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Things to see and do at Flatford

Visitors standing on the bridge crossing the River Stour at Flatford Mill, Flatford, Suffolk
Walk along the footbridge that crosses the Stour | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

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.

Events at Flatford

Flatford Guided Tours

every weekday (excluding bank holidays)

Join us for a fascinating guided tour and explore the picturesque hamlet of Flatford as you learn about the life and works of John Constable, one of the most celebrated artists in British history. As you walk, see the iconic views that inspired Constable's masterpieces such as the Hay Wain and Flatford Mill.

Find out more

Summer Craft Fayre

1 - 2 June

The Bourne Valley Crafters stage their first ever early summer craft fair at Flatford. As with their Christmas Craft Fairs, they have invited a talented group of local crafters and designers to bring their wares. You will be able to browse from a beautiful range of crafts, including ceramics, jewellery, art, fabric work and wood work. All items will be sale, so you are sure to find that perfect present or item for your home. The Flatford Tea Room will be open serving food and drink.

Find out more

Flatford Tudor Fayre

13 - 14 July

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Tudor life at the Flatford Tudor Fayre, brought to you by the esteemed Companye of Merrie Folke. Explore bustling stalls, engage in lively conversations, and try your hand at archery. Delve into the mysterious world of the apothecary, witness artisans at work, and relish in traditional games. This event, a highlight of the year, promises a momentous journey back in time.

Flatford Tudor Fayre

Shades of Simon

20 July

Shades of Simon are the UK's number one Paul Simon Tribute band. We welcome them back to Flatford for a second time after their sell out performance in 2023. As last year, they will trace the Paul Simon story from Simon & Garfunkel to Graceland. As well as listening to the lovely music, you will also be able to enjoy snacks and drinks from the National Trust catering team in the interval.

Book your tickets

Mill to Mill Swim

11 August

This event has become a highlight of the Flatford summer. Participants get the chance to join hundreds of other people swimming from Dedham to Flatford, enjoying the beautiful Suffolk and Essex Countryside on the way. The event is organised by Slow Swimming, so please refer to their website for more details and to book.

Book here

Brentwood Mac - a tribute to Fleetwood Mac

24 August

Brentwood Mac is a six-piece amalgamation of some of the finest local musicians who all love the Fleetwood Mac catalogue. Their performances include songs from the early Peter Green days (Albatross), to solo tracks by Lindsey Buckingham (Go Insane) & Stevie Nicks (Rooms on Fire). With a repertoire spanning all eras of the band, Brentwood Mac guarantee a night of captivating music that will leave you wanting more!

Book your tickets

The Hay Wain presented by Packing Shed Theatre

31 August

This highly acclaimed, atmospheric play with music has been described as East Anglia’s very own Les Miserables, bringing to life the people that populate the picture, lives defined not by simplicity and virtue, but by hardship, hope and resilience.

Turning the traditional, bucolic, chocolate box ideal of The Hay Wain on its head, you’ll never look at the landscape in quite the same way again.

Book your tickets

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

Walk the Suffolk countryside

Enjoy the Dedham Vale National Landscape 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.

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 in the granary 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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