A warm welcome awaits visitors to Harwich and Dovercourt in 2019, one year before we celebrate the sailing of the Mayflower to the new world in 1620 (Mayflower 400).  Many of the local historic sites will be open for your visit. Harwich Society members will be available to enhance your viewing and understanding of our maritime heritage.


The following will normally be open from 09.30 to about 13.00.


The High Lighthouse, Harwich

Highlight Tower (1818)

100 steps to the top and view

Built in 1818 to replace a light over the Town Gate. This and the Low Lighthouse were used in transit to aid navigation into the harbour. Withdrawn from service in 1862 and now houses a museum of local interest.


Low Light Maritime Museum (1818)The Low Lighthouse

The brick lighthouses in Harwich were built in 1818 under the supervision of John Rennie Senior to replace earlier wooden ones. They belonged to General Rebow who became very rich by charging 1d per ton light duties on all cargoes coming into the port.  (£1.00 or 1 Euro entry)


Treadwheel Crane (1667)

Treadwheel Crane, Harwich

Built in 1667 on the site of the Naval Yard, now Navyard. It was moved to its present site on Harwich Green in about 1932. It stands on a slight eminence where once stood Queen’s Mount Battery for the defence of Harwich.

The crane was worked by men walking in the interior of the wheels (as opposed to jail treadmills where the operators walked on the outer surface).


The Guildhall (1769)

The Guildhall, Harwich

The Guildhall was rebuilt in Georgian times (1769). Set in the heart of the historic old seaport, Harwich’s Guildhall is a Grade I listed building. Originally the site of an inn named ‘The Bear’ it was purchased by the council in 1673. Its present design dates from 1769 and it remains the meeting place and administrative home for Harwich Town Council. The interior contains a fine panelled court room.


St. Nicholas Church (1822)

St Nicholas Church, Harwich

A church has stood on this site since 1177 when the Chappele of Herewyche was founded by Roger Bigod, first Earl of Norfolk, and given together with the Church of Dovercourt to the Monks of Abendon at Colne (Earls Colne).

The crusaders rested here following the Banner of the Cross across Europe to the Holy Land. Kings, Queens and Princes have worshipped here on their way to and from the Continent.


Redoubt Fort (1810)

Harwich Redoubt Fort

Redoubt Fort was built in 1808 to defend the harbour against the threatened invasion of Napoleonic forces. It mounted ten 24-pounders and housed a regiment of soldiers with sufficient food and stores to with stay a lengthy siege. Fortunately it was never called upon to demonstrate its powers.

Entry  £3.00 or 3 Euro entry


Ha'penny Pier & Visitors Centre, Harwich

Ha’penny Pier Visitors Centre and Discovering the New World Exhibition

Work began on this pier in 1852 and it was opened on the 2nd of July 1853. It was so called because of the ½d toll charged (like a platform ticket). Originally the pier was twice as long as the present one but one half burnt down in 1927. Inside is an exhibition on Harwich and The New World, featuring Christopher Newport and Jamestown 1607 and Christopher Jones and the Mayflower 1620.


Electric Palace, Harwich

Electric Palace (1911)One of the oldest unaltered purpose-built cinemas in Britain. Previously a furniture storehouse stood on this site which burnt down in 1910. In the early days of cinematography shows were given in booths and various existing halls but after a number of tragic fires, Parliament passed the Cinematography Act 1909 which specified structural fire precautions. The Electric Palace was therefore one of the earliest purpose made cinemas in the country.

Lightship LV 18     

(c) Graeme Ewens
The ex-Trinity House vessel LV18 is the last surviving example of a manned light vessel in British waters, which has been preserved in its original configuration and restored to a high standard of authenticity.
The LV18 is owned by the Pharos Trust, a charity set up to preserve this important piece of maritime heritage, which is always ready to accept new volunteers with interest and enthusiasm, whether contributing expertise, restoration or maintenance skills, artefacts, ideas or financial donations.
The LV18 has already hosted various events, from Offshore Pirate Radio revivals to shanty singing and onboard exhibitions. Now that it has a permanent home at Harwich Quay it will be made available for a range of other functions.LV18 is open daily from 11am to 4pm between March – October. During the winter please call if you wish to book to see us.Adults:£4.00 Children (under 16) £2.00. Family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) £10.00 And Now Also Accepting All Major Debt Cards.



 Harwich Society members will be ready to guide you round the town, explaining some of the history on your approximately 1 hour 30 minute gentle walk.  These start from near the Highlight, 2 minutes walk from Harwich Town Railway Station (junction of West Street and Main Road), at 10.00 and 11.00.  The guides give their time freely but a donation to the Harwich Society will be very welcome.



follow the Maritime Trail with the informative leaflet in several languages available from the open sites, Visitors Centre and the Harwich Society website



Trains – Harwich Town railway station is two stops(5 minutes) from the Cruise Ship Terminal departing:

Monday to Saturday: –  hourly at +17, i.e. 09.17, 10.17  …… (Return at +28)

Sundays: hourly – hourly at +43, i.e. 08.43, 09.43 ……… (return at +54

Cost – the return fare is about £3.00. Pay in the train (credit cards accepted)

Trains stop at Dovercourt for Dovercourt Bay beaches and High Street shops before Harwich Town.


Taxi – these will take you from the Port to Ha’penny Pier or the Highlight tower.

Walk – Maps are available at the Cruise Ship Terminal showing the walking routes to Dovercourt Bay (2.75 km, 40 minutes) and Harwich (a further 2km, 25 minutes).



– spend the morning exploring the historic streets and sites of the Harwich old town.

– enjoy a sandwich or lunch at one of town’s cafes or public houses. Or enjoy traditional fish and ships while watching the boats from Ha’penny Pier or the river-side seats next to The Green, near the Highlight.

– in the afternoon, visit the Napoleonic Redoubt Fort (open all day)

– stroll along the promenade to the beaches of Dovercourt Bay and local shops in Dovercourt’s High Street (cafes, internet, library, newsagents, bakers, chemists and opticians).

– trains back to your cruise ship depart Dovercourt Railway Station:

Monday to Saturdays – hourly at +53, i.e. 14.30, 15.30 (return at + 53)

Sundays:  hourly at +43, i.e. 08.43, 09.43 ……… (return at +53)
Cruise ship Shuttle Bus – please obtain details from your cruise ship representative.
Bus –  Harwich is a 27 minute ride (Bus No. 2) from the Port:


Harwich Society members will be available for maps, guide leaflets and directions (these are all free) at the:

  • Cruise Terminal Information Desk (open in the morning)
  • Visitors Centre at Ha’penny Pier on Harwich Quay.
  • The information desk near the Highlight tower (weather permitting)
  • Some of the open buildings.


5th May – Ale Trail  (see

23rd May – Mayor-Making Ceremony  – Mayor’s Procession to Church (12.00)                                                                  – Kitchel throwing at The Guildhall (12.30)


Further information

Harwich Society website 

Train times

Harwich Town Council