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Award-winning travel writer
Annabelle Thorpe

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Constable country

Annabelle's verdict:

The Stour and Dedham Valleys in Essex-Suffolk border country are where you'll find the landscapes immortalised by John Constable. Inspect scenes little changed since they were first canvassed, including Flatford Mill and the parish church at Dedham. My choice of hotel is the stylish but informal family-run Maison Talbooth - a cracking choice for foodies especially.

Recommended place to stay: Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth says

With its enviable position overlooking Constable’s countryside and the Dedham Vale in Essex, this 19th century country house was established as a luxury hotel in 1969.

There are just 12 bedrooms, each named after a famous poet and individually designed. They are all are packed with life’s luxuries and a real sense of privacy and romance.

Make yourselves at home in our light and airy lounge and the sunny garden room, where breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are served.

The terrace overlooks lush green lawns and our fabulous outdoor pool, heated to a toasty  85? year-round.

The Pool House has comfy sofas, an honesty bar and a log fire and there’s a tennis court if you’re feeling energetic.

Head to our Treatment Rooms for a wide variety of therapies, with spa packages also available.

A highlight of a stay at the Maison Talbooth is dinner at Le Talbooth, set on the banks of the River Stour. The restaurant is just a minute or two away from the hotel by courtesy Range Rover, and offers modern British cooking at its best. During the summer, a huge architectural sail covers the terrace making outside dining possible whatever the weather. We champion all that is great about local food with Dedham Vale Beef, Stour Valley mutton and Harwich seafood regularly on the menu.

Maison Talbooth is renowned for house parties, allowing you to take over the whole hotel for a night or two, perhaps to celebrate an anniversary or a milestone birthday or just for an excuse to party.

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