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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Harwich

Harwich is located on the South Eastern Coast of England and is one of the ‘Haven Ports’ (a group of three deep-water ports on the East Coast). It is part of the county of Essex and is approximately 28 kilometres from Colchester. The town has been built up around its port and shipping industry and has played an important role in the maritime and naval history on the East Coast of England.

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Why visit Harwich ?


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One of the Haven Ports

The town has been built up around its port and shipping industry

The town was established as a port for the Royal Navy in 1657 and some of the forts that were built still remain in the town today. The ‘Harwich Redoubt’, roughly 1 kilometre from the town centre, is a circular fort dating back to 1808, when it was built to defend Harwich from a possible invasion by Napoleon. The fort was positioned on a hilltop to give a panoramic view of the surrounding area. The Redoubt also served as a military detention centre in World War II. Today it is in the care of the Harwich society, and is open to the public daily, from 10am to 5pm, from the start of May to the end of August. ‘Beacon Hill Battery’ is an older fort, which was ordered to be built by Henry VIII in 1534. After 1625 the fort fell into disrepair, but was brought back into military service in the early 1800’s. The Beacon Hill Battery is accessible for the public, although it is not in the care of any society and has deteriorated somewhat.  

Another popular attraction is Harwich’s Maritime Museum, which is housed in an old lighthouse, roughly 1 kilometre from the town centre by the harbour, and offers views out to sea and the surrounding area. The Museum is home to many artefacts charting the history of the Royal Navy and shipping industry in Harwich. Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm daily, for the months of May to August.  

Also stationed inside a decommissioned lighthouse, is the National Vintage Wireless and Television Museum. It is a Grade I listed building and was erected in 1818. Here, the history of home entertainment is documented, from the 1920’s to the 1960’s and the exhibits are laid out chronologically across four different levels. The Lantern Room at the top provides views all around Harwich and the bay. The Museum is open from 12:30pm to 4:30pm Saturday and Sunday, from Easter to Whitsun (the forty-ninth day after Easter Sunday) and seven days a week from Whitsun to the end of September.  

The Ha’ Penny Pier is now home to the Mayflower exhibition. The Mayflower was a famous ship that brought the Pilgrims from Southampton to Plymouth, Massachusetts - landing at Cape Cod in 1620. Harwich was the birthplace and home for Christopher Jones, who was master and part owner of the ship. There is also a free information service on the locality offered to visitors. The Ha’ Penny Pier is open from 10am to 5pm daily, from May to August.  

There are two regular ferry services, connecting Harwich to Hook of Holland in the Netherlands and to Esbjerg in Denmark. Harwich is connected by rail to the larger, neighbouring towns of Ipswich and Colchester and is approximately a two-hour journey to central London. The nearest airport is Stansted International Airport, which offers flights to global destinations.

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