There are few places in Britain more picturesque than Constable Country in Suffolk. Set within Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just two hours from London and the Midlands, this rural landscape was where the painter John Constable was born, and where he painted his most celebrated works.
Willy Lotts Cottage in Flatford
John Constable was born in 1776 in East Bergholt, a village on the River Stour in Suffolk. Throughout his he felt great affection for the Suffolk landscape and the villages surrounding his home, telling a friend: “I should paint my own places best; painting with me is but another word for feeling.”
Of all the paintings by John Constable, perhaps the most famous is The Hay Wain. It depicts a horse and cart crossing the River Stour, a white cottage visible on the left bank.
The place in the painting is Flatford, and like so much of Constable Country, it remains unchanged to this day: you can still explore the white cottage (which belonged to Constable’s neighbour, Willy Lott); Flatford Mill, which was owned by the Constable family; and Bridge Cottage, which houses a John Constable exhibition.
Dedham Vale at dusk
Dedham Vale is another of the celebrated paintings by John Constable, which depicts a scene from what is now the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can explore this stunning landscape on foot via one of the many Dedham walks, following the valley through picturesque villages such as Flatford, Dedham, Stratford St Mary and Stoke-by-Nayland. Alternatively, you could see Constable Country from the water, by renting or boarding a boat at one of several places along the River Stour.