The Pier overlooks Harwich’s original Ha’penny Pier, built in the mid 19th century to accommodate passengers embarking on steamers and packet ships to the Continent.
There are fine views across the harbour to the confluence of the Rivers Stour and Orwell overlooking tugs, ferries, cruise ships and yachts bustling about on the water.
To the right, visions of the statuesque cranes of Felixstowe, a surprisingly romantic sight in the evenings as the sun hides behind their silhouettes.
The Milsom family-owned hotel group, which includes the well-established Maison Talbooth and Milsoms in Dedham and Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk, opened the hotel in 1978.
Inspired by a trip in the US to a harbourside restaurant in Boston, Milsom senior bought the historic Truman Brewery hotel, along with the Angel pub next door, later annexed to create a lounge area and additional bedrooms, which now both form The Pier.
Being both family and dog friendly this was an extra special trip for my husband Sam and I as we had the company of our one-year old son Leo.
There are 14 rooms in total split between two buildings and comprise of standard, supreme, deluxe rooms along with The Mayflower Suite. the hotels signature room, which boasted sea views and telescope at the window for spying on the passing boats.
After settling in, we decided to take Leo for a short walk around the town ending up back at the NAVYÄRD, for a pre-dinner drink in the courtyard, overlooking the harbour.
The bar is a nod to scandi-chic, with an understated, slightly industrial décor, based on the influential and historic links that Harwich holds with Scandinavia and wider Europe.
With a Gin Library containing over 100 types of Gin, Cask Marque Ales, Craft Beers and an amazing cocktail menu, it is hard not to get carried away.
It was soon time for dinner, the 2 AA rosette Pier Restaurant is situated on the first floor complete with its own terrace – ideal for watching those sunsets. If seafood floats your boat you’re certainly in the right place as the menu is fish heavy.
To start, I selected from the vegan menu, ‘Asian vegetables tacos with hoisin sauce and sesame seeds’. A unique take on tacos, packed full of flavour! Sam chose the ‘Dressed Harwich Crab, with lemon mayonnaise, brown bread and butter,’ it was fresh, zingy and a perfectly well-rounded starter.
This meal was extra special for us, as it was Leo’s first official meal out in a restaurant. He ordered the child’s fish and chips. We gained delight in watching him enjoy the new taste, covering his hands in white fish and attempting to tackle the peas on the plate.
For the main event Sam continued to steer his ship towards another fish dish and ordered the ‘Whole grilled plaice, new potato’s, tender stem broccoli and prawn and herb butter’, which we were told, was caught overnight off the Harwich coast. Now that’s what I call fresh!
I kept to the Asian theme and ordered the ‘Spiced tempura vegetables, chana dhal, spinach and pickled red onion’, but of course helped Leo out with a few of his chunky chips.
From the desserts menu my husband indulged in the ‘Baked New York cheesecake with blueberry compote’. Leo had the chocolate brownie with ice cream – it’s clear he is a child with an appetite!
I passed on the ‘traditional dessert’ and finished with an Espresso Martini, which ended my meal seamlessly and headed back to the room with me.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, all three of us in the large oversized bed, we enjoyed a healthy omelette breakfast back on the terrace, before setting off for a trip to nearby Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park.
Situated in the heart of Suffolk, you might recognise Jimmy Doherty’s farm from the BBC documentary. It is home to ponies, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, cows, pigs – even camels, meerkats and kangaroos.
We popped along to introduce Leo to the animals, the best part is that you can get really close and feed them using the bags of food available.
Over in the butterfly house see beautiful and colourful tropical butterflies gracefully flutter by you and then take the family outside to enjoy the woodland walk before heading to the wooden playground.
The bouncy pillow, giant sandpit, climbing pyramids, bouncy animals, play vehicles, sports challenge and hobbit house will all be huge hits, leaving you with sleepy, satisfied children at the end of a great family day out.
A great mix of adventure play, the great outdoors and lots of animals. Dogs are also welcome on leads.
We loved our break away on the Essex / Suffolk boarder, at The Pier you will find a luxurious but relaxed place to escape to without worrying about leaving any family member behind, including the dog, with nearby family attractions and steeps beautiful countryside to explore.
If you would like to view my experience at The Pier and Jimmy’s Farm please check out my latest videos here:
September offer at The Pier milsomhotels.com/september-by-the-sea.
Address: The Quay, Harwich CO12 3HH
Phone: 01255 241212
Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park
Address: Pannington Hall Ln, Ipswich IP9
Phone: 01473 604206