Harwich is the UK's second busiest passenger ferry port. Its large harbour was created by a storm surge in the 1100s - a quirk of fate that gave rise to the area’s long and fascinating seafaring history.
The attractive old town was built on a grid pattern, in the 13th Century, by the Earl of Norfolk, to exploit its strategic position at the mouth of the Stour/Orwell estuary. The famous seafarers Hawkins, Drake and Frobisher all sailed from Harwich during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I on various expeditions.
Visit Harwich to explore the early home town of Christopher Jones and the Mayflower Ship. Follow the Maritime trail and see the Ha'Penny Pier and Visitor Centre, the Low Lighthouse Maritime Museum and the Lifeboat museum - where you can get on board a life boat.
Thames Sailing barges were built in Harwich until 1930. Unique to Britain is the Treadwheel Crane, built in 1667 the crane was worked by men walking in the interior of two large wheels to raise and lower goods materials.
Follow the quaint streets past the Electric Palace Cinema, built in 1911 and now the oldest unaltered purpose built cinema in Britain. St Nicholas Church which was rebuilt 1821 and The Redoubt Fort which was built in 1808 as a large circular fort to protect the harbour from a Napoleonic invasion.
The Harwich Society offer excellent guided tours, also available for groups.