This itinerary is ideal for countryside lovers and those who enjoy the active outdoors. If you’re partial to a countryside amble, wild swimming, cycling or golf, then this itinerary is made for you!

We’ve created a three-day plan of all the best highlights locally, so you don’t have to.

For those who have other interests too, you might also like to see our other itineraries: Art Lover’s Itinerary, a Heritage & History Itinerary and Escapes to the Coast.  This particular itinerary is perfect for a short three-night break. If you’re staying longer, don’t forget to plan some time to enjoy Stoke by Nayland, go for a swim, enjoy the grounds and book a spa treatment. If you’re staying for the night, you might like to just cherry-pick for the below.

There’s so much to see – we’re literally surrounded by countryside beauty left, right and centre. Explore our picturesque landscape and see the sights by water by taking a river cruise with River Stour Trust or take to the water on paddle boats for an active experience along 37km of stunning waterways.

Stoke by Nayland is the ideal location for soaking up all of the above. With great transport links to Central London yet lucky enough to be in the heart of breathtaking Constable Country, Stoke by Nayland is an excellent location to explore our great British countryside.

DAY ONE – Explore the Dedham Vale by Bike

Family cycling in the countrysideFuel your trip

Stop off for lunch, take a picnic or plan your trip around Stoke by Nayland’s Resort mealtimes. We recommend a high protein, cooked breakfast with us before you embark, and you might like to consider rounding off your bike ride with an alfresco Afternoon Tea with us or else cocktails and a 3-course a la carte meal in our restaurant at the end of your day. (Don’t forget to book in advance.)

MORNING – Art by Bike & Wild Swimming 

Art by Bike

We’re located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which makes our slice of countryside a very special location for seeing the sights by bike. Bring your own or hire some from the nearby Outdoor Hire Centre. It’s easy to fill a day soaking up nature via bike.

 There’s a 69-mile route called The Painter’s Trail stopping at major artistic landmarks as you cycle past the same scenery that inspired some of the world’s greatest landscape painters, including John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough and Alfred Munnings.

Wild Swimming

Cycling in the summer? Why not cool off in one of the nearby lakes: Gosfield Lake, Mersea Boating Lake, River Chelmer near Ulting, Redricks Open Waker Swimming Lake or Trifarm in Boreham. If it’s too cold to swim, don’t forget our gorgeous heated indoor swimming pool back at the Resort.

AFTERNOON – Afternoon Tea & Boating

If there’s time after your morning of cycling, depending on the route you take, you might also like to go for an amble by the river.

Our Classic Spread

After your ride, try our superb Afternoon Tea with freshly made finger sandwiches, cakes, fresh homemade scones with clotted cream, local Tiptree Jam and freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee. All this served up with views of Constable Country and only £19.95 per head. Add a glass of fizz for an extra-special post-cycling adventure – you’ve earned it!



Dedham Boating Club

Explore more of the Dedham Vale via boat. Or if you prefer a stroll across the River Stour, find the footpath opposite Dedham Boating Club and follow the river east. It’s a relatively easy walk across the lowlands to the charming hamlet of Flatford. Remember to take an Insta-worthy picture of Willy Lott’s House, which appears in one of Constable’s most famous paintings ‘The Hay Wain’, unchanged even today!

EVENING – Recoup in the Spa & Refuel at Lakeside

Shoulder Massage Spa

Book in for a massage pre-dinner to soothe those muscles spent cycling all day.

We have a wide range of massage treatments available including Hot Stone Massage, Sports Massage, Lava Shell Massage and Therapeutic Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage, to name just a few. Starting from just £43, your back, knees, and soul will thank you for it. Worth every penny.


The Lakes RestaurantThen book into our Lakeside Restaurant and treat yourself to the works! It’s been a busy day, enjoy yourself, you’re on holiday!




DAY TWO – Exploring on Foot


MORNING – Constable Walk

You’ll have to hop in the car to this spot but it’s worth it. It’s a hiking highlight which appeals to ramblers and art-lovers alike. Explore Stour Valley and Dedham Vale on this relaxing stroll with the National Trust. You’ll see the area made famous for the 18th-century paintings of John Constable. See Willy Lott’s House, Flatford Mill and visit the Village of Dedham. Start the walk from Manningtree station, via the river, and onto Cattawade Marshes. The walk leads back to Manningtree Station.

AFTERNOON – Dedham Treasure Hunt Trail

Head back to Dedham to take part in The Dedham Treasure Hunt Trail. A self-guided tour where you download your trail PDF for just £9.99. It allows you to explore Dedham by cracking the clues, leading you closer to the ‘treasure’. A fun activity for all ages, the route takes around an hour and a half to finish, or longer if you chose to stop off and soak up the wonderful country landscape.

An alternative idea for the afternoon could include….

Abberton Reservoir Nature Reserve, Colchester

For bird-lovers, head to one of Europe’s best wetland sites. Just half an hour north of Stoke by Nayland, you’ll see plenty of swans, wild ducks and other water birds. Around 40,000 birds visit the Reservoir every year including Wigeon, Teal, Coot, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Black-headed Gull. Find out more at www.essexwt.org.uk/.

DAY THREE – A Day on the Green or in the Spa

Geese on Golf CourseAfter all that activity, whether you need a relaxing day in the spa or a day out on the greens, luckily, we offer both of these alluring options. Spend the day playing on one or both of our two championship courses. A golf day package starts from as little as £30 per golfer or you can build your own day for eight golfers (or more). Spot the local wildlife with Red Kites, Buzzards, Geese, Swans and much more as you play. Or enjoy our Peake Spa with a range of treatments and use of our indoor pool, sanarium, steam room, Jacuzzi and concept shower.

Après Golf

Golf Terrace - Stoke by NaylandPossibly our favourite part of a day on the green… the socialising, good food, and a drink or two, you can enjoy before and after a day of golf. Check out our extensive range of dining options from our Sport’s Bar to coffee and cake, afternoon tea and fine dining at our Lakes Restaurant.



Experience excellent facilities, spacious bedrooms and exceptional service in our contemporary hotel, the ideal place to relax, rest and recharge. We have a great range of special offers and packages available so that you can really make the most of your stay. Take a look at our latest hotel offers here.


If you’re looking for a location for a hen-do, stag or cycling, golfing or spa holiday with friends, look no further. Our stunning eco-friendly Apple Tree Lodges at Stoke by Nayland offer accommodation with 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms. A beautiful and fun option for gatherings or groups, both short or longer stays.

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