Itinerary Summary

Essex
2 Days
Mid range

1 Morning

Green Island Gardens

Start your day on the outskirts of Colchester in the little village of Ardleigh. This is where you will find Green Island Gardens, a haven of tranquility. 20 acres of professionally designed gardens by the owner Fiona Edmond including the terrace garden, Japanese garden, water garden, seaside garden, gravel gardens and extensive woodland gardens, hosting a wealth of unusual plants. A horticultural paradise that looks good all year round!

Green Island Gardens
Gardens

Green Island Gardens

1 Morning

Hedingham Castle and Gardens

Your next stop this morning will be the wonderful Hedingham Castle and Gardens in the small village of Castle Hedingham. The 900 year old keep stands in 160 acres of spectacularly landscaped gardens and woodland, where the Lindsey family - descendants of the original owners - the De Veres, live today. It is romantic, ancient and full of history. Privately owned, its character is unique.

Hedingham Castle
Historic

Hedingham Castle

1 Lunch

The Little Book Cafe

On the way to your afternoon activity, stop at the market town of Halstead. The High Street is set on a hill, and right at the top you’ll find The Little Book Café – a delightful, quirky place for a lunch stop – you may even find a book on Essex to browse whilst you’re there! If you like antiques, you may also like to visit the Mill Antiques Centre too, one of the largest in the county – you’ll find this at the bottom of the hill.

The Little Book Cafe
Cafe

The Little Book Cafe

1 Afternoon

Layer Marney Tower and Gardens

After lunch make your way over to the village of Layer Marney, around 20 minutes drive, where you will find Layer Marney Tower and Gardens – home to the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the UK. It’s a magnificent building standing 80 foot high, with stunning views over the Essex countryside and set in delightful grounds where you can also view the local parish church. The Tower stands on the shores of the River Blackwater, and the building was initiated by Lord Henry Marney in the 1520s, a close friend of Henry VIII at the time. Originally designed to be a grand palace, what you can see today are the aspirations of a 16th century Lord.

Layer Marney Tower
Historic

Layer Marney Tower

1 Evening

Prested Hall

Dinner and accommodation this evening will be at Prested Hall. This Grade II listed manor house was stylishly extended in the 1930s and contains some fantastic art nouveau eatures.

Prested Hall
Hotel

Prested Hall

2 Morning

Audley End House and Gardens

From Prested Hall, take an hour’s drive up to Saffron Walden to visit Audley End House and Gardens. Here you will discover an authentic Victorian kitchen garden and more in the grounds of a magnificent 17th century country house. The immaculate gardens are brimming with seasonal fruit and vegetables, much like it would have been in the Victorian times.

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Experience

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2 Lunch

Lunch at the Eight Bells

From here, less than a five minute drive, stop at the Eight Bells for a hearty, home-cooked lunch in a cosy, oak-beamed pub setting. The menu is a selection of local and seasonal produce, fine wines, and if you visit on a Sunday, be sure to have a traditional Sunday roast.

The Eight Bells
Restaurant

The Eight Bells

2 Afternoon

Great Notley Country Park

After lunch, make your way to Great Notley Country Park. The park is home to Essex’s longest play trail, cycling and horse-riding routes and a fishing lake. Whether you would like to take a relaxing afternoon stroll or indulge in something more active, there is plenty to do here!

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Experience

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2 Evening

West Street Vineyard

Finish off your two-day Essex escape at West Street Vineyard in Coggeshall, less than 15-minutes drive from Great Notley Park. Wander through the vineyards, learn about the wine with a tour and tasting and if you have space, finish off with a delicious afternoon tea or a relaxed dinner. With picturesque views of the vineyard from the restaurant and a thoughtful menu full of awardwinning food and wines, this is the perfect ending to two busy days in Essex.

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Experience

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