Winning Octopus Ahoy! sculpture arrives in Clacton by jet ski

Children have been making waves in a sculpture design competition as part of the summer art trail project Octopus Ahoy!  The art and charity event features more than 100 octopus sculptures and has been organised to celebrate Clacton’s 150th anniversary and 400 years since the Mayflower set sail to the New World from Harwich.  The octopuses will create a public art trail across north Essex.

Winning school
Primary schools were invited to take part in the celebration of art, culture and history.  Now the array of large professionally painted and smaller community painted octopus sculptures will propel their way across Essex to form an art trail across high profile locations for residents and visitors to follow.

A total of 60 school-designed sculptures took their seats at the Electric Palace cinema in Harwich for the final judging with a panel from Clacton Pier choosing the winner.

Nigel Brown, who was head of the judging panel from Clacton Pier, said: “We chose Holland Haven Primary School as we like the design, the name of Unity and the fact they have incorporated a large number of pupils’ drawings into the one octopus.”

Head teacher of Holland Haven Primary School Due Bardetti, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have the winning octopus.  The children have thoroughly enjoyed producing designs to be part of the final sculpture. They were thrilled when we told them we had won and we are excited about the presentation.”

The winning sculpture design was delivered by TDC’s Clacton Beach Patrol via sea from the Martello Tower to Clacton Pier to applause from the school children watching on the beach.

Clacton Beach Patrol

Katie Skingle, director at KAT Marketing, who are delivering the Octopus Ahoy! project on behalf of Tendring Council, said: “The energy the schools have put into their sculpture designs has been incredible.  The pupils have really loved getting stuck in and that enthusiasm shines through with the quality of the designs that have come back to us.  “They are going to look fantastic when they hit their venues on June 25.”

The Clacton Breeze open top bus was also unveiled at Clacton Pavilion this weekend by Clacton Rocks and the Octopus Ahoy! crew.
Octo bus

The Octo-bus marked the start of the Clacton Rock bus routes heading around town this summer.

Davina Langley, marketing manager at Hedingham Omnibuses, said: “We are thrilled to re-launch our Clacton Breeze Bus Tours and join forces with Octopus Ahoy! as it’s a fabulous way to take in the town and beautiful seaside”

The free Octopus Ahoy! app is now available to download from Apple and Android stores from today.  The app will help people to plan their route and list which prizes they want to scan and win via the QR codes at the bottom of each octopus base.

The free activity will lead to prizes ranging from octopus keyrings to free afternoon teas.


(Information and images from Clacton Gazette 01/06/2021).

English Tourism Week 2021

English Tourism Week is fast approaching and will run from 22 – 31 May 2021. It’s a chance for tourism businesses all across England to celebrate our exciting and diverse visitor economy sector and showcase what we have to offer locally, regionally and nationally.

For more information or to become involved visit

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Harwich’s Mayflower 400 has been named as one of 2021’s highlights

Harwich Mayflower Trail
Harwich Mayflower Trail


Harwich’s Mayflower 400 has been named as 2021’s highlights by a new campaign to boost tourism on the East coast following Covid-19.

The campaign is being run by England’s Coast, an new tourism initiative which includes Visit England, P&O and tourism groups from around the country.

It has highlighted a number of tourism opportunities this year, including exploring Harwich during the Mayflower 400 celebrations, which were postponed from last year due to the pandemic.

The campaign said: “2021 marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims setting sail from Plymouth to cross the Atlantic to reach the New World – America.  The port of Harwich played a key role in the story, It’s where the Mayflower was built by the Pilgrim Fathers, and where its captain, Christopher Jones, lived and was twice wed”.

“Visitors can explore the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre and its workshop, where a full-scale shore-based replica of the famous ship is being built”.

“It’s a town full of maritime history – visitors can also enjoy Harwich’s fascinating Maritime Heritage Trail, starting at the Low Lighthouse Museum on the Quay, taking in the Redoubt Fort, built in 1808 to protect the harbour from a Napoleonic invasion, and ending at the Barge Murals, overlooking the site where iconic Thames Sailing Barges were built until 1930.”

A 1km-long visitor trail exploring Harwich’s links to the Mayflower opened in September to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the vessel’s historic voyage and Christopher Jones’ House has been opened as an attraction, along with a new visitor centre at Esplanade Hall, which is due to open in the spring.

The initiative is also promoting ‘the east coast seafood trail’, offering some of the world’s finest seafood.  It said: “On idyllic Mersea Island, fresh native oysters have been bred since Roman times.  Leigh-on-Sea is full of character and charm, home to the famous cockle sheds as well as plentiful pubs in which to enjoy this local delicacy”.

The campaign has also highlighted Suffolk’s Sutton Hoo, the site of the new Netflix period drama The Dig, where a 7th century Anglo-Saxon king’s ship burial was uncovered in 1939.

Samantha Richardson, director of the National Coastal Tourism Academy, which delivers the Discover England-funded England’s Coast project, said:  “Essex alone offers 350 miles of coastline.  You can head to art galleries at the Naze Tower or Southend-on-Sea, escape the urban hustle at Thorpe Bay, with its water sports to enjoy, and tuck into fantastic seafood on Mersea Island.  If you don’t know the east coast, this is the year to explore and discover.”

England’s Coast said it advises visitors to adhere to the national lockdown and plan their travels after lockdown, when it is safe to do so.

To find out more about what’s on offer along with guides and walking routes, go to

(Information taken from the Clacton Gazette 03/02/2021).