A Family Weekend In Harwich – The Pier Hotel Review

When you think of seaside towns, especially those in the South East of England, it’s far too easy for those thoughts to be overtaken with the unfair stereotypes so often attached to previously thriving seaside towns.

A Family Weekend In Harwich

We are often found enjoying a family weekend in Harwich. Being less than an hours drive from home, and with the beaches quieter and less over-delvoped than the nearby larger resorts, it’s always been our go-to place when we need a few days of sea air help recharge the batteries and find our grounding again. I have had some of my favourite ever moments sat on that Harwich beach. Seeing both my girls put their toes in the sand for the very first time, long family picnics where we lay in the sun for hours to the soundtrack of waves gently lapping over the giggling of our girls in the sea – it’s a place full of magic for us as a family.

There is more to a family weekend in Harwich though than a visit to the beach, this little Essex gem is brimming with delights for all to enjoy.

On a hot summers day ha’penny pier is full of families crabbing together, sharing tips and comparing who has caught the most. And if you’d rather actually be on the water you could aways make the most of your location and take the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry to Felixstowe or Shotley. Leaving hourly, this small ferry (licensed for only 58 passengers per crossing) costs from just £2pp and you may even be treated to a seal sighting along the way if your luck is in. To be certain of seeing seals (or as certain as you can be when it comes to nature spotting) then the Wildlife Boat Trips leaving from Walton on the Naze are a must to check out.

If you would rather keep your feet on the ground then there is still plenty on offer for you land lovers too. Both the old lifeboat station and Harwich lighthouse are open periodically throughout the week for visitors and there are a plethora of lovely lovely shops to browse including a fantastic antiques shop called Quirky Old Stuff and a second-book shop that is also home to the biggest dog known to man!


There is also the Electric Palace Cinema to discover, one of the oldest  purpose-built cinemas to survive complete with its silent screen, original projection room and ornamental frontage still relatively intact.

A Family Weekend With Milsoms – The Pier Hotel Review

On our most recent family weekend in Harwich we were lucky enough to be offered the chance to stay with Milsoms in the newly refurbished Pier Hotel.

The Pier, one of Milsoms four boutique hotels in Essex/Suffolk, is housed in a fantastically grand 1800’s listed building. Following its recent £1.5 million revamp The Pier offers a delightful place to stay by the sea full of luxury, gourmet food and the most breathtaking sunsets.

Our room, The Mayflower Suite, was the type of room that leaves you speechless on arrival.  Set around the floor to ceiling bay-window centrepiece, the room offers unbeatable views of the Ha’penny Pier, Radio Caroline Lightship (LV18) and the Harbour ahead.


Another great bonus of the rooms here at The Pier, aside from the astoundingly comfortable beds, is the complimentary soft-drink mini bar.  Knowing that we could bribe the girls with a fizzy pop as a reward for having a pre-dinner nap was a winner – and cold water to wake up to in the morning is never a bad thing.  The rooms here, with their thick white robes, Sky TV and luxury toiletries, really do offer everything you need for a family stay. And if you can’t find what you need a quick call to reception will be enough for the amazingly helpful Milsom’s fairies to jump into action and find it for you.

Lobster 2

With the harbour wall just 20 meters away The Pier affords guests and diners an unrivalled position from which to watch the world on the water go by. In the 1st floor dining room you have choice of eating inside or upon the balcony overlooking the harbour below.  The dining room has been redesigned since our last visit and I adore how much more relaxed and contemporary the feel is now.

A Family Weekend In Harwich

The food, as always, was an exquisite delight – however where I find The Pier sets itself apart from other venues for a family weekend in Harwich is the children menu.  Full of delights such as smoked salmon, beer battered cod and knickerbockerglory, I love how Milsoms appreciate that there is more to children’s food than nuggets and chips.


Downstairs in the NavyYard Bar we enjoyed a nightcap before an evening stroll along the waterfront on the way to our beds. Quite honestly the perfect way to end our family day at the seaside.


Thank you to The Pier and Milsoms for a wonderful family weekend in Harwich – we cannot wait to return.




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  1. What a gorgeous place to stay – I am quite jealous of you having the seaside so near. I’ve never been to Harwich abs have always thought I’d the ferries first and foremost but looks very pretty in the sun. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  2. Interestingly, my parents are looking for somewhere affordable to move out to (downsizing) and have looked at Harwich. I’ve been to The Pier, which is a great place to eat but don’t know much about the town itself. But would you recommend it as a place to live to though?


    1. Depends what you/they are looking for? I think the old town is lovely – nicer than the town centre – with lots of independent places to eat. The Alma pub, Thai at the Quay and the coffee shop (can’t remember the name) are all great. Plus you are 5 mins walk from the old pier, sailing club and small beach. Train line goes into London too. I would make the move now, however the schools round there aren’t great – but if that isn’t an issue then thats no worry. My Aunt and uncle have been there ten years (he owns the antiques shop) and have made a lovely group of friends through the pub, golf and other old town events.

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