Here, Windmill Lodges – an exclusive complex of four and five star luxury log cabins – gives a few ideas on how to spend a day in the trail of Constable.
Stay in Windmill Lodges’ log cabins and explore the scenery which inspired landscape artist John Constable.
Discover Famous Works by Constable
An ideal first stop is Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, which is a 35 minute car journey from Saxtead where Windmill Lodges’ exclusive complex is based. Christchurch Mansion, Christchurch Park, is home to the largest collection of Constable paintings outside London. Among the many masterpieces is ‘The Mill Stream’ which was recently cleaned to hail the 200th anniversary of the painting. The cleaning uncovered the vivid colours of a kingfisher swooping through trees right in the centre of the piece. The Wolsey Art Gallery (within the mansion) is open Tuesday to Sundays 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays. Entry to the mansion and art gallery is free.
Visit the Landscape that Inspired Constable
After a morning at Christchurch Mansion, head to the stunning hamlet of Flatford (a 35 minute drive from Ipswich or a 43 minute drive from our country cabins), It’s where Constable produced some of his most well known works including ‘Boat Building’ and ‘The White Horse’, and the landscape has changed very little since Constable’s day.
Here, you can walk the pretty riverside trail and see Flatford Mill, owned by Constable’s father, Willy Lot’s Cottage, and the site of 'The Hay Wain’. Discover Bridge Cottage, which was tenanted out by Constable’s father, and where you can view a small but interesting exhibition about the artist’s life. Bridge Cottage can also be seen in a few of Constable’s paintings including ‘View on the Stour near Dedham’ (which features a glimpse of the roof of the cottage).
The attraction is open daily from 10.30 – 5pm spring to summer, and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays in winter, but do check the opening times in advance to avoid disappointment. There is a small charge for parking once you get there. And after your visit, you can round off your morning with a bite to eat at the tea room in Bridge Cottage, or hire a rowing boat on the river.
This picturesque village, five minutes from Flatford, is the birthplace of Constable. (If you are feeling energetic you can walk or cycle there). Take a wander around the village to find the site of his birth, which is indicated by a plaque between the church, where Constable was christened and his parents and Willy Lot are buried, and the village shop. Not far from the church is Cemetery Lane, where a plaque marks the artist’s former studio. Then, why not enjoy a late lunch at of the excellent restaurants?
Dedham is an eight minute drive from East Bergholt and is where Constable’s father owned the mill and Constable attended a day school after a short stint at a boarding school in Lavenham. There are some interesting independent shops to browse in, and you can view ‘The Ascension’, a Constable original, in the village church.
Finish your off day by a visit to the Art and Craft Centre, before taking the 45 minute drive back to the luxurious environment of your log cabin. And, in the evening you can cook up a culinary delight before taking a relaxing soak in the hot tub.
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