BEING in such close proximity to north Essex’s rugged coastline, it’s no wonder the beaches on our doorstep are such a hit.

And while many think of up-market Frinton as the go-to location, or Clacton for its iconic pier and amusements, Harwich is a hidden gem tucked away on the north Essex coastline.

The town has now been recognised in The Spectator magazine as among the UK’s best seaside locations to visit should you want to avoid crowds.

The glowing article reads: “Most visitors to Harwich pass through without stopping, straight onto the car ferry to the Hook of Holland.

“They don’t know what they’re missing.

“The old town is charming, a cluster of narrow streets lined with handsome Georgian townhouses, like the set of a nautical costume drama.

Gazette: The Electric Palace is a nostalgic nod to the town's historyThe Electric Palace is a nostalgic nod to the town's history

“Look out for the High Lighthouse and the Low Lighthouse. There are lovely walks along the Stour estuary, towards Manningtree, on the Essex Way.”

Residents and frequent visitors to the town, however, will be under no illusion of the town’s unique charm.

Dovercourt Bay beach has a Blue Flag in recognition of its bathing water quality, environment management and conservation.

Its lighthouse, immortalised by world renowned landscape artist John Constable, is a favourite for painters and photographers alike.

Among the town’s highlights is the iconic Electric Palace cinema, one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas to survive complete with its ornamental frontage still in tact.

The Spectator’s article also references the Pier Hotel, on The Quay, as housing a “first-class restaurant” with “plush and comfy” bedrooms.

Gazette: Lennie-Jay Petchey found out humans aren't the only visitors to Harwich beach!Lennie-Jay Petchey found out humans aren't the only visitors to Harwich beach!

It also makes mentions Captain Christopher Jones’ house, in King’s Head Street, the man who skippered The Mayflower on its momentous voyage to the New World more than 400 years ago.

A visit to the town wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its historic pubs either, most notably the Alma Inn in King’s Head Street.

The popular boozer possesses a rich history, dating back to 1599 as a merchant’s house before beginning to serve punters in about 1871, according to documents.

And the British Flag, in West Street, has been serving up regulars as a beer house since the 1870s.

For town councillor Jo Henderson, the area is more than deserving of the recognition.

She said: “We have got a lot of positives in this town; visitors often explain how surprised they are by how lovely it is in Harwich.

“While we’ve got some nice facilities we’re not inundated. It’s a more unspoilt feel here.

“Over lockdown its been a beautiful place to walk in. It makes you realise how precious this town is.”