We don’t expect you’ll need much convincing to come to Constable Country. With its stunning landscape this AONB in the south of Suffolk has drawn people to it for centuries. But there is always the small matter of practicalities to consider, so here is our guide to where to stay, what to see and what to do.
Visit Willy Lott’s Cottage in Flatford, which featured in Constable’s most famous painting, The Hay Wain (1821)
Firstly, you’ll need somewhere to lay your hat. Maison Talbooth is not just another country house hotel, it is one of the AA Top 200 hotels in the UK. Situated overlooking Constable Country and the Dedham Vale. You can choose between 12 luxurious suites to relax in and dine overlooking the River Stour in their 2AA restaurant. The Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa in the heart of the Dedham Vale has excellent facilities for you to enjoy. As well as 80 rooms and five country lodges to stay in, there are two championship golf courses, a pool, spa and gym. Also in Stoke by Nayland is the Crown Inn, a village inn and boutique hotel that has a choice of fine contemporary rooms downstairs and traditionally furnished chambers upstairs, as well as fine dining and disabled facilities. Downstream is The Granary in Flatford. Once owned by John Constable’s father this property has been lovingly restored, and is now a B&B. What better place to get the full Constable Country experience?
Boating along the River Stour is an idyllic way to explore Constable Country (c) Karen Roe
Once you’ve decided on where you’re going to stay in Constable Country, it’s time to plan what you’re going to do. Constable Country has many walks to explore the area, two long distance trails run through the area (The Essex Way and the Stour Valley Path), but there are many shorter footpaths, both circular and linear, to take you around the sights of Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s House and the other famous locations. Alternatively hop on a bike and take the Painter’s Trail. The full trail is 69 miles long, but it’s up to you how far you ride. The route visits places where Constable, Gainsborough, and Munnings found inspiration so why not pack your art things so you’re ready when the artistic impulse strikes?
The Stour is such a lovely stretch of water that it’s almost a crime to not take one of the many boats available along at least part of its length. Whether your vessel of choice is a rowing boat, canoe, kayak, or river cruiser, you’ll find there are plenty of places to hire one and travel Constable Country in the most relaxing way possible.