We weren't sure what to expect - Mrs DW used to go there a lot as a child, but not recently, and I'd been there once abour 25 years ago. We rather expected it to be awash with American and Japanese tourists. However, we arrived quite early and it was surprisingly quiet and peaceful.
Since there was no queue, we decided to go for a boat ride on the River Stour. A little electric boat took us up the river from Flatford towards Dedham for 15 minutes, turned around and brought us back.
It was a bit 'twee', but the boys enjoyed it and the two 'crew' were quite amusing (inadvertantly). Mrs DW was slightly miffed to be asked to change seats for 'weight distribution' but said this was due to the large couple who followed us on, rather than her.
After the boat ride, we sat by the river and consumed the coffee ad cake we'd brought with us. DW was a bit greedy, but no point carrying a few odd cakes with us for the rest of the day!
Then, along the riverbank to Dedham, which was very pleasant and enlivend by a herd of young catte which came bounding (do cows bound?) towards us. This wouldn't have been a problem, but the people on the boat trip had said that the weekend before, there had been a huge stampede when a woman let her Rottweiller dog off the lead.
Dedham's a beautiful, picture postcard village, only spoiled by the traffic and the rather large number of chavs gathered along the riverbank there (mostly from Essex, I'd guess) - one family every 10 metres.
Having said that, we were then a bit chavvy ourselves - stopping at the very nice Little Chef near Stowmarket for a 'chippy' tea. That's once we'd found it! We felt a bit sorry for the place - it used to be right on the A14 but now the new section of road has been built it's a bit off the beaten track.