We reluctantly left to continue our journey northwards and drove to Colchester in Essex. The town itself is old, with Roman foundations, but we found, after the tranquility of rural life, it was a bit more hectic. There is an old castle (over 900 years old), built on a Roman temple (2000 years old), in the centre of the town and we enjoyed wandering around the gardens and squirrel spotting. A moving tribute to victims of war was creatively made from plants out the front of the castle.
We explored further into the town the next day and stopped at an old Victorian water tower (the largest remaining in Britain, completed in 1883) and then admired the remains of the original Roman gateway to the town (called the Balkerne Gate it too is the largest in Britain and was originally built in AD49) and then we gawped at the ruins of St Boltoph’s Priory – an old abbey from 1103.
Our next day trip was out to the seaside. We drove the short distance to Southend-on-Sea to get a feel for the English seaside. It seems to be a thing here to have amusement park style attractions in large seaside towns! Southend-on-Sea was home to a fairly large amusement park and also the world’s longest ‘pleasure pier’ – ie there are games/arcades/food at the end. The pier was about half an hour to walk to the end – a pleasant walk alongside not only the sea – but a train as well! You have to pay two pounds to walk (5 to train) – we enjoyed the walk. At the end the views were nice and we spotted another Jamie Oliver restaurant – Jamie and Jimmy’s that was closed for renovations.
We left Colchester to head further north into Suffolk where we would be staying near Bardwell. On the way to our new accomodation we stopped at an old medieval wool town, called Lavenham. It has many old wooden houses – some are now at odd angles!
We also enjoyed wandering through some of the old churches and another ruined abbey. Amazing how some of the hedges had grown over the graves.
We made a quick stop at the Greene Man brewery – the smell was divine! We bought a glass and then stopped off for a beer at the local pub.
And then we arrived at our new accomodation – such a beautiful cottage in the countryside- with many, many birds.