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Train and Walk from Colchester to Clacton-on-Sea

18th July 2024

Catch the 1016hrs service from Colchester North to Clacton-on-Sea. Catch any train back

Arriving at Clacton on Sea railway Station on the train, we will head out from the station towards the sea front, passing some of Clacton’s Grand buildings showing its historic hay-day of holidaymakers gone by.

From the pier we will head South through the formal pleasure gardens, stopping at the RNLI lifeboat station for a short talk about the 200 years of the lifeboats, before heading on towards the first of our Martello Towers, now a tea shop, then on along the beach with stories of Clacton’s history from steamboats to Butlins until we reach Jaywick. At the far end of the town sits the Jaywick Martello tower and here we will stop for tea and a look around the Tower to see how these buildings served the country from the Napoleonic war onwards. We then return to Clacton to catch the return train. You are welcome to stay and return on any train back to Colchester.

£5.00 per person. Not suitable for children.

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Clacton was a site of the lower Palaeolithic Clactonian industry of flint tool manufacture.The "Clacton Spear", a wooden (yew) spear found at Clacton in 1911 and dated at 450,000 years ago, is the oldest such spear to have been found in Britain.

In 1865 railway engineer and land developer Peter Bruff, the steamboat owner William Jackson, and a group of businessmen bought an area of undeveloped farmland adjoining low gravelly cliffs and a firm sand-and-shingle beach lying to the south-east of Great Clacton village with the intention of establishing a new resort. One of the first facilities they built for the new resort was the pier, which opened in 1871, allowing visitors to travel by ship; the railway would not reach Clacton until 1882. The town of Clacton-on-Sea was laid out rather haphazardly over the next few years; though it has a central 'grand' avenue (originally Electric Parade, now Pier Avenue) the street plan incorporates many previously rural lanes and tracks, such as Wash Lane. Plots and streets were sold off piecemeal to developers and speculators. In 1882 the Great Eastern Railway already serving the well-established resort of Walton-on-the-Naze along the coast, opened a branch line to Clacton-on-Sea railway station from a junction on the existing railway at Thorpe-le-Soken.

Clacton has a pleasure pier, arcades, a golf course, caravan parks and an airfield. The town and its beaches are still popular with tourists in the summer and there is an annual entertainment programme including the Clacton Carnival, which starts on the second Saturday in August and lasts for a week. Clacton Airshow, an aerial display, takes place on the Thursday and Friday before the August Bank Holiday, with historic and modern aircraft such as the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane, Harrier, Jaguar, Tornado, and helicopters. There are also wing-walkers and the Red Arrows.

Clacton has a shopping area with many of the usual national chains represented, and a Factory Shopping Village in the north of the town.

Clacton has two theatres, the West Cliff Theatre and the Princes Theatre. The West Cliff is one of the last theatres in the country to put on an old-style summer show.