We meet at Colchester Station around lunchtime, transfer to the hotel, and luggage goes to storage. Then we step back to Norman times at Colchester Castle. Our afternoon takes us north to the excellent Ipswich Transport Museum opening especially for us. What a collection they have here and all is presented immaculately. Our return to Colchester is by rail from Ipswich and coach to the hotel for our first evening together.
A big southern circular is in store today. This morning we are heading for trains and heritage buses in the forest…Epping Forest that is. The Epping Ongar Railway is possibly unique in that there is a timetabled bus service integrated with the trains. Ride on both and have a fun time. Then we sidle across to Southend for a 1.33 miles long ride on the modern pier railway to…the end of the pier. Perhaps it’s time for fish n chips! On we go, and our afternoon destination is the Mangapps Farm Railway and Museum at Burnham on Crouch which is but an hour’s drive back to Colchester.
A circular tour of local railway attractions starts at the Colne Valley Railway. Here are model, miniature and standard gauge railways. We then loop around to Clare, a lovely Suffolk town complete with ruined castle and restored ex-railway station. On then to Sudbury, to catch the branch line train to Chappel & Wakes Colne. Here we find the East Anglian Railway Museum. An extensive site with much to see and a steam train ride to enjoy. Spend as long as you like here before catching a train back via Marks Tey.
We start the day off with a branch line rail journey to Harwich. Here it’s time to find our sea legs (well, river legs really!!) as a two-hour boat trip on the Orwell Lady awaits. Lunch is included as we make our way up the scenic River Orwell into Ipswich – a serene way to conclude! Homeward bound trains leave Ipswich Station early afternoon.
This fine hotel has graced the centre of England’s oldest recorded town for over 500 years. It boasts a stylish bar, lounge and restaurant where all of our meals will be taken. Accommodation is split between the main hotel building and the sister hotel, just over the road, which is purely bedrooms only, and both are of an equal standard.