England, United Kingdom
Among the many towns of Essex, there is a seaside hidden gem that deserves the spotlight. The coastal town of Harwich is situated between London and the North Sea and is a fantastic holiday destination where time moves slowly.
If you’re a lover of maritime history and nature, consider planning a visit to Harwich and explore its lush greenery and rich heritage. Find all travel tips on Ferryhopper and book ferry tickets to/from Harwich easily and quickly.
Lush greenery and beautiful architecture in Harwich
Holidays in Harwich
In Harwich, the more tranquil and sophisticated side of England’s countryside awaits you. Plan a weekend getaway to Harwich or stay longer and visit Dovercourt and Parkeston for more exciting adventures. Either way, the rich maritime history and medieval architecture make every corner of Harwich interesting and entertaining.
You can visit Harwich year-round, though its coast comes to life in the summer. There are family-friendly activities and traditional pubs for groups of friends to enjoy. Whatever you choose, Harwich caters to all tastes!
How to get to Harwich
While the secrets of Harwich may be well-kept, discovering them is rather easy, as you visit the coastal town by ferry, bus, train and car.
There is a direct ferry route from the Netherlands, with ferries departing from the port of the Hook of Holland. Learn more about ferries to Harwich in Essex here.
If you wish to travel by plane, the nearest airport reference points are London Southend Airport, London Stansted Airport, and Norwich Airport.
As for bus and train connections, there are plenty of departure points in the county of Essex, as well as in other central locations, like London.
Tip: for lovers of biking, Route 51 is an exciting way of getting to Harwich from Oxford and Cambridge on two wheels!
What to do in Harwich
There are countless things to do and see in Harwich, even if the town seems small and quiet at first. From outdoor activities by the sea to cultural sightseeing, guided tours and movie nights, Harwich does not disappoint! There are even unforgettable battle re-enactments for all to see!
And even if you find yourself asking for more, there are great places close to Harwich that you can visit, such as Kent, where Dover is located.
But before you start packing your stuff for other locations, let’s start by exploring the best of Harwich, including top entertainment options and local highlights.
An old treadwheel crane in Harwich
Sightseeing and activities in Harwich
The vast majority of Harwich's attractions are within walking distance, so take your time exploring them one by one. Here are some must-see attractions and monuments in Harwich if you’re up for exciting cultural sightseeing:
- The wooden Ha’Penny Pier, a Victorian pier and a popular tourist attraction
- The historic fort of Harwich Redoubt, which is now a museum and offers exhibitions and battle re-enactments
- The Harwich Maritime Museum, located in the Low Lighthouse
- The High Lighthouse, with stunning views and interesting exhibitions
- The Electric Palace Cinema, a historic cinema from 1911 that is fully operational and accessible
Apart from beautiful sites and monuments of great importance, Harwich is also home to both relaxing and thrilling outdoor activities. Starting with guided tours to get you familiar with the town, you can then head to Dovercourt Bay for water sports, golf and boat excursions.
As its waterfront is rather long, you can cool down by the sea, stroll around and even go skateboarding!
Tip: nearby, there are other sandy stretches, which are typically less crowded and with fewer amenities.
Nightlife in Harwich
From typical pubs and atmospheric bars to international restaurants, nights in Harwich are all about cozy moments. Most of them are located at the tip of the town, by the sea, with numerous options to choose from. Don't miss out on the historic pub of The Stingray, in Old Harwich, which also offers accommodation and breakfast.
For a more “cinematic” night, consider going to the Electric Palace Cinema and let the big screen carry you away.
Harwich is also home to a few exciting festivals, such as the Harwich Festival and the Harwich International Shanty Festival. As you start planning your trip, make sure to check out what festivals are taking place and make the best of your holidays in Harwich!
Food in Harwich
In the town of Hawick, you can expect delicious fish and chips, along with other seafood delicacies and pub food signatures. There are also some international culinary elements that satisfy even the most demanding foodies.
The spotlight is stolen by kitchel, a type of small spiced bread cake that is part of an interesting bread-throwing tradition!
Our recommendation is to pay a visit to the famous Café on the Pier, with a diverse plethora of snacks and drinks, located on the wooden Ha’Penny Pier.
The old and iconic Electric Palace cinema of Harwich
Useful information about Harwich
Harwich has all the basic visitor amenities for laid-back holidays, including a wide range of accommodation options. You can also consider staying in Dovercourt or even in Parkeston if you want to be closer to the port.
Make sure to save some time for souvenir shopping, whether you’re interested in vintage clothing, local crafts or homemade cakes! As for medical services in Harwich, there are pharmacies and medical centers.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Harwich
Here are some phone numbers that might prove useful during your stay in Harwich:
- Harwich Port Authority: +441255242000
- Harwich Hospital: +441255201201
- Administration of Harwich: +441255507211
- Harwich Taxis: +441255551111, +441255551166
- European emergency number: 112, 999
Transportation in Harwich
Getting around Harwich is rather easy, as most attractions and services are visitable on foot. There is also a great bus network through which you can move around Harwich and go to Dovercourt and Parkeston, where the port is located.
Alternatively, you can bring along your car and explore the countryside of Essex at your leisure or order a taxi/private car.
Secrets of the past in Old Harwich
Ports in Harwich
Right next to Harwich, in Parkeston, you can find the Harwich International Port, one of the most important maritime transport hubs in the United Kingdom. Due to its important history, there are plenty of things to see in the area.
To get there from Harwich, there are frequent bus services. If you’re coming from London or other central locations, driving or taking the train are both great options to reach the port. The train station, specifically, is right next to the passenger port for the Harwich - Hook of Holland ferry route.
Harwich ferry: schedules and tickets
Thanks to the International Harwich Port and its year-round maritime services, Essex and The Netherlands are connected by ferry. The ferry route is operated by Stena Line. Specifically:
- Harwich - Hook of Holland ferry: you can catch a ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland (or Hoek Van Holland) throughout the year, with up to 2 daily connections. There is usually 1 ferry in the morning and another one late at night, with the travel duration being 7-9 hours.
Picturesque beach huts at Dovercourt Bay in Harwich
Where to book ferry tickets to Harwich online
Don’t miss out on the beautiful town of Harwich! Find all ferry connections to/from Harwich on our interactive Map of ferries, browse schedules and fares, and plan your trip across the North Sea online on Ferryhopper.