Between Colchester and Clacton on Sea, Brightlingsea is well worth a visit. No matter what your age is there is so much to do for you and your family. Right at the mouth of the River Colne, Brightlingsea is a major yachting and sailing centre with a bustling harbour, promenade and a vibrant town centre. See www.brightlingseaharbour.org.
Rambling along the beach; the views are amazing and dogs on leads are welcome. The promenade’s end is marked by Batemans Tower, built in 1883, and a paddling pool area. This is a man-made pool designed to keep children safe whilst playing in the sea, whilst loved ones sit back on the sand and watch them, or maybe the many boats that pass by. Batemans Café is there too, offering a selection of food, drinks, ice creams and inflatables. They also sell crabbing gear and bacon if the children (or you) want a go. Behind the beach huts is an adventurous playground where little ones can let off some energy, and a skate park where more grown up kids can practice their skateboard and bike stunts.
Make sure you bring your swimming gear as Brightlingsea also offers an open-air pool that is available during May until September. Originally built in 1933, the lido offers a fun family day out with a small café providing drinks and snacks, as well as toys to use within the pool.
The Lozenge is an award-winning area where the residents have transformed an open space into a nature reserve; pond, benches and signage replace the former wasteland. You can enjoy the tranquil space, and marvel the now established wildlife. Another way to enjoy nature is to utilise the boating lake. Boats are provided by the Brightlingsea Scouts and can be rented for a period of time, allowing you to have a leisurely row around the lake observing the nesting birds on the small islands. There is also a selection of nature walks around Brightlingsea; a guide is available within the Harbour Office. Make sure you keep an eye out for the decorated rocks hidden around Brightlingsea, take a photo and add it to the ‘Love on the Rocks - Brightlingsea’ Facebook page!
Brightlingsea Harbour also offers tours afloat; the ferry takes you around Cindery Island which is a salt marsh, and home to many local birds and wildlife. You may even be lucky enough to spot our resident seal whilst passing The Pioneer Sailing Trust, which was set up in 1999 to restore back to sailing condition the last remaining first-class Essex Skillinger smack Pioneer. Starting from Brightlingsea Harbour, the ferry journey along the picturesque River Colne to Wivenhoe is very rewarding, so sit back and enjoy the stunning panoramic scenery on your way to the quaint riverside village of Wivenhoe. Included in the price is a main meal at the Black Buoy Inn, which is steeped in maritime history. The Black Buoy used to be meeting place for a range of maritime folk, from sea captains and shipbuilders to smugglers and customs men – perhaps even pirates! Take advantage of the ferry to explore places that are a long car ride away; our ferry drops you off at the edge of Cudmore Grove Country Park making a 40 minute car journey a 9 minute boat ride! Here there is an excellent coastal themed play area which will keep younger visitors amused for hours, or walk along the numerous paths zig zagging across the park. For the more adventurous, be dropped off at St Osyth for either a 2km half hour ramble, or the Coastal 6km walk.
The Town Jetty’s not just for boats, a place to get the taxi or catch the ferry. What about crabbing? Whatever your age, 5 or 50, we guarantee you will enjoy the thrill of netting the crabs, observing them in your bucket then tipping them back out to watch them scuttle across the jetty and back into the water.
We’ve got a High street too, one of the few still existing in the country. There are a number of shops offering local produce, services, gifts, souvenirs, pubs, restaurants, as well as professional services. Transportation wise, there is a regular bus services from Colchester as well as a railway station just 4 miles away and also frequented by the bus service.