The pretty little Suffolk Village of Stoke by Nayland sits high on the hill overlooking the River Stour and Nayland on one side and Scotland Street and the river Box on the other side.
The village is on St Edmunds Way which winds its way through beautiful countryside up to Bury St Edmunds.
There is an impressive church in the village, a book shop, a petrol garage and a village shop plus 2 excellent Pubs: the famous 'Crown Inn' and the highly regarded 'The Angel Inn'
Flatford Mill and Dedham Vale (an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is justa 15 minute drive away as is the Train Staion and Colchester.
Walking to or from Stoke by Nayland is very rewarding with enchanting walks along the Pilgrims Way down to the pretty river valleys and there is always a suprisingly good pub to stop at before making your way back.
This is Suffolk at it's best, a rural paradise of beautiful views, hidden valleys, tiny Medieval Villages and meandering rivers.
Food and Drink
The tiny meandering lanes lead to the prettiest local villages, some of which have the best gastro pubs in the area.
The Angel Inn Stoke-by-Nayland - An Old Inn with a very good 'order at the bar' restaurant for easy evenings and a great finishing point for one of my favorite walks - maps of this are supplied in the cottages. The puddings are outrageously good. Sunday lunch runs from 11 a.m till 10p.m. No bookings are required and its open on Sunday
The Crown Inn Stoke-by Nayland - This beautiful old pub was taken over by the original owners of The Angel opposite. So now we have 2 great pubs trying to out do each other with excellent food and wines. The crown was voted the best Pub with wine cellar in England in the good food guide 2008 and has constantly picked up many more awards in the years following.
These 2 Stoke-by Nayland pub's are perfect for Sunday's because there is a lovely walk along the St Edmunds Way from or to here and you can get Sunday lunch from 11a.m. till 10 p.m - a time scale of which we can all appreciate.
Cock Inn pub
Polstead: Another lovely walk is along the river valley and up through the woods and over to Polstead where you will find the charming Cock Inn pub
great for snacks on the village green.
The Anchor Inn Nayland
- If you walk from The Pump House up the pretty little lane to Stoke by Nayland you can pick up the Pilgrims Way going past the wonderful church there and onwards along the top of the hill overlooking the Stour River Valley, the walk takes you down an ancient footpath that easily transports you back in time, eventually you join a tiny lane bringing you down into the picturesque riverside village of Nayland, at the other end of the high Street is The Anchor Inn
which always has good good and excellent drinks, it has a nice outside area next to the river.
Kerridges Butchers in Nayland are excellent and famous for their own sausages called 'Grandfathers'
Nayland also has a Post Office, a small Gereral Store, a hairdressers and an Interiors shop.
The Blue Owl
Pottery, Painting, cafe & gifts, is a great place to visit if you have young childen, kids can paint plates or clay statues to be fired, and other gorgeously messy artistic activities - you will have to book.
Kids Love Hollow Trees Farm
- it is a really excellent farm shop with kids cafe and a Farm Trail and adventure playground with a big picnic area - take a picnic and have a nice few hours.It is about a 15 minute drive away from The Pump House.
Visit Flatford Mill
where John Constable lived and painted 'The Haywain', there are gardens,a cafe,a Museum and posts where he stood to compose his materpeices. There is a tourist info centre there and you can hire rowing boats which you can pull up on the banks to have a picknic or row all the way to Dedham and back - there are also lovely riverside walks and you can pick up rowing boats
at the Boathouse Restaurant and wine bar
at Dedham instead if you wish.
In Charles Dickens's days, boys living in Scotland and here in East Anglia would be allowed to leave boarding school a day early because it took so long to get back home to those places.
Even though we are just 60 miles from London, this area was always very inaccessible and remained so until very recent times.
Now the local mainline train journey to London is a mere 45 minutes and a car journey takes about an hour and a half.
But still Suffolk has retained an unusually strong independent rural atmosphere and one of the great joys of the area are the beautiful little hamlets that even locals get lost getting to though the meandering 'spiders web' of tiny lanes and byroads. Many of these villages are wonderfully preserved in their medieval origins, our local village of Lavenham being a fantastic example.
The area is very rich in History from the Saxon treasure of Sutton Hoo and the rebel Queen Boadicea who defeated the Romans, right up to the many expeditions of Settlers leaving for America - in fact the First Governor of Massachusetts came from this tiny hamlet of Edwardstone when I am based at The Old Grove Farm.~
The Suffolk Landscape
The landscape and the Architectural beauty of the area has long inspired Artists to work and move here. The greatest English landscape painter John Constable painted all his famous masterpieces along the Stour which is just 5 miles from The Grove Cottages. His work undoubtedly created this landscape as the quintessential English Landscape, which is one reason why visitors to the area feel so at home.
Flatford Mill where many of Constables most well known works of art such as 'The Haywain' were painted is now a National Trust area devoted to this artist and preserving his memory and the area he made so famous.
The Great Portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough lived in Sudbury which is the closest town to us and it is a real pleasure to visit his home which is now a very interesting museum and exciting showplace for local artists and events, it also has a wonderful print making workshop where courses on all kinds of printmaking are constantly held and very much sought after.
The great artist Sir Alfred Munnings, famous for his portraits of Rural Suffolk Life lived and had his studio close to the river Stour at Dedham and these are now an interesting museum devoted to him and his works of art.
The Suffolk Coast
Below is a recent article about the Suffolk Coast
Joanna Symons, Telegraph Travel Newspaper
'Popular though the Lake District and West Country are as tourist destinations, they can be rather damp. If you want to reduce the risk of a rainy holiday, statistics show that you should head east.
Suffolk for instance, had only about a third as much rainfall as the Lake District. It also happens to have one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in Britain.
The Met office regional statistics per annum.
The Lake District Suffolk
Rain fall 2300 - 3900mm 600 - 660 mm