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Layer Marney Tower in Essex

Our visit to Layer Marney Tower in Essex was gifted to Well Travelled Munchkins. All words, photos and opinions are our own.

I love finding places I have never been before. I especially love it when those places are right on my doorstep! Layer Marney Tower is a complete mix of grandeur and domesticity. One moment you are taking in the views on top of the lofty Tudor Gatehouse and the next you are jumping around with the chickens in the kids playground and the goats in the stables!

Layer Marney Tower in Essex – Address

Layer Marney Tower in Essex

Layer Marney Tower is located south of Colchester which is one of Essex’s biggest towns and Britain’s first city!


Layer Marney Tower, Layer Marney
Nr. Colchester, Essex C05 9US

History of Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney Tower in Essex was built in the time of Henry VIII and boasts Britain’s tallest Tudor Gatehouse.

The estate was built as a statement home allowing the owner to show off their riches and connections to the King. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I visited, so it’s had some pretty impressive guests!

View from inside the tower

Although Layer Marney Tower is pretty grand as it stands, it is incomplete.

It was originally designed as a much bigger palace. However, the building works were not completed as the owner, 1st Lord Marney, died. Then two years later, so did his son and heir.

In the last 500 years Layer Marney Tower has had eleven owners. The estate is currently owned, and lived in by the Charrington family. They were married in the church in 1957 and decided to buy it two years later.

The Layer Marney Tower

Layer Marney Tower in Essex

As intended, the Tudor Gatehouse is certainly one of the most impressive parts of Layer Mayer Tower.

Two sets of spiral staircases take you up to rooms housing marvellous tapestries, a wonderful display of Crowns and Crests of Garter Knights and a charming and impressive collection of dolls houses. This collection is a new addition to the tower in 2021. The kids spent ages looking through the delicately arranged settings and all the intricate detail. They really are something to see!

Layer Marney Tower in Essex

At the top of the tower you are treated to a first-class view over the estate. Further out towards the horizon you can even see the River Blackwater, which feeds into places like Maldon and Mersey Island.

The Grounds

Layer Marney Tower in Essex

There are also lots of other things to see on you visit such as:

  • The Church – still used today and houses the tombs of 1st Lord Marney and his son who died in 1523 and 1525.
Layer Marney Tower in Essex
  • Tea Rooms – which sells a lovely selection of locally made cakes, teas and coffees.
  • Children’s play area – a great adventure course with a chicken coop in the centre, (which I thought was so much fun) and climbing frame.
Play park in Layer Marney Tower Essex
  • The Long Gallery – A place to enjoy and sit with your coffee and cake. It is also a setting to hire and a wedding venue.
Layer Marney Tower in Essex
  • Animals and stables – just general good fun for everyone!
  • The Barn – being reconstructed on our visit. However, it looks like it will be another beautiful space to hire when completed.
  • The Shop – where you can buy a little memento to remind you of your day.
Pond walk

Staying at Layer Marney Tower in Essex

The estate has two apartments they hire out via AirBnB and 6 glamping tents in the woods – some even come complete with hot tub! Just a couple of options if you were looking to extend your visit to Layer Marney Tower.

Layer Marney Tower in Essex

Overall, we really enjoyed our time here.

For us, the tower was the most interesting part. The kids loved the spiral staircases and I loved the views from the top!

A close second would have to be the adventure playground complete with chicken coop! I have never seen this before, and now I don’t understand why all playgrounds don’t have chicken coops included!

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Looking for other days out in Essex? Why not try Warley Place Nature Reserve!