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Come and Explore the local area

Wivenhoe House doesn’t just deliver on the hospitality; we’re located in a prime location on the Essex and Suffolk border. Sitting just a stone’s throw away from many famous Essex attractions, think country walks, buzzing local farmers’ markets, gardens and historical buildings rich with history. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to visit with the whole family or as a couple, there’s a myriad of different areas to visit during your stay at Wivenhoe House.

What will you discover during your stay?

Take a look at the latest videos of what the local area has to offer Families, Empty Nesters and young professionals

Colchester Vistor centre also has some great inentives for coach group which you can view here 

Local walks and trails

Whether it’s a stroll to the local pub or an all day excursion, we have put together some excellent local walks and day trips for you

Beth Chatto Gardens

Beth Chatto OBE was an award-winning plantswoman, author and lecturer. Her work at the Gardens in Elmstead Market began in 1960. She took an overgrown wasteland of brambles, parched gravel and boggy ditches, transforming it using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions: right plant, right place. An inspirational, informal garden has developed.

Brightlingsea Harbour Boat Trips

A fun filled day out on the water!

Just a 10-minute drive from Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea Harbour, a hidden gem offers you the chance to explore the river Colne throughout  April to September.

Hop on our daily Foot Ferry service across to Point Clear or East Mersea. From Point Clear enjoy a ramble along St Osyth Sea wall or explore Cudmore Grove Country Park on Mersea Island.

Book a Harbour Tour to see the yachts and powerboats and hear exciting stories of the fascinating history from Romans through to modern day.

Alternatively, sit back and enjoy a relaxing cruise along the river Colne up to Wivenhoe in our electric powered boat Colne Innovation. Lunch is at the Black Buoy Inn, steeped in maritime history.

So much to do and see you will want to return time and time again.

Colchester Castle

Built by the Normans in the latter half of the eleventh century, Colchester Castle is one of the town’s most popular attractions. Labelled as the oldest Norman keep in Europe, the castle was initially built on the destroyed Roman remains of the Temple of Claudius.

Offering guided tours and stunning grounds, the castle is perfect for those interested in learning more about the fascinating history of Britain’s oldest town.

The vast expanse of surrounding land is also home to a mini-golf course, several playgrounds and a bandstand, which the local brass band often visit to practise their latest sets.

Wyvernwood Enchanted Lost Kingdom Adventure Park

Introducing Wyvernwood, an Enchanted Lost Kingdom that has existed for many centuries in a peaceful and beautiful setting near Colchester, in Essex. Just 3 miles from Wivenhoe House Hotel

This extraordinary world has only recently been discovered by the outside world and provides the perfect day out for families with children aged 2 to 12.

Those lucky enough to find the Magic Portal can step through into another world, a world inhabited by fabulous fairies, fierce dragons, wise wizards, menacing goblins, a warrior princess, and a heroic captain.

Book now and be one of the first to experience the new adventure park…


Colchester Zoo

Housing just under 200 species of rare and exotic animals, Colchester Zoo is an attraction for the whole family. With 60 acres of parkland and lakes to explore, you’ll be able to get up close to animals from every enclosure. Cafés and undercover seating areas are dotted around the park, with plenty of food and drink options available.

Tickets can be purchased online, including elephant or giraffe feeding sessions and admission to the Jungle Tumble.

The Mercury Theatre

Named after the Roman messenger God, the Mercury Theatre is a welcoming and vibrant venue at the centre of Colchester. The main theatre seats just over 530 people, and debuts shows from local acting troupes and travelling companies.

The theatre is also home to two bars and a café, where visitors are welcome to enjoy some tasty refreshments.

Layer Marney Tower

With stunning views of the River Blackwater and its surrounding Essex landscape, Layer Marney Tower is England’s tallest Tudor Gatehouse. Built in the 1520s during the reign of King Henry VIII for the First Lord Marney, the tower is part of a beautiful stately home and gardens.

Visitors are welcome to explore the Gatehouse and Church, with access to the farm and accompanying grounds.

Mersea Island

Separated from the mainland by the Strood, Mersea Island boasts a beautiful beach and fantastic views. You may be familiar with their rows of pastel-coloured beach huts, which have featured in several national publications and television programmes.

The ideal location for dog walkers and day trippers, Mersea Island has plenty of local eateries to visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Famous for its local oysters, the island is home to several speciality seafood restaurants along the coastline.

Tiptree Tea Room, Museum and Jam Shop

If you’re a lover of jam, the Tiptree Tea Room and factory is certainly worth a visit. The factory has been making its famous Wilkin & Sons jam since 1885; with vintage machinery, historical documents and original photographs, the museum is home to a fascinating collection of artefacts.

Just a short drive away from Wivenhoe House, the tea room offers lunches and afternoon tea. Its adjoining factory shop is also worth a visit, selling speciality treats like champagne jam and salted caramel spread.

Wivenhoe Regatta

Wivenhoe town’s regatta combines historical tradition with a jam-packed weekend for all the family. Whether you prefer the shore or taking to the water, there’s something for all ages, including paddle boarding, yacht and dinghy racing, live music, brilliant food, stalls and much more. 

Local businesses, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be sure to offer something for everybody, and the Wivenhoe Sailing Club and The Nottage Institute will be welcoming visitors throughout the weekend. 

Crabbing Competition

What’s a quayside fishing village without a crabbing competition? In association with the Wivenhoe Society, Wivenhoe’s annual crabbing competition (which usually takes place in August) provides fun for all the family, with the chance to win cash prizes and trophies.

Why not bring your bucket, bait and line and find a prime spot for snagging those cash prizes all whilst joining in on the community spirit!

Wivenhoe Market

If you love British produce and are a keen supporter of local businesses, you have to take a visit to the Wivenhoe Market, lovingly hosted at the Congregational Church on Wivenhoe High Street.

Selling niche goods and fresh foods, the market is a brilliant attraction for a lazy afternoon strolling around stalls and sampling local cheeses, bread, beer and more. 

Wivenhoe Trail

Historically a fishing village, Wivenhoe is home to some beautiful riverside scenery. Take in the quaint scenes of the village on the Wivenhoe Trail footpath, a pleasant five mile walk that starts in Colchester Town and winds through serene woodlands, canopied by overhanging trees and lush greenery. 

Simply pick the trail up at Colchester Park by the riverside and follow the River Colne as it flows out to sea. 

Dedham Boat House and Boat Hire

Located in an area of outstanding beauty, Dedham Boathouse is just minutes from the scenic Dedham High Street on the River Stour. If you’re a nature lover or simply enjoy breath-taking landscapes, you can hire a rowing boat for the day and take off down the River Stour.

It’s the perfect way to take in the spectacular views of Constable Country; with rolling hills and plenty of wildlife, it’s worth a day trip! Tickets can be bought at the boathouse kiosk, as well as a variety of hot and cold beverages and ice cream for those hot summer days out on the river.

Munnings Art Gallery

Munnings Art Museum, located at Castle House, is the former home of artist Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) and his wife Violet. Described by Munnings himself as ‘the house of [his] dreams’, he lived and worked in this elegant Tudor and Georgian house until his death in 1959.

Set in 40 acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale on the borders of Essex and Suffolk, the museum holds the largest collection of paintings by this prolific East Anglian painter, who is both recognised and celebrated for his equestrian art and scenes of rural English life. 

Dedham Art and Craft Centre

Housed in a converted church in this popular village, the Centre exudes historic charm and is the perfect place to visit for hunting the best vintage antiques, a bite to eat or buying dainty trinkets and home décor. Three floors showcase the work of local artisans and the inspired buying skills of professional and specialist retailers. 

Stocking unique ceramics, textiles, jewellery, books, fashion and paintings, the Dedham Art and Craft Centre is paradise for the casual browser and the enthusiastic shopper. 

Lavenham Guildhall

Situated in the middle of Lavenham’s village square, Lavenham Guildhall is one of the most spectacular timber framed buildings of medieval England. Now owned by The National Trust, The Guildhall of Corpus Christi tells the intriguing story of one of the best-preserved and wealthiest towns in Tudor England. 

As soon as you step inside, you’re transported back to the Tudor era to discover the stories of the people who used the Guildhall. Having been located at the heart of the community for over 500 years, learning of the rich history of the building and the men and women who shaped the fortunes of this quaint little village is a truly eye-opening experience. 

Lavenham Falconry

With over 60 different birds of prey, Lavenham Falconry offers an experience like no other! From the smallest of owls to the largest of eagles, professional falconers will offer you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most impressive birds. 

The Falconry’s special experience packages, including photographic days and courses in the art of falconry, are perfect for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts alike! They also house a wide range of exotic species at the ‘Scales, Tails and Talons’ Exotic Zoo. 

Bookings can be made online via their website or via email. 

Little Hall Museum

One of the oldest buildings preserved from medieval England, the story of this museum mirrors the changing success and wealth of Lavenham. During your visit you can study the development of the Tudor house, explore the historical antiques that have been collected over the years, relax in the tranquil gardens, or with a guide, unlock the secrets and heritage of Little Hall.

Learn about the Gayer-Anderson brothers who in the 1920s, filled the house with art and artefacts collected during their travels. Whatever your interest, this unique, eclectic museum will welcome and intrigue you.

Brightlingsea Lido

Brightlingsea Community Lido is a classic 1930s open air swimming pool right on the coast at Brightlingsea, Essex, open for swimming from Spring to Autumn.

The lido has a 50 metre (unheated) outdoor pool plus a smaller pool for toddlers with parents.

Changing facilities and sunloungers are available and there is a café on site.

Mersea Boating Lake

Mersea Boating Lake is a 6 acre man made salt water lake, situated in the beautiful countryside of East Mersea, located by the sea with its own private beach access.

They are a family friendly lake, offering water sports activities for all ages and abilities. In a fun but safe environment you can try paddle boarding for the very first time or maybe sharpen your skills sailing across the lake.

With the lake only being 1.5m deep and no current, or tide it gives you the confidence on the water and access all day every day.

Long Melford

Long Melford is a quintessential English village. Located in the picturesque Suffolk countryside, close to the Essex border. A location made famous by artists Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. The historic village boasts two large manor houses, an impressive village church, an eclectic main street full of independent shops, galleries, antiques centres, tea rooms, restaurants, hotels & pubs. The village is also home to a country park, footpaths, cycle tracks and riverside walks.

Braintree Shopping Village

Braintree Village is an outlet shopping village in the heart of Essex. Home to over 75 premium brands with up to 60% off the RRP everyday.

Headgate Theatre

A well-equipped “little gem of a theatre” in Colchester Town Centre has been welcoming visiting amateur and professional groups onto our stage since 2002, and a variety of users into our studio and rehearsal spaces and meeting rooms.

Headgate theatre have packed seasonal programmes offering genuine choice. From classic and modern drama to musical theatre, stand-up comedy nights to school hires, classical music to magicians – they do our best to make the experience of all our hirers and patrons enjoyable.


A small Essex town besides the Blackwater Estuary, Maldon has a history that’s bound up with water. It’s best-known as the home of Maldon Sea Salt, while the town’s port has a heritage that stretches back thousands of years.