Dedham, Essex, UK

Set among the Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and “Constable country”, this pretty village on the cusp of Essex and Suffolk is a nostalgic rendering of rural England. Less than two hours’ drive from London, its half-timbered cottages and cosy pubs make this a quintessential countryside day trip for city dwellers.

Where?

Dedham, Essex, UK

Why now?

This handsome, lesser-known English village is luring Londoners in need of a rural fix. Situated on the northeastern edge of Essex, Dedham's quiet lanes lined with half-timbered cottages and pastel-hued houses are prime territory for a countryside day trip.

Creatives will feel at home here. Nicknamed "Constable county", the surrounding Dedham Vale has changed little since artist John Constable painted its landscapes in the early 1800s. Indeed, the village scenery makes for the perfect composition as it gives way to unspoiled lowland landscapes and the steady River Stour. Keen to see some local artwork? Head to the Shakespeare House Gallery, set in a former woolworker's cottage.

Don't miss

Dedham is best experienced on the water. Hire a boat from The Boathouse Restaurant to enjoy all its visual splendour.

Where to stay

Bed down at The Sun Inn. Situated on the High Street, this (you guessed it) sunshine-yellow inn is the perfect base for a fanciful retreat. Rooms are cosy yet chic and the restaurant menu is pretty impressive too - we would strongly recommend the hake with butterbeans and samphire followed by a cheeseboard featuring brie from nearby Suffolk.

Where to go for dinner

Book a table at Le Talbooth for a late summer dinner of hand-dived scallops and Dedham Vale beef on a terrace overlooking the River Stour.

And for a drink…

Head to The Marlborough for a traditional village-pub experience.

Who to take with you

Take a history lover; they'll be keen to explore the dramatic landscapes and will appreciate the village's bygone aesthetic.

When to go

Sailing through the meadows is one of the best things to do in Dedham, so check the forecast ahead of visiting - between June and September, the weather should hopefully be fine enough.

Essentials to pack

Be prepared for a little drizzle (this is England, after all) and pack this Burberry Trafalgar checked shell umbrella.

How to get there

Driving from London takes around two hours. To get there by train, take the hour-long service between London Liverpool Street Station and Manningtree - Dedham is a 10-minute drive from here, or an hour and 20 minutes' walk, if you're so inclined.

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