Please note, in line with the latest travel guidance we are only accepting new bookings that have a check-in date from 5th July 2020. We are available to take any calls on 01275 217575 if you have any queries regarding a current booking, or if you wish to place a new booking and have concerns. Thank you and stay safe

Semer Barns

Semer, Hadleigh, Rural Suffolk

Ground Floor Accommodation
Sleeps: 14
7 nights
£2477 - £4241
Available from a minimum of 2 nights

Overview

  • Sleeps 13 + 1
  • Eight bedrooms; three kings, one double, one twin, three singles
  • Three double bedrooms, three twin bedrooms
  • Two bathrooms, two shower rooms
  • Suitable for baby (travel cot available)
  • Sorry, no pets
  • Two private patios with outdoor furniture and barbecues
  • Shared outdoor heated swimming pool (*seasonal)
  • Lovely grounds with paths and river to explore
  • Welcome hamper, linen and toiletries
  • Parking for four cars
  • Covid-19 measures* (see Visitors' Notes)

Property layout

  • Stable Cottage ground floor accommodation:
    Through the front door into a generous open plan living space comprising:
    Reception area with large Scandinavian style sofa and armchairs that leads through to a well equipped kitchen with range style cooker and farmhouse table with seating for six.
    Shower Room with walk-in shower and wc off the reception area.
    Sitting Room with corner wood burner, wall mounted Smart TV, comfortable sofas and chairs. French doors onto the barbecue terrace and private lawned garden.
    Family Bathroom with a freestanding iron bath with hand held shower and wc.
    Bridle Bedroom with 5' king size wooden bed and large wardrobe. Vaulted ceiling and beams.
    Saddle Bedroom with 5' king size wooden bed and standing clothes rack. Vaulted ceiling and beams.
    Grooms Bedroom with 3' single bed and standing clothes rack. Vaulted ceiling and beams.
    Farrier Bedroom with 3' single bed and standing clothes rack. Vaulted ceiling and beams.
  • The Old Barn ground floor:
    Entrance hall with ample space for boots and hanging coats with access to the downstairs cloakroom with wc.
    Vaulted reception and dining room with farmhouse style dining table seating eight along with a wicker sofa and armchairs next to French windows opening straight onto the swimming pool courtyard.
    Sitting room with comfortable sofas, a 42” TV and huge inglenook fireplace with a log burner.
    Well equipped kitchen with flag stone flooring, round breakfast table seating four, range style cooker and serving hatch to the dining room.
  • The Old Barn first floor:
    Galleried landing overlooking the downstairs reception area with lovely views.
    Master Stallion bedroom 1 with 5' king size brass bed and built in cupboards. Shares the family bathroom with bedroom 4.
    Family bathroom with a bath with hand held shower.
    Thoroughbred bedroom 2 with 4'6" double bed and standing clothes rack. Jack and Jill style en-suite to a shower room shared with bedroom 3.
    Foals bedroom 3 with two 3' single beds, large wardrobe and Jack and Jill style en-suite to a shower room shared with bedroom 2.
    Colt bedroom 4 with 3' single bed and standing clothes rack. Shares the family bathroom with Master bedroom 1.
    The Royal Box sun room offering commanding views of the stud and valley beyond with an armchair and large sofa that converts into a bed for an eighth guest.
  • Outside:
    Enclosed gardens with outdoor furniture and barbecues (charcoal - please supply your own).
    Views across the stud to a lake, river, fields and the Brett Valley beyond, which guests are welcome to explore. There are many paths around the lake and fields which are home to thoroughbred mares and a small herd of pedigree Hereford cattle. Guests can also walk along the picturesque river bank or head out on various public footpaths.
    Large heated outdoor swimming pool in use from mid May to mid September.
    Off-street parking for four cars.

Equipment

  • Oil-fired heating, two wood burning stoves
  • Two Range style cookers, two microwaves, two dishwashers, two washing machines, two fridge/freezers
  • Two Smart TVs with Freeview; one 40", one 42"
  • WiFi internet access*
  • Two travel cots available
  • Outdoor furniture and barbecue
  • Parking for four cars

Semer Barns comprises two adjacent properties, together sleeping up to 14. Perfect for those who want to chill and relax with a little time to themselves, each spacious property is self-contained and enjoys its own facilities. And, at their heart, a private heated outdoor pool will delight kids and grown-ups alike during the warmer summer months.

Situated within the extensive grounds of Dove House, an impressive 14th-century Suffolk Hall which has been a working farm for centuries, Semer Barns boast gorgeous views across pasture and fields, with an equestrian stud, lake and river and the Brett Valley beyond. It’s an ideal setting for family holidays and groups of friends looking for a fun-filled getaway.

Semer Barns are beautiful conversions of a threshing barn and stable, with light and airy interiors and wonderfully cosy wood burners. On sunnier occasions, guests can throw open their French doors and enjoy al fresco feasts on the terraces with outdoor furniture and barbecues.

The Old Barn benefits from a vaulted double height reception with a dining area that can be extended to seat up to 14. Its cosy sitting room has a wood burner in a large inglenook fireplace and its traditional kitchen has a range cooker and double doors onto a private walled courtyard. Upstairs the Sun Room with sofa bed has stunning views across the fields, making the galleried landing an even more special place to sit and relax. Sleeping eight, here are four lovely first floor bedrooms, a family bathroom and a Jack and Jill shower room.

Stable Cottage offers ground floor accommodation for six across four bedrooms, two bathrooms and two receptions. The open-plan living space has a well-equipped kitchen with range cooker, a dining area seating six and a reception seating area. A second sitting room has a stylish wood burner and doors onto the barbecue terrace and garden. The accessible bedrooms have vast vaulted ceilings and share two well-appointed bathrooms, one with a walk in shower and one with a luxurious free-standing bath.

Guests are free to explore and enjoy the grounds of Dove House and wander the paths. There’s a lot of wandering to get through. Potter around the fields, now home to thoroughbred mares and a small herd of pedigree Hereford cattle, along the picturesque river bank or head out on a public footpath away from the far end of the property.

Situated in Ash Street, a quiet hamlet in the Brett Valley, Semer Barns is situated in the heart of the Wool Towns, and conveniently located to explore Suffolk’s two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - Dedham Vale and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths. Both boast lots of walks to explore the varied countryside and coastline.

Enjoy walks in Dedham Vale, and take in the scenic delights closely associated with a number of painters including Constable, Gainsborough and Munnings. Flatford Mill (11 miles) is a great starting point to explore more of the countryside associated with John Constable, whose romantic artwork revolutionised the genre of landscape painting. Here, you can you can enjoy a leisurely boat trip or walk the banks of the River Stour and afterwards visit the riverside tea rooms. Munnings worked from a studio in his garden at Dedham and the house and studio are now a museum dedicated to his work. Gainsborough was born in Sudbury (11 miles) and returned to the town to work as a portrait artist having been taught in London. The house in Sudbury is dedicated to his life and work.

Setting out from Semer, Kersey (2 miles) is a pretty and most charming village with some fine architecture dating back to the period of wealth experienced through the wool trade. The villages of Hadleigh, Long Melford, Lavenham, Sudbury and Clare form the Wool Towns. Kersey Mill is packed with independent shops, eateries and amenities.

Bury St Edmunds (19 miles) has a magnificent cathedral along with the ruins of an Abbey set within stunning gardens. The town also boasts the last working Regency theatre, The Theatre Royal which has a busy programme of events including tours behind the scenes.

Expect lots of museums, stately homes and gardens. Highlights include the Gainsborough House museum and art gallery in Sudbury, The Beth Chatto Gardens, Melford Hall and Kentwell Hall. Just outside Bury St Edmunds is the Italianate Palace of Ickworth Park, with extensive grounds. All are within 40 minutes’ drive.

For fresh, local, delicious produce, a three minute drive takes you to Hollow Trees Farm which comes highly recommended. The Farm offers a fantastic day out with an exciting Farm Trail, wonderful Farm Shop and Café and seasonal events. The Bildeston Crown (2 miles) has lovely food with local provenance. For foodies, a 15 minute drive to the medieval village of Lavenham is a must. Widely regarded as Suffolk's food capital, Lavenham offers excellent restaurants and local pubs, as well as a fantastic selection of interesting shops and galleries.

The prestigious beautiful Blue Flag beaches at Felixstowe, Clacton, quieter Frinton and Walton on the Naze are all within 50 minutes' drive. The Suffolk coast line is an hour’s drive, with its pretty towns including Southwold and Aldeburgh and more rural spots such as Dunwich. The big skies and wide open spaces make for some magical views and lots of opportunities to see the wildlife. The RSPB reserve at Minsmere is worth a visiting and besides the opportunity to see lots of different birds you might have the chance to see otters and water voles.

2024-06-10 Michael D UK

"Great host. Was right there if we needed but invisible if not. Extremely polite and made us all feel very welcome and at home. Immediate response to any questions. Surroundings are beautifully kept with stunning horses." AirBnB

2024-05-24 Robert H UK

"Lovely location, peacefull and relaxing , the pool was a lovely temperature and clean." AirBnB

2024-03-01 Ian G. UK

"Perfect stay. Loved the place, loved the location. Couldn’t have hoped for more." AirBnB

Semer Barns is ideally placed to explore both the counties of Essex and Suffolk with their many interesting attractions. Just a short distance from the capital, yet worlds apart, over 70% of the counties are classified as rural – a peaceful patchwork of market towns, timbered villages and tiny hamlets linked by country lanes where all is quiet and slow.

LOCAL INFORMATION

The tiny village of Semer lies on the river Brett in pretty rolling countryside. There’s a great family-friendly Farm shop, trail and café at Semer called Hollow Trees Farm. The little village church is reached across a meadow, and there are many other pleasant walks in the surrounding countryside. This pretty corner of Suffolk has many historic villages and market towns, including Kersey, Hadleigh and Chelsworth very close by.

Food & Drink

Hollow Trees Farm Cafe serve delicious fresh, homegrown and local produce (0.7 miles, 13 mins walk). Each dish is made with the best ingredients. Hollow Trees Sunday Roasts, made with Home Grown Meat from the Farm and local, seasonal veg. Their Handmade Yorkshire Puddings are firm favourite too. Plus a selection of cakes and sweet treats, including some ‘Free From’ products, made by their Chefs. Don’t forget to check the Daily Specials board too! There is also a Takeaway Menu – www.hollowtrees.co.uk
The Peacock Inn, Chelsworth (1.6 miles) is a beautiful 14th Century timber-framed inn and a popular foodie pub – thepeacockchelsworth.com
The Lindsey Rose, Lindsey (2.3 miles)is a fantastic local pub in Lindsey - www.thelindseyrose.co.uk
The Swan Inn, Monks Eleigh (2.8 miles) is perfect for coffee and cake and classic pub food like fish pie – swaninnmonkseleigh.co.uk
The Bildeston Crown, Bildeston (2.3 miles) serves locally sourced classics including local game casserole or baked bass – www.thebildestoncrown.com
Try a taste of Italy at Tito’s Ristorante, Hadleigh (3.8 miles) – titosristorante.wixsite.com/tito
Prado Lounge in Sudbury (10 miles) where you can enjoy the Mexican superbowl with halloumi or pulled brisket chilli – thelounges.co.uk/prado
The Fish Dish in Sudbury (10.3 miles) where you can try crab and coconut fritters, monkfish parcels and more - https://www.munros-thefishdish.co.uk/

PRIVATE CHEF EXPERIENCE

We've partnered with Dineindulge to make hosting a memorable dinner party an absolute breeze.

Their chefs will take care of everything for you from start to finish. They'll bring all the necessary ingredients, cook and serve the food and even clean up afterwards. All you have to do is sit back, maybe enjoy a glass of wine or two, and anticipate the amazing gastronomic experience that’s on the way!

Also check out their range of delicious menus here starting at £29.99 per person. It’s quick & easy to book online, and if you’re not sure of all the details or can’t decide on a menu, don’t worry! You can simply pay a £60 deposit to secure your date and finalize all the details later with the Dineindulge team.

In light of Covid-19, Dineindulge chefs have been given more stringent operational procedures to follow to ensure your safety as well as their own. If you’d like further information on this please email Charles at stay@staycationholidays.co.uk

On the day of the event...

The chef will arrive approximately 2 hours before the start of service, along with all the ingredients needed to cook your chosen meal in your kitchen.

The chef will cook and serve each dish to you – and they’re happy to pass on some tips if you want to improve your own cookery! Before leaving, the chef will ensure the kitchen has been cleaned.

Takeaways

Hollow Trees Farm offers a Takeaway Menu (0.7 miles) – www.hollowtrees.co.uk
Fresh Spice (Indian) in Hadleigh (3.7 miles) – freshspiceonline.com
Pizza Time Plus in Hadleigh (3.7 miles) – https://pizzatimeplus.co.uk
Dough and Co (wood fired pizzas), Sudbury (10 miles) – https://doughandcopizza.co.uk/

Provisions

The town of Hadleigh (3.5 miles) is an 8 minute drive away, and offers shops, pubs and supermarkets.

Farm shops include the award winning Hollow Trees Farm Shop (0.7 miles), Assington Farm Shop in Sudbury (10 miles) and Bushy Ley Farm Shop, Elmsett (7.4 miles).

ATTRACTIONS

Head to Hollow Trees Farm (0.7 miles) and follow the farm trail past llamas, goats, cows, pigs and cheeky chickens. Have a go on the mini tractors, brave the rope swings and race down the foxhole slide.

Lavenham Falconry, Monks Eleigh (2.5 miles). Book a half-day bird of prey experience, with six birds flying onto your glove - www.lavenhamfalconry.co.uk

Little Hall Museum, Lavenham (6.7 miles). Study the development of the house, explore the collection and walk the walled garden - www.littlehall.org.uk

Visit Nethergate Brewery (11.5 miles), a proud brewery & distillery nestled in the Heart of Suffolk since 1986. Shop, brewery and distillery tours. The home of Old Growler - nethergate.co.uk

The Food Museum (11.8 miles) is the only one its kind in the UK. Discover the history and provenance of the stuff we eat - foodmuseum.org.uk

Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester (17 miles) takes you through 2000 years of some of the most important events in British History. It has a range of regular events – https://cimuseums.org.uk/visit/venues/colchester-castle/

Bourne Mill (National Trust), Colchester (18 miles). Pretty as a picture, this charming folly was converted into a watermill in the 19th century. The grounds are perfect for picnics, while a boardwalk, pond dipping and garden games promise to keep children entertained – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bourne-mill

The East Anglian Railway Museum in Wakes Colne/Chappel (18.5 miles). Adjacent to one of eastern England’s largest railway viaducts, this open-air museum houses 100 years of railway history with a fine collection of steam engines, carriages and wagons, plus a mini-rail, and special events and steam days aplenty including Days out with Thomas – http://www.earm.co.uk/

The Colne Valley Railway at Castle Hedingham (19 miles). Railway history comes alive at this popular attraction with its steam and diesel rides, railway sheds, working antique signal boxes and handsome bridges. A post office carriage, model railway, miniature train ride and museum, together with special event days and a woodland trail, add to the fun – http://www.colnevalleyrailway.co.uk/

Colchester Zoo (21 miles) has some of the best cat and primate collections in Europe. Visit Orangutan Forest or get closer to the Zoo’s Chimpanzees at Chimp World. The Zoo received special recognition for its work on projects across the board – https://www.colchester-zoo.com/

At Boydell’s Dairy Farm (25 miles), hands on experiences include milking a cow, feeding the hens, riding a donkey cart. Meet the pigs, poultry, pony, donkey and llama.

TOWNS, VILLAGES & SHOPPING

KERSEY MILL (2.2 miles) offers a diverse collection of independent businesses and café, in a stunning, historic water mill setting.

KERSEY (2.4 miles) is arguably the prettiest and most charming village in Suffolk, with its famous ford, or ‘the splash’ as the locals call it, flowing through the centre. Its magnificent church stands tall at the top of the hill and it was part of the TV series Lovejoy.

HADLEIGH (3.5 miles) is an ancient market town, surrounded by 246 listed buildings and offers plenty of history to explore.

LAVENHAM (6.7 miles) is considered England’s finest complete medieval village with over 350 timber framed medieval houses and its magnificent church of St Peter & St Paul. Located in some of these medieval buildings you will find delightful shops, art galleries, tea rooms, good pubs and a number of Michelin starred gourmet restaurants. In late medieval and Tudor times, Lavenham was one of the country's wealthiest towns due to the English wool trade. Many places have been filmed for TV & films including a Harry Potter movie filmed in the splendid NT Guildhall. The village & the surrounding countryside have inspired many famous artists, John Constable was schooled in Lavenham.

SUDBURY (11 miles) is a pretty and ancient market town (market day Thursday and Saturday). Well known for its natural beauty, Thomas Gainsborough was born here and the surrounding countryside inspired much of his work. There are a wide variety of shops on offer (some may strike familiar from the Lovejoy TV series). Attractions include Gainsborough’s House and The Quay Theatre.

LONG MELFORD (11 miles). As its name implies, this wool town has a long, long High Street, populated by charming independent shops, vibrant art galleries, antique centres, cafes, restaurants, and, of course, typical Suffolk Inns. So, given all of this combined with beautiful architecture and amazing countryside, it is no wonder that this is such a desirable place. Melford Hall and Gardens is nearby.

DEDHAM (11.7 miles) is in the heart of Constable Country, set by the River Stour. The attractive high street is lined with Georgian-fronted houses, old inns and a large Art and Crafts Centre. The magnificent 15th church was built from the wealth of the medieval cloth industry. Constable's work The Ascension can be seen within St Mary's Parish Church.

COLCHESTER (18 miles) can be reached in just under 20 minutes and offers a wide variety of shops including a Fenwicks. There is a wide range of activities for all ages from Colchester Zoo to the Roman Castle.

CASTLE HEDINGHAM (18 miles). You can see Hedingham Castle for miles around, its sturdy Norman keep, the best-preserved in England, standing guard over the village. Climb the spiral staircase and soak up the atmosphere and stroll around the pretty village. Nearby is the Colne Valley Railway, where you can enjoy a ride on a restored locomotive.

WOODBRIDGE (22 miles) is a historic riverside market town boasting an outstanding selection of independent shops, restaurants and pubs. The town has been famous for boatbuilding, rope and sail making since the Middle Ages. The working tide mill is a major attraction. The River Deben runs alongside the town and is popular for boating, walking and wildlife with wonderful views over to the National Trust site of Sutton Hoo.

COGGESHALL (24 miles). Enjoy a history-filled day in the pastel-washed village of Coggeshall, bristling with antique shops – it was a location in the Lovejoy TV series. It’s packed with medieval and Tudor buildings including the ornate Paycocke’s merchant’s house (NT) and 13th century monastic Grange Barn (NT). Market day is Thursday.

ORFORD and ORFORDNESS (33 miles). Lying within the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Orford is a quiet, pretty village, steeped in history. The village grew in importance in the 12th Century when Henry II commissioned the Castle to be built. Orford is famous for its local oysters and smokehouses and has two shops selling a wide range of smoked produce. Pop into Pinney's in Orford to pick up some of the finest fresh fish in the county.

SNAPE (33 miles). The internationally renowned Snape Maltings, five miles from Aldeburgh, is one of the world’s leading centres of music. It offers inspiring concerts and festivals throughout the year, from the flagship Aldeburgh Festival in June to the folk, world and jazz of the Snape Proms throughout the month of August. For visitors, Snape Maltings brings together outstanding concerts and events alongside distinctive, independent shops, cafes, galleries, walks and river trips, all set against a breath-taking expanse of reeds, water and sky.

ALDEBURGH (42 miles) is a pretty coastal town on the river Alde in Suffolk which enjoys breathtaking views both seawards and following the River Alde inland. Possibly best known for having been the home of composer, Benjamin Britten and as the location of the internationally renowned Aldeburgh Festival. Aldeburgh remains an artistic and literary centre as well as a popular destination for holiday makers and sailors. Famous for many things - good food, great fish & chips, Aldeburgh Music, Maggi Hamblings' Scallop on the Beach being just a few.

THEATRES & CINEMAS

Mercury Theatre, Colchester (18 miles) – https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/
The Quay Theatre, Sudbury (11 miles) is a stunning venue with a variety of productions – http://www.quaysudbury.com/
Regal Cinema and Theatre, Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1AY (11.5 miles) – https://regalstowmarket.co.uk

ACTIVITIES

NATURE RESERVES

Bull’s Wood Nature Reserve (10 miles), Bury Saint Edmunds IP30 0JE - www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/bullswood
Groton Wood Nature Reserve (4.8 miles), West of Kersey near Hadleigh - www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/grotonwood

FISHING

Land carp at Middle Farm Lakes IP6 8JD (8.3 miles). Bring your rod and net to catch carp and silver fish on the two lakes at Middle Farm Lakes.

CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING

Wattisham Clay Target Club, Wattisham Airfield IP7 7RA (5.7 miles) - 07814 480938

FITNESS/SPA TREATMENTS

Spin, jog and lift at Kersey Mill Fitness, Kersey mill, IP7 6DP (2 miles) - www.kerseymillfitness.co.uk
Weavers House Spa (6.7 miles) is a beautiful, bijou, boutique spa, part of The Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa. Enjoy a dairy-free smoothie shot, tailored treatments and the hydrothermal-heated water mattress - Lavenham, Sudbury CO10 9PX; theswanatlavenham.co.uk

HORSE RIDING

High Bank Riding School, Melford Road, Sudbury CO10 1XU (11 miles) - 01787 310654

GOLF

Newton Green Golf Club, Newton, Sudbury CO10 0QN (10.4 miles).

Go KARTING

Anglia Indoor Karting (12 miles) offers all-weather, age and ability karting with hairpins, flyover and tunnel, plus small kids' circuit - angliakarting.com

WATERSPORT

Kayak, canoe and paddleboard safely at Paddlesports Coaching, Great Cornard, Sudbury CO10 0JS (12 miles) - paddlesportscoaching.co.uk/

BIKE HIRE

Cycle Breaks, Needham Market (11 miles) - www.cyclebreaks.com/just-bike-hire/

ESSEX & SUFFOLK COAST

With its zinging floral displays, watersports and quirky road train, Clacton-on-Sea (29 miles) is a family favourite and home to a prestigious Blue Flag as well as Clacton Pier, crammed with rides and amusements. The pier is the perfect spot from which to spectate one of the county’s most popular events, the Clacton Air Show (August), with its daring aerobatic displays and stalls. Quieter Frinton (28 miles) and Walton-on-the-Naze (28 miles) also boast beautiful beaches and a pier and are close by.

Felixstowe Beach (26 miles). The area of beach south of the pier is known as South Beach, and is sandier than the mainly shingled North Beach. In 2023, this stretch of beach received a Blue Flag and Seaside Award, recognising the high standards of beach management and water quality. South Beach has all you need for a fun, family day out; with amusements, cafes, shops selling buckets and spades and kiosks selling ice-creams and snacks.

Spend a day enjoying the Suffolk Heritage Coast, visiting Rendlesham Forest, Orford Castle, Snape Maltings, and the delightful seaside town of Aldeburgh, all 45 minutes to 1 hour's drive away.

ARTISTS & GALLERIES

Rambling country houses, historic landmarks, striking contemporary galleries – all combine to make Essex and Suffolk truly memorable places to soak up centuries of the counties' creative spirit.

FIRSTSITE

Set in parkland sweeping down to Colchester’s Roman wall, this iconic golden-clad gallery (17 miles) features a changing programme of exhibitions by contemporary international artists as well as creative events and activities for the whole family, including films and workshops – http://firstsite.uk/

THE MINORIES

Next door to firstsite, this beautiful listed Georgian building is home to Colchester School of Art’s public gallery and showcases a range of contemporary art. It also includes an excellent café surrounded by a walled garden (9 miles).

GAINSBOROUGH’S HOUSE & ART GALLERY

This museum and art gallery is in Sudbury (11 miles) at the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough. It shows a large collection of his paintings, drawings and prints as well as temporary exhibitions. A beautiful garden is at the heart of Gainsborough’s House. Check out this link for its latest exhibitions and events – www.gainsborough.org/

CONSTABLE COUNTRY

Lit by constantly changing East Anglian skies, the county’s rolling rural landscapes and beautiful fretted coastline have long been an inspiration to generations of artists. Most famous is John Constable whose rustic idylls are forever associated with the gentle Stour Valley north of Colchester.

The village of Flatford (11 miles) lies in the heart of Dedham Vale and was the inspiration for many of Constable’s famous works. It remains unchanged to this day and you can still explore the white cottage (which belonged to Constable’s neighbour, Willy Lott); Flatford Mill, which was owned by the Constable family; and Bridge Cottage, which houses an exhibition of Constable’s work.

Or set off on a lazy row through meadows grazed by silent cattle and drink in scenes little changed since he painted them. Two signposted walking trails also allow you to get the most out of your day or you can join an organised walk.

Just upstream, colourwashed Dedham Vale (10 miles) is another of the celebrated paintings by John Constable, which depicts a scene from what is now the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can explore this stunning landscape on foot via one of the many Dedham walks, following the valley through picturesque villages such as Flatford, Dedham, Stratford St Mary and Stoke-by-Nayland.

Alternatively, you could see Constable Country from the water, by renting or boarding a boat at one of several places along the River Stour.

THE MUNNINGS ART MUSEUM

Dedham (12 miles) is the setting for the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum. Best known for his equestrian portraits, Sir Alfred Munnings lived in this large country house for 40 years. Restored today, it contains a superb collection of his paintings, including many of the rural scenes he loved, together with loans of other artists’ works – https://www.munningsmuseum.org.uk/

VINEYARDS & WINE TASTING

Dedham Vale Vineyard, Boxted (14 miles) is set in 40 acres of glorious rolling English countryside, on the edge of the Stour Valley in the Dedham Vale. The vineyard produces six styles of award winning wines, and the Estate offers its proprietary cider, signature fruit liqueurs, tours, and a beautiful wedding venue. Dogs on leads are welcome to accompany owners exploring the trails around the Vineyard, the perfect starting point to explore the Essex Way and beautiful walks through the Stour Valley – https://www.dedhamvalevineyard.com/

CASTLES, HOUSES & GARDENS

Melford Hall and Gardens (NT), Long Melford, Sudbury (11 miles). The hall also has Beatrix Potter connections – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/melford-hall

Kentwell Hall, Sudbury (11.7 miles) offers a variety of events throughout the year alongside the stunning gardens -http://www.kentwell.co.uk/

Green Island Gardens, Ardleigh (16 miles). This beautifully-designed 20-acre garden is brimming with unusual plants. Spring highlights include the camellias and azaleas in the woodland garden, carpeted with flowers – www.greenislandgardens.co.uk

Hedingham Castle & Gardens (18 miles). Clamber up the spiral staircase at Hedingham Castle’s sturdy Norman Keep to the Minstrel’s Gallery, and feast on the mighty Banqueting Hall spread out below. Or visit during a special event, from a medieval joust to Shakespeare under the stars, and drink in the historic backdrop. In addition, the beautiful gardens and wooded grounds have been painstakingly restored over the past few years, making them the perfect spot for a summer picnic. *Dogs are welcome, except on major event days, but must be kept on a lead at all times, and will not be allowed into the Castle. – https://www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk/. The Colne Valley Railway is also at Castle Hedingham – http://www.colnevalleyrailway.co.uk/

Grange Barn in Coggeshall (24 miles) is a vaulted, National Trust barn with a timber frame, housing local woodcarving and a tools exhibition plus events. A pleasant 3 mile circular country walk takes you from the Barn, via the Essex Way and along the River Blackwater footpath to Paycocke's House – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/grange-barn

Paycockes, Coggeshall (24 miles) is a National Trust Property built 1509/10. It is an attractive half-timbered merchant’s house and visitors can stroll around the lovely arts and crafts garden – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/paycockes-house-and-garden

Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum near Coggeshall (24 miles). Choose from a range of trails at this 200-acre estate, set around a formal lake. With an 18th century walled garden, exotic trees, play area and leafy woodland walks, it’s a beautiful place to witness the changing seasons – www.markshall.org.uk/

Layer Marney Tower (24 miles) is one of Essex’s most unusual buildings, looming above the Essex landscape south of Colchester. With its striking Tudor gatehouse, the tallest in England, this imposing structure set in beautiful gardens was originally planned to outshine Hampton Court Palace. A circular trail leads through the rare breeds farm while there’s also a varied programme of events. In addition to the house and gardens there are some lovely walks about the estate to enjoy – www.layermarneytower.co.uk

The Beth Chatto Gardens, Elmstead Market (24 miles) is a triumph of planting in every condition, from the jewel-rich colours of the drought-resistant Gravel Garden to the Water Garden with its towering gunnera – http://www.bethchatto.co.uk/

ARTS, CRAFTS & ANTIQUES

Dedham Art and Craft Centre (11.8 miles) offers a range of craftsmen and specialist shops in beautiful historic settings selling everything from original art to handmade jewellery.

Over 14,000 listed buildings also make the counties a renowned hunting ground for lovers of antiques. Browse the antique shops in Long Melford (11 miles) or potter around the Halstead Antiques Centre (19 miles), which straddles the river in Halstead.

Things you need to know about Semer Barns if you’re thinking of booking a holiday there:

  • Smoking is not allowed inside the property or in the communal areas
  • Sorry, no pets
  • The barns are not suitable for stag parties or hen parties
  • A £400 security deposit is required and released within a week should there be no claims against it
  • Minimum stay 2 nights all year except at Christmas and New Year which is a minimum stay of 3 nights. Arrival days are Monday and Friday.
  • * Outdoor heated swimming pool (9m x 3m, depth 0.9m x 1.9m, open mid May-mid Sept). Due to Health & safety risk assessment, no lone swimming is permitted. Please bring your own towels for the swimming pool.
  • Please supervise children outside as there is an unfenced small lake and river in the grounds, 250 yards from the property
  • Please note the horse paddocks and livery stables are strictly private
  • * Covid-19 measures for this property:
    In full compliance with the hospitality industry cleaning protocols and safety guidance.
    Intensively cleaned and sanitised.
    Contact-free check in and check out.
    Complete privacy and exclusive use of the cottage during your holiday.
    Date changes for all existing and new bookings if the lock down measures are extended or re-imposed.
    Naturally isolated.

*Internet access is offered at this property for recreational purposes only and is not meant for business use. Speed/service may vary depending on the package obtained by the owner which is provided to guests free of charge. Should guests experience difficulties or loss of use, neither the owner nor the agent will be held responsible.

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