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Things to see and do at Flatford

Misty morning on the River Stour near Flatford, Suffolk
Misty morning on the River Stour near Flatford, Suffolk | © Justin Minns

There is plenty for all to enjoy on a visit to Flatford. Take a self-guided trail through the Dedham Vale countryside or join one of the Constable tours to discover the Hay Wain view as well as the locations of other major paintings by John Constable.

Walk the Suffolk countryside

Enjoy the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty and take in the landscape on a walk through the countryside. Discover the picturesque stroll alongside the River Stour to the village of Dedham or follow one of the trail routes, which you can find on the maps around the site.

Bringing Constable's landscapes to life

Experience the views that inspired Constable's paintings and discover the history behind them on a guided tour. Tours run Monday to Friday at 11.30am. The tour covers around 300 metres, lasts an hour and costs £3.50. Please note, these tours are volunteer dependent, so call ahead or speak to a member of staff to check availability.

Volunteers will also be at the Hay Wain view on weekday afternoons as well as Saturdays and Sundays to talk you through the history of Constable's most famous landscape.

A reflection of the red-roofed Willy Lott's Cottage reflected in the River Stour at Flatford, Suffolk
Willy Lott's cottage, reflected in the River Stour at Flatford | © National Trust Images/Justin Minns

John Constable Exhibition

Constable spent his entire childhood in the Dedham Vale and these memories sustained him for life. The hamlet of Flatford and the landscape of the Stour Valley dominated his paintings from the early 1800s.

A year before John’s birth the Constable family moved from a house next door to Flatford Mill to a mansion in East Bergholt. John Constable spent most of his school life at Dedham Grammar School, walking across the fields each day from his home in East Bergholt.

After he left school Constable went to work at his father’s windmill in East Bergholt and in his spare time he used to sketch the landscapes.

Visit the exhibition to find out the full story and discover John Constable's paintings of the views in and around Flatford.

RSPB Wildlife Garden

The RSPB has created a family-friendly wildlife garden at Flatford, designed to pass on ideas that visitors can incorporate into their own gardens. Discover the carved garden creatures, run through the willow tunnel and see if you can spot some of Flatford’s resident wildlife.

Valley Farm Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden at Valley Farm was restored in 2010 to its former glory by a team of volunteers, who continue to develop and maintain the gardens today. They manage the gardens in a traditional way, respecting the heritage of the land. The produce grown is used in the tea-room to create a range of delicious specials. Look out for sign by Valley Farm to see if the kitchen garden volunteers are about. If they are, you are welcome to come on in and have a chat about the garden and view the produce.

Oil painting on canvas, Flatford Lock after John Constable, RA (East Bergholt 1776 ? London 1837). River landscape, the River Stour with Flatford Lock with the bridge and Bridge Cottage beyond. Trees to the left and right, two boys on the bank in the centre, fishing.
Flatford Lock by after John Constable | © National Trust Images

Discover Constable country

John Constable grew up at Flatford Mill on the River Stour. In many of his famous painting and sketches he captured the places close to his boyhood home and the scenes of everyday rural life there. Discover the views that inspired him, by visiting the locations of his best-known paintings, using What3Words, which is an app that allocates a unique three-word name to three-metre squares all over the world.

Find out more and download the What3Wordsapp here

The Hay Wain: Wages.Shutting.Hoped

Willy Lott's House: Junior.Eased.Hoofs

The Mill Stream: Light.Removers.Earplugs

Boat Building: Spelled.Teeth.Flagging

A view on the Stour near Dedham: Choirs.Riskiest.Anchovies

Scene on a Navigable River (Flatford Mill): Crunch.Traded.Limp

Boys Fishing: Iceberg.Sniff.Else

The Lock: Comb.Evolution.Bombard

The White Horse: Seducing.Exhales.Exit

Visitors looking over a low wall down towards the river at Flatford Mill, at Flatford, Suffolk

Discover more at Flatford

Find out when Flatford is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

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