Dedham and the Stour Valley

Plan your day out in Dedham and the Stour Valley

You don't have to be an art fan to love the Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley. The sheer beauty of the scenery will knock your socks off and there are plenty of things to do, from boating on the river to shopping for arts and crafts.


The de facto capital of Constable Country, Dedham has a scattering of shops amongst its handsome Georgian houses. Housed in a former church, the Art and Craft Centre has three floors showcasing artisan products, as well as distinctive homewares and gifts.

While you're at Flatford, don't forget to pop in to the National Trust shop, where you'll find range of NT branded products, as well as gifts, garden items, jams, pickles and confectionery.

It may be England's smallest town, but Manningtree has plenty of interesting independent retailers, including galleries and gift shops. The popular delicatessen and wine shop is always worth a visit, as is the excellent wholefood store.

The friendly market town of Sudbury has a good range of shops, including high street names and independent stores. The family-run Winch & Blatch department store has been selling homewares and fashions since 1945.

Flatford Mill

Beautifully set in the heart of the Dedham Vale, Flatford is featured in some of Constable's most famous paintings. As well as the Mill itself, you can see Willy Lott's House, immortalised in the Hay Wain.

Find out more about Flatford Mill

Legendary artist Gainsborough was born in Sudbury and worked there from 1746-1752. This fascinating museum is based in his birthplace, an elegant 16th century house in the centre of the town. The permanent collection covers the artist's whole career, from early portraits and Suffolk landscapes to works from his Bath and London periods.

Visit Gainsborough's House website

For many years, a visit to Flatford was big on the landscapes and atmosphere, but maybe a bit lacking in information about the man who put the location on the map. Now the National Trust have remedied this with a fascinating exhibition on Constable's life, work and the inspiration behind his most famous paintings.

Find out more about John Constable's Exhibition

Run by volunteers, this interesting little museum has artifacts, photos and publications relating to the history of the town and surrounding area. It's located in the library in the town centre, approximately 15 minutes' walk from the station.

Visit Manningtree Museum's website

There's not much left of the grand 18th century church at Mistley, but what's there is magnificent and well worth a look – two amazing porticoed, classical-style towers designed by the famous architect Robert Adam. They were preserved as a landmark for sailors when the main body of the church was demolished in 1870.

Find out more about Mistley Towers
Boat House Gallery, Flatford

Enjoy exhibitions of work by contemporary artists in this light, airy space. Many of the paintings and sculptures on display have been inspired by the natural beauty of the Suffolk and Essex countryside and coast.

Find out more about the Boat House Gallery

This is a 'must-see' when you're in Dedham. Explore the life and work of England's most famous equestrian artist, whose work also gives us a window on rural life in the early 20th century. This brilliant little museum is in his former home, a Tudor-Georgian gem which he called the 'house of my dreams'.

Visit Munnings Museum website

A time-honoured Sudbury institution, the Quay is a brilliant little performance venue which presents a year-round programme of drama, music, comedy film and more.

Visit the Quay Theatre website
Belle Vue Park, Sudbury

This award-winning park has everything you need for a great 'al fresco' family day out, including play facilities for children of all ages, gardens, a skate park, tennis courts and plenty of green space for picnics.

Find out more about Belle Vue Park

A living landscape painting, Flatford has plenty to offer visitors in addition to its historical associations with Constable and his family. Take tea by the riverside, hire a rowing boat for a leisurely scull through leafy glades, or simply enjoy the glory of the countryside as you ramble through the green meadows under the big, open skies.

Find out more about Flatford

This 60-mile regional walking route runs from the estuary at Manningtree through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to Newmarket, close to the source of the River Stour. If you're walking east to west, the first part of the trail leads from the Cattawade, close to Manningtree station, to Flatford Mill, Dedham and Stratford St Mary.

Find out more about The Stour Valley Path
Cafes, tea rooms and coffee houses

The great British tradition of afternoon tea is well catered for in this part of the world, as is the modern preference for artisan coffees. Dedham's most famous establishment is the 16th century Essex Rose Tea House, renowned for its scrumptious cream tea served with Tiptree strawberry jam. Other options include cafés at the Dedham Art and Craft Centre, the Munnings Museum and Flatford, as well as the Tea House at Mistley Quay, which has stunning riverside views.

This part of East Anglia has been renowned for its culinary excellence for decades. Over the years, the traditional village inns have evolved and been joined by top-class restaurants to provide a wide range of mouth-watering eating out options, from haute cuisine to ethnic specialities. Pubs with great food and plenty of character include the Sun in Dedham and the Red Lion in Manningtree, the town's oldest pub. For scenic riverside dining, there's the Boathouse Restaurant in Dedham, as well as the Mill Hotel in Sudbury. In Manningtree, Luca is a welcoming bistro focusing on rustic Italian cooking, and in neighbouring Mistley there's the award-winning Thorn restaurant with rooms, originally an 18th century coaching inn.

Load stations
Last updated:
Staffing level Part time
Information systems
  • DepartureScreens
  • Announcements
Station operator Greater Anglia
Ticket office opening times
  • Monday to Friday: 06:10 - 20:15
  • Saturday: 07:00 - 18:45
  • Sunday: Unavailable
Pre-purchase collection Yes
Ticket machine Yes
Smartcards issued here Yes
Top up Smartcards here Yes
Validate Smartcards here Yes
Smartcards information

Greater Anglia Smartcards can be obtained from

Penalty fares LE
Top up Smartcards here Yes
Customer service information

Monday-Saturday 08:00-20:00Sunday 10:00-20:00Bank Holidays 09:00-18:00

The hours shown are for the Customer Relations team on 0345 600 7245 (option 8).

Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Left luggage
Lost property
  • Monday to Sunday and All bank holidays: 24 hours
Seated area
Waiting room

The waiting room is located in the station building next to the ticket office, and is accessed from the station forecourt.

  • Monday to Friday: 06:30 - 14:50
  • Saturday: 07:30 - 14:50
  • Sunday: Unavailable
Station buffet

'Steam' kiosk serving hot and cold drinks, newspapers, confectionary, and pastries

Self-service vending machine providing cold drinks and snacks


The toilets are located in the station building and are accessed via the waiting room. An accessible toilet is available in the female toilets, although a radar key is not required to access this facility. All toilets are scheduled to be open at the following times:

Monday - Friday 06:30 - 14:50Saturday 07:30 - 14:50Sunday Closed

Baby changing facilities

We want everyone to travel with confidence. That is why, if you are planning on travelling on national rail services, you can request an assistance booking in advance - now up to 2 hours before your journey is due to start, any time of the day. For more information about Passenger Assist and how to request an assistance booking via Passenger Assist, please click here.


0800 028 28 78


08:00 - 20:00

  • Monday to Sunday: 08:00 - 20:00
Staff help

Assistance at this station is provided by a staff member during ticket office opening hours. Conductors are only available on services running to/from Walton-on-the-Naze. Services to/from London Liverpool Street are Driver Only Operation (DOO) and outside normal staffing hours for this station, customers are advised to travel to the nearest staffed station, Colchester. Booking is recommended.

  • Monday to Friday: 06:10 - 20:15
  • Saturday: 07:00 - 18:45
  • Sunday: Unavailable
Induction loop available Yes
Ticket machine
Ramp for train access available
Accessible taxis information

Details of nearest taxis are shown on station information poster

National Key toilets available
Step free access

This station has step free access to the single platform for trains towards Colchester, London, and Walton-on-the-Naze.

This station is a category A station according to ORR station classification system.

Assistance meeting point is the ticket office.

Ticket gates
Impaired mobility set down available
Car park 1 There is a Council managed car park behind the station
Car park 1 operator Local Council
Car park 1 opening times
  • Monday to Friday: 24 hours
  • Saturday: 24 hours
  • Sunday: 24 hours
Car park 1 contact details


Onward travel

Colchester Town Station is around 5 minutes walk from Colchester Bus Station

Cycle storage available Yes
Cycle storage spaces 20
Cycle storage sheltered Yes
Cycle storage CCTV No
Cycle storage location

There are five cycle stands on the station forecourt, nearly opposite the ticket office window. There is also a sheltered cycle parking area providing five stands located on Platform 1 (for trains towards Colchester, London, and Walton-on-the-Naze).

Cycle storage types
  • Stands
Rail replacement information

Due to road layout constraints, rail replacement bus services cannot access Colchester Town station. When rail replacement is in operation, we arrange for local First Bus Group bus routes (61, 62, 65, and 66) to accept railway ticket holders between Colchester North station, Colchester Town station, and Hythe station.

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