Places to Visit - Dedham Vale (AONB)

Discover the Beauty of Essex & Suffolk

The Lion is ideally located to explore Dedham Vale. Dedham Vale is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and offers breathtaking scenery in the heart of the Essex & Suffolk countryside. Renowned for its idyllic villages, meandering rivers, and rolling hills, Dedham value offers a great mix of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Villages to Explore

Exploring the picturesque villages that dot the landscape is a must-do activity when you visit Dedham Vale from The Lion. From the charming village of Dedham itself to quaint hamlets such as Flatford, each exudes timeless charm with thatched cottages, ancient churches, and winding lanes. Strolling through these historic villages feels like stepping back in time, offering a glimpse into rural life in days gone by.

Dedham Vale Villages

The River Stour

One of the highlights of a visit to Dedham Vale is undoubtedly a boat trip along the River Stour. The tranquil waters meander through the countryside, flanked by lush greenery and dotted with picturesque bridges and watermills. Visitors can hire rowboats or join guided boat tours to explore the river at a leisurely pace, soaking in the peaceful ambiance and admiring the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscape.

River Stour Boat Trips

Artistic History

For art enthusiasts, when you’re staying at The Lion, East Bergholt a visit to Flatford is a must. This charming hamlet is immortalized in the works of renowned artist John Constable, who captured its beauty in iconic paintings such as "The Hay Wain." The Flatford Mill, depicted in many of Constable's works, offers insight into the artist's life and inspiration, with a visitor center providing exhibitions and guided tours. Visitors can also follow in Constable's footsteps by exploring the surrounding countryside, which served as the backdrop for many of his most famous paintings.

Constable Art in Flatford Mill

Adventures in Nature

The Lion is the ideal base for exploring nearby countryside and wildlife. Nature lovers will find plenty to admire in Dedham Vale AONB, with its diverse array of habitats supporting a rich variety of wildlife. The landscape is dotted with nature reserves, meadows, and ancient woodlands, providing sanctuary for species such as otters, kingfishers, and rare butterflies. Birdwatchers will be especially delighted by the abundance of avian life, with the riverbanks and wetlands teeming with feathered inhabitants throughout the year.

For those seeking outdoor adventure, Dedham Vale offers a multitude of opportunities for walking, cycling, and horse riding. The area is crisscrossed with a network of footpaths and bridleways, allowing visitors to explore the countryside at their own pace. Whether you're embarking on a leisurely riverside stroll, tackling a challenging hillside hike, or cycling through scenic country lanes, there are routes to suit all ages and abilities.

Dedham Vale Nature

Eating & Drinking

Food and drink enthusiasts will also find much to savour in Dedham Vale AONB, with its abundance of traditional pubs, tearooms, and farm shops serving up delicious local fare. From hearty pub lunches and cream teas to artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread, there's no shortage of culinary delights to sample. Visitors can also explore the region's thriving food and drink scene by attending farmers' markets, food festivals, and vineyard tours, where they can taste the finest local produce and beverages. That being said, where better to relax, unwind and enjoy some amazing food after a day of exloring than back at The Lion Brasseries. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.