Stunning Landscape Photography from Local Artist

We're thrilled to showcase stunning landscape photography from Harwich and Dovercourt artist Tom Sims; who offers a range of canvases, prints and framed prints showcasing the beauty of our seaside town from his shop in Kingsway. Visit the website for more information.

All aboard the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry!

The Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry is the best way to see the local area, with daily trips across to Felixstowe and Shotley, and seal watching tours over to Hamford Water. We took the passenger boat to Felixtowe and the Landguard Nature Reserve - this is a must-see experience with a stunning sandy beach waiting for you to discover, as well as plenty of wildlife, and the excellent Landguard Fort.

First time at Dovercourt Beach

On my recent visit to Dovercourt Bay I was seriously impressed by the standard of stunning shingle beach - what a treat! Walk along the prom and feel transported back to Victorian England with its quaint beach huts, ices, miniature yachting pond and iconic lighthouse structures built in the 1860s. Nowhere else I have been in Essex can match what's on offer at Dovercourt: history, natural beauty, blue-flag beaches and plenty going on! Thank you Dovercourt, I'll be back with the family.


Tour de Tendring


The Tour de Tendring, a cross-district bike ride, returned once again for its 26th year, on June 2.

Setting off from Dovercourt Bay Lifestyles leisure centre, cyclists embarked upon a 6, 20 or 60-mile ride around the Tendring countryside in aid of the Essex Wildlife Trust.

This popular event coincided with the hugely successful Dovercourt Skatepark Jam at the skatepark, next to Dovercourt Bay Lifestyles.



Seven beaches in Tendring have been handed prestigious awards by Keep Britain Tidy.

The beaches at Brightlingsea, Dovercourt Bay, Harwich, Frinton, Walton-on-the-Naze and the town’s Albion beach, and Martello Bay in Clacton have all been given Seaside Awards in recognition of their quality.

In addition the beaches at Dovercourt Bay and Brightlingsea retained their Blue Flag status, with all Tendring seafronts retaining their accreditation. This is a huge boost to Essex' coastal towns, with neighbouring region Suffolk losing their Blue Flag.

Mike Carran, Tendring District Council’s Head of Sport and Leisure, said the awards reflected just how important seafronts are to the area.

“Our beaches right around the district are a brilliant asset, not just for residents but also for tourists and the whole tourism industry,” he said.

“We recognise this and invest so much in them – from our Beach Patrol service in the holidays, improvements to our seafronts and promenades, or even creating beautiful new beaches as we did in Holland-on-Sea, and which we are now improving access to with ongoing cliff stabilisation scheme. This recognition is a great advert for the Essex Sunshine Coast, and it should be remembered it is not easy to keep, let alone gain, Blue Flag and Seaside Award status. We will continue to look after our beaches for the benefit of all.”

Image shows (from left) seafronts business manager Yana Humphreys, Mike Carran Head of Sport and Leisure, and Beach Patrol warden Andy Brouard with a Blue Flag at Dovercourt Bay Beach. Picture: Matt Cattermole/TDC



Historic Harwich Photo Competition

Thank you to everyone who got snap-happy throughout March, tagging wonderful photos from around Harwich and Dovercourt as part of our Instagram competition.

Will Green's brilliant drone-shot of Dovercourt Bay showing a completely fresh perspective of the iconic High and Low lighthouses was chosen by local photographer Jason Bergdahl as the stand-out winner; but choosing was tricky as there were so many brilliant entries.

Some of the photo entries are below, enjoy!













Instagram Photo Competition

We are regularly so inspired by all of the amazing local photography shared on Instagram, that we want to say thank you with a photo competition!

We're looking for exciting captures from professionals and amateurs alike, whether you have a top-spec camera, drone or a smart phone! To enter your Harwich and Dovercourt photo, follow @historicharwich1620 on Instagram and share your pic using #historicharwich during March. We'll be picking our favourite to win a three course dinner for two with house wine at the Pier, Harwich.

Competition will be drawn on April 1st 2019 and announced on the Historic Harwich Instagram profile.


Terms and Conditions

Photo © Juozas Sungalia


Structural Surveys Begin on Lower Leading Light

Structural Surveys will begin on Dovercourt's Lower Leading Light

Work to assess the condition of Dovercourt’s lower Leading Light will begin this week. Scaffolding will be erected by Tendring District Council (TDC) contractors to allow specialists access to the heritage building in Dovercourt Bay.

Due to the location of the historic lighthouse in the bay itself the work will take some time as the building can only be accessed during low tide when the causeway is uncovered. The aim is to complete the works before the Easter holidays, but as with any such project this is dependent on weather conditions and no unforeseen issues.

Works being carried out include pest control activity to tackle pigeons, an asbestos survey and the condition survey itself. A condition survey has already been completed on the shore-based Leading Light.

Although the number of people visiting the lighthouse at this time of year is minimal, the public are being warned to stay away from the building while the scaffolding is in place and work is ongoing.

Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said this was an important piece of work.

“The Leading Lights are an iconic part of the Dovercourt Bay landscape, often featuring in photographs and artwork of the area,” Cllr Skeels said. “It is therefore important that we look after them, and this survey will inform future discussions with Historic England about their future. I would reiterate the warning for people not to be tempted to climb on the scaffolding, as you would not with any other building site. I would also like to thank the seafronts team for their hard work in pulling together what is quite a complex project involving several specialist contractors and tide times and heights.”

Harwich Haven Authority: A Short Film

We'd love to share this fantastic short film created by Harwich Haven Authority, starring pier master Mike Doogan. Roll on Summer 2019!


St Nicholas arrives by boat

Last week crowds of youngsters gathered on Ha'penny Pier to greet St Nicholas as he was welcomed ashore by Harwich mayor Charlie Powell. The merry onlookers braved the rain to greet the figure dressed in traditional red robes, complete with shiny white beard, who was bought to land by Harwich RNLI lifeboat crew. Tendring Brass Band played Christmas songs, to get everyone into the festive spirit.

Image courtesy of Harwich and Manningtree Standard.

Electric Palace Restoration Continues

The restoration work at Harwich's Electric Palace Cinema is now well underway after a delayed start and a few hold-ups.
The main part of the work is to inspect and stabilise the 107 year-old fibrous plaster ceiling, which means that the roof needs to be removed.

The scaffolding should be up by the middle of December, and the roof stripped by Christmas, meaning the plasterwork can begin in the new year.

If the project goes ahead smoothly the cinema should be able to open once again by the end of June 2019.


Harwich was lit up at the end of last week for the annual Illuminate Festival, celebrating the historic town’s links to the ship that founded America.

The Mayflower sailed to the New World in 1620 carrying the Pilgrim Fathers, and both the ship and its Captain, Christopher Jones, were from Harwich. To celebrate the voyage the Illuminate Festival is held in Harwich on the day after Thanksgiving each year, consisting of a torch-light procession through the town including giant torches resembling the ship and Captain Jones.

This year key landmarks, including Captain Jones’ house and the High and Low Lighthouses, were also lit up for the parade and musical performances on The Green afterwards.

Around 100 people are estimated to have taken part in the parade, with hundreds watching on. A number of local schoolchildren were involved, having taken part in a workshop in the week leading up to the event to make their own lanterns.

Illuminate is run by the Harwich Festival on behalf of Tendring District Council. Michael Offord, general manager of the Harwich Festival, said it was a great event – with even more planned for next year when the Illuminate Festival will kick start a year-long celebration of the 400th anniversary of The Mayflower’s sailing.

“It was fantastic to see so many people taking part this year and really lighting up Harwich,” he said.

“The town’s links to The Mayflower are really something the community can be proud of and take ownership of, and the Illuminate Festival is a big demonstration of that. I would like to thank everyone who took part, from the organisers, performers and those who made lanterns, to those who came to watch, and together made the event the spectacle it was. It won’t be long before we start planning something really special for next year, when Illuminate Festivals at Mayflower destinations across the country will launch a year of celebrations.”


Harwich to commemorate one of its heroes

The Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre are pleased to announce that it has arranged for the nationally important Cavell Van to be on display in Harwich from the 5th to the 14th July 2019.

The Cavell Van transported the repatriated body of Captain Fryatt to London in 1919 and then on to Dovercourt where he is now buried. The carriage also repatriated the body of nurse Edith Cavell to Norwich and the remains of the unknown warrior who is now famously interred in Westminster Abbey.

July 8th 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the repatriation of the remains of Captain Fryatt, following his capture and execution by the Germans in July 1916 for his attempt to ram a U-boat.  Captain Fryatt received a state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral and is buried in All Saint’s church yard in Upper Dovercourt. His grave has recently been restored with the support of the Rail Heritage Trust.

The van will be available to visit at the Mayflower Heritage Centre in George Street Harwich from 5th to 14th July 2019 which will directly coincide with the anniversary of Captain Fryatt’s burial. We will be hosting a number of commemorative events while the carriage is with us.

We anticipate significant public interest in this commemoration: when the carriage was displayed in Norwich it received over 10,000 visitors.


German U-boats' Harwich surrender

World War One at Home: German U-boats' Harwich surrender

"Dozens of German U-boats officially surrendered to the Allied forces shortly after the Armistice in November 1918, to become one of the most unusual tourists attractions ever seen off the Essex coast.

It is estimated up to 200 U-boats, along with various other German ships and support machinery, were escorted by British ships into the River Stour estuary.

The commanding officer of the Harwich Force, Admiral Tyrwhitt, gave strict orders to his sailors there was to be "no communication whatsoever" with the Germans.

The fleet stretched for two miles (3km) down the river outside Parkeston Quay, Harwich.

As part of the BBC World War One at Home series, Shaun Peel reports."

You can watch the footage here.

Poppies by the Pier

Wander towards the Ha'penny Pier and you won't miss the eye-catching display of poppies that has sprung up by the Navy Yard.

This sea of red adorning the Quay is the handywork of the British legion and Harwich Dock Company to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The poppies will be on display until Sunday, November 11 to remember those who died during the conflict.


The house which once belonged to the captain of The Mayflower – the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America – is to be opened as a tourist attraction to mark the 400th anniversary of the boat’s historic sailing.

Captain Christopher Jones, from Harwich, led the voyage to the New World in 1620 which carried the people who would become the founders of the United States of America.

Now Tendring District Council (TDC) has agreed a lease of his former home in King’s Head Street which will allow it to be opened to visitors in 2020 for the 400th anniversary celebrations.

A significant part of the house has already been restored to expose its original features, and TDC will now carry out works on the home to make it accessible to visitors and look at developing the offer – such as with exhibits – while the Harwich Society will manage the attraction.

The arrival of The Mayflower is celebrated every year with Thanksgiving and millions of Americans can trace their roots back to the sailing.

There is much interest in the USA and elsewhere in The Mayflower story, and already travel operators are marketing tours of Harwich and other relevant destinations for the year 2020 and beyond.

TDC, and Harwich, are part of the Mayflower 400 Compact, an international consortium of destinations working together to promote tourism related to the historical moment.

There is also interest from the Netherlands, with Leiden and Rotterdam among the Mayflower 400 Compact members, because the Pilgrims lived there before the voyage to escape religious persecution in England.

Research has shown an authentic attraction such as Captain Jones’ House will appeal to US visitors.

Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said the house was a key part of Harwich’s visitor offer.

“Harwich is already a brilliant place to visit with lots of attractions such as the Ha’Penny Pier and Redoubt Fort, among countless others,” Cllr Skeels said.

“But with the surge of interest expected around the Mayflower 400 celebrations, Historic Harwich – home of The Mayflower – has so much more to offer people, especially those looking to follow in the footsteps of the Pilgrims.

“At the heart of that is Captain Christopher Jones’ house, and for visitors to be able to walk around his home will surely make this the jewel in the crown of the tourist offer.”

TDC, working closely with partners including the Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group and Visit Essex, has been working hard over the past few years to help Harwich benefit from the opportunities afforded to it by the Mayflower 400 celebrations.

A year of events will kick off in November 2019 with an Illuminate Festival.


For more information on this news release contact Tendring District Council’s Communications Manager Will Lodge on 01255 686338. 

Picture: Paul Nixon Photography/TDC


The RRS James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton are docked at Harwich International to stock up on valuable supplies before deploying to the Antarctic.

Whilst in Harwich the vessels loaded the two ships' stores with a diverse range of supplies, from snow mobiles and food, to construction materials and bonded goods, destined for the UK’s Antarctic bases.

Read more

Lightship LV18 arrives at Ipswich

Harwich Quay's iconic LV18 Lightship has moved!

The ex-Trinity House vessel has been taken to Ipswich temporarily while vital dredging and engineering works take place.

Turn the Tide on Plastics

Town’s beach clean-up event a massive success

More than 200 school-aged children and their families attended the Dovercourt beach clean event on Saturday 15 September organised by Harwich Haven Authority and Harwich Town’s Mayor and Mayoress Charlie and Kate Powell.

The initiative, in support of Harwich Haven Authority’s Turn the Tide on Plastics campaign, was focused on getting children involved with the local environment. Children from ten local primary schools, Scouts, Cubs and Brownies came along to support the event.

Armed with bags and litter pickers enthusiastic helpers roamed the beach and promenade areas of Dovercourt in search of unwanted rubbish. In total the group successfully filled in excess of 30 full black bin bags.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we received from local Harwich and Dovercourt families who were keen to get involved,” say Fiona Brunning, communications manager, Harwich Haven Authority.

“The blue flag beach at Dovercourt Bay is a massive asset to the town and as guardians of the Harwich Haven we are determined that future generations will also be able to enjoy its beauty.

“The success of the beach clean certainly shows that the local community – especially the younger generation - really are concerned about the damage plastic can cause to our seas and oceans.

“It was a really fun morning and we would like to thank Asda, Morrisons, Tendring District Council, the Harwich Town Mayor and Mayoress for their invaluable support.”

For more information contact: Fiona Brunning, Communications Manager, Harwich Haven Authority

Tel: 01255 252310


Free Wifi on Ha'Penny Pier

This week the Harwich Haven Authority announced that they will be providing FREE wifi to visitors to the Ha'Penny Pier and pontoon areas. To get connected simply go to the HAPENNY PIER network, with no need for a password.

"We know how important staying touch is ... so we have installed a new public WiFi service that covers most areas of the Pier and Pontoons. It should be a useful service for both local and visiting yachts as well as for the people of Harwich and Dovercourt."

Electric Palace restoration

The Electric Palace is currently closed for major restoration work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Following the acquisition of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Harwich town's beloved Electric Palace cinema is undergoing a makeover that is set to see the final stages of its £704,000 restoration take shape. The condition of the building’s ceiling is to be thoroughly checked and stabilised, requiring removal and renovation of the roof. In addition, the auditorium will be redecorated and the stage will be made bigger. Work is expected to take around 6 months - check The Electric Palace website for further information and updates.

Turn the Tide on Plastics

Harwich Haven Authority have launched a new campaign this week to raise awareness about the impact plastic is having on the local marine environment. The campaign is aimed towards local residents, commercial and leisure operators and the thousands of leisure vessels that visit the Haven each year.

[Read the full article]


On the Pilgrim Trail

In two years time the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in New England will be celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ahead of this anniversary, I jetsetted to the Old World — in considerably less time and much, much more comfort than the Pilgrims could have ever imagined — to discover the places they left in pursuit of a new life in present-day America.

My first stop was Harwich (population 17,684) in Essex, a county to the east and north of London on the North Sea coast... [read the full article here ]

- The Christian Post

Making a Mayor

Each year, on the third Thursday in May, a Mayor is appointed in a traditional ceremony at the Guildhall (the town’s 17th century Grade I listed building, which is currently home to Harwich Town Council).

The formal Mayor-making ceremony is followed by the ancient and happy tradition of 'kitchel-throwing' to properly commemorate the occasion. This convention is based on a centuries-old ritual that is unique to Harwich, and involves the Mayor and Mayoress and their assisting dignities throwing Kitchels (small spiced buns, baked locally) to local children from the Guildhall balcony. The children gesture from below in encouragement, and hold out their hands in excitement to catch the buns.

Watch the ceremony here.

Oh we do like a loo beside the seaside

A newly refurbished set of public toilets has been opened up on Harwich Quay.

Tendring District Council (TDC) has given the facility a new lease of life with the upgrade, which includes granite-style interiors and historic pictures of the area. The interior was reconfigured to provide a fully-accessible disabled toilet, where previously there was no disabled provision at the site. New all-in-one soap, water and hand drier sink units have been installed, and the area outside has also been paved and landscaped, making the whole area more attractive. The improvements cost around £30,000 to complete, with the works being carried out in-house by the Council – meaning it could spend a penny, rather than pounds. Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said he was impressed with the works.

“These new-look facilities are light, clean, and a real asset for the area,” he said.
“The Quay at Harwich is a tourist area, with a number of attractions nearby, and one set to become more popular as the Mayflower 400 celebrations gear-up for 2020.
“However, this amenity is just one example of our longer-term strategy for public toilets, where we have closed down some lesser-used facilities which cost a lot to maintain in areas where there are nearby alternatives, and invested in upgrading our remaining loos.”

For more information on this news release contact Tendring District Council’s Communications Manager Will Lodge on 01255 686338.
Attached image shows (from left) Ian Taylor, head of public realm, Cllr Mick Skeels, two members of TDC’s engineering team and Andrew Nepean, technical officer, outside the revamped toilets. Picture credit: Will Lodge/TDC

Harwich and Dovercourt beaches get the Blue Flag award

Harwich and Dovercourt beaches are again awarded blue flag status! This certification is awarded for beaches with high environmental and quality standards, including water quality, safety, environmental education and information displayed.


Seven beaches in Tendring have been awarded prestigious awards. The beaches at Brightlingsea, Dovercourt Bay, Harwich, Frinton, Walton-on-the-Naze and the town’s Albion beach, and Martello Bay in Clacton have all been given Seaside Awards in recognition of their quality.

In addition the beaches at Dovercourt Bay and Brightlingsea retained their Blue Flag status, with no Tendring seafronts losing accreditation. Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council (TDC) Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said the award was a reflection of the importance the authority placed on its seafronts.

“We know what a fantastic asset our beaches are right around the District, not only for our residents but in supporting the tourism industry. That is why we invest so much in them – whether it’s providing the Beach Patrol in the holidays, improving our seafronts and promenades, or even creating beautiful new beaches as we did with the sea defence scheme in Holland-on-Sea.

“Being recognised in this way – and it is not easy to keep, let alone gain, Blue Flag and Seaside Award status – is a great advert for our District. But we will not sit back now, and TDC will carry on maintaining these beaches for the benefit of everyone.”

For more information on this news release contact Tendring District Council’s Communications Manager Will Lodge on 01255 686338.
Attached image shows Danny Ayling from the Beach Patrol, Yana Humphreys and Lauren Fraser from the TDC Seafronts team, and Cllr Mick Skeels, with a Blue Flag at Martello Beach, Clacton. Picture: Will Lodge/TDC
GV images also available of the Martello Beach upon request.

The Beach Guide

The Mayflower Harwich - London Unattached

Journalist, Madeleine Morrow, recently visited Harwich, and gave her account on the town and the history of the Mayflower.

You can read the excellent review here:

Ha'Penny Pier Refurbishment

Ha’penny Pier undergoes second-stage refurbishment works

The second phase of a two-year programme of refurbishment works to Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, begins at the end of October 2017.

Harwich Haven Authority has appointed Essex-based Amicus Civil Engineering to carry out essential refurbishment of Harwich’s most iconic landmark and during phase two of the £340,000 project, which started in 2016, worn beams and piles will be replaced.

The planned works will be isolated to the far end of the pier and access to the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry and the Café on the Pier will not be affected.
“As Harwich’s most loved landmark and one of the last remaining working wooden piers in the UK we’re committed to maintaining and preserving Ha’penny Pier for future generations to enjoy,” says Neil Glendinning, chief executive, Harwich Haven Authority.

“The works have been planned outside of the Summer season to minimise disruption and the pier will be back open to the public in time for the New Year’s Eve Firework display.”
Historical Harwich

Harwich Haven Authority maintains the pier as a community assist, providing a home to the Harwich Society, which runs the visitors centre – a Grade 2 listed building and former ticket office.

Throughout its history Ha’penny Pier has been used by coastal paddle steamers, ferries, pilots boats, the Royal Navy and as a lifeboat station, and it still serves as a pick-up point for the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry. The pier is named after the original half penny toll charged to gain entry.

Article provided by the HHA

Mayflower 400 project conference

Mayflower 400 project conference

Businesses across Harwich and Dovercourt are invited to a conference providing an update on the Mayflower 400 project. The year 2020 marks 400 years since The Mayflower sailed from England to America, sparking what became the United States of America.


If you are travelling by car, the parking arrangements are set out below:


Getting there

Coming from the A120, please follow the signs for Harwich International Port and the Ferry & Cruise Terminals.



Free parking will be available in the Ferry Terminal Car Park only, which will be clearly signposted.

However, this does mean there is a short walk to get to the Cruise terminal.

This is done via the main stairs (or the lift) from the car park into the main ferry terminal building.

Once there, we will then have members of staff directing you down the escalators and along the main railway platform and into the Cruise terminal.

Trinity Light Vessel preservation

The ex-Trinity House vessel LV18 is the last surviving example of a manned light vessel in British waters, which has been preserved in its original configuration and restored to a high standard of authenticity.

The LV18 is owned by the Pharos Trust, a charity set up to preserve this important piece of maritime heritage, which is always ready to accept new volunteers with interest and enthusiasm, whether contributing expertise, restoration or maintenance skills, artefacts, ideas or financial donations.

10th Essex Regiment soldiers remembered with plaque

A NEW memorial to honour the 10th Essex Regiment is set to be unveiled for Remembrance Day. Many men who served in the regiment were from Harwich and its surrounding villages in Tendring.

It was formed in Brentwood, in 1914 and was part of Kitchener’s Second New Army formed from volunteers and known as a fighting battalion.

Doctor Ted Bailey, grandson of an Essex soldier, said: “It’s time to establish one more Essex Regiment memorial to mark the end of the centenary period.

“They fought constantly throughout the Great War and ended it with great success at Preux-au-Bois, in France.”

The regiment fought in a range of battles between 1916 and 1918 including the Battle of the Somme and the Third Battle of the Scarpe. Preux-au-Bois has been selected as an appropriate place to remember their losses and their success. With this memorial to be inaugurated on November 11, exactly 100 years after the Armistice, there will be four Essex Regiment memorials in Northern France.

Donations have reached over £1,000 since September but another £1,000 is needed to pay for a structural support for the plaque. For more information on the memorial and how to donate email [email protected].

Seal Watching

There are currently over 70 seals in the Walton backwaters, a small but healthy breeding population which has risen from only 5 in 1986.

The colony of both harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are unusually of a russet colouration for much of the year due to the iron oxide-rich mud on to which they haul out.

The seals enjoy resting on the mudbanks, and prefer areas where rivers flow into the sea, like the backwaters, because these waters are permanently ice-free.