Idle Waters

East Anglia Essex Colchester

  • From £214 a night
  • Sleeps 4 

A picture-perfect riverside cottage in Dedham with facilities galore.

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Who said you couldn't improve upon perfection? Not only is this picture-perfect 16th-century timbered cottage, situated in a peaceful woodland setting by the River Stour right on the Essex-Suffolk border, about as idyllic a place to stay as you could wish for, it's also owned by the same people who own the fancy Talbooth restaurant across the water. So, uniquely, you can take off your pinny, put down your wooden spoon and enjoy some of the best food for miles around in the restaurant across the river.

Not only that, the facilities at the Talbooth House & Spa at the top of the hill are available to guests, and include a tennis court and sumptuous open air swimming pool, hot tub and spa, as are those of the nearby Milsoms Hotel, which has a slightly cheaper but still excellent restaurant serving an all-day menu and a buzzy bar and terrace. The cottage is olde-worlde on the outside and beamed inside, but is otherwise right up-to-date, with an open-plan fitted kitchen and diner and doors leading out onto the garden, a bay-fronted living room overlooking the river, complete with inglenook fireplace and squishy sofas, while upstairs there are two double bedrooms, also with views over the river and both with en-suite bathrooms. The cottage has good wifi and a Smart TV with Sky, and a hob, oven, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer – plus they leave a breakfast hamper of goodies for your stay.

The cottage is in the heart of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), 'Constable Country' to give it its other name, and the cottage in fact featured in on of the artist's paintings –  ‘The Vale of Dedham'. It's truly beautiful spot in its own right, and you could just stock up on provisions at an excellent nearby farm shop and happily spend your days in the cottage and around, exploring the woods and mucking about on the river, not to mention dining and supping at the two hotels. But you can follow also follow the footpath for 15 minutes down the hill to Dedham – a pretty village with a venerable old church and a couple of decent pubs – and stroll across the meadows to another Constable sight, Flatford Mill. You can row on the river, hire bikes or canoes, visit the wonderful nearby Munnings Museum (housed in the 19th-century artist's home) or just stroll the footpaths and intriguing byways that branch off in all directions: handy, in that Idle Waters is also dog-friendly so that you can also bring your pooch. A gentle, peaceful and enriching place to stay, the only drawback with Idle Waters is that leaving it is so hard.

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Available all year.


From £250 (Mon–Thurs) to £400 night (Fri–Sun); 2 nights (Fri–Sun) £700; 7 nights £1500.

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Contact Website  01020 632 315 0  Idle Waters, Gun Hill, Dedham, Essex CO7 6JT

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  • Catering Available
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Microwave
  • Open Fire
  • Parking
  • Spa & Treatments
  • Swimming Pool
  • Tennis Court
  • Wifi

Looking For...

  • Cycling
  • Dog-Friendly
  • Exclusive Hire
  • Family Friendly
  • Foodies
  • Historic
  • In the Sticks
  • Rural Retreat
  • Sensational Views
  • Short Walk to the Pub
  • Something Different
  • Walking
  • Waterside
  • Wedding Venue
  • Wellbeing

As featured in

Dog Friendly Britain: Cool Places to Stay with your Dog

A full colour guide, Dog Friendly Britain showcases the very best places to stay in Britain with your dog – everything from boutique hotels and cosy gastropubs to seaside B&Bs, country cottages and the latest glamping sites.

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