Places to Visit

Pretty, historic villages, stately homes and beautiful gardens are all within 30 minutes' drive from Clay Hall House B&B. Art lovers can enjoy the landscape that inspired Constable and Gainsborough, and forage around the many art and antiques shops in the area

Kentwell Hall and gardens 


Towns and villages

Some of the prettiest villages and towns in England are in Suffolk – and many of them are just a stone’s throw from Clay Hall House B&B

Follow the links for more information


Lavenham (10 minutes’ drive) 

With its medieval timber framed buildings and antique shops, tea houses and pubs, historic Lavenham is a must-see destination. One of the wealthiest wool towns of the 15th century, it has been magnificently preserved, with 340 listed buildings. In more recent times it has played a starring role: Harry Potter scenes were filmed in the town and the creator of the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star lived in Lavenham

Long Melford (7 minutes’ drive)

A magnificent church in Long Melford is a legacy of its importance as one of the area’s wool towns. Alongside the historic buildings, there are excellent shops – a haven for antique collectors and browsers . Combine a visit to Long Melford with one of the historic houses nearby: Kentwell and Melford Halls

Sudbury (10 minutes’ drive)  
A pretty market town on the river Stour, Sudbury is another Suffolk wool town with lovely views and meadow walks. The former home of artist Thomas Gainsborough, now a museum, is here. Families can take advantage of the excellent children’s activity centres. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and independent shops too 

Further afield

Bury St Edmunds is a picturesque historic market town with a large ruined Abbey that has links to Magna Carta. On Wednesday and Saturday there is a thriving street market. Combine with a visit to splendid Ickworth House (25 minutes’ drive)

Cambridge, famous for its university, is a lively city with museums  galleries and a varied calendar of events. Take a tour of the colleges or go punting on the river Cam. Live music, theatres and festivals as well as special events take place all year (1 hour’s drive)

The Coast Visit picturesque Southwold, Felixstowe and Aldeburgh

Historic Houses

Suffolk is rich in Tudor history – as Clay Hall House can testify. Many of the houses and stately homes in the area date from this period, two of which are only 10 minutes from Acton:


Kentwell Hall (10 minutes’ drive)  pictured above

At magnificent moated Kentwell Hall visitors can step back 500 years in re-enactments of life in Tudor times. The hall and gardens are open to visit and there is a thriving rare breeds farm. Special events, such as a Dickensian Christmas celebration, are worth checking out 


Melford Hall (10 minutes’ drive)

National Trust stately home which has been lovingly restored to its Tudor glory after a fire devastated the building. Activities include country and parkland walks, and readings reflect the family’s relationship to the children’s author Beatrix Potter 


Hedingham Castle (30 mins drive)

A fine Norman Castle and one of the best preserved in England. Events include outdoor theatre, jousting and shows 

Helmingham Hall Gardens (45 mins drive) are Grade l listed and surround a breathtaking moated manor house. There is a deer park, tearooms, a coach house and stable shops. Events include treasure hunts for children

Art lovers

It is no accident that artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough used the beautiful Suffolk countryside to create some of their masterpieces

Thomas Gainsborough was born in the 18th Century in Sudbury, just down the road from Clay Hall House. Although best known for his royal portraits, his landscapes continued to be inspired by the views in Suffolk 

John Constable was celebrated mainly for his landscape paintings. Born in 1776 in East Bergholt, many of his most famous works are depictions of scenes  of the Suffolk countryside, including The Hay Wain and Dedham Vale



Mill Tye Gallery You can see and take part yourself in creative art, ceramics and photography

Aircraft and Railway Enthusiasts

IWM Duxford is a Battle of Britain airfield with a huge collection of vintage aircraft, flying displays and an exhibition of American aircraft (50 mins drive). For WWII USAAF bombers, Station 174 is 5 minutes' walk from Clay Hall House

Colne Valley Railway is a pretty mile-long line with relocated station buildings, signal boxes and bridges and a large collection of vintage steam and diesel engines, wagons and carriages. It holds regular steam days (30 minutes' drive)

East Anglian Railway Museum Travel here by train from Sudbury over the magnificent Chappel Viaduct built in 1847 and 1066ft long, with 32 arches of 30ft span and a maximum height of 75ft . The museum has a wide collection of steam trains, diesel locomotives and vintage carriages (30 minutes' drive)

Mid Suffolk Light Railway is Suffolk’s only Standard Gauge railway museum and has regular steam days (30 minutes' drive)

Picture: Hedingham Castle

Historic Hedingham Castle                    

Medieval Lavenham           

Picture: Lavenham Tourist Board

Picture: David Falk

Splendid Sudbury                                

The inspiration for the Suffolk wool towns

Sunset views from Clay Hall House

"We immersed ourselves in great comfort while exploring a beautiful part of England. 
Recommended – you bet!"
- Thomas Andrew B


Email:     Telephone: 01787 827506 

Clay Hall House • Clay Hall Lane • Acton • Sudbury • Suffolk • CO10 0AQ

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