Things to do Further Afield

Venture further into the countryside

Away from the centre of the towns, there is some beautiful picturesque countryside and surrounding villages to discover and explore in the wonderful great outdoors.

A haven for artists, nature lovers, sailors and the like, enjoy a breath of fresh air and head out and about locally in Harwich and surrounding areas. Whether you want to enjoy a leisurely walk or partake in a cycle ride you will find an interesting selection of outdoor pursuits. A must see is “Old Knobbly”, an ancient Oak Tree thought to be at least 800 years old located in the woods of Furze Hill, Mistley!

Harwich Foot Ferry

Take a stroll on one of the many local walks or cycle rides which take in some fantastic history and picturesque countryside. The coastline lends itself as a haven for windsurfing and paddle boarding amongst a host of other water based activities and events. The town is home to the Harwich Foot Ferry (bikes are welcome too!) offering a regular daily ferry service daily to the nearby Shotley Peninsular and Felixstowe. This service runs from Easter to November.

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The Essex Way

There are many great walks one can choose from which take in some of the fantastic history and picturesque countryside. The Essex Way is a long-distance footpath stretching for 82 miles right across Essex. Although it officially starts in Epping and ends in Harwich it is signposted both ways! If you only wanted to do part of it, a 16 mile walk will take you to Manningtree, where you can pick up a train to return you to Harwich. This route will take you cross country to the Stour estuary, through to Wrabness and then through Copperas Wood, a 12 hectare nature reserve that has been traditionally used for Sweet Chestnut and Hornbeam coppicing. You’ll also pass Grayson Perry’s innovative house known as ‘A House for Essex’, which is on Black Bouy Lane.

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If you’ve only an hour to take in this charming town, then heading to the Ha’penny Pier is a must. Depending on the time of day you can see the fishermen haul in their catch, witness the sun going down on the coast or simply sit and watch the world go by.  As you walk down you’ll see the Lightvessel LV18 and the Harwich foot ferry on your way to coffee and cake at the Café on the Pier. There are certainly worse ways to spend an hour!

If you find yourself in this pleasant part of England’s east coast for a morning there are plenty of things to see and do. If you can wake at the crack of dawn it’s worth heading to the Ha’penny Pier to watch the day’s catch come in or perhaps try a spot of crabbing. The Lightvessel LV18 is moored here, which was used in the 60s and 70s for illegal off shore pirate Radio, and now home to a fantastic little museum which is well worth a visit.

From here it is a stone’s throw to the magnificent Pier hotel, where you can enjoy coffee or brunch in lovely surroundings.

If beaches are what you’re after, a visit to Dovercourt Bay is essential for its golden sand and panoramic views over the North Sea and Felixstowe Point. Here you can see the High and Low lighthouses which were in use until 1917.

Pop into cosy pub, the Alma Inn, after a bracing beach walk for traditional ales and a freshly caught lobster lunch.

The Redoubt Fort is a hidden gem, and Harwich’s must-see attraction. Allocate an afternoon to look round the battlements and unusual exhibits. Battle re-enactments, ghost hunts and beer festivals are held here throughout the summer months, so check the calendar to plan your visit.

There are many great accommodation options if you are looking to spend a weekend in Harwich, and plenty of activities to choose from while you are there!

Make sure to stock up on provisions for your stay at The White Coffee House, or drop into the Harwich Town Brewing Co. for a tour and some locally brewed ale (pre-booking is a must).

Seal watching tours depart for Hamford Water from The Quay on Ha’penny Pier, and are the only way to see and appreciate the creatures in their natural environment. This is a great trip for photography and wildlife enthusiasts, and is great fun for the whole family. When you return to the pier it is well worth checking out the Lifeboat museum before lunch.

Head to the Electric Palace Theatre in the afternoon to see the latest blockbuster, indie film, or National Theatre Live Production, and soak up the atmosphere inside the cinema’s beautifully restored interior. (Unfortunately the Electric Palace is currently closed for refurbishment, due to reopen in 2020).

Finish up the evening with dinner and drinks at the NAVYÄRD Bar.

Before you leave Harwich, make sure to visit the carefully restored Redoubt Fort with its excellent sea views and its weaponry collections. Finish your visit with traditional English fish and chips nearby at Piseas Chippy!

Things to do in Harwich


Dovercourt Bay

Ha'penny Pier

Further Afield