Harwich lies at the junction of two estuaries and the area forms one of the UK's major harbours (although most freight shipping operates from Felixstowe, a short distance over the water, rather than from Harwich). Ferries to northern Europe operate from adjacent Parkeston, while there are fast rail and road links to London.
The conurbation of Harwich, Dovercourt and Parkeston is served by 3 train stations. The town is on the Mayflower Line (a branch of the Great Eastern mainline), which is operated by Greater Anglia.
- 1 Harwich International, Parkeston Quay, Harwich, CO12 4SR. Largest of Harwich stations. Serves port and Parkstone area.
- 2 Harwich Town, George St, Harwich, CO12 3NA (5 minutes walk from the Ha'penny pier).
- 3 Dovercourt, Kingsway Harwich Essex CO12 3AG (just off Dovercourt High Street (the conurbation's main shopping area)).
There's an hourly local service between Harwich Town and Manningtree, calling at all stations. As of May 2011, a few services run to London Liverpool Street. If you are heading north to Ipswich or Norwich, change at Manningtree, cross the tracks via the underpass to Platform 3 and there's often a connecting service waiting on platform 3. From Harwich International (which is part of the Ferry Terminal), there is also the DutchFlyer train, which carries arriving and departing Stena Line passengers between the terminal and London Liverpool Street Main Line station. This train is usually more spacious (12 carriages instead of the usual 4 ) and is much faster than the local trains. There is also a twice-daily service to and from Cambridge (via Ipswich) which connects with the Stena Line ferry sailings.
The main route into Harwich is the A120 trunk road, which connects with the A12 at Colchester and the M11 near Stansted Airport. If coming from the Midlands along the A14, change to the A12 at Ipswich and then to the A120 at Colchester, or alternatively exit the A14 at Ipswich and take the A137 local road towards Manningtree and then take the B-roads towards Harwich - this way is more direct but slower as it uses narrow countryside roads.
Regional bus services terminate at Harwich Town Bus Station, opposite Harwich Town train station. There are two principal routes - services to Colchester run every 30 minutes and take about 1 hr 20 minures, and services to Clacton which run hourly and take just under 1 hour.
Most travellers arriving at Harwich will use the Harwich International Terminal at Parkeston Quay (approximately one mile west of the historic Harwich port area.
- There are several ferry services per day to Hook of Holland in The Netherlands, taking around 8 hours each way. The ferry port is easily accessible from the A120 road if travelling by car, and Harwich International railway station is directly connected to the ferry terminal building. The DutchFlyer mixed-mode ticket at £50 one way allows travel from any National Express East Anglia rail station (including London Liverpool Street, Cambridge and Norwich) to any Dutch Railways (NS) station including the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.
- 1 Harbour Ferry, The Quay, Harwich CO12 3HH, ☏ , email@example.com. April - October: 7 crossings per day between 9:30AM and 4:30PM. Ferry for foot passengers & bicycles from Felixstowe and Shotley £4.50.
The town in on National Cycle Route 51 running through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex, through the town from Felixstowe and then on to Colchester. The section between the town and Colchester forms part of EuroVelo 12 (the North Sea Cycle Route).
Harwich is fairly small and it is eay to walk between all the main sights. First Bus runs two urban bus routes, the most useful of which is route 20 or 20A which run every 30 minutes between Old Harwich and Parkeston International Ferry Terminal and also serves the Parkeston Retail Park. Local trains bound for Manningtree also link the three railway stations (see Get Around/Rail) every hour. Driving a car around Harwich is easy - traffic is light and parking in the town centre is cheap.
Local attractions include two lighthouses; the Electric Palace cinema, one of the oldest in Britain and now restored to its original state; the Redoubt fort, dating from the Napoleonic era; a lighthouse museum; a small beach; and of course ship-watching. Many attractions are open during the summer only.
- 1 Harwich Redoubt. 1 May-31 Aug: daily 10AM-5PM. A circular fort built in 1808 to defend the port, restored by volunteers from the Harwich Society.
- 2 Beacon Hill Battery, Barrack Ln, Harwich CO12 3NS. Late 19th/early 20th century coastal artillery fortification
- 3 Maritime Museum, The Low Lighthouse, Harbour Crescent, Harwich, CO12 3NL, Info@harwich-society.co.uk. May-Aug: F-Su 11AM-3PM. Adults £1; children free.
- 4 Lifeboat Museum, 6 Wellington Rd, Harwich, CO12 3EJ. May-Aug 10AM-5PM.
- 5 Ha'penny Pier, The Quay, Harwich, CO12 3HH. Wooden, working pier
- 6 LV18 Lightvessel (Right at the end of the A120.), ☏ (mobile). Mar-end Oct: daily 11AM-4PM. The last surviving example of a manned light vessel in British waters. Adults £2; children £1.
- 7 High Lighthouse, West Street, Harwich, CO12 3DQ, ☏ , Davidwhittle18@gmail.com.
- The Treadwheel Crane is the strange contraption on St Helen's Green, 100 yards east of the lighthouse. It worked from 1667 in the Navy dockyard but was moved here in 1932. The crane was powered by men walking within two wheels, which are within the pantiled hut, only open by arrangement. The main design flaw is that it doesn't have a brake, so if the load started to gather momentum, general wreckage could ensue.
- 8 Mayflower Project, The Railyard, George St, Harwich, CO12 3ND, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 9AM-5PM. Project to reconstruct a full sized seaworthy replica of the Mayflower vessel. Visitors Centre.
- Harwich Maritime Trail. Walking trail visiting many of the town's maritime sights.
- 1 Dovercourt Roller Skate Rink, Lower Marine Parade, Dovercourt, CO12 3ST, ☏ , email@example.com. Roller skate rink, cafe & ice cream parlour. Adult £5.50; children £4.50; plus skate hire.
- 2 Harbour Ferry River Cruises, The Quay, Harwich CO12 3HH, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 Harwich Sports Centre, Hall Lane, Dovercourt, CO12 3TB, ☏ . M-Th 9:45AM-10:30PM, F 9:45AM-8:30PM, Sa 10AM-1PM & 4-7PM, Su 10AM-1PM & 4-8PM. Squash, tennis, racketball, badminton, table Tennis, short tennis.
Shopping in Harwich is limited, although there are some art, antique and book stores. Nearby Dovercourt has a number of small supermarkets, mainstream high-street shops, banks and so on, while the Parkeston area has Peacocks, B&M, Home Bargains and Argos. Harwich has several supermarkets including the Co-op in both Dovercourt High Street, and Fronks Road.
- 1 Morrissons (Supermarket), Iconfield Park, Garland Rd, Harwich, CO12 4EN, ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Also petrol station, cafe & Garden Centre (different hours from main store). ATMs.
- 2 Adsa (Supermarket), Main Road, Harwich, CO12 3HJ, ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Petrol station (different hours). ATMs.
- 3 Lidl (Supermarket), Parkeston Rd, Harwich, CO12 4NX. M-Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
The Pier Hotel has a well-regarded restaurant specialising in seafood. The Pier Cafe, opposite the hotel on the pier itself, is especially popular during the summer. A number of pubs also serve food, notably the New Bell Inn (lunchtimes only).
- 1 Thai up at the Quay (Restaurant), 1 Eastgate St, Harwich, CO12 3EZ, ☏ . Tu-Sa 6-10PM.
- 2 The Crown Post, 57 Church St, Harwich, CO12 3DS, ☏ .
- 3 Joi Tandori (Restaurant & Take-away), 3 Kingsway, Harwich, CO12 3AB. Daily 6-10:30PM. Minimum spend for delivery £15.
- 4 The Waterfront, Lower Marine Parade, Dovercourt, CO12 3ST, ☏ , email@example.com. M 10AM-4PM (food to 3PM), Tu-F 10AM-11PM (food 11AM-3PM & 4-9PM), Sa 10AM-11PM (food 11AM-9PM), Su 11AM-7PM (food noon-6PM).
Popular pubs include the traditional New Bell Inn and Hanover and the Stingray with large-screen TV.
- 1 The Alma Inn, 25 King’s Head St, Harwich, CO12 3EE, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Food: daily noon-10PM. Pub, Food & Accommodation.
- 2 Samuel Pepys (Wine Bar & Restaurant), 31 Church St, Harwich, CO12 3EA, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 11AM-2:30PM & 6-9PM, Su all day.
- 3 The New Bell Inn, Outpart Eastward, Harwich, CO12 3EN, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-3:30PM & 7PM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-midnight.
- 4 The Hanover Inn, 65 Church St, Harwich, CO12 3DR, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily noon-late.
- 5 The Captain Fryatt (Pub, Food & Guesthouse), 65 Garland Rd, Parkeston, CO12 4PA, ☏ . Free Wi-Fi.
There are a number of Hotels, B&Bs and pubs with accommodation in or around Harwich.
- 1 The Pier, The Quay CO12 3HH, ☏ , email@example.com. Cosy stylish hotel with brasserie, gets great reviews. B&B double £140.
Dovercourt offers a wider range of accommodation.
- 2 The Good Life (Hotel, Bar & Restaurant), 162 High St, Harwich, CO12 3AT, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. AA 3*. Free parking. Biker friendly. Pets allowed (£6)
- 3 Premier Inn, Parkeston Rd, Dovercourt, CO12 4NX (For SatNavs use postcode CO12 4FE. Entrance at rear of Lidl car park), ☏ (premium). Free parking. Free Wi-Fi. from £53.30.
- 4 The Tower Hotel (Hotel, Restaurant & Bar), Main Rd, Dovercourt, CO12 3PJ, ☏ , email@example.com. AA 3*.
- 5 The Bottle Kiln (Hotel, Bar & Restaurant), 60 Kingsway, Dovercourt, CO12 3JR, ☏ .
If camping, you will probably prefer to use campsites on the outskirts of Harwich, rather than the campsite near the center of Harwich.
As of Feb 2023, Harwich and its approach roads have 4G from EE, Three and Vodafone, but a poor signal from O2. 5G has not reached this area.
- North to Felixstowe via harbour foot ferry
- South to Frinton-on-Sea and Clacton
- West to Colchester
|Routes through Harwich|
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