designers Project Orange create an exciting new look for The Swan.

October 2017

The Swan takes flight with its bright new feathers.

November 2017


We create a fun film to celebrate the reopening. Watch it here

December 2017

The Swan hosts its first Christmas in its new feathers and gathers a series of fabulous press reviews celebrating its fresh new look.

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