Price Per Person: £758 (luxury B&Bs) - £822 (character hotels)
Start & Finish: Langham
Suitability: Occasional Rider, Regular Rider, Energetic Rider
Min - Max Total Tour Distance: 165 - 335 miles (264 - 536 km)
Min - Max Total Tour Ascent: 5900 - 11700 feet (1800 - 3570 metres)
Offroad potential: Min 22 %; Max 48 %
This tour starts in Constable Country, before exploring Suffolk's delightfully complex coastline along the Stour, Orwell and Deben estuaries. From Woodbridge you return west to visit the Suffolk Wool Towns, and a delightful rural circuit which explores the Stour, Colne and Pant valleys and the gently rolling hill country between them.
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Start - Finish: Langham - Dedham
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 6 - 15 miles (10 - 24 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 100 - 300 feet (30 - 90 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 10% - 20%
A short warm-up ride. North from Langham via small country lanes to the lip of Dedham Vale. Then a meander east along the Stour Valley into Dedham village.
Visit peaceful 12th C Langham Church nestled on a wooded ridge above Dedham Vale. The tower was a viewpoint used by John Constable for several of his paintings.
Character Inn/Hotel: Milsoms Hotel
Luxury B&B: Dedham Hall
Fountain House Restaurant at Dedham Hall.
Sun Inn on Dedham High Street opposite the Church.
Boathouse Restaurant on the banks of the River Stour.
Stroll along the banks of the Stour, or hire a rowing boat from the Boathouse.
Visit the Alfred Munnings Museum (check opening days) to admire his beautiful paintings and sculptures.
Browse in Dedham's quaint village shops and the Art & Craft Centre.
Start - Finish: Dedham - Shotley or Harwich (via passenger foot ferry)
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 25 - 44 miles (40 - 70 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 1000 - 1700 feet (300 - 520 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 36% - 70%
East along Dedham Vale to the Stour Estuary. North East onto the Shotley peninsula, skirting around the shores of Alton Water. Follow the ever narrowing finger of land eastwards out towards the very tip of the peninsula. Depending on choice of overnight accommodation, you can stay on the peaceful peninsula or take a short ferry trip over the water to the hustle & bustle of Old Harwich Port.
Watch the watersports on Alton Water, or have a go at kayaking or paddleboarding.
Pause a moment at Erwarton village. The impressive Hall was occasional childhood home to Anne Boleyn, and the church next door houses a small casket alleged to contain her heart, buried there at her request.
Character Inn/Hotel: The Pier at Harwich
(Maytrees is our recommended choice for convenient access to pubs for an evening meal. Hill House Farm has fabulous estuary views, but is rather remote, requiring a 1 hour walk or a £20 taxi fare to reach a pub for an evening meal).
The Pier Restaurants (Harwich)
Butt & Oyster riverside pub at Chelmondiston near Shotley
At Harwich, find a nice seat on the waterfront to watch the ships going in and out of Harwich & Felixstowe ports.
At Shotley, stroll down to the estuary and watch the birds coming in to roost in the evening.
Start - Finish: Shotley or Harwich - Woodbridge
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 25 - 44 miles (40 - 70 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 700 - 1200 feet (210 - 370 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 28% - 64%
Foot ferry to Felixstowe's Landguard Fort. North east across the Felixstowe peninsula (via sea front or rural options) to the Deben estuary. Foot ferry to Bawdsey, birthplace of radar. Then north through sandy heathlands and forests towards Woodbridge, with an opportunity to visit Sutton Hoo en-route.
Marvel briefly at the gargantuan operations at Felixstowe Container Port (also known as the Giant Giraffe Farm...) before escaping quickly back to the countryside.
Visit Sutton Hoo's mysterious royal burial mounds, then wander through ancient woods to viewpoints looking across the River Deben to Woodbridge.
Character Inn/Hotel: Seckford Hall
Luxury B&B: St Anne's School House
Play a round of golf at Seckford Golf Club.
Browse Woodbridge's excellent range of shops.
Start - Finish: Woodbridge - Stoke by Nayland
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 29 - 46 miles (46 - 74 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 1000 - 1500 feet (300 - 460 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 21% - 50%
South from Woodbridge, to Waldringfield on the banks of the Deben river. Southwest to delightful Levington village overlooking the Orwell Estuary. West across the Orwell via the graceful sweep of the Orwell Bridge. Northwest via small country lanes to Hadleigh, approaching via a delightful old railway trail. Southwest across the Brett valley before a final climb up to Stoke by Nayland.
Enjoy the comings and goings at the thriving Waldringfield sailing club.
Stroll along Hadleigh's bustling high street with its many fine medieval buildings.
Character Inn/Hotel: Crown Inn
Luxury B&B: Poplars Farmhouse
Explore 15th century St Marys Church in its splendid hilltop setting (a favourite John Constable subject, used in several of his paintings).
Visit nearby Stoke by Nayland club for a round of golf or a luxury spa treatment.
Start - Finish: Stoke by Nayland - Cavendish
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 26 - 49 miles (42 - 78 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 1100 - 2000 feet (340 - 610 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 19% - 37%
North through peaceful countryside dotted with picture-postcard villages including Polstead and Kersey. Northwest via some delightful leafy lanes to reach Lavenham, then southwest to Long Melford, and west to Cavendish.
Admire Lavenham's magnificent medieval streets, bristling with over 300 listed buildings.
Visit Kentwell Hall or Melford Hall in bustling Long Melford, one of several claimants to "longest village in England". If not the longest, it's certainly one of the most interesting, full of history, medieval architecture, unusual shops, traditional tea-rooms and pubs.
Character Inn/Hotel: The George
Luxury B&B: The George
Take a gentle stroll around the Village Green, or watch a local bowls match.
Enjoy a luxurious swim and spa treatment at nearby Gainsborough Health Club.
Start - Finish: Cavendish - Thaxted
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 29 - 48 miles (46 - 77 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 1100 - 1700 feet (340 - 520 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 14% - 46%
West along the Stour valley past historic Clare and Stoke by Clare. Further west into the Essex highlands via Steeple Bumpstead, then south over gently rolling farmland to Thaxted.
Admire the fabulous pargeting of Clare's Ancient House, one of several historic sites in the town.
Take a vineyard tour at Boyton Vineyard just north of Stoke by Clare.
Character Inn/Hotel: The Swan Hotel
Luxury B&B: The Swan Hotel
Swan Hotel restaurant
Visit a wealth of historic buildings clustered round the town centre.
Start - Finish: Thaxted - Earls Colne
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 25 - 45 miles (40 - 72 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 900 - 1600 feet (270 - 490 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 16% - 40%
Briefly south down the Chelmer valley, then northeast crossing the Pant valley en route to picture-postcard Finchingfield. East over high ground before crossing the Colne valley to Castle Hedingham. South to Halstead, then southwest to reach Bocking Churchstreet. The final leg today takes you north-east towards Earls Colne.
Stop and feed the ducks on the village green at Finchingfield.
Visit the fine Norman keep at Hedingham Castle.
Character Inn/Hotel: Essex Golf & Country Club
Luxury B&B: Essex Golf & Country Club
Pulse Bar or Club Bar (in the Essex Golf & Country Club complex)
The Lion (in Earls Colne High Street, a short taxi ride away)
Enjoy some of the numerous leisure spa or sports facilities at the Country Club.
Enjoy a wander along Earl Colne's traditional old High Street (if visiting The Lion for dinner).
Start - Finish: Earls Colne - Langham
Min - Max Cycling Distance: 0 - 44 miles (0 - 70 km)
Min - Max Ascent: 0 - 1600 feet (0 - 490 metres)
Min - Max Offroad: 0% - 41%
East across a patchwork of rich farmlands and old forests, before descending to Chappel in the Colne valley. North over rolling farmland to the Stour valley, which is then followed east through picturesque Wormingford, Nayland and Stoke by Nayland, before turning south to return to Langham.
Pedal under the mighty arches of Chappel Viaduct, England's second largest brick built structure (after Battersea Power Station).
Visit Dedham Vale Vineyard and take a tour to learn about the winemaking process.