Official Visitor Website

Painters in the Valley: Constable Country

Willy Lotts House, Flatford, Visit Suffolk

The Area of Natural Beauty that has become known as Constable Country comprises the  Suffolk villages of East Bergholt – where the painter was born and raised – Flatford – the inspiration for his most famous painting The Hay Wain – and the Essex villages of Dedham, Langham and Stratford St Mary.

If you want more to explore – our accompanying blog, Gainsborough’s Sudbury has another day-long itinerary.



Constable country offers an abundance of opportunities to explore with well maintained, scenic footpaths between the villages and welcoming cafes, restaurants and traditional pubs at each location. For those looking to make the most of the walking opportunities Discover Suffolk have a comprehensive footpath map available on their website and visitors can tread the very paths the artist himself took on his daily walk to school in Dedham along the banks of the Stour.

Dedham Vale

Dedham Vale, Visit Suffolk

  • Arrive in East Bergholt and park in the village car park behind The Lion Pub.
  • On foot – turn right out of the car park onto the High Street towards the church. Pass the site of Constables childhood home on your left (noted by a small plaque on the gate).
  • Visit the 450 year old ‘temporary’ bell cage at the Church of St Mary the Virgin – the cage was built in 1531 and had been used ever since, containing the heaviest set of five bells currently being rung in England.
  • Take the road opposite the church (Flatford Lane) that leads to Flatford car park, at the bottom of the carpark is the entrance to the hamlet of Flatford itself.
  • Visit National Trust owned Bridge Cottage which houses an exhibition about Constable before walking down the lane to find Willy Lotts cottage, immortalised by the Haywain, and the Mill House.
  • Returning back to the centre of Flatford take some time to explore the RSPB garden before crossing the river and walking the river path to Dedham.
  • Once in Dedham there are a number of small shops and boutiques to explore. Dedham Art and Craft Centre at the end of the High Street is home to makers, crafters, artists and other small businesses as well as a tearoom.

Rowing at Dedham

  • The village also contains traditional pubs The Sun and The Marlborough and the 16th Century Essex Rose Tea rooms.
  • Munnings House can be found just ten minutes from the centre of the village – check the website for opening times and exhibition information.
  • When you are ready to leave Dedham take Mill Lane (opposite the Church and War Memorial) heading back towards the river. In the summer the river is a draw for visitors and Dedham Boathouse rents rowing boats by the hour whilst the River Stour Trust operates passenger boat trips from Spring until the end of October.
  • From this end of the village you can make the return walk to East Bergholt following the opposite side of the river.


Find out more about other places to visit, and where to eat and stay at