Summer 2021: Top 10 Things to Do Near Stoke By Nayland

There’s always lots to do in our beautiful corner of the world, and even more so now things are opening back up again fully. You’ll find a plethora of arts events, fairs, outdoor activities such as boat trips and coastal jaunts, and many other events and festivals in and around Colchester and Dedham Vale. Here are just 10 things to do this summer near Stoke by Nayland, things you might like to tag onto your stay with us.

Image courtesy of
Cycling in the Dedham Vale
Octopus Ahoy trail
  • Image courtesy of Visitcolchester.comMusic of the Spheres

This is a new, music and dance event that has traveled across the UK and Europe, and now, thanks to Arts Council England, the event is making its Essex debut at Castle Park, Colchester on Saturday 24th July 2021.

The highlight of the event will see a giant Sphere, the size of a four-storey building, launched onto the Park’s boating lake. Inside, an aerial dancer will spin and spiral on silks suspended from the centre. The Sphere performs a ballet on the lake and the finale of each show also takes place within giant Spheres and Domes set to new music composed and performed by flute.

There will be three 90-minute performances throughout the afternoon and early evening at 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm. Ticket holders can bring chairs and blankets and enjoy their own picnic, or pre-order Afternoon Tea style sandwiches and Cream Teas from ‘Café In The Park’ when booking their tickets.

Tickets are on sale now at £5.30 single admission; £20 for a group ticket for 4 and £3 for under 12s and over 65s. Ticket holders can bring a picnic or pre order from ‘Café In The Park’ when booking their tickets.

Image courtesy of Visit Colchester


Cycling in the Dedham ValeGo on a Cycling Adventure in the Dedham Vale

Here at Stoke by Nayland we’re situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which makes it an extra special location for cycling in the countryside. Whether you choose to bring your own bikes with you or hire some from nearby Outdoor Hire Centre, you’ll easily fill your days here soaking up nature while covering ground.

Where to go: The Painters’ Trail

Stop off at major artistic landmarks on the way and cycle through the scenery that inspired some of the world’s greatest landscape painters, including Alfred Munnings, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

The route is 69 miles long, although there are many shortcuts to suit depending on the length you’d like to cycle. Do check out the options before you embark. The route generally follows quiet lanes and single track roads, with some major road crossings.

Download your guide here.


image courtesy of Visit EssexBrightlingsea Boat Trips and Foot Ferry, Brightlingsea, Essex

During the summer until 26th September, Brightlingsea Harbour is running its daily foot ferry service to Mersea Island and Point Clear. During weekends, bank & schools holidays the service runs hourly and there is no need to book. Outside of these times, the ferry runs every two hours and you can call the office to book your seats. Open: 10:00 – 17:00

Image courtesy of Visit Essex.


Image courtesy of Essex LibrariesEssex Book Festival, Colchester

Essex Book Festival takes place in over 40 venues across Essex. This year it has moved from March to take place between June – August, with events taking place in a huge variety of venues and locations including museums, libraries, theatre, lecture. Until 29 Aug 2021.


Octopus Ahoy trailOctopus Ahoy!, Clacton-on-Sea

Follow the Octopus Ahoy! trail, 25th June to 5th September 2021. This is an engaging (and free!) family-friendly art trail for all ages. Stunning sculptures have already arrived ashore recently, taking pride of place in parks and on streets. Don’t forget to download the free Octopus Ahoy! app to find the octopus sculptures – and win prizes for scanning each one, seeking out art by local artists whilst learning more about the local area.

Download your Octopus Ahoy trail map here.

Image courtesy of Octopus Ahoy


Great Horkesley Summer Fair and TrailSummer Fair & Trail, Great Horkesley, Essex

This year this quaint village Summer Fair will be held around the village of Great Horkesley.

Check out just one of Constable County’s stunning villages and enjoy refreshments, face painting, family games and a trail. The trail is £2 per child and they will each receive a small prize at the end. 10 July 2021. Open 12:00 – 16:00


Dedham Boating Club

By boat is a wonderful way to explore the countryside around Dedham Vale. Cross the River Stour, find the footpath opposite Dedham Boating Club, and follow the river east. It’s an easy amble across lowland landscapes to the pretty hamlet of Flatford.

Don’t leave without stopping for an Instagram-worthy picture of Willy Lott’s House. The building appears in one of Constable’s most famous paintings ‘The Hay Wain’ and it looks strikingly unchanged today.


mage courtesy of Visit ColchesterAlice in Wonderland, Halstead, Essex

Follow Boxtree Productions down the rabbit hole into a strange world of caterpillars, cards and tea parties at Hedingham Castle. Join Alice as she tries to navigate this curious world of curious places and curious creatures but don’t lose your head! With inventive staging, original songs and magical storytelling, this Lewis Carroll’s classic tale of Alice In Wonderland is open air so do bring a picnic and blanket or low-backed chair, and dress for the great British weather.

Gates open at 5.30pm, with show starting at 6.30pm.

Image courtesy of Visit Colchester


Image courtesy of Medieval Fayre and Oyster Market, Essex

“A tour de force in medievalism that’s the biggest of its type in Europe” – The Sunday Times. This Sunday Times comment sums up the wonderful Colchester Medieval Fayre and Oyster Market. “Medieval stalls selling all sorts of wonderful historic crafts, entertainers from the period. Children enthralled by the story tellers. Music wafting from every corner.”

Soak up the atmosphere of the market. Revel in the joys of the fayre. Modern craft area. Wonderful food court with medieval and modern delicacies. Picnic areas and selling real ale, mead, wines and chilled lagers.

Castle Park, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ

Image courtesy of Food and Drink Festivals UK


Dedham Boathouse

When it’s sunny and warm there’s no better way to explore Dedham Vale than hiring a little boat from Dedham Boathouse. Grab your oars, then row your way along the River Stour and see the beautiful, rolling fields of Constable Country by water.



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