TWO picturesque north Essex villages have been named in the country’s most beautiful villages to visit in 2021.

As staycations boom this summer, everyone is looking for the perfect spot for a well-earned break and both Dedham and Castle Hedingham have made a list of the top 30 spots to spent time.

In the table, by the Telegraph, Dedham is described as a “plumb in the heart of Constable Country” but despite being a popular location Dedham is “charmingly unspoilt with a thriving community”.

Sheila Beeton from Dedham Parish Council said the river is one of the village's biggest attractions but it is not without its challenges.

She added: “People just love living here. It is a small rural village in a very pleasant setting.

“The centre of the village is a conservation area so there are lots of limits on development and construction.

“There has been a lot of building in and around Colchester and lots of houses have very small gardens so young families with children often come to the village so their kids can enjoy the outdoors.”

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Sheila said that during the pandemic there has been an influx of people to the village, leading to problems with parking.

She added: “It’s a two-handed thing because we haven’t got the facilities for the amount of parking needed.

“We managed to get some double yellow lines installed about 18 months ago but it’s not really sufficient.

“But it does not deter people from coming, when the sun is shining it’s like Brighton beach here by the river.

“When houses come on the market they do seem to go very quickly, it seems to be a special place for people."

Experts whittled down the top 30 bucolic locations in England to help holiday makers find the best staycation for them.

Castle Hedingham also made the list.

The village is pitched as “quieter village” with a “trinity of delights” including the quaint High Street, a late Norman church and Colne Valley Railway.

Councillor Gary Southgate said the Hedingham Castle is one of the biggest pulls to the area.

Mr Southgate added: “It’s nice to know that we have been recognised, particularly with all the hard work all that has been going on behind the scenes.

“The village has really pulled together during the pandemic with all the volunteers keeping the village looking nice and helped one another.

Other beauty spots named on the list include Castleton in the Peak District, St Mawes in Cornwall, Walberswick and Orford, both in Suffolk and Burnham Market and Blakeney in Norfolk.