About the area

Where the rivers Stour and Orwell meet, Harwich Harbour separates Harwich on the Essex side and Shotley and Felixstowe on the Suffolk side. The ferry service runs throughout the summer months providing a frequent service for tourists to East Anglia, for those with business between the ports and for the convenience of local people.

The harbour area is very popular with visitors who particularly enjoy the beautiful scenery along the River Stour and River Orwell. There are many footpaths and cycle tracks along the riversides and birdwatchers are well catered for with feeding waders on extensive mudflats on both rivers and three reserves within easy reach.

By contrast many visitors enjoy close-up views of the massive vessels alongside one of Europe's largest container terminal at Felixstowe, the towering passenger ferries arriving from Holland and Denmark, as well as the hundreds of yachts sailing through the harbour to their marinas up river. There are a range of facilities at each of the departure points and connections with local bus services.
Onward taxis can be booked from the ferry.

The Ferry since 2016. "Harbour Ferry"

Ex lifeboat from the luxury cruise liner SS Canberra. http://www.pandosnco.co.uk/canberra_part_one.html Initially licenced for 120 passengers the boat has now an MCA licence to transport 58 passengers from and to Shotley, Harwich and Felixstowe. The Boat is extremely strong built with 1-2 inch thick fibreglass, wood and metal. We have a 65 passenger life raft, life jackets. She is a pleasure to sail with.

Harwich Harbour Ferry, Puffin Billi, Taurus, ex- life boat ss canberra.
Harwich Harbour Ferry

The only ferry service connecting Essex and Suffolk, the Harwich Harbour Ferry, begins a new chapter in its 104-year history.

Investment in a New 58-Person Ferry

In May 2016, ferry owner Christian Zemann, who purchased the Harwich Harbour Ferry operation in 2015, will launch his new boat, the Harbour Ferry, which is licensed to carry up to 58 passengers – a significant increase on the previous ferry’s 12-person capacity.

Alongside the substantial investment in the new ferry, the company has also commissioned local company Fox’s Marina & Boatyard to design and build a bespoke boarding ramp that will allow passengers to embark and disembark from the vessel easily and safely, direct from the beach alongside Felixstowe’s View Point Café at Languard Point, which makes the Harbour Ferry the biggest ferry operator in the UK for beach landing!

New Hourly Timetable

With the launching of the new Harbour Ferry, the company is also introducing an hourly service from each of its three departure points in Shotley, Harwich and Felixstowe, which it will operate daily from 01. April or Easter whatever is first until end of October. In addition to the convenience of more frequent sailings, the new timetable will allow passengers who don’t wish to disembark to enjoy a 57-minute round trip of Harwich Harbour, with its stunning close-up views of the biggest container ships in the world alongside one of Europe’s largest container terminals at Felixstowe.

Improved Passenger Safety

The new Harbour Ferry is an ex lifeboat commissioned for the luxury cruise liner SS Canberra. Originally licenced to carry 120 passengers, the boat is extremely strongly built and carries a modern 65-person life raft.

Passengers and Facilities

The Harbour Ferry is very popular with both visitors to the area and locals wishing to enjoy the beautiful scenery and bird life along the River Stour and River Orwell, with many footpaths and cycle routes directly accessible from the ferry departure points. It also provides a unique way to arrive for those visiting the historic Languard Fort in Felixstowe, or those planning a leisurely lunch at the exquisite Pier Hotel in Harwich. There is a range of facilities at each of the three departure points at Shotley (Outside Marina Pontoon), Harwich (Ha’Penny Pier) and Felixstowe (Beach at Viewpoint Café), which are all marked with yellow ‘Ferry’ flags. Parking is available at each location and the ferry connects with local bus services for onward travel. Passengers may also book taxis to meet up with the ferry. Cyclists and dog walkers are very welcome on board, dogs and cycles.

The Ferry until 2015. "MV Explorer 12"

Explorer 12 is a Rotork Sea Truck a flat-hulled, high-speed watercraft, similar to a small landing craft. Made from fibreglass, they may be used to land vehicles without jetties or harbour facilities. They were designed partially by James Dyson in the 1970s, as part of his final year's project at the Royal College of Art. Jeremy Fry was co-designer. The craft was manufactured by Rotork Marine in Bath, England.

The Sea Truck won a Design Council award, and in 1979 the Series 5 Sea Truck, credited to Tim Fry and Anthony Smallhorn, won the Prince Philip Designers Prize

rotork; sea truck; landing craft;
Harwich Harbour Ferry

The Ferry from 1925- mid 1990. "Brightlingsea"

The Brightlingsea was built in 1925, by the Rowhedge Ironworks near Colchester. She was 51 gross tons, and had saloons for 152 passengers. 
source: www.simplonpc.co.uk
Brightlingsea. source: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk

The Ferry from 1912-1924. "Pin Mill", "Hainault", "Epping"

The Harwich-Felixstowe ferry had been inaugurated in 1912 by the GER, using the small launch Pinmill. She was an immediate success, and so a second service was initiated between Harwich and Shotley, and the larger Hainault and Epping were delivered in 1914.
The ferry was suspended during the First World War. Hainault passed to the LNER in 1923, and then to British Railways in 1948. She was sold when BR closed the ferry in 1961, and was converted into a houseboat.
Epping source: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk
Hainault and Pin Mill source: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk
Pin Mill source: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk