Harwich is a bustling port city with a proud maritime heritage. Enjoy traditional bucket-and-spade fun on the Blue Flag beach, stroll along the historic pier and explore centuries-old coastal forts. As one of the busiest passenger ferry ports in the country, Harwich is a gateway to both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Things to do in Harwich
Swim, sunbathe and build sandcastles at Dovercourt Beach. The Blue Flag beach is fringed by gold sand and a breezy promenade. A pair of historic cast iron lighthouses overlook the beach and add to the seaside charm.
Ha'penny Pier juts into the harbour and is one of the best-preserved wooden piers in the United Kingdom. The blue-and-white Victorian pier is a beloved local landmark and symbol of seaside nostalgia. Enjoy a cup of tea at the café and watch locals reel in crabs.
Circle-shaped Harwich Redoubt Fort wraps around the port and commands sweeping views over the harbour. It was built in the early 1800s to defend Harwich against invasion from the French Empire. The Grade II heritage-listed fort has been reimagined as an engaging military museum, complete with cannons and battle re-enactment events. Across the bay is Landguard Fort, another centuries-old stronghold that guards the mouth of the River Orwell. Explore the maze of passageways and climb up to the bastion for fantastic views.
Seal-watching boat tours depart from Harwich and get you up close with the adorable marine mammals. Most tours sail to Hamford Water National Nature Reserve, where you can see dozens of seals basking on the muddy shoreline.
Getting around Harwich
Harwich is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. The Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry departs from Ha’Penny Pier and sails across the harbour to Felixstowe and Shotley. Trains run between Harwich and London in 1.5 hours. The town is a one-hour drive from London Stansted Airport and two hours from Heathrow Airport.