"Constable Country" Drive and Village Tour
- A fine countryside drive: Imagine being plopped into a rural England scene – the kind you might see in a museum. Only for real. And with live sheep.
- A painter's wonderland: One of England's greatest landscape artists, John Constable rarely painted anywhere else but here. We'll see an exhibit of his work in Flatford.
- Unspoiled villages: Visit textbook-charming medieval towns where the young buildings are a few hundred years old. And the old ones are famous.
About this Harwich tour
We live in a busy 21st-century world. Yet nestled within it are small pockets where a simpler 19th-century landscape still exists. (Though some say the livestock are acquiring smartphones.)
The lush English lowlands of Dedham Vale are an excellent example. Picturesque villages of timbered houses, moated manors, and fine church towers. Rolling farmland, meandering rivers, meadows, ancient woodlands. These are scenes immortalized by renowned English landscape artist John Constable, who lived and loved and painted here in the early 1800s. And you're about to see his world through your own eyes.
We'll drive into the willowy valley of the River Stour, and through the tiny village of East Bergholt, barely changed since Constable was born here in 1776 – the artistic son of an enterprising mill owner. In the nearby hamlet of Flatford, we'll stop to walk a sloping path into the center of town, where a 16th-century thatched cottage houses an exhibition about Constable and some of his most celebrated works. His father's Flatford Mill and Lock, along the river in this town, was a recurring subject.
A few country roads later, we'll be in Dedham town, where young John attended school. He did not excel; head too far in the clouds. As we stroll the High Street, we'll see St. Mary's Church. Its 130-foot tower rises high above the trees to dominate the skyline for miles, as it has since the 1500s. Our Mr. Constable had a thing for St. Mary's and painted it on least 26 occasions.
His father always hoped John would enter the family business. But it was not meant to be. No, he was clearly meant to paint. So we could have the complete pleasure of gazing on his work – and his world – all these years later.
Half a century of “temporary”
Construction of the bell tower of St. Mary's Church in East Bergholt began in 1525, with funding assured by Cardinal Wolsey. Oops. His high-stakes falling out with Henry VIII soon brought a halt to that. A "temporary" ground-level bell cage was hastily erected to house the 4.25 tons of bells intended for the tower – and they've hung there ever since. They can't be rung from below by pulling ropes. Instead, they're rung by pure force of hand, in complex patterns, by brave ringers who stand beside them. It takes about two years to get good at it."
Arriving by cruise ship? Please meet your guide at the tour dispatch area outside of the terminal building. Please look for our tour representative with the displayed logo sign.
There are many wonderful photo opportunities.
This tour is not wheelchair accessible. Although there is not a lot of walking involved, when needed, there are steps and walking on cobblestones.
Cultural, Scenic, Bus Tour, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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