Trying to work out whether or not to make the half-hour journey from one of our Colchester hotels to the impressive Tudor gatehouse that is Layer Marney Tower? Here, you can find out why we think it’s well worth it; the statement house is one of the finest attractions in Colchester and unlike anywhere else in the country, let alone the region.
Layer Marney Tower is a statement house built in 1520 to show that its owner had a few pennies in his pocket, power behind his hand, and was a friend and supporter of Henry VIII. In terms of design, Layer Marney Tower stands resplendent in Essex’s countryside with the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the whole of England, intricate terracotta decorations of Italian design, stained-glass windows, and patterned brickwork.
Over the years, Layer Marney Tower had a succession of owners that suffered misfortune in some way. Construction of the building began with Henry, 1st Lord Marney, who died before he saw the house completed. His son took up his mantle but died just two years later. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and the estate’s buildings bore the brunt of the Great English Earthquake of 1884, which left the structure borderline unliveable.
However, the hands of various different owners helped to restore Layer Marney Tower to the stupendous stately home that you see today. Much of the Edwardian interior design of the building can be attributed to Walter de Zoete, a wealthy banker who lived in the tower in the 1920s. Currently it’s owned by the Charrington family, who use Layer Marney Tower as their family home and maintain the estate as a visitor attraction.
Make the journey out to Layer Marney and you’ll be able to wander through the wonderful Grade II listed gardens, pop into stables, now converted into tea rooms, and take a tour through the building, as well as a climb to the top of the tower where you can experience some truly top-class views of the surrounding countryside and Blackwater River.
A word to the wise, if you are thinking of making the journey to Layer Marney Tower, be sure to check its website before you set off, as it isn’t open every day. And, as it's used as a wedding venue, you may find parts of the grounds off limits. However, you’ll also get to see if any of its fantastic calendar events are coming up, including classic car days, village fetes, and more.
Whether you're coming to Colchester for a trip to the zoo, a tour of the castle, a visit to Firstsite, or an evening at the Mercury Theatre, stay with us at any one of our three Colchester hotels. They're perfect for exploring this most historic of Roman towns and all of its fascinating attractions.
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