Visitors may remember the Lovejoy series, many episodes of which were filmed in the area. This circular tour takes in Long Melford, Clare and Halstead, each of which has an interesting variety of antique shops and warehouses. The tour involves about an hour and a half of driving (45 miles) and can occupy a full day if you visit some of the additional places of interest en-route.
Leave Lavenham on the Sudbury road and turn right at the Church on the Bridge Street road. After two and a half miles turn left at the A134 cross road towards Long Melford and Clare. After a mile or so turn right towards Long Melford and drive through the village on the main road (Hall Street) until you reach the Melford Antiques and Interiors warehouse on the left. You should be able to park off the street at the front. There are plenty of other things to do in Long Melford and in particular Kentwell Hall and Melford Hall, both of which are worth a separate visit.
Leave Long Melford in the direction that you came, following the sign to turn left towards Clare on the A1092. Along this road (after the Glemsford turning) look out for the Gratcom showroom on the left where there is an interesting colletion of Asian antiques, accessories and interiors. Stay on the A1092, passing through the attractive village of Cavendish, and then, entering Clare turn left at the T junction by the Bell Hotel. Look out for the Clare Country Park signs and follow this route to park in the pay and display car park next to Clare Antiques and Interiors. Toilets and information on Clare is available in the park.
Leave Clare and turn left at the end of the Country Park road and, after 500 yards, turn left into Ashen Road and then left again after half a mile towards The Belchamps. This country lane takes you through Belchamp St Paul, Tilbury Juxta Clare and then Great Yeldham where you turn left onto the A1017 towards Halstead. On the way pass (or visit) the Colne Valley Railway and also Hedingham Castle. After Castle Hedingham look out for a left turn on to the A1124 towards Halstead. Into Halstead turn right at the mini roundabout and drive through the town until you reach the second mini roundabout by the Esso garage. Turn left here and follow the signs to the car park for Townsford Mill Antiques Centre and Dickens Restaurant and Cafe Bar.
Leave Halstead on the A131 towards Sudbury and then the B1115 through Waldingfield towards Lavenham.