What to do between concerts

The festival takes place on the idyllic Essex / Suffolk borders, within 90 minutes’ drive from London, Stowmarket, Cambridge and Norfolk.

Stour Valley

Several dozen artists open their studios during the festival period.

Stoke by Nayland Church overlooks the tranquil river Stour in Suffolk where you can go boating and explore the landscape which inspired great works by Constable, Gainsborough, Munnings and Nash, and near where the composers Roger Quilter and Alan Rawsthorne lived. Cobbold and Judd put on fantastic art exhibitions at Hintlesham Hall, and the medieval village of Long Melford is within reach.


We also perform in some unusual and intimate venues in Colchester, which has been undergoing a renaissance with  FirstSite, a contemporary art gallery  and recently renovated Norman Castle which is situated in Colchester Castle Park and . This website gives a good introduction to the town. Visit the dutch quarter and Roman Walls, walk past 6 Trinity Street where the madrigal composer John Wilbye lived from 1628-38, and fit in an original production at the UK’s leading regional theatre the Mercury Theatre.

South of Colchester, you can eat oysters at the Mersea Oyster bar or the Company Shed, sail a majestic Thames sailing barge, visit Beth Chatto’s Gardens, one of the most beautiful in the country, buy a local map (OS 184) and enjoy country walks round the idyllic villages (walking guides here). Layer Marney Tower is a stunning house with a fantastic variety of events. Down a pretty lane and near a nature reserve is the Geedon Gallery in Fingringhoe, where you can see art and sculpture inspired by the East Anglian landscape.

In the pituresque market town of Coggeshall, midway between Braintree and Colchester you can take a journey through time by visiting Paycocke’s House and Garden, a stunning Tudor merchant’s house and Grange Barn a 13th century monastic barn both owned by the National Trust.

Find out more things to do via Essex days outVisit Suffolk, Visit Suffolk Coast, Discover Suffolk, Suffolk Countryside and Visit Essex. Trip Advisor puts things in perspective.