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Constable Country

The classic English landscapes have been the subject of many artists. Their works redefined what we've come to accept as 'landscapes' and have influenced photos we take of the countryside.

  • United Kingdom

  • 5 nights
  • Full Board
  • Field Studies Council

  • Apr

    Jul

    Aug

    Oct

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 71385

Book now from £545

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.

Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.

Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Plenty of views familiar from Constable’s paintings
  • Tudor timber framed, picture perfect Lavenham
  • Enjoy the wildlife of the Stour Estuary Nature Reserve
  • Quirky accommodation at Flatford Mill

Welcome to a world of water meadows, willow trees over hanging river banks and ducks gently paddling against the flow. It all looks like a scene straight from a Constable painting. Because it is! Our centre at Flatford Mill offers accommodation in Willie Lot’s cottage which appears in the Haywain, perhaps the most famous painting by an Englishman. Anybody wishing to see the accommodation we use should go to the National Gallery in London where Constable’s most famous work is on display!

Immersion in history continues on our walking programme. Of many highlights, Lavenham one of the more picturesque towns in the country, and famed for its use as a set in the Harry Potter film series. Discover various references to Anne Boleyn and St Edmund amongst others. Literary and artistic connections abound, from Arthur Ransome and George Orwell, sites of Constable’s work also feature.

However, don’t think this is an educational tour. We are walking through quintessential rural Britain along riverbanks and through meadows. We take in seascapes and pretty villages, open vistas and sunken paths. This holiday truly has something for everybody. 

  • Full board accommodation (hostel)
  • Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, when necessary
  • Services of a dedicated tour leader
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Independent travel to the FSC Flatford Mill. Check in is from 2pm and no later than 5pm. Meet your tour leader at approximately 6pm in the centre before dinner. If you plan to arrive late, please contact Flatford Mill directly and advise your time of arrival. 

Dinner each evening is taken on site.

Day 2

Flatford Circular

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    10.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    70m

The walk encompasses the eastern end of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This part of the countryside features in many of John Constable's paintings, and we shall visit Dedham, the village where Constable went to school. We shall be able to enjoy the habitat along the banks of the River Stour.

We will walk directly to and from the Centre today, so no transport is required. 

Day 3

The Shotley Peninsula

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    11 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

Sandwiched between two scenic estuaries, the Shotley peninsula is one of Suffolk’s hidden gems. The route follows alongside the Orwell and Stour estuaries before heading inland through woods and fields. Salt marshes and wide water give the walk a coastal feel. Arthur Ransome of "Swallows and Amazons” fame has part of the path dedicated to him, and legend has it that in the church at Erwarton, Anne Boleyn’s heart is buried.

Day 4

Lavenham Circular

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    9 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    80m

This walk is based on Britain’s best-preserved medieval village and one of Suffolk’s most important wool towns - Lavenham.  Medieval charm can still be found at every turn with timber framed buildings lining the narrow streets and lanes. The village received international attention since it was transformed into 'Godric’s Hollow', the birthplace of Harry Potter. Time will be found at the end of the countryside walk to explore this fascinating village.

Day 5

The Brett Valley

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    10.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    110m

Starting and finishing at Stratford St Mary this walk takes us through the countryside and hamlets of the Brett Valley. We can visit the church of All Saints at Shelley with its connection to Tudor nobility, and walk through a wood called “Sodom and Gomorrah”, before finishing at Hall Farm for well earned refreshments.

Day 6

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

Departure from the centre after breakfast. Check out is by 10am. We hope that you have enjoyed your holiday and look forward to welcoming you on another soon.  

Departure dates for your selected tour

11th Apr 2022 - 16th Apr 2022 (5 Nights)

24th Jul 2022 - 29th Jul 2022 (5 Nights)

21st Aug 2022 - 26th Aug 2022 (5 Nights)

23rd Oct 2022 - 28th Oct 2022 (5 Nights)

Travel Details

Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, is included when necessary. 

The nearest railway station to FSC Flatford Mill is Manningtree station, approximately 4 miles away from our property. 

If you are driving to Flatford Mill to join our holiday, there are car parking facilities on site.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

FSC Flatford Mill

FSC Flatford Mill is the first and original field study centre set up in the UK during the 1940’s. It is the Centre for Constable Country, set amidst the quintessentially English countryside of the Dedham Vale in Suffolk and sits on the banks of the River Stour. 

The property offers simple accommodation for those who want a convenient base for good walking. The centre offers a range of room types, split between two different buildings; Willy Lotts' House (built in the 1500s and made famous by John Constable's 'The Haywain' painting, and Valley Farm (a medieval great hall built in the 1450s) with layouts ranging from single and twin bedded rooms up to dormitories with bunk beds. If you book a single occupancy room, you will have ample space and often various beds in the room as usually the room would be multi occupied.

Please note that the bedrooms on offer are an eclectic mix and we ask that you bear this in mind before booking. You will be staying in one of two, very old buildings with original features. Bathrooms are clean and modern and bedrooms vary in size. You may have a single bed or a bunk bed. One bedroom located in Valley Farm is very spacious however there is an original staircase up to the bedroom. There are handrails but we ask you to be cautious with the original features. Some ceilings are also low and some floorboards are slanted at an angle. We ask that you enjoy the features of an old building and you do not join this holiday with the expectation of modern accommodation. Please also note it is not possible to request to stay in a particular building. Rooms will be allocated by the centre just before arrival of the group.

We are offering en suite accommodation for this holiday on a single occupancy or twin occupancy basis and the style of room you receive will be split amongst the rooms types noted above. Please note that some en-suite rooms do not have a bathroom directly in the bedroom, but you will have your own private bathroom facilities just outside your bedroom. There is also the opportunity to book one single room with shared facilities at a reduced price.

Rooms are very simple in style, with limited facilities (no TV, no hairdryers, no telephone, no seating area and little storage) with bed linen and one towel provided. If you require more towels, please bring these with you. There are tea & coffee making facilities in the bedrooms. 

The centre has a dining room offering breakfast and evening meals and spacious common areas. There is complimentary Wi-Fi on site. The centre doesn't have a bar, however soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are on sale in the dining room. 

There is car parking on site and check in is from 2pm on the day of arrival, with departure after breakfast on the last day by 10am.

*Please note that this accommodation type is different from the majority of hotels we choose for our UK holidays. The accommodation is more hostel than hotel and as described above is simple which is reflected in the holiday price*

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. 

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

Travelling by Train? The nearest railway station to FSC Flatford Mill is Manningtree station, approximately 4 miles away from the Centre. It is on the main line from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich/Norwich. The journey time from London is approximately one hour. You can also travel to Manningtree station from the north via Peterborough and Ipswich. If you have any issues booking transport to and from the station, please contact the Centre who may be able to help. UK rail information: www.nationalrail.co.uk 

Travelling by Bus or on foot? The 93 and 93A bus services between Colchester and Ipswich are operated by Ipswich Buses and run through East Bergholt. Ask for the Kings Head / Oranges and Lemons bus stop and then walk down to the Centre using the ‘By Car’ directions above. The Centre can be reached via the St Edmunds Way (which also goes past Manningtree train station) and Stour Valley footpaths. Grid Reference TM 07693322. UK coach information: www.nationalexpress.co.uk 

Travelling by Car? If you are driving to Flatford Mill to join our holiday, there are car parking facilities on site. 

The Centre is located between Colchester and Ipswich and is about 10 miles from each, approximately 2 miles from the A12. From the crossroads near the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ cafe in East Bergholt, turn down Flatford Lane. It becomes one-way in your favour after 300m. 300m further on, note the direction arrow to the Field Centre on the tourist sign and turn down a narrow steep-sided lane (do not go into or beyond the Flatford public car park). Bear left at the bottom of the hill. The Centre forecourt is then 200m further on, indicated by an FSC logo and sign on a low wall. The car park is 150m further down the lane. When you arrive, please announce your arrival at Reception. The entrance is by the sign on the far side of the forecourt. 

The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may also help you. Details can be found at: www.theaa.co.uk and www.rac.co.uk 

You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the FSC Centre: www.rome2rio.com

During the holiday, private coach transport to and from the trailheads, is included. 

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

This holiday is on full board basis starting with dinner on your arrival day and finishing with breakfast on your departure day. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the centre and lunch will consist of a packed lunch provided by the centre. 

The centre will provide the lunch items in the morning for you to make up your lunch before you leave for your walk. Lunch items generally consist of a sandwich, fruit, water and a slice of cake. As kettles are available in the communal areas, you may wish to bring a flask to make up a coffee/tea flask to accompany your picnic lunch. 

Dinner will consist of a two course (main course and dessert) set menu with a choice of at least two options. Vegetarians are well catered for as the centre may have one or more 'meat free' days during your stay. Please note that the food provided is not fine dining and is basic, in fitting with the accommodation provided. 

Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks can be purchased in the dining room during your evening meal. There is a pub a 15 - 20 minute walk from the Centre if you wish to make a visit in the evening after dinner. 

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

OS Explorer Map 196 Sudbury, Hadleigh & Dedham Vale 1:25 000

OS Explorer Map 197 Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich 1:25 000

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
WR8 0HJ
England

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: [email protected]

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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United Kingdom

  • Capital

    London

  • Currency

    Pound Sterling

  • Language

    English

  • Time Difference

    UTC +01:00

Visas and Passports

No Visa Required

Average weather

  • January

    4°C

    Avg. Rain: 70mm

  • February

    4°C

    Avg. Rain: 51mm

  • March

    6°C

    Avg. Rain: 51mm

  • April

    8°C

    Avg. Rain: 46mm

  • May

    11°C

    Avg. Rain: 49mm

  • June

    14°C

    Avg. Rain: 51mm

  • July

    16°C

    Avg. Rain: 58mm

  • August

    15°C

    Avg. Rain: 65mm

  • September

    13°C

    Avg. Rain: 62mm

  • October

    10°C

    Avg. Rain: 75mm

  • November

    7°C

    Avg. Rain: 74mm

  • December

    4°C

    Avg. Rain: 73mm

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