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Harwich continues to be an essential port for hundreds of years. Among the reasons for the recognition of Harwich like a cruise port may be the town’s closeness to London. The United Kingdom capital ranks high in must-see lists of numerous cruisers, and that’s hardly surprising.  Harwich is accessible, charming, royal, and buzzing with sea-side energy. It is a cute sea-side region that woos visitors with its pretty appeal and ‘discover me more’ character.
Harwich, on London's East Coast, may be the most quiet from the three primary ports of embarkation that service London (and it is never featured like a daylong port-of-call stop). Only Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean base ships here -- and there is not a great deal to do and see within the immediate area.
However, it is a pretty easy 70-mile trip from London, and thus most vacationers who embark here go through the region.Still, the encompassing metropolitan areas of Ipswich and Colchester provide sights to determine, so a visit from Harwich could be a good excuse to obtain off England's well-trodden sightseeing path.
A symbol for a lot of vacationers, London’s listing of points of interest is really a lengthy one, varying in the “classical” landmarks (The Tower, Westminster Abbey and Large Ben, to say only a couple of) to a number of more niched encounters. London will be London.
Should you disembark from the cruise ship in Harwich, however, you will find numerous reasons why you need to go ahead and take chance to see this seaside town in northernmost Kent.
Certainly one of individuals reasons may be the architectural heritage from the town, that was built based on a power grid pattern. That old a part of Harwich is really a conservation area, with lots of the structures erected within the Dark Ages.
Harwich received its city charter in 1238. The city situated in the mouth from the estuaries from the Stour and Orwell rivers can trace its roots farther in time than that, however. It's been recorded that the chapel been around through the year 1177.
Already in the start, Harwich was considered important from the military perspective - most famously since the port was considered the only real safe anchorage between your Thames (south of Harwich) and also the Humber in Northern England. The town’s many fortifications really are a reflection from the significance credited into it. And, talking about history, cruise people sailing from Harwich come in good company: The famous seafarers Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher all sailed from Harwich. And in early 17th century, the Mayflower would be a frequent customer within the port.
Where You are Docked
At Harwich Worldwide cruise port, services are virtually restricted to money exchange along with a coffee shop. For necessities, there is a huge Morrisons Supermarket at about a five-minute drive away. Taxis can easily be bought outdoors the terminal to drop passengers there. Among couple of cruise ports, Harwich has a railway station within the port. This makes it easy to board a train bound for London soon after disembarkation. The length towards the UK’s capital is all about 85 miles/137 kilometers. Harwich’s town center is situated some 3 miles/5 kilometers in the port. Tourist information, taxis, shops and restaurants are available quayside. Disembark in Harwich and discover an abundance of encounters.
Hanging Out
There's a Tourist Information Center (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday - Sunday until 6 p.m. October - March, closed Sunday) not even close to the main harbor that sells stamps, prepaid calling cards while offering photocopying and fax services.
Making Your Way Around
When you're in Harwich, you'll definitely want to make a side trip to London. While you're there, explore the city, visiting Big Ben, the National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, Madame Tussaud's waxwork collection, the Tower of London, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Trafalgar Square, and so much more. Harwich boasts a railway station inside the port. That means it is possible to step on a train bound for London shortly after disembarkation. The distance to the UK’s capital is about 85 miles/137 kilometers. Harwich’s town center is located some 3 miles/5 kilometers from the port. Tourist information, taxis, shops and restaurants can be found quayside.
Heathrow airport and Gatwick airport are each greater than a two-hour drive to Harwich. This is among individuals embarkation ports where it truly is helpful to buy cruise lines' own transfers, regardless of whether you buy their air or otherwise. Intend to pay about $100 each way.
The easiest method to reach London international airports is as simple as train via London. Choices for visiting from London include frequent trains to/from Harwich Worldwide Station You'll then have to either have a taxi or even the Tube (not advisable for those who have lots of luggage) either to Paddington Station to trap the Heathrow airport Express (fifteen minutes, every fifteen minutes £20 one-way) to Heathrow airport in order to Victoria Station for that Gatwick airport Express (35 minutes every twenty minutes £19.90 single). Trains to Luton Airport terminal run from Liverpool Street around the Luton.
If you decide to pass taxi do it yourself a minimum of $100 to London or international airports and can require two hrs based on traffic. Try Harwich Taxis. Cruise Lines offer transfers (again, not essential to buy their air) from various points working in London. Coach Hire Booking offers transfers back and forth from U.K. international airports to ports round the country and people receive priority disembarkation and will also be acquired and delivered right in the gangway. Prices vary from £25 for any single transfer to £40 for any return. There's one rental car agency in Harwich: Europcar that is based inside the port terminal (Tel. 0871 384 1065).
Don't Miss
For an introduction to the historic buildings that you will find in central Harwich, join The Maritime Heritage Trail around the old town. The tour, operated by The Harwich Society, also describes the town’s historic connections with the sea.
The Harwich Society also offers tours of the Redoubt Fort, a circular fort built in 1808 to protect the harbor from a Napoleonic invasion. 180 feet/60 meters in diameter, the fort is equipped with 11 guns.
Built in 1911, the Electric Palace Cinema is the oldest unaltered purpose built cinema in Britain. It’s not only film and history that can be experienced here, though. The Electric Palace is also well established as a jazz concert venue.
A frequent visitor in Harwich in the early 17th century, the Mayflower is the subject of a small exhibition in Harwich. You will find it in the old ticket office on the Pier. The Mayflower, of course, was the ship that once transported the Pilgrims from the shores of England to the New World on the other side of the Atlantic.

Harwich boasts its own Maritime Museum, located in a lighthouse from 1818. Through pictures and models, the museum tracks the development of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy.
Another museum with maritime connection is the Lifeboat Museum.
The Radar Tower is a remnant from the World War II, Harwich’s radar tower being one of the earliest radar stations in Britain. Like many other attractions in Harwich, the Radar Tower is managed by The Harwich Society.
If you feel like doing some shopping when in Harwich, a good alternative is to set your course toward the neighboring town of Dovercourt. The two towns are essentially the same: they have grown together. By taxi, it’s a question of a five-minute car ride. Dovercourt offers a small but varied shopping center.
Dovercourt is also the natural choice for anyone with swimming on the agenda. The town’s beaches have been awarded with the Blue Flag (a voluntary eco-label in use in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean). You will find an amusement arcade along the seafront.

Shore Excursions
Most of the shore excursions available on cruises calling in Harwich will focus either on London or on one of the other historic cities that are within reach from this destination in northernmost Essex. Examples include:
Excursions to London, the capital of the United Kingdom. Many of these excursions will put focus on the most famous landmarks and attractions, such as Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London.
The university city of Cambridge is also accessible on shore excursions from Harwich. Tours can include visits to St. John’s College, granted its charter in 1511.
In Bury St Edmunds, the remains of the Saxon King Edmund are kept in a monastery. The Abbey ruins and the Abbey Gate can be visited here.
The area around Harwich is sometimes referred to as “Constable Country,” reflecting the inspiration that one of Britain’s greatest painters, John Constable, drew from it.
Colchester, the oldest town in Britain, is within easy reach on shore excursions from Harwich.
Other Fun Things to Do
Go shopping in London at world-famous Harrods department store and explore their awe-inspiring food hall.
Visit London's world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum, with seven miles of galleries on four floors.
Explore Covent Garden in London, full of open-air cafés, stylish boutiques, and lively street entertainers. The famous Punch and Judy puppet show has been performed here since the 1600s.
Watch the Changing of the Guard at London's Buckingham Palace. This half-hour parade of guards is an exciting display of pomp and circumstance.
Getting Further
London, the main city from the United Kingdom, is 85 miles/137 kilometers from Harwich, which is a major ferry port for routes towards the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
Eating Out
Ha' Cent Pier Bistro: Try the baked haddock. Per-person cost for any three-course meal including wine will run about $31. (The Quay). Harborside Restaurant: Good sea food and incredibly nice sights from the ocean make this place popular with patrons. Don’t leave without tucking into their Roast Cod. Per-person cost for any three-course meal including wine will put you back by about $38.
Shopping in Harwich itself is extremely limited, although there are a number of art, antique and book stores. Nearby Dovercourt has a number of small supermarkets, mainstream high-street shops, banks and so on, while Parkeston has recently been given the 'kiss of life' and has a number of newly built stores to shop at, including Peacocks, Focus and Argos. Harwich has several supermarkets including Somerfield (Dovercourt High Street), Fiveways (Dovercourt), Morrisons (Parkeston) and Lidl (Parkeston) as well as a couple of Co-op convenience stores.
If you're in the area on a weekend, don't miss the famous Portobello Road Market in London's trendy Notting Hill area. You'll find everything from souvenirs to beautiful antiques and jewelry.

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