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Feather Down Country Retreats (Layer Marney Tower)

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General

The Country Retreat tents are set in a piece of private woodland behind the main hall and are all equipped with proper working showers and flushing toilets as well as comfortable mattresses and over 45 square metres of living space with the private hot tub next to each tent to make sure you enjoy the great outdoors on this remarkable estate in full relaxation.

Drive barely an hour out of London, past Tiptree, home of Wilkins jam, turn off before Roman Colchester and you'll find a surprisingly wild and haunting part of East Anglia. As the road gets narrower and narrower, you’ll catch sight of Layer Marney Tower, its brickwork and terracotta glowing in the sunshine. It is the the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England and during your stay you’ll get to enjoy the fantastic views of the coast, from its summit.

From on high you may find it harder to spot your encampment - nestling in the birch, ash and alder trees that you’ll share with pheasants, woodpeckers, muntjac and owls. Some of the encampments look onto red deer in adjacent fields - the Marneys were given a licence to make a park for hunting back in 1267.

In modern times, countries and cities have vied with each other to build the tallest building. Alas ‘twas ever thus, even in Tudor times. The Marneys followed the example of their monarch, Henry VIII who believed that a home should reflect the magnificence of its owner. As Lord Privy Seal and Captain of the Bodyguard, Henry Marney got caught up in the craze and duly set about rivalling Cardinal Wolsey’s work at Hampton Court. The result was the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the country. The building work continued after his demise in 1523, but was brought to a premature end in 1525 with the death of his only son John.

These days you'll be given the warmest of welcomes by Nicholas and Sheila Charrington who now run the estate, together with their four children.


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Depart: (2 nights)
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Features

Leisure on site

Bar or club house

Cycle hire

Evening entertainment

Fishing

Fitness centre

Games room

Hot tub

Indoor swimming pool

Kids' club

On-site restaurant/cafe

Outdoor swimming pool

Play area

Take away

Tennis

TV room

Watersports

Amenities on site

Bath available

Disabled facilities

Drying room

Food shop

Free wifi

Ice pack freezing

Internet access

Launderette

Parent & baby washroom

Pick-up from public transport

Public telephone

Shower available

Tents for hire

Toilet block

Washing-up area

Wifi

Utilities

Charging facilities

Chemical disposal

Gas cylinders available

Recycling available

Renewable energy

Rules

Barbecues allowed

Campfires allowed

Commercial vehicles allowed

Dogs allowed

Dogs allowed all year

Themes

Luxury

Peaceful

Remote location

Spectacular scenery

Walkers' paradise

Wild camping

Wildlife haven

Nearby leisure

Fishing nearby

Golf nearby

Horse riding nearby

Indoor pool nearby

Restaurant nearby

Groups welcome

Family friendly

Motorcycle friendly

Single-sex groups welcome

Student groups welcome

Nearby amenities

Bar nearby

Nearby farmers' market

Public transport nearby

Shop nearby

Type

Tiny (1-10 pitches)

Camping 2.0

Pre-erected tents

Tipis, yurts, or wigwams

Location

[[ campsite.name ]] [[ place.name ]]
  • Colchester, Essex, England, CO5 9US
  • Timezone Europe/London GMT (GMT+00:00)   GPS 51.8243°N 0.7958°E

Nearest transport

Coach stations
Marks Tey: Rail Station Coach Stop — 3.9 miles
Colchester Bus Station — 6.5 miles
Witham (Essex): Newland Street Coach Stop — 6.9 miles
Train stations
Marks Tey Rail Station — 4.0 miles
Kelvedon Rail Station — 4.2 miles
Colchester Town Rail Station — 6.3 miles
Ferry ports
Point Clear Ferry Landing — 9.8 miles
Brightlingsea Ferry Landing — 9.9 miles
Burnham on Crouch Ferry Landing — 13.9 miles
Airports
London Southend Airport — 18.1 miles
London Stansted Airport — 23.4 miles

Directions


From Ipswich and the East:

Turn off the A12 at the Halstead exit (B1124). At the roundabout take the first exit left. (You will pass a sign for Layer Marney Tower that says follow the signs to Maldon). At the next roundabout take the third exit to Maldon, Tollgate Retail Park and ColchesterZoo, passing Sea Pets and Homebase on your left. You will now go over three small roundabouts: at the first go straight over, at the second turn left and at the third, a double roundabout, turn right to Maldon. Follow the road for just over a mile to a t-junction. Turn right to Maldon (B1022). After two miles you will see, on the right, the entrance to Birch Quarry and soon after a turning on the left signed to Layer Marney Tower. Take this turning, go straight over the cross-roads and follow the lane for 1/4 of a mile. The entrance gates to Layer Marney Tower are on the right. Sat nav will take you to this point and now you need to follow these instructions: do not go through these gates, but instead carry on down the road. At the end of the road turn right down a track signed to the church and Hall Farm cottages. Go along the track and past the south front of Layer Marney Tower and into the church car park. Turn left down a track signed to Hall Farm cottages and near the end of the track turn right, just before the gateway to the farm buildings. Follow this short track around to the left and into the car park which is on the right.

From London and the West:
Leave the A12 at the Kelvedon turning (B1024). Drive through Kelvedon, crossing the river and at the top of the hill turn right by the Old Anchor pub, to Maldon and Tiptree (B1023). Follow this road for about two miles to a t-junction. Turn left to Colchester (B1022). Turn right after 2 miles, at the signpost to Layer Marney Tower. There is a sharp corner almost immediately, followed soon after by a left turning signed to Layer Marney Tower which you should take. At the first cross-roads turn right (signed), and drive for about 1/4 mile. The entrance gates to Layer Marney
Tower are on the right. Sat nav will take you this far now you need to follow these instructions: do not go through these gates, but instead carry on down the road. At the end of the road turn right down a track signed to the church and Hall Farm cottages. Go along the track and past the south front of Layer Marney Tower and into the church car park. Turn left down a track signed to Hall Farm cottages and near the end of the track turn right, just before the gateway to the farm buildings. Follow this short track around to the left and into the car park which is on the right.

Please note: All distances on this page are calculated "as the crow flies" - please check actual distance depending on your mode of travel using the Get directions button above.

Local attractions

You are most welcome to visit the Tower, just show your free pass (which you will find in your tent folder)
in the shop. Come and enjoy a cream tea in our tea rooms or pick up a souvenir in the shop.

The children may enjoy our play equipment or visiting the goats, who are always very keen to have visitors.

There is a magnificent medieval barn on one side of the courtyard and the Long Gallery, once the stables for Lord Marney’s horses. If you are with us in the early part of the season, come and bottle feed the lambs. The Tower and gardens are open to visitors from 12 noon and 5pm on Wednesdays and Sundays from April to the end of September and in July and August are open every day of the week except for Friday and Saturday. It is well worth taking the time to climb to the top of the Tower and enjoy the views which stretch down to the River Blackwater estuary and beyond. The are welcome to walk around the house garden and play area on Sundays and Wednesdays between 12 noon and 4pm.

The estate is a mixture of grassland, woodland and arable, with a small stream called Layer Brook flowing through the land, meandering from Tiptree to Abberton Reservoir and thence to the coast.

A short bike ride away is Abberton reservoir, one of the region’s top bird-watching spots, populated by scarce waders and tree-nesting cormorants. Carry on a bit further and you’ll hit the tiny wriggling creeks of the Blackwater estuary, part of Essex’s wildly indented shoreline. The area is famous for the Colchester native oyster: try them out at the nearby renowned Company Shed on Mersea Island.

Essex has a well earned reputation as being flat county – those of us who live here prefer to think of it as undulating – and during your stay we hope you will come to appreciate the big skies and sunsets that we enjoy, as well as easy cycling and walking. There are plenty of pubs nearby that welcome families, some within walking distance, others more a cycle rids away. To the south of Layer Marney lies the Blackwater estuary, the coast and delicious food.

Must see

  • Colchester Zoo (3.2 miles)
  • Colchester Castle Museum (6.4 miles)
  • firstsite (6.4 miles)

National Trust

  • Coggeshall Grange Barn (5.6 miles)
  • Paycocke's (5.9 miles)

Cycle routes

Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.

Please note: All distances on this page are calculated "as the crow flies" - please check actual distance depending on your mode of travel.

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Terms and conditions

Please read the park terms and conditions below and the Pitchup.com terms and conditions.

Additional terms

Bookings can only be made by persons over 18 years of age.

Force majeure on the side of Feather Down Farm Days exists if the implementation of the agreement is entirely or partially, temporarily or permanently, prevented due to circumstances which are beyond the control of Feather Down Farm Days, including threat of war, staff strikes, blockades, fire, floods and other disruptions or events.

If you leave your tent in an improper condition, additional (cleaning) costs may be charged.

You must take up any complaint with the farmer immediately, in order to allow us to solve the matter as soon as possible. Should the complaint not be settled to your satisfaction, then you have the option, up to one month after departure from the farm to lodge the complaint in writing or by email with Feather Down Farm Days.

Remember that you will be staying on a working farm with live animals and potentially dangerous farm equipment amongst other hazards. Also you must be aware that some of the camp equipment (such as the bread oven) may be dangerous if misused. Whilst we and your host farmers take great care to keep you safe, accidents can happen and neither we nor the farm are responsible for such accidents. It is your responsibility to supervise any children. If you notice that any equipment looks faulty and/or unsafe you must inform the host farmer as soon as possible. We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance against the risk of accidents and your stay being cut short.

It is permitted to receive visitors during your Feather Down farm stay. These visitors must report themselves to the farm on arrival. There is a charge for visitors of £20 per car.

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