A PICTURESQUE part of north Essex has been ranked as one of the country's best towns and villages in the UK to visit.

Dedham came ninth in the list, compiled by consumer advice website Which?.

The service's users rated inland locations across a number of categories - food and drink, tourist attractions, attractiveness, scenery and peace and quiet.

More than 5,300 people responded to the survey before the results were collated and each of the towns and villages given an overall destination score.

Dedham scored a three out of five in food and drink and a three for tourist attractions.

It scored higher in the attractiveness and peace and quiet categories, picking up two fours.

Halstead Gazette:

Those surveyed gave it a five for scenery, obviously noticing the attraction of the surrounding Constable Country landscape.

Overall Dedham achieved a destination score of 84 per cent, putting it in ninth position in the list.

Avebury in Wiltshire was ranked top in the survey, with an overall destination score of 90 per cent.

No other locations in Essex were on the list, although Suffolk neighbour Lavenham, within half an hour of Colchester, scored 83 per cent.

Bury St Edmunds, also in Suffolk, made the list with 80 per cent.

Halstead Gazette:

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What makes Dedham so special?

The village is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Essex, drawing people from across the country and further afield.

The Essex village, which sits on the border with Suffolk on the banks of the River Stour, is famous for its connection to artist John Constable - hence it being part of Constable Country.

It is located just a short walk from the famous Flatford Mill and the scenery surrounding the river is truly stunning.

Halstead Gazette:

Dedham also has a collection of cafes, two pubs - the Marlborough and The Sun Inn - as well as several hotels and a handful of restaurants, including fine-dining destinations like Milsoms and Le Talbooth.

In the past it has been ranked as one of the most Instagrammable places in Britain.

Earlier this year the Telegraph ranked it as one of the top 30 most beautiful places to visit in Britain.

The Sunday Times also put Dedham Vale on its prestigious list of best places to live.

Halstead Gazette:

You can view the full results of the Which? survey here.