The Coach House sits in an area close to the Essex/ Suffolk border, made famous by the paintings of John Constable and designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is located in the quiet, charming village of Tattingstone, which is on the Shotley Peninsula, with the River Orwell to the north and River Stour to the south. The cottage is ideally located for exploring both the inland towns and villages of Suffolk and also its historic coastline, and here we hope to give you just a flavour of what is on offer.
For those seeking a more active break, the county offers an expansive network of footpaths and cycle routes. Suffolk also has over sixty nature reserves, including RSBP Minsmere which was previously the base for the BBCs Springwatch programme.
Many of our guests take advantage of the eight mile rambling and cycle routes around the beautiful watery expanse of Alton Water, which can be accessed directly opposite the cottage. Here, within its 400 acres of beautiful countryside you can also hire equipment to sail, paddle board and windsurf and purchase one day fishing permits. It is also a popular birdwatching area.
Within the village, there are two pubs which both welcome dogs, a fresh produce stall at the farm next door and a tennis club open to visitors.
The Coach House is the ideal base for exploring the picturesque villages and country lanes of Constable Country, whether by car, bike, or on foot.
The artist, John Constable was born in 1776 in the pretty village of East Bergholt, just ten minutes away by car. From here, you can walk or drive to Flatford Mill, where you can see Willy Lott’s Cottage, made famous in Constable’s painting, The Haywain.
Flatford Mill is situated on the River Stour, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of the rural landscape captured in Constable’s paintings remains unchanged today and can be best enjoyed by walking or taking a boat from Flatford to Dedham.
The pretty high street of Dedham is dominated by its commanding church; here you can while away the time, browsing the small independent shops and craft centre or afternoon tea!
A visit to Constable Country would not be complete without seeing the quaint villages of Nayland and Stoke by Nayland. They both offer excellent country pubs, good walking and cycling opportunities and are within a twenty minute drive of the Coach House.
Rivers and Estuaries
You don’t have to travel far from the Coach House, before you find peaceful, waterside villages, providing great places to walk, cycle or enjoy a leisurely meal. Alternatively, you can take to the water with a river cruise.
Just a fifteen-minute drive away are Chelmondiston and Pinmill which sit on the River Orwell. At Pinmill, you can enjoy a pub meal while the water literally laps against the building walls.
The next river is the Deben which meets the sea at the tiny hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry. This feels like another world with just a handful of houses, a couple of cafes and a pub. It has great views with seascapes to one side and undulating countryside to the other. You can also catch the foot/bike ferry to Bawdsey and explore the opposite headland.
The vibrant market town of Woodbridge sits further upriver, with excellent eateries, a working tide mill, a small traditional cinema and a range of interesting shops. The National Trust’s Anglo Saxon burial site, Sutton Hoo is also just outside the town.
Wool Towns and Villages
The wealth brought to Suffolk by the 15th century wool trade can still be seen in the magnificent timber framed buildings which feature in many villages as you head west from the Coach House.
Lavenham is perhaps the most famous, where the streets are lined with these beautiful historic houses, interesting shops and great pubs and tea rooms. Just up the road is Long Melford, renowned for its antique shops, beautiful sloping village green and Melford Hall, owned by the National Trust.
Also close by are Clare and Cavendish; Clare boasts a rich history and has Walkers are Welcome (WaW) status – a national initiative promoting walker-friendly towns. Cavendish with its iconic Suffolk pink thatched cottages and pretty village green, combine to ensure it’s one of the county’s most photographed villages.
A forty minute drive from the Coach House is one of Suffolk’s favourite towns, Bury St Edmunds, with its impressive abbey ruins and beautiful gardens. It also features the county’s only cathedral and is home to the last surviving Regency playhouse in Britain. Alongside this historic backdrop you can enjoy the twice-weekly market, a range of artisan and boutique shops, and a wide choice of places to eat and drink.
Closer to home are the gentle delights of the small market town of Hadleigh; a stop-off at the small village of Kersey, just outside Hadleigh, is also essential as its beautiful historic main street and an unbridged ford shouldn’t missed.
Suffolk Heritage Coast
A visit to Suffolk would not be complete without discovering the gentle beauty of the coastal towns and villages of its heritage coast. A favourite destination is Aldeburgh which sits on the coast at the mouth of the river Alde. Famous as the home of composer Benjamin Britten, today it is equally well known for its annual music, literary and food festivals, boutique shopping and great fish and chips!
From Aldeburgh, you can take coastal path to the neighbouring village of Thorpeness which was remodelled in the 1900s into a fantastical holiday village complete with mock Tudor homes, golf course, boating lake and a ‘house in the clouds’.
Driving further north is the market town of Southwold – famous for its unusual pier, Adnams brewery and very expensive beach huts! Time passes easily as you enjoy the sandy beach, great shopping and a wide choice of cafes and pubs. From here, you can cross the River Blyth by car, ferry or on foot to reach the pretty village of Walberswick, famous for its annual crabbing competition! Footpaths then continue to the tiny hamlet of Dunwich and then onto RSPB Minsmere.
Just inland, but not to be missed is Orford, a quaint village with pretty streets meandering down to its riverside quay. For foodies, Orford has much to offer from pubs, tearooms, an oysterage and smokehouse and the Pump Bakery made famous in an Oscar acceptance speech!