Published: 23.04.2021

Dedham Vale and Stour Valley AONB Cottage Holiday Guide

Flatford Mill in the Dedham ValeThinking of taking a cottage break in the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and want to find out what this area has to offer?  Let Country Cottages Online's guide help show you just what makes this area of North Essex and Suffolk such a stunning area for a cottage break.

Introducing the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley AONB for Holidays

Set in Essex/Suffolk border country in the Stour Valley, around mid-way between the historical town of Colchester and the coastal town of Ipswich, the Dedham Vale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty through which the River Stour flows.  This part of East Anglia also comes within Constable Country, an area so called because of its links with the painter John Constable. 

Cottage rentals in the Dedham Vale AONB

A break in the beautiful Dedham Vale AONB will appeal to those looking to enjoy a cottage holiday in an unspoilt tranquil area where you can enjoy outdoor activities and explore an unspoilt mostly agricultural lowland landscape with scenic river, stream, meadow and woodland scenery.


What makes the Dedham Vale AONB So Special

The landscape of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley is so beautiful that is has inspired artists such as John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough who made the area famous with their quintessentially English works of art.


Discover Pretty Villages on Holiday in the Dedham Vale AONB

The Dedham Vale is home to some picturesque quaint villages like Dedham, East Bergholt, Boxted, Nayland, Stoke by Nayland and Stratford St Mary which are found dotted throughout the area, next to fields and farmlands.  Not a village as such, but also within the Dedham Vale AONB is the National Trust’s Flatford Mill, where the famous painter John Constable lived and drew so much inspiration from.

In terms of places within the Dedham Vale with the most facilities for visitors these include:

The small market town of Clare with its beautiful pastel painted historical buildings, independent shops, country park with Norman castle ruins and quaint appeal makes this a lovely place for a stop at a café or a country inn where you can soak up the atmosphere.

Plump with historical cottages and buildings including numerous listed properties, the large village of Dedham offers visitors plenty of appeal and is home to tea shops, country inns, cafes, antique shops and riverside walks.  Walk by the river and discover scenic water meadows, or hire a boat and see the countryside from the water.  Keen walkers may want to meander along the footpath which runs from Dedham to East Bergholt.

Flatford and Flatford Mill
The small rural hamlet of Flatford is best known for Flatford Mill; a building made famous by a painting by John Constable.  Visit and see how the scene has changed since the original painting in 1816.  The rural hamlet of Flatford and Flatford Mill is protected and managed by the National Trust nowadays and is home to a lovely tea shop, as well as a large car park.  In season, it is also possible to take boat trips from here or hire a rowing boat.

Long Melford
Truly elegant, the historical cottages and buildings in Long Melford are set along one wide main street and the large green gives this village plenty of appeal.  Country inns and tea shops, as well as independent shops cater well for visitors.  On the outskirts of the town is the National Trust’s Melford Hall with its rich history and links to Beatrix Potter.

Stoke by Nayland
Although small, the village of Stoke by Nayland is full of quaint historic cottages and timber framed houses.  There is a nice country inn on the edge of the village and good walks to be found in the surrounding countryside.

Stratford St Mary
Home to pretty country cottages, historic houses and some timber-framed buildings, quaint cottages and a couple of good quality restaurants.  The scenic Stour Valley walking path can be joined from the village too.


Explore the Great Outdoors on a Cottage Holiday in the Vale of Dedham

With beautiful unspoilt landscapes to discover, the Dedham Vale AONB is a joy to discover on foot, by bike or even on a rowing boat along the River Stour!  It is also a good area to enjoy wildlife watching, particularly looking out for birdlife attracted by the waterways.

Whether you opt to rent a holiday cottage in one of the larger villages like Dedham or opt to rent a lodge or a rural retreat in the countryside, we hope you've found our hints and tips on what the Dedham Vale offers for visitors helpful and that you have a wonderful time in this part of East Anglia.

Top Related Searches for AONBs