Last Updated on March 9, 2023
Just on the Suffolk/Essex border, Dedham Vale has some breathtaking scenery, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, amazing food and bags of history and culture. This area is a big hit with our Suffolk holiday cottage guests and one of my personal faves as I lived there before I started this business.
So what are we going to share with you in this episode of our ‘Grand days out’?
* Dedham village
* Flatford & the National Trust
* Stunning river walk (or even boating)
* The Sun Inn
* Dedham Vale AONB
If that doesn’t fill a day to remember then I don’t know what will! And it’s just 25 minutes from our Suffolk holiday cottages.
If you don’t like sleepy English villages with incredible medieval architecture, tea rooms, cricket pitches, great pubs & restaurants and nice gift shops then don’t go to Dedham. It has all of that and more.
There is a real ‘heart’ to the village and everything is just a short walk from there. It is marked by the War Memorial, honouring the locals who lost their lives in the first and second world wars.
On the opposite corner is the Essex Rose Tea Rooms, a real institution in Dedham, under the same family ownership for years and now part of the Tiptree group, famous for Wilkin & Sons jams and preserves. It’s a proper place for afternoon tea and scones. How very English. Ok, it’s in Essex but it’s almost Suffolk so don’t shoot me, ok? Well worth a visit.
Just along from the Essex Rose is the Dedham Art & Craft Centre, housed in a wonderful converted church with three floors showcasing the work of over 60 artisans. There is such a great selection in here with everything from antiques to gifts and crafts as well as another tea room (10/10 for spotting a theme here!).
Dedham has some other great craft and gift shops along the High Street, as well as the very imposing St Mary’s Church, dating back to 1492 (I didn’t live there then).
The Memorial Park is set down a little cut through behind the war memorial and is a great open space with tennis courts, playing field and the obligatory cricket pitch.
The Sun Inn deserves a special mention here as it was my ‘local’ for four years and I’ve had one or two drinks in here. Housed in a beautiful centuries-old coaching inn, it is now a great pub and restaurant, very dog-friendly and serves superb local beers and a great selection of wines, as well as the standard Aspalls!
Parking is limited in the village centre but there is a large car park on the road towards the A12 and it’s only a short walk back into the village.
The other side of the car park is the hump-backed bridge that brings you into the village and the iconic rowing boats, operated from the Boat House Restaurant, which serves superb meals, inside or on the terrace by the river. It’s a great restaurant but in the pricier bracket. That said, well worth it.
River Stour walk from Dedham to Flatford
This is actually a route I have kayaked more than I have walked I’m sure. You can hire rowing boats out from the Boathouse and have a little pootle about. Either way it is a stunning way to spend half an hour, or longer if you just want to stop and take in the scenery. I used to live just around the corner from the river and kayaked this route a lot, when I fancied a change from rougher rivers or the sea. It’s so tranquil and a great place to relax and unwind. It was days like this that inspired me to name one of my Suffolk holiday cottages Stour Barn; all of which I named after Suffolk rivers.
Flatford & The National Trust
A 25-30 min stroll along the river bank (opposite side to the Boat House Restaurant) will bring you to Flatford. The National Trust have a great tea room (there’s that theme again) here, as well as some exhibitions of John Constable’s work in Bridge Cottage and the Boathouse Gallery. Flatford Mill is just picturesque and sits opposite the main bank, featuring in scores of family albums over the years.
Thanks to Glynne Blackall for his wonderful photo contribution during his recent stay, including the pic at the top of the blog.
You’re in the heart of Constable country here and there is so much heritage to soak up.
Courtesy of our guest Glynne Blackall during one of his stays
Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
We are so fortunate that we have two of Britains designated AONB’s on the doorstep of our Suffolk holiday cottages. We have the Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale. You can find out lots more about this on their website here but essentially it encompasses much of the stuff I’ve just written about.
Getting to Dedham from our Suffolk holiday cottages is easy. It’s along the A14, down the A12 and then just a mile or so off the A12 into the heart of the village.
I do hope you enjoy your day in the Dedham Vale, whether you’re staying in one of our Suffolk holiday cottages or not. If you haven’t experienced this beautiful area and you’d like to come and see what it’s all about for yourself then why not check out our Availability & Prices page and get yourself booked in for a stay here at Woodfarm. Please pass this link on to anyone you think may be interested to read it.