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This is real Constable country and the stunning surrounding countryside certainly doesn't disappoint. Think timber-framed houses, medieval churches and the rolling folds of Dedham Vale that surround the rustic-chic, 16th-century Crown at Stoke-by-Nayland. The wonderful team at the inn have turned what was originally a quiet village watering hole into a classy boutique inn with lovingly nurtured gardens, a notable restaurant and a top-drawer wine list.

Food is taken seriously here, breakfast is a top shout and there are traditional roasts for all the family on Sundays. The Crown also has its own glass-fronted wine shop - an oenophile's haven stacked with terrific bottles from across the globe. Large terraced gardens behind the inn, with a full menu. Lovely borders and grounds, with rolling Constable-country views.

Rooms from

Doubles and twins: £145

Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access
  • Parking available
  • Private and alfresco dining​

Scenic and serene
Nestled in the sleepy village of Stoke-by-Nayland, this is the perfect serene spot from which to embrace quiet village life.

Outdoor adventures
The best way to really appreciate nearby unspoiled Essex is on foot - and with its stunning Constable-countryside, there's plenty fo keep keen walkers happy.

Waves and water
The Essex coast is a must if you enjoy big skies and sea breezes. North of Harwich the Suffolk Coast Path runs for 50 miles between Felixstowe and Lowestoft and takes in a variety of sea wall stretches, marsh, heath and foreshore.


Set in a smart boutique annexe, 11 appealing modern bedrooms are divided into four types - although space and comfort are key themes. Essentials such as king-size beds, Henderson Russell furniture and gorgeous wallpapers are standard throughout, while Superior, Deluxe and Executive rooms raise the luxury level to super-kingsize, with extra space and larger bathrooms - some including a separate bath and walk-in shower.

Upstairs rooms are all about rustic country-house chic, while ground-floor rooms are more cool and contemporary with the bonus of French windows leading out to the grounds and little terrace areas for admiring the views. Arrangements can be made for use of the smart spa and gym at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club five minutes' drive away.

Restaurant & bar

Head chef Nick Beaven has plied the stoves at the famous Ivy restaurant in London, bringing bags of experience to his produce-led, wine-friendly menu that evolves every few weeks to make the most of fresh seasonal produce. The cooking style here is rich, generous and indulgent - a comforting mix of reworked British favourites and exciting global flavours tailored to all tastes and budgets.

Keep an eye out for the 'catch of the day' on the blackboard, which puts the emphasis on fresh fish from the East Coast boats - the Crown's beer-battered haddock and chips is a popular stalwart, but the choice might extend to other more sophisticated dishes, too. Steaks and game from the local estate please the carnivores, and there are delicious options for vegetarians as well.

The lengthy wine list is a joy - properly thought-out and intelligibly presented. There are 35 selections by the glass if you simply want to slake your thirst, although the full line-up runs to around 300 bins - ideal if you fancy something out the ordinary with your dinner.

Things to do

Comprising of a vast patchwork of fields and hedgerows, Constable Country is one of the best areas for exploring, from where you can imagine the artist John Constable out and about on foot in search of inspiration. Walk from East Bergholt to Flatford Mill or stroll the pretty water meadows at Sudbury. At Flatford, you can stand in the very same spot that Constable painted one of his iconic views. Flatford Milland has a small exhibition that provides an insight into the man and his awe-inspiring talents for capturing detail and atmosphere.

Take to the skies and see the country from the air! Nearby Wizard Balloons at Bury St Edmunds offers balloon rides in small, intimate groups from the launch site at Nowton Park, with the main flying season being from March to October.

With its ancient timbers and crooked lines, Lavenham Guildhall is one of many notable buildings in the picturesque medieval village of Lavenham. Inside, you'll find a museum devoted to the history of Lavenham, with fascinating displays depicting 500 years of farming and industry.

Getting here


Nearest train station: Colchester
Taxi from station: 18min
Drive: 22min from Long Melford, 27min from Ipswich


Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk CO6 4SE

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