Essex

Coastal Encounters

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Overview

Start at historic Colchester before heading for the scenery of Constable Country. Head to the coast to enjoy Harwich and the views from Walton on the Naze. Take in the traditional seaside town charm of Clacton on Sea before arriving at the Beth Chatto Gardens. Take in the scenery of Mersea Island before arriving at Layer Marney Tower.

Colchester

England’s oldest recorded town dates back over 2000 years and there are many Roman ruins and artefacts in the town’s museums. The Norman Keep of Colchester Castle was built on the foundations of the Roman temple destroyed by Boudicca; whilst over the road is the Colchester Natural History Museum. You can also enjoy a visit to Colchester Zoo.

Dedham

A charming village of Georgian houses and old cashing inns in the heart of Constable country where you can enjoy the River Stour and surrounding countryside of the Essex / Suffolk border including Flatford Mill. Maybe hire a rowing boat or explore the walking in Dedham Vale.

Harwich

The port town of Harwich is packed with history. From the building of the Mayflower by the Pilgrim Fathers to the Harwich Redoubt fortress there is plenty to do. Pay a visit to the Electric Palace Cinema, Low Lighthouse, Lifeboat Museum or Ha’Penny Pier.

Walton on the Naze

Enjoy the long stretches of beach, head for the pier – the second longest in the country or go fossil hunting at the Red Crag cliffs. Trinity Tower was built in 1720 to help coastal craft navigate the river estuaries – take in the views of Felixstowe and the Suffolk coast and enjoy refreshments in the tearoom.

Clacton-on-Sea

Head to Clacton to enjoy traditional seaside entertainment – take in the beaches, play the arcade amusements, enjoy the pleasure pier and visit the local theatres.

Jaywick Martello Tower

The 19th century Napoleonic fort is one of a number sight on the Essex coast but this one is open to the public. Explore the history and take in the views of the Essex coast. Time your visit right and you might discover an art exhibition inside.

The Beth Chatto Gardens

Enjoy the world famous 6 acres of gardens including woodland, scree, gravel and water gardens showing what can be achieved from poor soils. There is a tearoom for refreshments and a nursery / garden centre with 2,000 plant varieties including many unusual ones.

Mersea Island

There is plenty to do on Mersea Island – take in the views, enjoy the beaches or visit the lifeboat station. Nature lovers can explore the estuaries and take in an abundance of birdlife and wildlife including red squirrels.

Layer Marney

Take in historic Layer Marney Tower – a 99 step climb to the top of the tower will give you some great panoramic views across the Blackwater River. Enjoy the gardens, a wander through the farm and see the deer park before taking in refreshment at the tearoom.

Animal / WildlifeCultureHistory+1 more

Overview

1

Colchester

2
8.8 miles

Dedham

3
15.6 miles

Harwich

4
12.9 miles

Walton on the Naze

5
8.3 miles

Clacton-on-Sea

6
3.6 miles

Jaywick Martello Tower

7
12.1 miles

The Beth Chatto Gardens

8
12.9 miles

Mersea Island

9
10.2 miles

Layer Marney

What to see and do…

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Imperial Bird of Prey Academy

Imperial Bird of Prey Academy, Barleylands Farm Park, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD

Downham Hall

Downham Hall, Castledon Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 1LG

Rope Runners Ltd

The Secret Nuclear Bunker, Ongar Road, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 0LA

Parlour Cafe

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Creeksea Disc Golf and Football Golf Course

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Creeksea Place Barns

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Suenos Guesthouse

Suenos Guesthouse, 184 Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 3AA

The PitStop

The PitStop, The Morgan Garage, Little Hallingbury, Essex, CM22 7RA

Milsoms

Stratford Road, Dedham, Colchester, Essex, CO7 6HW

Maison Talbooth

Stratford Road, Dedham, Colchester, Essex, CO7 6HN

The Pier at Harwich

The Quay, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3HH

Mulberry Retreat and Leisure Limited

Mulberry House, Chelmsford Road, High Ongar, Essex, CM5 9NL

About the Coastal Encounters Trail

Distance: 84 miles
Cites / Towns: 9
Number Of Businesses: 21

Enjoy a visit to Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England with its castle and museums. Take a walk on the wild side at Colchester Zoo before heading for the beauty of Constable Country, scene of the famous Hay Wain painting.

Visit historic Harwich to get views of the coast before looping inland to arrive back on the coast at Walton on the Naze to enjoy the panoramic views from Walton Tower. Trace the Essex coastline to arrive in the seaside town of Clacton on Sea to enjoy the traditional seaside amusements and atmosphere.

Head inland to the wonderful Beth Chatto Gardens before journeying to the beautiful Mersea Island. Head back across the causeway to finish up at Layer Marney Tower.

Animal / Wildlife
Culture
History
Walking

Historic Colchester

Explore the fascinating history of Colchester – enjoy the castle built on the site of a Roman temple, explore the artefacts in the museums and take in the Roman ruins in England’s oldest recorded town.

Constable Country

Escape to the natural beauty that inspired the works of Constable. Enjoy the scenery of Dedham Vale – an area of outstanding natural beauty. May be hire a boat, row along the River Stour or may be take a walk to Flatford.

Coastal Delights

Often overlooked, the Essex coast is home to some splendid views and scenery. From the bustle of Clacton to the peace and tranquillity of Mersea Island, to the history of Walton on the Naze and Harwich there is plenty to see and do.

Also Nearby

Imperial Bird of Prey Academy

Imperial Bird of Prey Academy, Barleylands Farm Park, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD

Downham Hall

Downham Hall, Castledon Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 1LG

Rope Runners Ltd

The Secret Nuclear Bunker, Ongar Road, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 0LA

Parlour Cafe

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Creeksea Disc Golf and Football Golf Course

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Creeksea Place Barns

Creeksea Place Farm, Ferry Rd, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8PJ

Suenos Guesthouse

Suenos Guesthouse, 184 Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 3AA

The PitStop

The PitStop, The Morgan Garage, Little Hallingbury, Essex, CM22 7RA