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John Constable, Britain’s most famous landscape painter, set many of his scenes of the rural idyll in the countryside of northern Essex and southern Suffolk.

The heart of Constable Country is Dedham Vale, through which runs the beautiful River Stour. Here you will find the picturesque Flatford Mill, where Constable painted one of his most famous paintings, The Hay Wain. The surrounding buildings have been turned into a small museum about the painter’s life and achievements. Nearby is the picture-perfect village of Dedham, where Constable went to school, full of classic timbered houses and a pretty church (but also often full of coach parties in the summer months).

The surrounding countryside of the Stour Valley is beautiful, gentle walking and cycling country and is scattered with impossibly preserved medieval villages filled with endearingly wonky timber framed buildings and attractive churches. The stunning small town of Lavenham lays claim to being the most well-preserved medieval town in Britain.