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This day is a real tonic. We visit the beautiful estuary of The Stour, where Essex meets Suffolk, journeying from England's smallest town to the sea by the Ha'Penny Pier in Old Harwich. In the afternoon we examine the seaside heritage of Essex en route to The Beth Chatto Gardens.

We begin at 10.30am at an old thatched pub in beautiful East Bergholt for morning coffee (included) before following the River Stour off the beaten track The Witch Finder General Matthew Hopkins and Margaret Thatcher both worked in the little river port of Manningtree.

At Mistley two grand towers are all that remains of a Georgian scheme to turn this sleepy backwater into a spa town.

The river flows into the sea at Old Harwich where the street pattern is still mediaeval and the atmosphere seafaring. We see some fine captains houses and a unique treadmill crane, hearing about Captain Christopher Jones of the Mayflower and Lighthouse Lil, a lady of questionable virtue! Old Harwich is great to explore with lots of lunch options. Crab sandwiches on the pier anyone?

Beth Chatto was her generation's Gertrude Jekyll. She pioneered "ecological gardening" -a gravel garden, cleverly planted to resemble a dried up river bed and filled with drought resistant plants has never been watered.

Elsewhere lush, leafy plants surround four spring-fed ponds beneath a backdrop of ancient oaks and ornamental trees.

There is a nursery on site for the green fingered and a tea house to round off a great day out.

We'll aim to have you on the coach heading home at 4.45pm.

Adults & Seniors: £28

Available weekdays

March to October

Price Valid to 31 March 2021

2-5 miles