5 places to explore the Tudors in Essex

Layer Marney Tower
Layer Marney Tower

1. Layer Marney Tower. This tallest Tudor Gatehouse in England is one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture. Built in the same year that Henry VIII met the French king, Francis I at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Henry stayed in the impressive tower in 1522. Climbing the 80 ft tower’s 99 steps is well worth the effort, as the reward is a breath-taking view across the north of the county.

Hadleigh Castle
Hadleigh Castle with magnificent views over the Thames Estuary.

2. Hadleigh Castle. The romantic ruins of the former hunting base of Edward I and royal retreat of Edward III had once been an impressive fortress built to repel French invaders during the 100 Years War.  During the reign of Henry VIII, Hadleigh was gifted to Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. You can explore what remains of the castle and the beautiful Hadleigh Country Park.

Aerial view of Tilbury Fort
Aerial view of Tilbury Fort

3. Further down the Thames Estuary from Hadleigh Castle, is one of the most famous sites of Tudor history –Tilbury Fort. Built by her father Henry VIII, Elizabeth I famously rallied her forces in the face of the oncoming Armada in July 1588 with her famous speech I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king.”

Tilbury Fort offers a great day out for history buffs to explore the site, including its magazine houses used to store gunpowder and feel what it was like to live there as one of the soldiers responsible for defending London.

Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge
Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge

4. Learn about life in Tudor times at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, right next to The View Visitor Centre in Epping Forest. Built by Henry VIII in 1543 and later renovated by Elizabeth I, it’s a remarkable and rare survival of an intact timber-framed hunt still standing and surrounded by its medieval royal hunting forest.

Marygreen Manor Hotel
Marygreen Manor Hotel

5. With a history that links it to the court of Henry VIII, the restaurant at Marygreen Manor in Brentwood is appropriately called Tudors. Not only that, the sensitive décor harks back to the 16th century, adding to the sense of grandeur. However, the food and service is very much 21st century and award-winning to boot with 2 AA Rosettes, complemented by a comprehensive award winning wine list. With snail ravioli, veal sweetbreads, quail and venison on the menu, you’ll be sure to dine like a king.

For more ideas on where to visit historical sites in Essex visit our website.

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