Set in the heart of Constable Country on the Essex/Suffolk border, The Sun Inn has been a watering hole for villagers and resting post for travellers for centuries and is an ideal spot to revive yourself with a pint of craft beer, an Italian-inspired meal, a tasty bar snack, or a good night’s sleep. Owned and run since 2003 by Piers Baker, this year The Sun Inn is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
It’s a proper coaching inn with an elm bar, an open-beamed dining room, oak ﬂoors, a snug oak-panelled lounge with open ﬁres in the winter and a peaceful garden and terrace. After a major refurbishment in January 2018, there are bold colours, rich fabrics and bespoke furniture with jazz and Latin American background music adding to the appeal. There are newspapers to read, board games to play, and the panelled lounge has deep sofas to sink into.
The village of Dedham and the countryside around it has changed little since it was immortalised by John Constable in the 18th century, yet it’s under two hours’ drive from London. Opposite the striking St Mary’s Church, visitors can explore the pretty village with its patchwork of colourful houses, or borrow bikes, hire a boat to explore the Stour Valley or take a gentle stroll to Flatford Mill.
The Sun Inn is renowned for fabulous seasonal food, inspired by Italy. Head Chef Jack Levine creates robust dishes that are big on ﬂavour. The two-AA-rosette menu changes monthly and features classic pasta and risotto dishes like Crab ravioli and Squid with chilli and garlic as well as more hearty main courses including game in season, rare-breed meat and day-boat landed ﬁsh. The menu always offers three cuts of British rare-breed steaks to suit every wallet – skirt, sirloin and prime bone-in-rib and on Sunday’s there’s a generous roast with seasonal changing accompaniments. Puddings also have an Italian twist with options such as Espresso Semifreddo, Burnt Meringue, Caramel, Hazelnuts and feature seasonal fruit like Blood Orange Chocolate Mousse.
A new bar menu launched in January for this seeking something more casual to snack on in the characterful bar or the comfortable and cosy lounge. Enjoy a Coronation Sutton Hoo Chicken Sandwich, steamed mussels with Aspall cider or a charcuterie platter to share with friends or indulge in Jack’s Snack based on chef Jack’s midnight fridge raid. Drinks are just as important as the food and are sourced from producers who are as passionate about what they do - ales from Crouch Vale Brewery or Adnams and an eclectic award-winning wine list brimming with rare treats.
Seven beautiful en-suite bedrooms, all individually decorated with sumptuous beds and luxurious linen, retain their centuries-old character and are a perfect place to unwind. Rooms at the front overlook the beautiful church while those at the back enjoy views over the garden. Breakfast (which is also available to non-residents) includes classics like Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and a Fry-up with local sausages and bacon as well as a more unusual Spinach and mushroom omelette with smoked cheese.