About Us

Chris & Hayley Lee

Welcome to The Bildeston Crown

We first walked into The Bildeston Crown at the invitation of its owner, James Buckle in 2003 during its renovation. Originally a merchant’s house dating back to 1495, The Bildeston Crown soon became a coaching inn.

It’s an amazing place that sits pride of place on Bildeston High Street. Its refurbishment this century was completed to an incredibly high standard, with every space used to its maximum potential and decorated beautifully. Once likened to a Tardis, it is much, much larger inside than it appears outside.

Lucky for us over the last couple of years we had the spacious bar, restaurants, private dining rooms and terraces to still entertain enough people and keep everyone at a safe distance.

Chris & Hayley Lee

The Champagne Lounge
The private walled garden with barbecue table
The side terrace
The courtyard entrance

Chris & Hayley met when they were still at school. Chris wanted to be a banker but even with a retake couldn’t make the grades. His passion for food began early, when he became a pot washer at the Stakis Hilton in Northampton.

After three years’ learning from pot washing upwards, Chris became a chef and went to chef college one day a week. After a stint working throughout the ranks at the Windows restaurant in the Hilton, Park Lane, London, Chris returned to Northamptonshire, then Wiltshire and back to Northamptonshire before Chris & Hayley established their business and home in Suffolk.

In the time before Suffolk, Chris & Hayley worked in places that all held 2 AA rosettes. The Bildeston Crown now proudly holds 3 AA Rosettes.

Chris champions great locally sourced produce …

… especially game, Red Poll beef and Nedging Lamb. Many vegetables and fruits come from the Nedging Hall gardens.

Chris loves food with gutsy flavours, intense reductions and serving his ever-favourite, ‘meat and many veg’, in interesting and eclectic ways, making his plates of food a feast for the eyes as well as a feast for the tummy.

Bread; baked and ready to go.
Room 1 with its four poster bed