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Castles, Rivers & Constable too

Tour: 8G
Circular Cycling Holiday
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday

Explore all the highlights of oh-so-English Suffolk and take a trip through history . The treasures of the Sutton Hoo ship burial unearth the Dark Ages; medieval merchants left leaning half-timbered legacies like Lavenham; in the 18th century the special Suffolk light and the quintessentially Englishness of the Stour Valley gave the painter, John Constable his inspiration. Suffolk is home to mighty castles and maritime tales, haunting coastlines which inspired PD James and rivers immortalised by Sir Arthur Ransome – history is all around and so much more immediate when enjoyed gently and respectfully from the saddle of your bike . Read More


Start Day

Any Day

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



8 Days, 7 Nights


Feb - Nov

Tour Grade

Grade 2 (Easy)

Read Overview
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A tour put together with visitors from overseas in mind. See the castles and rivers and get a taste of the coast before experiencing the charms of Constable Country and the medieval splendour of Lavenham.

Tour Code:
Circular Cycling Holiday, Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
8 Days, 7 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Feb - Nov


Day 1 Arrive & explore

Arrive at Needham Market, explore the area and spend your first night in or near this small market town.

Day 2 Winding lanes & windmills

An excellent day’s ride through Debenham, a pretty village with its overhanging houses and antique shops, Saxtead Green’s beautifully restored 18c post mill and into Framlingham. Here you stay the night with time to visit the massive castle in this lovely old market town or the vineyards nearby.

Mileage: Rec 22 Min 21 Max 38

Day 3 Landscapes, seascapes, riverscapes.

Cycle to Snape Maltings where the Aldeburgh Festival concert hall sits among the little arts community on the banks of the river Alde. Those with plenty of energy left can continue on the recommended route to both Orford, with its impressive castle keep, quaint quayside and boat trips, and Shingle Street, a quiet spot where the River Ore meets the sea. Mere mortals can amend their route to exclude one or other, bringing the mileages down to 28 and 30 miles respectively.
Just outside the lovely maritime town of Woodbridge where you stop for the night, you can visit the site of the rich Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo.

Mileage: Rec 39 Min 13 Max 46

Day 4 Waves and warrior kings or nostalgia and Napoleon

Either a rest day in Woodbridge or an opportunity to see some of the beautiful and unspoilt coastline. You can complete a circuit of the Deben estuary visiting the traditional seaside resort of Felixstowe before taking a small ferry across the river mouth. Alternatively, you can drop in on the arts community at Snape Maltings and see Orford Castle and the Ness, Shingle Street and the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo.
Boat trips can also be taken on the Alde, from Snape and Orford, or on the Deben, from Waldringfield.

Mileage: Rec 11, 25, 30, 31, 35, 38, 42  Min 0 Max 48

Day 5 Weaving towards the wool towns

Winding through Suffolk lanes you’ll pass through the villages of Little Bealings, Tuddenham, Claydon to name a few – each with its own character, church and village inn.
You’ll cycle through beautiful Chelsworth with its narrow bridge and weavers’ cottages, before your overnight stop in Bildeston. Here, in this once important ‘Wool Town’, you can explore the streets lined with overhanging, timber framed houses.

Mileage: Rec 30 Min 25 Max 37

Day 6 Constable’s inspiration and taking to the water

Cycle the lanes to the prosperous ‘Wool Town’ of Hadleigh with its fine old High Street and pretty riverside walk and on down the Brett valley to the lovely village of East Bergholt, birthplace of the artist John Constable. Ride down the hill to Flatford Mill on the River Stour and take a walking tour of some of the many scenes little changed from when they were captured by Constable 200 years ago.
After a cream tea and perhaps a little fun on the river in a rowing boat, return via Stoke-by-Nayland, with its own connections to Constable, and beautiful Kersey where you may splash through the ford, to Bildeston for your second overnight stay.

Mileage: Rec 36 Min 0 Max 36

Day 7 Meandering homeward through the medieval maze

The ride today takes you through some more of the prettiest villages in England. If you wish, there is the option to visit Long Melford with its mile long high street full of antique shops, or you may simply take more time to explore the unique collection of medieval buildings in Lavenham, the most spectacular of the wool towns before your return and overnight accomodation in Needham Market.

Mileage: Rec 23 Min 11 Max 33

Day 8 Onward journey

Start your journey home (or onto the next leg of your holiday) after breakfast.

Accommodation Options

Near Needham Market, in Framlingham, near Woodbridge (2 nights) and in Bildeston or Hadleigh (2 nights).


is located near Needham Market, in Framlingham, near Woodbridge and in Bildeston/Hadleigh. Selected properties include either a 4 or 5 star guest house, a 2 star hotel, a 3 star hotel and a 4 star hotel with leisure facilities. We are pleased to discuss details on request.

Weekend supplements are payable if your stay in Woodbridge or Bildeston falls on a Fri or Sat night.