About Us

Chris & Hayley Lee

We are opening again from Monday 12 April …

… and we can’t wait to see you. We have an outside only, at table service with new Courtyard & Cocktail Menus. You can also still pre-order to enjoy our food at home. A massive thank you for all the support shown to us during these difficult times by guests, the local community and our amazing staff. We hope you stay safe and, if everyone follows the guidelines, we will be able to see you indoors again soon. In the meantime, come and see us outside. Wrap up warm.


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, in these Covid-19 times, we had the spacious bar, restaurants, private dining rooms and terraces to still entertain enough people and keep everyone at a safe distance. Our 12 spacious and luxurious bedrooms still looked good and comfortable without their soft furnishings for those who were able stay.

Chris & Hayley Lee

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 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.