Friday - Arrival
On this self-drive weekend, check-in at the hotel is available from 3pm. Later, we enjoy a welcome from our Tour Manager and dinner at the hotel.
Saturday - Flatford Constable Walking Tour, Bourne Mill, Coggeshall & Paycocke’s House
We join the coach to take us to the quiet hamlet of Flatford, from where we enjoy a walking tour of approximately one hour. Led by an experienced National Trust guide, we visit the key views and locations which inspired many of Constable’s iconic paintings.
We make a short stop at Bourne Mill, a picturesque watermill with working waterwheel set in tranquil grounds. Constructed in 1591, the building originally served as a fishing lodge and Elizabethan banqueting hall before being converted into a mill.
We then head to the picturesque market town of Coggeshall, known for its many beautiful listed buildings. We visit Paycocke's House, an exquisitely carved half-timbered Tudor cloth merchant’s house built around 1500. The house is a testament to the wealth generated by the cloth trade in East Anglia in the 16th century and tells a fascinating story of its riches to rags decline and Edwardian restoration.
After our visit, there is the option to complete all or part of the one and a half hour, three mile circular walk around Coggeshall. The walk passes Grange Barn, one of the oldest surviving timber-framed buildings in Europe built by the Cistercians in the 13th century to serve the once powerful Coggeshall Abbey. Alternatively, we have free time to explore Coggeshall at leisure.
Sunday - Wicken Fen Circular Walk & Ickworth*
Joining the coach again, we travel towards Cambridgeshire and Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s most important wetlands, supporting an abundance of wildlife. We enjoy a circular walk of just under an hour which explores ancient Sedge Fen, one of the last remnants of un-drained fenland in lowland Britain. The Boardwalk Trail provides safe and easy access to a landscape of flowering meadows, sedge and reedbeds where highlights include the iconic Wicken windpump and two wildlife hides.
We then head to Ickworth, a Neo-classical mansion most notable for its enormous central Rotunda commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures. We enjoy a guided tour of the impressive Italianate garden which mirrors the house architecture, with box hedges and Mediterranean planting plus a Victorian stumpery planted with shade-loving ferns.
Monday - Sutton Hoo
Checking out of the hotel, you have the option to travel by your own car to meet us at Sutton Hoo. The priceless Anglo-Saxon treasure found here was one of the greatest archaeological finds in Britain’s history. The royal burial site was discovered in 1939 and yielded some stunning artefacts including a beautiful prince’s sword. Walk among the ancient burial mounds and discover the full story through the award-winning exhibition with many original and replica artefacts and a reconstruction of the ship burial chamber. The estate’s Edwardian house is also worth a look.
* On 2nd June departure, Ickworth is unavailable and will be replaced by a visit to Ipswich and the Christchurch Mansion Gallery.