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Practical Information

  • Visit Constable's birthplace, East Bergholt, to see sites associated with the artist

  • Learn about the project to turn Gainsborough’s House into the National Centre for Gainsborough during an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour before the museum reopens to the public, and enjoy a walking tour of Sudbury, where the artist was born

  • Visit Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, home to the finest collection of Constable’s paintings outside London

"A delightful short tour visiting places in Suffolk that Constable and Gainsborough would have known. Many of these were very little changed, and the surrounding countryside was also recognisable from the paintings. This gave us a real insight into early English landscape painting. The tour was very well organised and the tour leader and tour manager were both excellent. Hintlesham Hall made an ideal base."

ACE customer on 2021 Constable & Gainsborough tour with Sarah Burles

It was only with the rising popularity of Impressionism that John Constable (1776–1837) won whole-hearted recognition in his native country. Now ranked alongside JMW Turner as one of England’s greatest painters, Constable is the source of some of the best-known images in British art. This tour will study the influence of the Suffolk countryside on Constable and his near contemporary Gainsborough, one of the founders of the British landscape tradition.


“I fancy I see Gainsborough in every hedge and hollow tree,” said Constable of the Suffolk countryside. As we wander along the banks of the River Stour, where Constable spent his “careless boyhood”, we will discover that Flatford Mill, Dedham Lock and Willy Lott’s cottage – immortalised in The Hay Wain – have changed little over two centuries. We will stroll through the country lanes of East Bergholt, where the artist’s first studio was located, and view his Ascension in Dedham’s parish church.

Slightly further afield, we will visit Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich to see artworks including Willy Lott’s Cottage and the intimate companion pieces Golding Constable’s Vegetable Garden and Golding Constable’s Flower Garden.


Complementing the focus on Constable’s life and influences, our tour will also examine Gainsborough’s roots in his native Suffolk on a visit to Sudbury, where a major new redevelopment and refurbishment is transforming the artist’s house into the National Centre for Gainsborough. We are delighted to be including a special behind-the-scenes tour of the museum before it reopens to the public, offering insights into the ambitions and challenges of delivering this fascinating project. A guided walking tour of Sudbury will offer the opportunity to view sites such as the church Gainsborough attended as a child and houses where he and members of his family lived.


Our base for this tour will be the beautiful four-star Hintlesham Hall Hotel, a 16th century Grade I listed manor house, set in 175 acres of Suffolk countryside.


This tour will be led by by Sarah Burles, MA, a proficient tour leader and lecturer accredited with the Arts Society. Sarah studied History of Art at Cambridge before gaining a Masters at University College London and going onto a career in museum and gallery education, including several years at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Sarah runs art tours and courses in and around Cambridge as well as online, and has a particular passion and enthusiasm for making art and museum collections accessible.

Tour Code

Included: Accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, one lunch, dinner with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.

Not Included: Travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £200.

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