Dedham is a pretty village situated on the River Stour and on the border of Essex and Suffolk near Colchester. It is a popular tourist destination and the area boasts some of England's most beautiful lowland landscape, particularly the water meadows of the River Stour.
Formerly a rich wool town and market town, Dedham is still a flourishing commercial village, with a post office, chemist, butcher, Co-op grocers, art shop, clothing shops, two pubs, restaurants, tea rooms and other shops.
Dedham contains a number of well-preserved buildings including Dedham Parish Church, built in the 15th century and housing The Ascension by John Constable. Visitors can also see Sherman Hall, a Grade I listed Georgian-fronted townhouse used as a school until 1873 and now belonging to the National Trust. The Old Grammar School, founded by Elizabeth I dates from 1732 and was attended by John Constable. It is now private a residence.
The Sun Inn, a medieval coaching inn still retains its coaching arch and is a thriving restaurant and pub. A Congregational church built in 1739 is now the Dedham Art and Craft Centre. Southfields, Grade I listed, formerly a factory used when Dedham was a wealthy wool town is now a series of cottages. Castle House, the home of Sir Alfred Munnings is now the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum.
Visitors can take a Rowing Boat out on the river, or Cruise in one of the River Stour Trust's electric launches. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and cake at the The Essex Rose Tea Room, Pandora's Box, The Garden Tea Room at the Munnings Museum, or in the Craft Centre. Local restaurants include The Sun Inn, The Boathouse, The Marlborough Head, Fountain House, Milsoms and Le Talbooth.
Dedham is at the heart of 'Constable Country' - where Constable lived and painted. Many of Constable's paintings feature Dedham, including Dedham Mill, which his father owned, and Dedham Parish Church. Other artists include Sir Alfred Munnings who became President of the Royal Academy. His house in Dedham, Castle House, now contains a gallery of his work, and his studio. Tom Keating, the art restorer and famous art forger, was a Dedham resident until his death in 1984. He is buried in the churchyard of Dedham Parish Church.
There is plenty of parking in the village car park which can be found on Mill Lane, just off the High Street(click here to download map of parking and venue location). There is also parking on the High Street and in Royal Square although before 6 pm this is only for two hours.