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Step inside this 15th-century coaching inn, deep in the heart of Constable country, and you'll discover a cracking village pub renowned for its delicious Italian inspired food and cosy rooms. Piers Baker swapped the city for the country 20 years ago to restore and breathe new life into place and hasn't looked back having firmly established the Sun on Essex's culinary map.

As village pubs go in this historic part of the world, the inn presents a typical look, with beamed ceilings, old black timbers, several open fires, stripped wooden floors and plenty of panelling. But what sets this place apart is its drive and ambition, and the fact that it has really succeeded in its aspirations: as a laid-back pub serving local ales in a comfortable front bar; as a great place for lingering meals in a rambling, atmospheric restaurant; and, with its smart rural-chic bedrooms, as the perfect weekend getaway.

The mood is congenial, relaxed and family-friendly, with jazz and Latin American background music adding to the appeal, and there are newspapers to read, board games to play, and the panelled lounge has deep sofas to sink into, perfect after a walk to Constable's Flatford Mill, or a memorable Italian-inspired meal. A real gem.

Rooms from

7 doubles: £150

Good to know

  • Amex not accepted, Visa / Mastercard / Maestro all accepted
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Parking available
  • Bike's available
  • Dogs welcome overnight

Family favourite
Children of all ages are welcome and they have their own menu at the weekends and on Bank Holidays.

Scenic and serene
Deep in the heart of Constable country, The Sun is a serene spot from which to chill and unwind.

Outdoor adventures
You can take off for the day on one of the inn's eight bikes, you can borrow an Ordnance Survey map to explore one of the excellent walks from Dedham, or why not hire a boat on the Stour.


Timbered walls, dark beams, wonky wood floors, feature period fireplaces and some imaginative auction room and junk shop finds make up the five characterful bedrooms in the ancient inn. Two more contemporary rooms (Butchers & Dovecot) are located above the dining room, accessed via the outside Elizabethan staircase.

All come with big beds, luxurious white linen, plump pillows and elegant natural fabrics, along with gilt-edged mirrors and family heirloom paintings on pastel Little Green or Farrow & Ball painted walls. Bathrooms are compact but have great showers or baths, Miller Harris toiletries and bathrobes.

Your morning coffee is sourced directly from farms in collaboration with Tate Galleries, or enjoy a cup of Jing tea with a homemade flapjack. Complementary newspapers are provided, and breakfast is a sumptuous affair of muffins, frittatas and pancakes, with White's Farm apple & pear juice and Dorset cereals.

Restaurant & bar

Behind all the ancient beams and timbering is a kitchen with a young, modern attitude, producing a breezy line-up of appealing modern British dishes with strong Italian influences.

The kitchen delivers concise, imaginative seasonal menus, with a repertoire built around top-notch produce delivered daily from local farmers, fishermen and growers - tagliatelle, rabbit, olive, fennel, pancetta and parmesan; lamb rump, sweet pepper, artichoke, bean hummus and tahini; peach and raspberry tart, almond granita, whipped vanilla custard. The menu is packed with quality ingredients from Italian artisan producers, notably olive oil, vinegar, grains and pulses.

Made from a huge slab of local elm, expect to be bamboozled by the choice of drinks at the impressive bar. On tap, you'll find local real ales from Adnams, Crouch Vale and guest breweries, alongside Suffolk lager from Calvors Brewery, Black Isle Organic Porter and local Aspall's Harry Sparrow Suffolk Cyder. Look to the shelves for the raft of boutique vodka and gins. Equally not mainstream is the adventurous wine list that majors in Italy and France; 20 by the glass and carafe.

Things to do

There's plenty to keep you entertained around the inn; you can take off for the day on one of the inn's 8 bikes, which come with helmets and maps, or you can borrow an Ordnance Survey map if you want to explore one of the excellent walks from Dedham. You can also hire rowing boats from Dedham Boathouse, just 5 minutes walk away from the inn.

Guests looking for some creative activities can head to the Munnings Art Museum close by in Dedham, previously home of artist Sir Alfred Munnings. His desire to make his paintings accessible to the public after his death was made possible in 1961, when his widow opened the house for the first time.

Located at Elmstead Market near Colchester, the Beth Chatto Gardens are a perfect example of how an overgrown wasteland can be transformed into a horticultural work of art that is an inspiration to all who visit. History lovers will enjoy Lavenham Guildhall, one of many notable buildings in this picturesque medieval village. 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: 14min
Drive: Ipswich 19min; Chelmsford 35min; London 1hr 35min


High Street, Dedham, Essex CO7 6DF

Prices & availability