Dedham Church

The Dedham Vale & Constable Country

To the North of Colchester you will discover the Dedham Vale, affectionately known as Constable Country; an area of natural beauty which has inspired great English painters through the ages.

The only designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Essex, the Dedham Vale contains numerous scenes which inspired famous English artists including 19th Century landscape painter John Constable, 18th century artist Thomas Gainsborough and 20th Century equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings.

Dedham is one of the most attractive villages in Essex, and the association with John Constable is particularly close. The historic church of St Mary the Virgin dominates the High Street and features in several of Constable's paintings.

Artists continue to be inspired by the area's landscape, and the work of equestrian artist Sir Alfred Munnings is celebrated in the Munnings Art Museum, the artist's former home in the village.

Things to do in Dedham

You'll find a range of tea shops, country pubs and independent shops lining Dedham High Street, with the Dedham Craft Centre proving a favourite shopping destination with visitors.

The River Stour, which runs through the village is ideal for walks, picnics, and most famously boating, with rowing boat hire a popular activity for tourists.

Further down the river you will discover Flatford Mill, including the iconic Willy Lott's Cottage, immortalised in Constable's most famous landscape, The Haywain.

Take a short trip away from the village and you'll discover more of Constable Country including Dedham Vale Vineyard, Boxted Airfield, and other scenic towns and villages including East Bergholt, Stratford St Mary, and Manningtree.

Carter's Vineyards

Dedham Vale Vineyard

Forty acre site including seven acres of vines and a variety of trails through woodland, around lakes and wildflower meadows. Self guided tours and tastings of our wines. Winery powered by wind and sun generated energy.

Le Talbooth

Le Talbooth

Beside the River Stour on Essex/Suffolk border. Award winning restaurant offering great food, service and atmosphere.

Milsoms

Milsoms

A stylish and contemporary bar and brasserie with a no booking policy but all day dining to ensure you get your table!

The Munnings Collection at Castle House

The Munnings Art Museum

Explore the life and work of renown British artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) in his former home and studio.

The Sun Inn

Firedrake

Dedham Art and Craft Centre

Dedham Art & Craft Centre is housed in a converted church in this popular village. The Centre exudes historic charm and is the perfect place to visit, shop and eat.

Manningtree

Manningtree

Welcome to Manningtree, a gateway to Constable country and more... As England's smallest town - at just over 19 hectares - Manningtree is small but packs in a great deal for residents and visitors alike.

RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden

RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden

A fabulous wildlife garden to inspire you to Give Nature a Home where you live. New family trail to get your children involved.

Boxted Airfield Museum

Boxted Airfield Museum

Boxted Airfield Museum station 150. The most important US fighter base in the UK in WW2.

Dedham

Dedham

Set by the River Stour, Dedham is in the heart of Constable Country. It was here that Britain's greatest landscape artist went to school.

Bridge Cottage

Flatford: Bridge Cottage

A delightful 16th century cottage just minutes from Flatford Mill. Why not visit our Constable exhibition then sit by the river and enjoy a freshly baked cake at the National Trust tea room and find a gift in our shop.

Essex Rose Tea House

Essex Rose, Dedham

The Essex Rose Tea Room serves a range of sandwiches, lunch specials, hot and cold snacks, cakes and home-made scones.

Flatford & The River Stour

Continue the Constable theme by visiting a National Trust property: Flatford Bridge Cottage. Flatford Mill and Willy Lott's House, immortalised in "The Haywain", can be seen from the outside and a short walk along the banks of the river Stour rewards you with views of untouched Constable landscapes.

The adjoining Flatford wildlife garden is managed by the RSPB, and includes a trail of carved wooden creatures and living willow tunnel.

Like Dedham, Flatford welcomes huge numbers of visitors each year, so avoid the crowds by visiting at quieter, off peak periods, such as the winter or during the week.

Flatford Mill

Flowing from Sudbury in the West, through Dedham, Flatford, Manningtree and then onto Ipswich in the East the River Stour is a scenic and charming waterway, once again immortalised on numerous occasions by John Constable. Hire a rowing boat in Dedham and explore the river, or take a less energetic trip on an electric boat trip from Flatford. Kayaking, and even wild swimming are also possible.

If messing about on the river is not for you, simply enjoy a scenic walk along the banks and take in the scenery. Picturesque locks, as well as breathtaking views of the stunning landscape can be found along the waterside trails.

The River Stour

Stay in Constable Country

Dedham Village
Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Fabulous country house hotel situated over looking Constable Country and the Dedham Vale. 12 luxurious suites all individually designed and decorated. Day spa, tennis court, outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs. Dine at Le Talbooth.

Country House Hotel with 12 rooms, £475 prpnb

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown, Stoke-by-Nayland is our traditional vintage Inn & privately-owned boutique hotel. We have built an enviable reputation from our commitment to providing friendly service, luxurious accommodation & delicious food, wine & real ales.

Small Hotel with 11 rooms, £165-£225 prpnb

Dragonfly Colchester Hotel

Dragonfly Colchester Hotel

Just 10 minutes from Colchester Centre, Dragonfly Hotel Colchester offers spacious rooms with flat screen TV’s. Next to the A12 motorway, there is an on-site restaurant and free parking.

Hotel with 50 rooms, £32-£75 pppn

Milsoms

Milsoms

Modern, contemporary bar brasserie with 15 stylish en-suite bedrooms. The place to eat, drink and stay in the Dedham Vale. Open for full à la carte menu all day, so no rush.

Small Hotel with 15 rooms, £98-£120 prpn

Walking in Constable Country

The Stour Valley Path

Explore the Dedham Vale

There are a number of free walking guides for Constable Country available from the Dedham Vale AONB Project. These include the long-distance Stour Valley Path, individual guides for Dedham, Nayland and more, and shorter walks of interest. The pick of the bunch being a stroll through Dragon Country following the legend of a Dragon (or perhaps an escaped crocodile?) that roamed the vale.

Dragon Country