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Pocket Guide: Harwich

The port of Harwich is not only the second busiest passenger ferry port in the country, it also boasts a rich seafaring history which is evident throughout the town too. This is where the famous ship The Mayflower was built, and you can visit the yard where a replica is currently being built; it's due to set sail on its 400th anniversary voyage in 2020. Couples and families enjoying a coastal break in Harwich will find two-star independent hotels with sea views and three-star guest houses offering characterful accommodation, so there are options to suit all budgets.

Uncover Harwich's Maritime History

After a delicious full English breakfast at your hotel (often prepared using locally-sourced ingredients), what better way to uncover the town's history than by heading off on the Maritime Heritage Trail? Guided walking tours leave from the visitor centre on the Quay daily during the summer months. Along the way you'll see sights such as Redoubt Fort. Built in 1808 as protection against Napoleonic Invasion, the fort holds events throughout the summer such as battle re-enactments that make for a great family day out. The Lifeboat Museum and Low Lighthouse Maritime Museum are both worth visiting - the views from the top of the latter across the harbour are simply stunning.

If you have time, it's worth visiting Beacon Hill Fort's old Radar Tower, the first to be installed during World War II. You'll need to book as this is only opened on request at the Harwich Visitor Centre. Or why not head for the Electric Palace cinema to catch a movie? Opened in 1911, this was one of the UK's first cinemas and today boasts actor Clive Owen as its patron.

Family-Friendly Hotels in Harwich

Harwich's family-friendly hotels and B&Bs offer comfortable accommodation with all the amenities you could need for a relaxing stay. Free WiFi makes it easy to share holiday pictures on social media, whilst in-room amenities such as tea and coffee makers and flat-screen TVs helps to keep everybody happy. Most hotels are just a short walk from the harbour and the centre of town, although if you bring the car, free parking at your hotel is usually available.