Paddle 'n' Pub

The River Stour

The River Stour forms most of the county boundary between Suffolk to the north, and Essex to the south. It passes through Sudbury, Nayland, Stratford St Mary, Dedham and flows through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It becomes tidal just before Manningtree in Essex and joins the North Sea at Harwich.

Along this majestic stretch of around 26 miles there is much to celebrate; the scenery, the wildlife, the history, the many influences to some artistic masterpieces. To allow yourself the time to reflect on the many beauties that the River Stour has to offer, there are a number of public houses on the banks that are worth a mention here and a visit there.

Paddle these pubs

From our base in Sudbury, we offer the opportunity to hire our canoes, kayaks and paddle boards for your leisurely paddle down the River Stour. For each destination, we offer a Paddle 'n' Pub paddle adventure that is available to book here through our website.


Set on the banks of the picturesque River Stour, directly opposite our base in Sudbury. With a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere, fresh daily specials and regular live entertainment. Riverside Bar is also available to hire for any special occasion.

This is an ideal stop for post paddle refreshments after one of our half day return paddle adventures.

“You can chill out and experience this tranquil restaurant and bar if it’s just a drink try our new bar area listen to music sitting outside on the decking area or book a table in the restaurant.”​

Henny Swan

Our first stop along the River Stour, roughly 1.5miles from our Sudbury base. The Henny Swan is an ideal afternoon return adventure. Our afternoon return paddle allows time for refreshment at the halfway point.

Independently owned riverside pub and restaurant in the pretty hamlet of Henny. With a range of draught beers, fantastic views across the valley from a large garden by the river and a restaurant serving gastro pub favourites with imaginative twists. Dogs are welcome in the bar and lounge area.

“Enjoy stunning views of the Stour Valley countryside from our gorgeous restaurant and lounge areas. Head chef James Wright and his team serve contemporary pub favourites and classic cuisine with imaginative twists. A fantastic value set menu is served Tuesday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) with specials served at the weekend including roasts on a Sunday. An outside dining area is available May to August.”​

Lamarsh Lion

One of our favourite stops, technically it’s not actually on the river but requires a short (less than 5min) walk through the glorious Stour Valley after we’ve locked the boats to a tree. It’s roughly 3miles from our Sudbury hire base. This makes an ideal lunch stop on our day return or full day, one way to Bures, or the longer paddle to Nayland, the Lamarsh Lion offers complete flexibility on each of these paddle adventure.

Built in the 14th Century, now owned by the local community and located in the idyllic Essex countryside, famous for its connections with two iconic painters John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough, giving it the nickname “The Painters’ Pub”. A traditional country pub serving cask ales, wines and delicious home cooked meals. Dogs are welcome too, must be well behaved and kept on leads at all times.

“We pride ourselves on the quality of our “Beers” and have 4 pumps specifically for “Cask Ales”. We rotate over 20 regular ales as detailed below, and have special guest ales on offer”​

The Eight Bells

A local village pub, with local ales and good pub grub. Roughly 6miles from our Sudbury hire base. An ideal stop to celebrate the end of your Sudbury to Bures paddle adventure or an alternative/backup lunch stop on your Sudbury to Nayland paddle. Families and dogs welcome. With weekday specials that are always home made and Sunday lunch option.

"We always feature a range of local ales from breweries including the Colchester Brewery, Woodfordes, the Humpty Dumpty brewery and many more! A large proportion of our food is homemade, including the ever popular spotted dick and most of our weekday specials such as toad in the hole and steak and kidney pudding."​

The Anchor Inn

Roughly 12miles from our Sudbury base. The Anchor Inn is the ideal finsihing point on your Sudbury to Nayland paddle adventure. This 15th Century pub and restaurant, situated in the picturesque village of Nayland is ideally located on the banks of the River Stour. A beautiful and tranquil setting in which to relax, enjoy and indulge.

Although closed for refurbishment at present, there are plans to reopen in 2020.

This is also a brilliant option for Canoe Campers looking for somewhere for dinner. It is also the staring point for our Nayland to Cattawade paddle adventure.

“The riverside location, warm welcome and fine selection of cask ales make this traditional village pub, a great destination. Perched on the banks of the River Stour, the Anchor offers a wonderful al fresco setting and is a cosy and atmospheric winter bolthole. Look out for specials from the on-site smokehouse providing home-smoked meat, cheese and fish throughout the year.”​

The Swan Inn

With a history stretching back to the 16th century, The Swan is a truly authentic village pub with restaurant in the heart of Constable Country by the leafy banks of the river Stour. Located in the village of Stratford St Mary, this is an ideal lunch stop on our Nayland to Cattawade adventure paddle.

“Set foot in our passionately run, freehouse pub and restaurant and on offer is heart-felt food from local, seasonal produce, fascinating craft beers and cask ales, as well as top class wines”​

National Trust Flatford Tea Room

OK. Not technically a pub! These delightful tea rooms do however, sell beer. With its meandering River Stour, Flatford is situated in the heart of the delightful Dedham Vale. Visit the scenes that made John Constable famous while relaxing in the riverside tea-room. Another charming refreshment alternative on your Nayland to Cattawade paddle adventure.

About us

Stour Valley Adventure Centre operate both guided and self-guided (hire only) trips on the river Stour from our riverside storage at Sudbury (Suffolk). Canoe / Kayak / Paddleboard trip options range from hourly 'have a go' and half day 'Paddle'n'Pub' to one-way and multi-day canoe camping adventures. Group Walks, Multi-family Camping, Wild Swimming and Cycle Hire are also available.

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