Beginner 5 Day Tour

Tour Overview

This tour takes you right round Constable Country, covering the Dedham Vale AONB area around the River Stour, and visiting many viewpoints used by John Constable for his best known local paintings. It explores the Shotley peninsula, giving some delightful views of the Stour and Orwell estuaries. It also ventures a little way into the rolling hills just north of Constable Country, visiting medieval Kersey and Boxford.

Tour Data

Price Per Person: £462 (luxury B&Bs) - £510 (character hotels)

Start & Finish: Langham

Overnight Stops: Dedham, Harwich/Woolverstone, Hintlesham, Stoke by Nayland

Suitability: Beginner, Occasional Rider

Min - Max Total Tour Distance: 56 - 99 miles

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Day One

Start - Finish: Langham - Dedham

Min - Max Distance: 5 - 9 miles

Route Overview

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.

Points of Interest en-route

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.

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Evening One

Character Inn/Hotel: Milsoms Hotel

Luxury B&B: Dedham Hall

Things to Do

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.

Dinner Suggestions

Milsoms Restaurant.

Fountain House Restaurant at Dedham Hall.

Sun Inn on Dedham High Street opposite the Church.

Boathouse Restaurant on the banks of the River Stour.

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Day Two

Start - Finish: Dedham - Harwich or Woolverstone

Min - Max Distance: 19 - 22 miles

Route Overview

East along Dedham Vale to the Stour Estuary. North East onto the Shotley peninsula, skirting the shores of Alton Water. 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.

Points of Interest en-route

Visit scenes painted by John Constable at Bridge Cottage, Flatford Mill and Willy Lott's Cottage on the banks of the Stour.

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.

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Evening Two

Character Inn/Hotel: The Pier at Harwich

Luxury B&B: Maytrees B&B

Things to Do

Make sure you find a little time to sit next to the estuary and watch the birdlife and boatlife go by.

Dinner Suggestions

The Pier Restaurants (Harwich)

The Butt & Oyster riverside pub at Pin Mill

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Day Three

Start - Finish: Harwich/Woolverstone - Hintlesham

Min - Max Distance: 16 - 20 miles

Route Overview

Northwest along the western shores of the Orwell Estuary, turning inland just before the Orwell Bridge which marks the southern edge of Ipswich. Then northwest across gently rolling farmland to reach Hintlesham.

Points of Interest en-route

Pause awhile at picturesque Pin Mill with its marina, houseboats and pub on the estuary shore.

Admire the sweeping curves of the mighty Orwell Bridge.

Give in to gastronomic temptation at The Suffolk Food Hall or Jimmy's Farm.

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Evening Three

Character Inn/Hotel: Hintlesham Hall

Luxury B&B: Hintlesham Hall

Things to Do

Book in for a round of golf at Hintlesham Golf Club.

Take a peaceful stroll round the nearby Wolves Wood RSPB reserve.

Dinner Suggestions

Hintlesham Hall Restaurant or Lounge Bar

The George Pub

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Day Four

Start - Finish: Hintlesham Hall - Stoke by Nayland

Min - Max Distance: 16 - 23 miles

Route Overview

West towards Hadleigh, entering it via a delightful old railway trail. Northwest to Kersey, southwest to Boxford, southeast to Polstead. Then southwest across the narrow River Box valley to reach Stoke by Nayland.

Points of Interest en-route

Explore Hadleigh's bustling high street with its many fine medieval buildings and traditional shops.

Be sure to get your camera out in tiny Kersey, one of the most photographed villages in England. Hopefully the ducks will be on duty at the ford in the middle of the high street!

Linger awhile in beautiful Polstead village to admire some of the fabulous medieval houses, or take a refreshment stop at The Cock Inn next to the village green.

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Evening Four

Character Inn/Hotel: The Crown Inn

Luxury B&B: Poplar's Farmhouse

Things to Do

Explore 15th century St Marys Church in its splendid hilltop setting (a favourite John Constable subject, used in several of his paintings).

Dinner Suggestions

Crown Inn restaurant

Angel Inn restaurant

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Day Five

Start - Finish: Stoke by Nayland - Langham

Min - Max Distance: 0 - 25 miles

Route Overview

Southwest and steeply downhill to Nayland. Then, depending on fitness and time availability, a short scenic loop westwards along the idyllic Stour valley, before climbing south out of the valley to return to Langham.

Points of Interest en-route

Pedal slowly along the beautifully preserved medieval high street of Nayland village.

Watch activities at the busy Essex and Suffolk gliding club at Wormingford.

Visit Dedham Vale Vineyard and take a tour to learn about the winemaking process.