Historic Buildings

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The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum, Dedham

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The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum in Castle House, Dedham in the heart of Constable Country and the Dedham Vale (AONB), is the home where Sir Alfred Munnings KCVO lived for 40 years. Sir Alfred Munnings is most well known for his equestrian art, but he also painted a wide range of other subjects and he was an accomplished sculptor. His home showcases his paintings, drawings and sketches representing his life's work and visitors can wander around the house and gardens. There is also a fascinating little studio, where he worked and his paintbrushes and other things have been left as if he has just stepped outside for a bit of fresh air. It's very atmospheric and gives some insight into the artist. Castle House and grounds are open to the public from April – end October  Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.  Please check the website to confirm opening times before your visit.  There is a small cafe selling a good selection of homemade cakes and light lunches and many events take place at the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum throughout the year. These events including painting workshops, children's events, Christmas events and even demonstrations of how to ride side saddle! Contact The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum, Castle House, Dedham, CO7 6AZ T: 01206 322127 W: www.siralfredmunnings.co.uk   Top photo ©David Burton | bottom photo ©Showcapture Save

The Guildhall of Corpus Christi (National Trust), Lavenham

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Lavenham has over 320 buildings of historic importance, discount making it one of the best preserved towns or villages in England. One of the most impressive of these buildings, sick is the splendid Tudor, timber-framed Guildhall of Corpus Christi which is owned by the National Trust in the heart of the medieval village. The guildhall houses a fascinating local history museum (read more about Lavenham and the significance of the wool industry), a small but very pretty and tranquil courtyard garden, a National Trust tea room serving scones, cakes and light lunches and a gift shop. Events take place in the The Guildhall of Corpus Christi throughout the year, including local history lectures, craft shows and the wonderful annual Christmas event. Contact The Guildhall of Corpus Christi, Market Place, Lavenham CO10 9QZ T: 01787 247646 W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Melford Hall (National Trust), Long Melford

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Built in the 16th century, the stately home of Melford Hall is the ancestral seat of the Parker Baronets and is the much-loved home of the Hyde-Parker family. Since 1960, this beautiful historic house has been in the care of the National Trust. Beatrix Potter ('Cousin Beatie') was a cousin of the family and was a frequent visitor there, drawing inspiration for her work from the house and gardens. The visitors' book has many of her sketches in it, marking her visits to the hall.  The West Bedroom, which is where Beatrix stayed when she visited, is still furnished as it was during that time and also contains memorabilia including some of her watercolours and a model of Jemima Puddle-Duck, which she gave to the Hyde Parker children on one of her visits. Many events take place throughout the year in the grounds of Melford Hall, please keep an eye on our events pages. Contact Melford Hall, Long Melford CO10 9AA T: 01787 379228 W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk Photo ©NTPLRupert Truman

Little Hall, Lavenham

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A stunning timber framed wool merchant's house with 14th century origins, Little Hall is a hall house with an imposing crown post roof. Built in the 1390s for the Causton family of clothiers the house was enlarged and improved in 1425-50 and then ‘modernised’ in Tudor times, when a fireplace was built in the upper floor in the hall. The Gayer-Anderson brothers, who were both soldiers and artists, shared an interest in art, Egyptian art in particular, and collecting  antiques, pictures, books, china and decorative art. They rescued Little Hall in the 1920s and 30s and made it their home. Their  collection of furniture, pictures, sculptures and ceramics is on display in this wonderful building they called home. Contact Little Hall, Market Place, Lavenham, CO10 9QZ T: 01787 247019/ 01787 247554 (groups) W: www.littlehall.org.uk

Kentwell Hall, Long Melford

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Mellow red brick Tudor mansion with original kitchen, try bakehouse and brewhouse from the 15th century. Award winning re-creations of Tudor life and World War II and other events throughout the year including, among others, A Dickensian Christmas, Scaresville and outside music events. The great annual Tudor re-creation is mid June-mid July with 250 + Tudors. There are also rare breed animals, woodland trails and a cafe. Contact Kentwell Hall, Long Melford CO10 9BA T: 01787 310207 W: www.kentwell.co.uk

Hadleigh Guildhall, Hadleigh

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A fine Grade I listed, Medieval timber-framed guildhall built when Hadleigh was one of the most important woollen cloth towns in England. Teas and guided tours are on offer where you can see the inside of this magnificent building and learn all about its fascinating history, its occupants and it's place in the history of Hadleigh. At the end of your tour, you are invited to relax in the peaceful and beautiful garden and enjoy a delicious cream teas. Please note that these tours must be pre-booked and are only available for parties of ten people or more. Did you know? Hadleigh Town Hall & Guildhall Complex is also a wedding venue and is suitable for other events too. Various rooms and the secluded garden are available for hire. Contact Hadleigh Guildhall, Market Place, Hadleigh IP7 5DN T: 01473 822544/823884 E: info@hadleightownhall.co.uk W: www.hadleightownhall.co.uk

Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury

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This is the birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough RA (1727-88) and the house dates back to the 16th century. Now a museum and gallery, the house has many of the original works of Thomas Gainsborough, more than any other gallery outside of London, and some memorabilia from his life. There is an attractive walled garden with a wonderful, 400 year old mulberry tree. There is a varied programme of exhibitions of both historic British and contemporary art and a print workshop which is open to the general public and where you can learn some new skills on courses that run throughout the year. There is a gift shop and coffee shop and tea may be taken in the garden when the weather is fine. Gainsborough's House is open all year Monday - Saturday, 10-5. Closed Suns, Good Friday and 24th Dec - New Year inclusive. Contact Gainsborough's House, 46 Gainsborough Street, Sudbury CO10 2EU T: 01787 372958 W: www.gainsborough.org

Framsden Windmill, Framsden

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This post mill was built in 1760 and the roundhouse was added in 1836. The mill stopped work in 1930 and became derelict, illness after which it was restored by a group of volunteers in the late 1960s and now houses a country bygones exhibition. Opening times are by appointment only on Saturdays & Sundays between March and October. Photograph © Robert Edwards Contact Grid reference: TM 192 598 OS sheet: 156 Postcode: IP14 6HB About 9 miles N of Ipswich on B1077. Access is via a small lane beside the road. T: 01473 890328

Eye Castle, Eye

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The remains of a Norman motte and bailey with medieval walls and a Victorian folly. There is an excellent panoramic view of Eye from the top. Open week before Easter-October, daily 9am - dusk. Contact Eye Castle, Castle Street, Eye T: 01449 724639/676800

Bridge Cottage, Flatford

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Set in the glorious landscape of the Dedham Vale (AONB), the 16th century Bridge Cottage houses an exhibition about the life and work of John Constable. There are guided walks in the summer with National Trust guides who will show you the sites of some of Constable's most famous paintings. You can walk up the lane to look at Flatford Mill (not open to general public, but you can attend a course there on art, conservation and photography) and to see where the Hay Wain and Willy Lott's Cottage were painted. The area is remarkably unchanged since the time John Constable lived there and you can see why he loved the area so much and found so much inspiration here. You can row a boat along the River Stour to the nearby village of Dedham, in the summer or you can take the same route that the young John Costable took when he walked across the fields every day to school. For opening times of Bridge Cottage, please visit the National Trust website. Contact National Trust, Bridge Cottage, Flatford Lane, Flatford, East Bergholt, CO7 6UL T: 01206 298260 W: www.nationaltrust.org.uk Additional information Wheelchair access, Electric buggy available, National Trust tearoom and shop